No matter who comes to power, Big Media always wins! This has been the state of play over decades in India.Big media generally goes on towards leftist-liberal media and their coverage of the mainstream media.
Also, by Big Media consist of star editors, anchors, veterans and senior pros who voice out supporting the democracy .Recently, senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai wrote a blood-curdling piece on the state of affairs and predicting that in 2029, India will transmogrify into some sort of a dystopia.The irresponsibility and moral bankruptcy of the piece was so large that it did not elicit serious follow-up discussions.Being one of the pioneers of TV journalism, it would have been responsible if he would have given a sage advice and done justice to the state of affairs.
In fact, saving Big Media from egomaniacal editors and superstar anchors will be the biggest challenge of the decade. These sensationalists rake in the moolah for their organisation, but the casualty is sobriety, sanity and moderation.They refuse to come out of the hyper mode, appealing to baser instincts of society rather than pursuing the cause of educating and informing and thereby contributing to good citizenship.
The big churn in public discourse was affected during the last decade by the expansion of social media, that had until then had no serious feedback. It was now being smothered with quick fact checks, rebuttals of blatant distortions and many a times outright falsehoods.Big Media failed the challenge badly.
Events justified Mahatma Gandhi’s famous saying: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”It can safely be said that social media won the battle. In fact, at the turn of the decade, they are calling the shots. With clear metrics such as retweets and “likes” stories get the feedback, Big Media superstars now pontificate on Twitter and many times, social media stories find their way to the mainstream.
The question now is how can Big Media play the role adequately as the fourth pillar of our democracy. How can they differentiate and stay relevant in the public discourse given the chaos of social media?
Social media can safeguard but only big media renders authenticity. We need the swarm of hard working reporters gathering news painstakingly, holding governments accountable.It is thus important that the few thoughtful Big Media personnel get their acts together and be clear and impartial.
While many of us are disgusted with bombastic superstars, most of media consists of thoughtful hard working beat reporters. While the celebrities are the faces, the actual news-gathering is done diligently by hard working beat reporters.It is time they come to the limelight. If there is virtue in the media, it is exemplified by beat reporters. Social media too has to somehow learn to meaningfully and respectfully engage directly with the beat journalists.In fact, many beat journalists find fame and money un-attractive.
The dilemma and challenges facing Big Media are not unique to India. This has been the trend world over. Deep polarisation has left Big Media diminishing. India’s Big Media should show leadership and set an example for the others to follow.