Saturday, May 15, 2010

This is no news

It didn’t look good. Two books arrived for review, both written by TV journalists and both punning on the phrase Breaking News in their titles, which did not augur well for a weekend’s concentrated reading. Steeling myself for diatribes on the state of the media and its will to break news with the propensity of a flatulent aunt, I found myself surprised. Neither book was an introspective look at the state of TV journalism, at least not directly. One was an account for a Bharat darshan kind of trip made to cover the 2009 election and the other a work of fiction set in a news channel.

Braking News by Sunetra Choudhury tells the story of the NDTV election special, where two girls boarded a bus and travelled 15,000km, “trundling through”, as the blurb puts it, “the bylanes and boondocks of Bharat, in search of the elusive Indian voter and an insight into his mind”. The result is a highly readable book that takes us on a somewhat inconsequential journey through the Indian heartland.

Of course, those looking for insight into the nature of the Indian polity, or even explanations about how the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won such an unexpected victory, will be disappointed. There is little here that is valuable by way of political analysis, and indeed, the very idea that any deep meaningful understanding could emerge from an exercise like this is by itself flawed. The strain of travelling every day makes the reportage very thin, and in most cases the reporters make do with what they can cobble up. Choudhury is hardly a political pundit, nor does she, for the most part, pose as one.

Full report here Mint

No comments:

Post a Comment