I happened to watch the opening ceremony of the 19th commonwealth games in the orange capital of India. I also happened to watch with a bunch of people who were what any one will call us average Indians. Ordinary people who work hard, who are successful in what they do, and who live in the smaller towns of India. It was amazing to watch the ceremony with them. The feeling of pride at what India had dished out at that evening was really infectious. Most of us watched the ceremony with our jaws open and were taken in by the opulence and pizzazz of the ceremony.
This led them to ask the most obvious question, is this event being held in India or this is some other country? Where are the stadiums that were about to collapse? Is this aerostat which was creating all the controversy? But this balloon looks fantastic. So what was the entire cacophony all about?
These are the people who we in our world say chasing the rating points. Coming from the heartland of India they make up the numbers and the channel content is geared to them. The more I spoke with them, the more it looked like that the news channels are suffering from the Vuvuzella effect.
Vuvuzella became popular at the FIFA world cup in South Africa. The make an awful lot of racket and people love to blow it. The louder it is the better is the instrument. However the instrument only produces one kind of sound and when they are blown collectively it sounds like a zillions bees have come swarming into the stadium. They make a lot of noise but they make a noise that can’t be differentiated
Vuvuzella allows people to whip up frenzy. It forces people to blow harder so that they make noise that is louder than the other. This sounds strangely similar to what we are seeing happen in the world of news media
The media generally is blowing harder and harder to make more and more noise. News is being turned into entertainment. Comedy shows and daily soaps get more prominence than what can be called is news. The headlines in newspapers look like titles of upcoming serials. More cricket being played on news channels than on field. The viewer or the reader is left asking where the news?
The Vuvuzella mindset is destroying the credibility and authenticity of media as a whole. There is a strange disconnection from reality that media has started to display. Media above all has a very big responsibility. They are the watchdogs of the society. They are supposed to be thorough, sensitive and diligent. Sadly the media has started to speak within itself and not to its audience. You can see it happen with almost every event that happens in the country is reported in a shrill and insensitive manner. Somehow the, media has started to lose its edge, and it’s losing it with what it calls its prime audience.
Enough has been said about media getting closer to its constituents and reflecting their views. It seems that media has decided to become more populist than an expert. While there are a few good men in there, and they are well respected, but the rank and file is simply blowing the Vuvuzella and not making music.
It’s time that the media introspected and decided to banish their Vuvuzellas. The audience is waiting for a symphony. I suspect that the media itself may be surprised by the audience reaction.
Now the big question: will they?
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