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Save Times of India from its bloggers

Posted in Uncategorized by abhijeetrawle on August 20, 2009

Its been on my mind for quite some time and I’m having a hard time letting it go. I ignored, I vent out my anger on their blogs, I tried switching to a better newspaper. But I can’t see a newspaper, I read every morning growing up, being turned into the “India TV” of the Internet as one of my friends aptly put it. In the last 12 months, Times of India has just gone from being a respected newspaper to a trash bin of lousy opinionated writers and tabloid gossip and its getting worse everyday. I am totally appalled that a newspaper that started wonderful campaigns such as “Teach India” and “Lead India” has turned into a bastardized child of the 24 hour media which craves only for advertiser’s revenue and increasing readership through trashy articles.

Here’s my problem. I feel the newspaper has become too opionated. How? By giving the writers complete creative control over their content by unleashing them on the blogosphere. I think the writers now have an additional pressure of dishing out articles as soon as any major news breaks out, be it the death of MJ or a egoistic movie star getting detained at a foreign airport or the much talked about “rift” within Team India. With new pressures, decent writers are subjecting  readers with hastily created opinions on subjects on which they have absolutely no idea. So we have Bobilli Vijay Kumar, a decent sports writer, giving his opinion on Michael Jackson’s death; or Vikas Singh writing on every major news headline in the country; or Rajesh Kalra being a couch potato critic of the state of sports in the country.

Newspapers for me are supposed to be unbaised and objective as far as their content is concerned, blogs ARE NOT. By unleashing writers in the blogosphere, TOI is forcing the opinions of its writers on the readers. For example, an average web surfer, looking for information on the Financial Budget is most likely to read about what the “experts” (e.g. Shobhaa De) say about Pranab Mukherjee’s “lackluster” speech rather than read through the entire text of the speech itself. So imagine him reading through a hastily compiled article by a “blogger” who just gathered tit bits from the experts on 24×7 news channels. He’s very likely to be influenced by the writer’s comments and form an opinion about the way the government is running this country. I don’t think thats responsible journalism at all.

Ok so you’ll say that everyone is entitled to freedom of speech and all leading newspapers have blogs. Sure, I agree but good newspapers dont flaunt them on their main site and do not compromise on the quality of content on their websites. A fine example of that is the New York Times. And I’m a supporter of free speech as long as you are talking about topics on which you have atleast some knowledge and aren’t trying to influence my opinion. Show some journalistic integrity for Christ’s sakes.

I hope Times of India starts taking its readers seriously. If you keep dishing out crappy news and trashy blogs, you’ll lose your readers who helped turn the newspaper into India’s leading selling English daily. I make a plea to the Times Group to save the newspaper from its bloggers

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2 Responses

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  1. Harshad said, on August 20, 2009 at 3:14 am

    Agreed. I am all for responsible, unbiased journalism and I agree that a lot of times whether-it-will-sell rules over whether-it-is-the-truth.

    But its not only the TOI guys resorting to blogging. A lot of distinguished writers on the payroll of CNN IBN or NDTV or Reuters blog their views too. It’s the in thing dude!! Plus, you can also see what other people feel about the piece of news and kinda get a feel how the aam junta feels about some issues first hand.

    And blogs are supposed to be opinionated. Blogs aren’t supposed to be full of facts and figures, but are supposed to be a person’s perception about phenomenon or people. Public bloggers have an additional responsibility to research about the the topic before they publish anything, but blogs aren’t so much different from the good old editorials, which were informed opinions themselves. The advantage of opinions is that they can be personal, controversial and hence without the pressure of having to be politically correct.

    If blogging is the only way to get the attention of the younger generation, then I don’t mind reading some ill-informed or even idiotic opinions in the process too.

    According to me, a newspaper or a news website should have the cold hard news, but I would also like to know what some of the best writers today think about the news.

  2. abhijeetrawle said, on August 20, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Hey Harshad! thanks for your comment. I just feel that journalists shouldn’t get carried away with all the journalistic freedom that blogs offer you and compromise on the quality of the writing. I also feel that they should stick to what they are good at. I mean, reading Shobhaa De talk about the budget and comparing it to Kambakkht Ishq neither sounds informed nor intelligent.
    I don’t think its fair to compare a hastily written blog to a sound editorial. I think the writers are much more cautious about the quality and more informed about the latter. The blogs that these writers are putting up are just trashy. Thats why it is more disappointing to read someone like Bobilli Vijay Kumar talk about rift in team India, something which he refrains from writing in the papers. Look at Harsha Bhogale’s blog on espnstar. I mean, I totally respect this guys for sticking to what he’s good at and giving an unbiased view on whatever he writes on. TOI bloggers have forgotten this and are bent of influencing public opinion which is what irks me the most
    Anyway, about rest of the media, I’ve stopped following 24×7 channels or their sites…too negative about everything for my comfort.

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