Authors and Media do not have just the same objectives or priorities. Creative writers are writers, who wish to entertain and more importantly ennoble.. Media is primarily to inform and carry news. Media needs writers but imaginative writing does not go well with their major preoccupation of dissemination of information. Media needs reporters and reporters too know their job of writing. They need to have a flair for writing with their goals being brevity, catchiness, appropriateness of words in the telling places. Sensationalism, subdued and held in reasonable check, pays in their jobs. Topicality, freshness and wide coverage are watchwords for them.
For creative writers as authors, imagination and originality are not merely important: they are essential. The responsibility of the media is to be truthful, informative, unimpassioned, impartial and readable. For the author, the creative writer, human values, realism, imagination, authentic feeling and a commitment to hold the mirror up to psychological, imaginative, insightful reality are needed.
Both the categories of writers, the media and the authors deal with language. The multiplicity of languages and dialects in our country poses both the similar problems. The language used by all these needs to conform to some ‘standard’, which it is difficult to define exactly. Regional variations are inevitable. Sometimes it becomes extraordinarily important to retain the regional flavour – call it tang or what you will. Creative writer and literature are related: media and news are inseparable. Literature reflects values ideal and actual and tries to present and promote values. Media presents the course and sequence of events and consequences of happenings.
In the use of our English there is an operative standard, at least in writing. But in regional languages there are variations. Many find the use of the word dialect is somewhat derogative, possibly because of its use by the not so well educated. (In linguistics, the word dialect does not have any uncomplimentary ring.) Often regional variations add to the flavour of creative writing but not so much to use of language by the media. These variations are perfectly natural but then authors and the media need to approximate to a certain ‘standard’ if only to prevent incomprehensibility, misunderstanding and (sometimes) even total communication breakdown.
Literature, once an elitist preoccupation, has come to be everyman’s concern. The horizons of literary creativity are expanding, annexing into their sweep the widening human aspirations and ever deepening tribulations. With media aid, literature is claiming more and more popular attention, though there is need to augment its quality in terms of staying power and permanence. The Fourth Estate (which also includes the electronic media) has to, still further, espouse the cause of an enduring and more worthwhile literature and project creative talent vigorously in the present situation.
The concerns of the media, both electronic and print, are many in the context of their fast development in various fields. And then there is a complex multiplicity of subject and theme. The fields perpetuating human misery cry for attention. Some times creative writing is influenced by non-literary and non-excellence-pursuing considerations. Writers need to have to have a code of conduct postulated and perfected by their own consensus. Both literature and media are meant for the people of all classes. There may be esoteric writers who aver that they write for personal satisfaction and sometimes for a kind of therapy. Even these have a pious responsibility of being reader-friendly and forward-looking. In view of this, the writing is generally addressed to many. The print media has to ensure that the message put across has the two essential qualities: substance and relevance. There is, therefore, all the more reason why the writer and the media have to work hand-in-hand.
To be noticed, a writer must appear widely both in print and through the electronic media. Some periodicals carry a short story, a novel, a pen portrait or a literary interview on their pages. When printed, it becomes possible for a reader to form an impression about the writer. Book reviews, now carried extensively even in newspapers, also help writers. Called originally a notice, the book review has come to stay, thanks to the print media and now also to the electronic media. In the hands of many, a review becomes a run-of-the-mill hash. For others, it is merely an opportunity to go freewheeling with his or her whims and prejudices.
With readership now considerably enlarged and open to knowledgeable comment, especially in the regional languages, readers expect judgement of the reviewer to be impartial and objective. But the writers also have to be confident of the quality and content of their works before they rush into print. There are writers who are not always media savvy. At the same time, experts in the print media and editors are not necessarily literary critics. New entrants in the field of reviewing, with no solid base of literary understanding, yield to various temptations. Reviewing a text (or, judging a piece of writing) with a sense of superiority, starting with the assumption that the reviewer knows the art of writing more than the writer, is pitfall. The playfield, if reviewing is one, has to be level.
Writers and the media, in fact, need to work hand-in-hand in order to promote and focus on awareness on social equity and fair play, as also, to contribute to promoting the larger cause of national awakening and reconstruction. There are writers writing for the dissemination of information and instruction of a sort and there are writers who revel in imaginative meanderings. The print and the electronic media have both similar and various roles. Both are purveyors of information and both tend to give a sort of instruction.
The electronic media, today, is helplessly commercial and oftentimes merely entertainment-oriented. This may sound a crude generalization for many, but all the same, it is true, as far as the elite are concerned. Literature, too, could be both ephemeral and enduring. It is time we, writers, gave attention to writing of enduring quality. Though we cannot insist on ‘standard’ of any kind, we can certainly prevail upon the media to contribute to raise the standards of readers and the viewers.
Driven these days only by market forces, contemporary writing is churned out by the hour. Literature for refinement and catharsis, purgation and purification, leading to the ennoblement of the head and heart, surely is more enduring even though they may be less obvious at first sight. Writers of both the categories can interact with the media to call for self-discipline and working together for social equity, development and promoting refinement. There is no denying the fact that market forces have to be reckoned with. Without money nothing works. Without enlisting the support of the media, good writing cannot be pursued with altruism alone. Advertisements yield money and hence are indispensable. But here comes the importance of self-discipline and a code of conduct. These are necessary for all. In these days, when media and the writer could be bought or high jacked, this is all the more necessary.
There are so many social inequities perpetuating hardships and human misery. They cry for attention. There are child labour, child abuse, gender discrimination, et cetera. Electronic media, like the print media, is no longer totally credible. Spurious videotapes are made to dislodge the authentic ones. In the name of investigative journalism, personal rights like privacy are abrogated, though only in isolated instances. The media is more powerful than any individual, though there are individuals who are powerful enough to 'buy' the media. The writer can be powerful only when he is published/ telecast, trusted and acted upon. For this, he requires the co-operation and encouragement, if not patronage, of the media. The need for a meaningful interaction and understanding between writers and the media acquires immense urgency in this backdrop. Conscientiously working together for a commonly agreed goal can take us far in terms of disseminating information, offering decent entertainment and providing thought-provoking reading material for intellectual uplift and refinement. Mere mouthing of platitudes or orchestrating ideals would not help.
We need many social activists like Anna Hazare among creative writers (and in the Fourth Estate too), media barons and in the usually unnoticed, less heard of band of serious-minded, high-objective oriented writers to put to use all our resources as per rational human requirements.