Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Tragic Story Of The Malnourished Newspapers

I was shocked by what I saw today. The Sunday newspaper was badly malnourished. It looked so bad that it looks sure to die. How could it have deteriorated so rapidly despite being under my gaze daily?

But the government and society in general must take into account this observation of mine and act instantly before the poor newspapers die and become extinct. I remember a time when the daily newspapers were healthy, bonny, full of beans, innocence and good stuff to share with all of us. They had lots to share, good stories, great content, came with a certain moral uprightness about them and passed on what they saw in an unbiased fashion. We read stuff about politics, sports, local news, movies, art, books, culture, people, travel, cooking, humour and could not get enough of them. There were middles, slice of life stuff. Newspapers could keep people occupied for half a day. And one newspaper could do that because it had enough content to tell, share. People improved their vocabulary by reading the newspaper, many improved their knowledge and prepared for exams and several men kept out of their wives paths by reading every word, end to end. But those were times when newspapers were healthy.

Over time the newspapers must have been afflicted by some mysterious disease. Perhaps it started when they began to believe that they could shape people's views. Thy began to see themselves as creators who could create whatever they could. And destroy what they could. Once they bought into this belief, they forgot about good content, about good news, and started to publish stuff that would create or destroy. It was not healthy diet anymore. It was not about the reader anymore, it was now about the person who'd be affected by the news - one who could be created or destroyed by the newspaper. The disease grew slowly and was largely undetected. The newspapers hid the sickness behind dramatic news, glitzy ads and lots of commercial pamphlets.

The first signs for me was when the newspapers were done within 5 minutes for me as against the earlier half an hour. The content shrunk. The second thing was that most of the news not of any real use to me nor well written. The last straw was when I began to think that perhaps life is not so bad without a newspaper anyway. I knew the rot had set in but had never imagined it would be so bad. Now the paper that comes in in every morning is emaciated, ribs sticking out of its back and not a good thing to start the day with. The first page and the last page are practically the same. Its shocking that we cannot seem to give a healthy diet to our newspapers.

It's probably too late. Only the most drastic measures may work now. The newspaper is dying a slow and painful death. Can someone give it good, healthy nourishment? Can we create news that will interest the newspaper so it can become healthy again?


Rajendra said...

Irving Wallace had a novel about a newspaper tycoon (the Almighty?) that seeks to create his own news and get an exclusive on it.

Harimohan said...

Oh yes, and that was a starved newspaper too. I remember that novel - starts with a bang.