Shri Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-chief, CNN-IBN and renowned journalist, delivered a lecture on ‘Customer Orientation and Objective Journalism’ to the students of management and journalism in Manipal. This lecture, organized by T. A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal was the second of the Silver Jubilee Leadership Lecture Series, commemorating TAPMI’s 25 years of excellence in management education. This initiative is to nurture future leaders by providing a platform to the young business minds to interact with the great leaders of today.
Dr. Ramdas M. Pai (Chancellor, Manipal University), Dr. Simon George (Dean-Academics, TAPMI) were present on the occasion along with management students and faculty of TAPMI and Manipal University.
Mr. Sardesai began his lecture by saying that media and journalism represent the possibilities that exist in our country and highlighted the transformation that television journalism has undergone in the last decade.
He called today’s 24 hour News channels, “a gigantic beast of journalism that needs to be constantly fed”. He contrasted this with the situation during the early nineties, when the government had a virtual monopoly on the News. Today, there are more than 120 24 hour News channels across the country! This, he said, has led to increase in the quantity of news and erosion in its quality which gives the people and the politicians an opportunity to condemn the media for any and every misfortune that befalls them.
Mr. Sardesai said that 24 hour news channels have changed the rules of the game. He spoke of how the impact of a catastrophe, like an earthquake or a tsunami, is made instant and helps bring in more aid to the affected. He cited the examples of Latur and Gujarat earthquakes, and the 1993 Mumbai blasts and 26/11 to show how the media plays an important role in the dissemination of information and shaping of public opinion.
He elaborated on the shortcomings of sting journalism and said that it focuses more on petty crimes by small government servants. Instead, he said, it should be used to bring to light larger scams perpetrated by politicians and corporate corruption.
While addressing the challenges being faced today by the media, Mr. Sardesai said that it is easier to expose malpractices and corruption in politics than in the corporate world because of their acceptance and encouragement by news companies. Another challenge that he mentioned was that while ethics was crucial to journalism, it is not being taken up by journalism schools and hence makes it difficult for young journalists ‘to do the right thing’.
Mr. Sardesai called the audience’s attention to the changing landscape of television journalism. He called it a TRP world where news channels would go to any length to get the highest numbers because of the intense competition amongst channels. He said that because of the reduced attention span of the audience, only the loudest attract the most viewers. In their effort to get noticed, these channels resort to unsavoury and irrelevant programmes.
Before taking queries from the students, Mr. Sardesai concluded the lecture by saying that the energy of the media gives the people a voice and that today’s world has a better democratic future.
– Media and Industry Relation Committee (MIRC)