Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jumbled newspaper

i had not planned it that way.
this morning, i started reading a newspaper [sundays are the leanest days in terms of newspapers @ home, as we get only 2 papers, compared to 3 during the week and 3 or 4 on saturdays, depending on the mood of the newspaper boy].
i had to step out for something, and when i got back the news papers were all jumbled up - not left in any order, by others who read the papers.
so, i read paper 1: main, followed by paper 2: sunday supplement 1; paper 2 sunday supplement 2; paper 1 supplement 2 and paper 2 main.

since each section was anyway independent, it was ok.
but, for some of the news items that were duplicated - found that the reports were very different.
or, the relative importance assigned to the reports in terms of prominence or location also varies from paper to paper.

i used to think that this was the characteristic or the character of the paper and the editorial policies.
but, of late, whether it is the TV channels or the print media, the 'advertorials' or 'placed' news and paid-news seems to be more the norm.

even the relatively conservative paper, Hindu, has prominent ads on the main page.
[nothing to beat the Times, for the launch of indya.com, when the complete front page was taken up [though the traditional first page was actually page 3!].
i suppose it is the pressure of profits - or possibly survival - that is pushing the media to resort to any-way-to-make-more-profit tactics.

to some extent, this competition is also pushing the print newspapers to be the same as their peers - in terms of the format - and, at the same time, be different enough to push those differences as their USPs.

with all this, another aspect that seems to have undergone significant change is the reporting style and also the background / profile of the reporters.
columns that were earlier associated only with seasoned and long-standing reporters are making way for more investigative reporting and sting operations taken up by much younger professionals.

some publishing houses have also started diversifying or extending their 'product portfolio' with news papers targeted at different segments, including tabloid formats from the earlier traditional or business news papers.

with all this, i am not sure how much of what we read or see / hear is really 'news' anymore. so, i guess i could jumble the morning papers and even mix and match pages and still not miss any story significantly.
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