Media matters

I tend to avoid posting journalism-related links, on the assumption that such stories don’t really matter to anyone outside of the profession [and not even to many within it, come to think of it]. And then I break my own rule, post the odd story, and get pleasantly surprised by the feedback. Examples, the feedback in the comments field, and as I noticed just now, in emails, to an earlier post on the Sania fixation, and to the two TED talks on the nature of news.

Apparently journalism — what we do, and why we do what we do — does matter to a lot of you. So, continuing in that vein, here’s a think piece worth your while. It relates to the coverage of Hispanics in the US media space — but go beyond that specific, and you’ll see parallels to much that is happening with our own media.

This isn’t just about manpower. It’s about time. Most of us contribute to blogs at our shops. Or we are feeding the online beast with urgent news. Or we are tweeting or live-chatting. That means less time brainstorming stories outside of the news cycle. We are now left with newsrooms increasingly relying on the easy crutch of breaking news and event coverage.

As always, appreciate feedback if any.

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Playing chess with Kubrick

Chess. Kubrick. Fischer. Spassky.

Read.

When less is more…

…or why newspapers don’t ‘get’ the web: The man behind Newser talks of the value of short form journalism for the web.

“I think that one of the things that’s most interesting to me is the change in the form of what we do as journalists,” said Wolff, who has authored five books. “The idea that you can just put up stories online and expect that that’s what your audience wants … it just doesn’t work that way.”

The professor of war

Reading matter: A lengthy Vanity Fair profile of General David Petraeus, the man changing the way America fights its wars.

Talking news

We are drowning in news. Reuters alone puts out three-and-a-half million news stories a year. That’s just one source.
My question is: How many of those stories are actually going to matter in the long run? That’s the idea behind The Long News. It’s a project by The Long Now Foundation, which was founded by TEDsters including Kevin Kelly and Stewart Brand. And what we’re looking for is news stories that might still matter 50 or 100 or 10,000 years from now. I mean look at the news through that filter, a lot falls by the wayside.
That clip is from a Kirk Citron talk on TED, on the Long News Project.
How does the news shape the way we see the world? Here’s the world based on the way it looks — based on land mass. And here’s how news shapes what Americans see. This map — (Applause) — this map shows the number of seconds that American network and cable news organizations dedicated to news stories, by country, in February of 2007 — just one year ago. Now, this was a month when North Korea agreed to dismantle its nuclear facilities. There was massive flooding in Indonesia. And in Paris, the IPCC released its study confirming man’s impact on global warming. The U.S. accounted for 79 percent of total news coverage. And when we take out the U.S. and look at the remaining 21 percent, we see a lot of Iraq — that’s that big green thing there — and little else. The combined coverage of Russia, China and India, for example, reached just one percent.
That’s from an Alisa Miller talk that is also worth your while. An additional thought: If someone with no knowledge of India spent a day watching television news, what would his takeaway be?

The silly season

Over the weekend, I noticed this series of posts on Rajdeep Sardesai’s Twitter stream: 1 and 2.

I jocularly posted how impressed I was that CNN-IBN was ignoring the story. To which I got this reply from Rajdeep.

Elsewhere, Barkha Dutt is ‘disgusted’. And introspective.

And Sagarika Ghose is — well, confused.

My takeaway from what the media moghuls are saying is, covering the Sania-Shoaib ‘story’ wall to wall — as I write this, guess what’s playing on CNN-IBN? — is okay as long as the electronic media does it. When it goes out of proportion is when print puts it on page 1.

Ah well. In the Asian Age, Sudhir Tailang nails it.

Some wit, some wisdom

From the inimitable Viru Sehwag:

There is a very thin line between success and failure. If you ask Virender Sehwag, it is a matter of how you look at things. “Half empty or half full,” he smiles. “A cover-drive for four or disaster,” he explains.

“When I play a cover-drive, I play it to score runs. I don’t play a shot to get out. So, if the cover-drive ends up in a catch at slip, I am spared criticism. If it ends up in the hands at covers, I am slammed. The shot attempted has remained the same, only the mode of dismissal is different.”