A Decent Burial...
An incredible thing is happening in mainstream print journalism. Advertisements are taking precedence over news and articles. Journalism however surreptitiously is entering the corporate world, so in addition to editorials you have advertorials! You write something about yourself and your company, pay huge sums and the write up consuming one page of print will be published. Is this newsworthy? Is this what readers want in newspapers?
The other atrocius thing that is prevalent is that the front page is taken up with such advertisements. The front page is the most important page for the reader - it is the page he looks forward to for scanning headlines and having a summary of the news. Now on many occassions we are confused as to what the main news are! The front page has gobbled up advertorials, or is it the other way round?
Personally this is putting off, as the front page is the most newsworthy, and then of course the edit page. But who wants to read about an institution's credentials and its touted MBA Programmes, or which company has done what under the dynamic inspiration or leadership of someone, with his prominent photograph?
I think that things are more than miscued here. The advertorials can go into another page. By making inroads into the front page they are sullying the importance of journalism, and undermining readers and readership. This is crass commercialization of journalism, where money is corporate and not good reading or writing. The human touch is lost, business takes over and we talk of Corporate Social Responsibility. Shouldn't Social Responsibity be an agent of the media, including print journalism, which is time honoured and sacrosanct?
This is what is exactly happening to 'national' newspapers. I have seen it in at least two, one published from New Delhi, and considered to be among the top ten newspapers in the world, and the second having its main office in Kolkata.
Is this also, because the print media is vying for honours with the electronic media? If this is so then they must put in more news and views and involve active participatory rights of the reader. Or is it the money muscle power which they want to show with ostentation?
Whatever may be the case, journalism becomes shackled and all the more sorrier for it. Let's give print journalism a decent burial, if this continues.
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Ananya S Guha
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