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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 ┬áreaders 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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