Times Life Times of India

NEWS OVERKILL?

Sachins ton and Poonam Pandeys shower video get the same hits... Are we suffering from news overload our mindspace making way for fresh headlines at a frantic pace without stopping to analyse Times Life debates

Real news is elusive
Pinky Anand,lawyer:


I think we suffer from a new kind of deficit.Negative and sensationalist news seems to have taken over the front pages and you have to scrounge to look for real news.Not only do you jump from one headline to the other,but there is an overdose of the same news in every paper and magazine,causing reading indigestion.Typically,scams and scandals are splurged for two or three days and then they are gone,replaced by some fresh scandal.National news on economy,governance,inflation,agriculture takes a back seat;international too.Take the debt crisis of Greece,how much coverage did we see The addiction of news can become obsessive;it is involuntary.One feels compelled to look at every medium,from newspapers to TV to mails and social networking websites.I think we have to curtail ourselves to relevant issues or we will get snowed under.

More is better than less
Kishwar Desai,author:


I certainly think we do have an abundance of news,but I wouldnt call it an overload.It s better to report more than to report less.However,yes,there is a problem that our analysis often lacks gravitas,especially on the news channels and some of the newspapers which are displaying a worrying pro- or anti-government bias.It is still even more shocking to have seasoned anchors addressing people as sir and maam as though they are overawed by them or pandering to their ego.How can you analyse when you still have such a feudal attitude that the government is mai baap In India,I worry that the media tends to lose sight of an old problem and there is little follow up except for a little footnote somewhere.Though she is entitled to her privacy,I think the fact that there was no attempt by the media to thoroughly investigate and publish Mrs Sonia Gandhis illness was unprecedented anywhere in the modern world.I have enormous sympathy for her,but I am completely perplexed by this almost reverential attitude the media in India often displays to those in power.I am still quite old fashioned.I love my newspapers (all five or six of them!) and then the TV is on throughout the day.And when I am travelling I follow the news on the Internet.But yes,if there is a fast developing situation such as Gordon Browns resignation,the Mumbai 26/11 attacks,the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and recently the arrest of Anna Hazare my husband and I can get completely glued to the TV,doing all our reading and writing in front of it,which is terrible I know,but we are news junkies.

Our responses are lazy
Dilip Cherian,image consultant :


News overload has multiplied by a factor of three every year for the last decade.This comes to us from a variety of new sources,the net being a key but not the sole engine,as delivery platforms have multiplied.When compounded,this is a huge incremental volume to cope with.And also very difficult to process.My observation is that human processing has declined in the same period.Clutter is made worse because it comes from totally trivia-dominated sources.What a star wore where a chef shopped or why a celebrity was clubbing at Ibiza.Often this is treated by that media as Big Breaking News.Just two examples of stories that needed more play and some follow-up recently are the visit of the Nepalese PM and the follow-up to the 32 poverty line controversy.Personally,my coping strategy has been to turn off a few sources.Also the attempt is to use media-rich resources like social networking sites,to stay ahead of the usual newsline,that give you more time to analyse,before the avalanche of potted analysis arrives.

Trivia is big
Rina Dhaka,designer:


Were all chasing headlines,yet I feel there is an inadequacy and its inhuman the way we chase one newsmaker after the other.Its all about headlines.Its not about authenticity anymore.Even the newsbreakers want news thats saleable,commercially shocking and scandalous news thats eyepopping.I love my morning newspapers and I like to read at least six papers,I really dont like catching up with news on TV channels.The future of news is going to rapidly change,we will see a lot more trivial issues becoming big.

News is lost in clutter
Radhika Vaz,stand-up comedian :


We do suffer from a news overload and that may have to do with the multitude of media channels we have.And yes,important news stories that deserve attention are lost in this clutter,such as Anna Hazare it was huge news and now I feel like the media just gave up on it.Are we addicted to following news A social networking site is probably my Number 1 news channel which is sad.I wouldnt say anything puts me off as such..

We must pull back,analyse
Suhel Seth,adman:


One has to realise we are essentially a society that thrives on the sensational and the exaggerated and at times our news reflects this: look at the way we celebrate festivals;go nuts over religious rituals and therein lies a tale.Our DNA is to thrive on other peoples pains;to see them squirm and add to that our constant derision of the Establishment and you have a lethal concoction which makes for the kind of news that we often see.Is it a good thing or bad I would say,a bit of both.The kind of negative energy that is exuded is not good for a country where 65 per cent of the population is below 30 because you are forcing cynicism down their throats.But then some would argue the viewer wants this: here is where I have a problem.The news can never be guided by viewers.It must be driven by fairplay,balance and a sense of justice.It cannot be about baying for people's blood and when I appear on many channels I am equally guilty of this mob lynch mentality.But we have to pull back,analyse what we are doing and move on.Today,we have a situation where the news drives the national agenda,be it in politics;administration or for that matter justice.This must never be allowed to happen.The business of news must be divorced from the business of marketing.News is not an antiaging cream which needs to invent desire in the minds of those watching it.Look at channels such as the BBC: they have earned a level of respect without stooping to levels such as some of our news channels have.

Filter news carefully
Devita Saraf,businesswoman:


There is definitely a news overload in todays world.This is largely caused because of the ever present phenomenon of 24-hour news.As a result of this (in order to fill air time),even the most insignificant and minor things sometimes are regarded as news.And many big stories are lost in all the noise.A prime example of this is the recent Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar bombings in Mumbai (basically the city went back to normal as though nothing happened).I feel one has to filter news carefully and imbibe what is relevant to them.There are many tools these days to help with this and technology itself allows you to choose what news matters to your city,life and occupation.I use a website that correlates all the news relevant to me,from various news publications,onto my iPad.I also use the TV to watch news and stories that interest me.