Anant Rangaswami
Mar 15, 2011

Anant’s blog: News channels could learn from sports

Allow the news to ‘breathe’

Anant’s blog: News channels could learn from sports

Last morning, I annihilated The Economic Times crossword with my first cup of tea and got pulped into submission by The Hindustan Times one and left for office for a scheduled 9.00 appointment. Reached the office only to discover that my appointment was delayed.

Since I now had some time to while away, I decided to read some football blogs (which I shunned for some time, thanks to Liverpool’s horrible displays till Kenny D brought back sunshine into my life).

Read the blogs on bbc.com, on The Telegraph  and then moved onto The Guardian.

And I read this on a fantastic piece of writing by Martin Kelner:

“Watching highlights of the 1981 FA Cup final replay between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur on ESPN Classic, two things struck me. First, the greatness of Glenn Hoddle, often obscured by later wackiness, and second, how the commentary of the late Brian Moore let the game breathe, allowing you to decide for yourself how it was going, to create your own narrative, as you might do if you were in the ground.”

You can read Kelner’s whole post here.

I read the post once, twice and the third time, looking at the parallels you see on TV in India when we watch sport. Enough, already, Sidhu!. Ravi Shastri, get out of there!

You get the drift.

And I went back to the first paragraph and re-read it. “…how the commentary of the late Brian Moore let the game breathe, allowing you to decide for yourself how it was going, to create your own narrative, as you might do if you were in the ground.”

And I forgot about sport and thought about news television in India. For some years, I’ve been raving and ranting about how news anchors keep shouting and keep interrupting. And I wondered why anchors on the BBC never do and wondered why Indian channels couldn’t understand that the softness, the calmness makes the viewer feel more calm as well.

Perhaps I got it all wrong. It wasn’t about the shouting and the interruption.

It was about their not allowing the news and the import of the news to ‘breathe’. The channels weren’t allowing me, the viewer, to ‘decide for myself how it was going’ based on the inputs that I received from the channel.

Continuous interruptions do not allow a point of view to soak in; by the time I’m trying to understand what someone is saying or what he or she stands for or what agenda he or she has, I’m interrupted again, with a counter-argument to an argument that still hasn’t seeped in; as I try and understand the counter-argument, I’m interrupted again with a new one or another point of view.

What Sidhu and his ilk do, and what our wonderful news anchors are doing, is preventing us from using our intelligence to make an educated assessment of what we see on television. Anchors and commentators certainly have a role to play in helping us see the developing story with some added expert advice, but to prevent us from applying our minds is akin to treating us as if we were brain-dead.

Advertising understood this early. “The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife,” said David Ogilvy.

News TV needs to understand this as well. The viewer is not a moron, either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source:
Campaign India

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