Wanted: the news behind the news!
What do you expect your favourite news offering to do for you? Bring you the news and give you an insider’s view on the day’s developments. Tell you what happened behind the scenes and offer a perspective on what could transpire in the days to come.
On an evening when there was much anticipation over where the BJP would ask L K Advani to contest from and news coming in of the former Deputy PM’s unhappiness over the decision to field him from Gandhinagar and not Bhopal, there were smiles on the faces of the various Congress spokespersons who participated in the discussions on the nightlies. Sanjay Jha had the broadest of them all and Abhishek Manu Singhvi got into a rather detailed assessment of the goings-on in the Narendra Modi-led campaign.
But none of the 9pm bulletins could give me the real story on what happened. Even Prabhu Chawla, who is said to be clued in to the corridors of power of every political party, was just airing his views on the development.
As consumers of information, one expects our news channels (and newspapers and news websites) to be on top of the news of the day and be in active contact with the people who matter in political circles. On two successive days, I found our English news channels failing me.
Suresh Kalmadi is a symbol for all that’s wrong with the Congress and one of the primary reasons why the UPA-2 has an image of not being corruption-free. What led to the party not proposing his name when there was a good possibility of his wife or him getting the coveted Pune ticket?
Similarly, why did Advani not get Bhopal? Are the fears of a sabotage in Gandhinagar by Modi’s supporters unfounded?
Answers to these and various other questions are what one hopes to get from a news offering, whatever be the medium. In a world where breaking news is a commodity, when all channels air the same live press conferences or similar panel discussions, the differentiator can be the expert analysis.
Pradyuman Maheshwari is a senior journalist and editor. When he’s not chasing news, he’s watching it. Twitter: @pmahesh