Saturday, January 27, 2007

News That's Fit To Print

Earlier this week, on Monday January 22, the SRE1 launched by the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation, for those who don't know) twelve days ago, was successfully recovered after being maneuvered to reenter the earth’s atmosphere and descend into Bay of Bengal. The ISRO issued a modest press statement http://www.isro.org/pressrelease/Jan22_2007.htm outlining various technical details about the mission. What they did not mention was the fact that this makes India one of the few nations to return from orbit, a spacecraft that it had launched earlier. This is quite characteristic of humble technicians buried deep in research, who do not realize the significance of what they've achieved. I don't blame them one bit, and needless to say, applaud their feat wholeheartedly.

I waited patiently through the week to see what kind of coverage this got from the press. I haven't seen any yet that came out on its own and sought viewer / reader eyeballs in any of the dozen or so TV news channels / dozen or so newspapers. On searching around a bit on the Internet I found some coverage about the launch on Jan 10 but nothing on the recovery.

What I did get a lot of, and which was hard to miss, was coverage on 'Abhi and Ash' and the rest of the Bachchan family visiting temples and doing other family things. And on Navjot Sidhu and the Supreme Court decision on his conviction and sentence several years ago on a road rage case. And various people's opinions on Shilpa Shetty and reality shows. And several other news stories not worth mentioning here (or, frankly, anywhere else either).

It is appalling to see what people who launch campaigns like 'India Poised' focus on and what they don't.

2 comments:

Madhuri said...

'india poised' is a marketing gimmick by the same group who are on their way to change the mainstream newspaper into a tabloid...and i think they are pretty successful....expecting them to cover what's sensible and needs to be known publicly rather than what sells is way too much to ask for....

Enchantelope said...

Thanks for your comment. It really helped me better understand my reaction to the speech. I responded to it there if you want to check.

Anyway, here's what I have to say about your post...I don't watch the news or read newspapers. I do go to musicindiaonline.com and click on the articles that announce things like Ash and Abhi's engagement. While I find that interesting and important to know, I think there are other things that are important to know as well like new scientific discoveries or accomplishments(like the one you mention)and social, political and economic accomplishments are nice too. But I don't read or watch the generic news because I think newspapers and tv channels often present only the bad news...and that's fine... I would like them to me more useful..by adding what each reader can do to help a crisis situation. Generally though, I prefer Comedy Centrals take on the news...Stephen Colbert Report and Jon Stewart that kind of thing.

Seeing as how my news interests are so different from what is usually offered I think the one news fits all thing should become obsolete. I really think the best way to get news right now is a custom made online newspage like the google homepage where you can get 4 headlines from whatever specific source you want...be it Discovery News, WebMD, New York Times, Times of India...whatever but I do hope this can be taken a step further someday. I don't blame the mass media though...they are just providing what they think most people will buy and what they think is interesting. They have a right to do that...if enough people dislike the current providors the assumption being someone will start their own newspaper and cater to a market with a similar interest to their own.

By the way have you read Terry Pratchett's books? He has one called The Truth which is a crazy and funny novel exploring the same issues about what should be news.

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