Monday, August 11, 2014

My dose of 'hatke' Indian Media

I think I have mentioned it several times before on my blog that I am a news junkie. I do not know why but I always feel the urge to know as much as possible going around me from every perspective possible. It is tedious, time consuming and sometimes even frustrating. Even after all this, there are time when I feel, I still know nothing about this world and its working. The famous saying from the Vedas, "neti neti neti" (meaning: neither this nor that, nothing) starts resonating in my head.

Anyways, I thought of documenting some sources for a subset of news which I have been following regularly. Or in other words, how with changing times and priorities, I moved from one source to the other. So, before I lose track, it would be a good idea to document it somewhere. No better way than in a blog post. 

Living outside India and being fed up with the way, the mainstream media in India had been working in the last years made me look for something else, something "hatke". All the big Indian newspapers went online by 2006/2007. Like many Indians, I was a regular TOI & HT epaper reader living outside India. Slowly, I started feeling that these sources were limiting themselves in thoughts and news both. Half of the paper were advertisements. The main news was almost limited to the front pages with a continuation inside. Somewhere in the middle were opinion columns from regulars. The international news was almost limited to a single page. I got fed up with such short sightedness and limited information provided by MSM (Main Stream Media). So, I started exploring other venues on the internet.

Somewhere around 2007/08, I came across Mint. During that time, I has just started to explore the stock market and the business of shares. It had some really interesting and knowledgeable articles back then. It provided me a regular dose of the Indian markets. Another thing which I was hooked onto was its Lounge. It contained some selected articles from different facets of the ever evolving Indian culture. I was impressed by this new form & presentation of Indian media. With time I saw some great minds writing articles for Mint. A famous blogger I used to follow and now a writer, Sidin also wrote for Mint. I felt I was in the right direction. It was then owned by HT with some collaboration from the Wall Street Journal. Slowly, the articles became lame and I was losing interest in it. I felt that Mint had also fall prey to that limited form of media, restricting itself somehow. It made me move on to something else. (though I still sometimes visit it's Lounge) 
Then, in 2009/10 came the time for Open. It was more kind of a magazine but the articles were really thought provoking and their news appeared fresh. Or at least, it's presentation was new. I felt that it was the new and improved version of India Today and Outlook. It was as if Open had started from where India Today and Outlook stopped. It was my new dose. But again over time and due to some incidents at Open, I felt it was starting to go in a particular direction where I did not wanted it to go. Then in 2013, Hartosh Singh Bal, who I was fond of, left Open. I am still almost a regular at Open but now I read it with caution.
In 2010/11, I found my new joint or I can say was looking at something in parallel. It was Caravan. Based on a format which I found similar to Open, it came up with some flow or articles which I had never though or imagined or expected would come from India. Again, its presentation and feel was something I got attracted to as well. To some extent, I can say that Open and Caravan changed my perspective of news information and opinions on several current affair topics. In 2013, Hartosh joined Caravan after being let go from Open. I was happy. Though I might not agree with everything he writes or appear on Caravan, I am a regular there.

I found something different happening with news in 2012/13. A new website came up called Firstpost. It gained more attention during the Anna campaign. It started out with good intentions, it seemed. I was impressed with its format. It was different from Open/Caravan. It was more like MSM but filtered and refined. On and off, I was gradually becoming a regular there. Then came elections and its tone changed a bit. It again took another turn after elections. Now, I feel it is completely in  contrast to where it started. It has started to voice some strong opinions and mindless bashing giving its reader less to think and more to fulfill an agenda (at least what it seems). The website is cramped up with too much things which I would not like to see there. I hardly visit it now.

In 2014, I started following Scroll, Newslaundry, Hoot. Currently, I don't see these with a particular format or seriousness but maybe they evolve into something which can really has an effect. Good luck to them.

It is unbelievable how fast and how different media is evolving and in parallel how fast the taste of people is changing thus moving them to different sources. I hope that Indian MSM also return to sanity soon enough.  


Pattu Raj said...

Totally agree . This is the case with all readers who want to know only the news and not biased stuff. Caravan tops the list. And mainstream English news T>v channels,have all become big bores. Only NDTV is trying to retain some credibility. said...

Those aimless debates on sometimes useless topics by MSM get on my nerves :| Complete mockery of the masses!

Pattu Raj said...

I wish someone will have an unbiased MSM channel in English. Wishful thinking I suppose. Atleast in Regional Language , Tamizh one channel is doing a better job. Puthia thalaimurai( Ne Generation. said...

I feel that the audience also has to take some blame. If no demand, then no supply.
The complexities of money, profits, business with news makes for a very unhealthy cocktail

Uppal said...

yes i endorse the idea about puerile debates happening on TV channels polluting our minds all the time. I too discussed the malaise in one of mine posts recently.So glad to see Pattu's presence here. said...

Would definitely check out those posts :)