Posted by: miilee | December 6, 2010

All India Radio: The Last of Good News Reading

I think as far back as I can remember, I’d always wanted to do something in the field of media. To be more precise, I wanted to be a journalist. I liked the idea of the fact that a whole mass of people depended on me for their daily update about the world; that they saw the world through me. The power and responsibility of the position made it a sort of a revered dream for me. However, over the years as I grew up, so did the industry of news and information dissemination and in the three years of my graduation in Journalism, it moved to becoming a business rather than an objective service.

News reporters started adopting the hysteric, breathless style of reporting pioneered by Barkha Dutt. The calm and composed news dispensing, impartial news anchors disappeared and the opinion pressing, mindset manipulating anchors took their places in our living rooms. Subconsciously, we flicked through the channels and allowed our minds to be bombarded by some of the most unethical pieces of ‘news’ seen in the history of news broadcasting without batting an eyelid.

Somewhere along the way, a strange thing started happening. When the news reports started becoming those high pitched, rapid reports of sorts, we developed a slight immunity. As a result, where a breathlessly yelling reporter made us stop surfing channels at one time, we started ignoring them and moving on. But the more this immunity grew, the more tricks the channels pulled. Sensational headers and footers and tickers beneath the footers and flashing frames and videos of gore or inappropriate contents flashing across my TV screen…. and we’ve now grown immune to that too!

Think of it…. There was a time when one picture by Kevin Carter of a vulture waiting to prey on a dying baby drove the entire world to tears for Ethiopia’s fate. Today, we casually surf past streaming videos of death, floods, corruption, rape, murder, and god alone knows what else without a single quake of the heart.
What has happened to us? Has this insensitive barrage of nonsense made us lesser humans? We’ve started brushing aside stories that are the shameful face of human existence with the least worry.

As these thoughts cross my mind, a gentle voice quietly speaks from the back of my mind; That of the calm, composed lady reporter from the DD screen of my childhood and I switched on the radio on my cell phone and tuned into All India Radio. As luck would have it, the news was running. Listening to the calm reporting, I felt a surge of reassurance. She was giving a report of people dying in the China Grassland fire. It was completely factual; number of deaths and casualties, government’s statement about the situation, measures taken. That’s it. Bookended perfectly with nothing more or less but the facts and I wondered why I was feeling so reassured.
And the answer came to me readily; the woman wasn’t pushing any opinion at me, she wasn’t trying to make me think or question the happenings. She was just placing the facts before me, showing faith in my intellect and leaving it to me what I made of them.

She wasn’t overwhelming me with the rushed talk. She was calmly taking me through the happenings of the day. Though she didn’t say anything to the effect, the voice made me feel hope in a way no Barkha Dutt could ever do. These reporters of late filled me with anger and fear. That calm voice on the radio wisely dispensed the facts, allowed me to come to my own conclusions about them. And at the end of the bulletin, there was an unspoken message; “It all seems big, messy and evil…. but you know it needn’t be that bad… There is hope…. We’ll make it through, one day at a time… Good Night!”




  1. Yes, I completely agree with you.
    Doordarshan and AIR have not received the respect they deserve in this time and age for their subtle brand of reporting. You can’t always bank on them to critique government actions, but you can definitely rely on them for news that is not a pulverised web of nonsense being shoved down your throat without your consent.

    • I think you successfully summarized my entire post and it’s meaning into those lines. That is exactly what I meant! They may not always be right but then critiquing is not originally a part of media…. that is the role of debate shows and stuff… when there’s news reading happening, it has to be in its purest form….

  2. How I wish the news world transforms as you say! I am so sick of it! I prefer watching item numbers on any random channel rather than any any any news channel. News comes better from papers or my twitter timeline!

    • I don’t think I have faith in anything that comes on news anymore. We saw how Dutt has been tailoring the news left right and center. This is a tailoring that has come to the front… I wonder how many skeletons are still in the closet…

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by 0 Brain 10 Brainwave and Maithili Desai, Maithili Desai. Maithili Desai said: All India Radio: The Last of Good News Reading: […]

  4. Awesome post Miilee (i always have to take a look at your url to make sure I get your spelling rite. 😛 Numerologists the world over will one day have to face my wrath, beware!!!)

    I was thinking of doing a piece on AIR for a long time, albeit for different reasons. I love the music they play. But, after the recent Vir / Barkha embarrassment, it became even more imperative that I post a thing or two on it. But as always the lazy bum me, could never get around to it.

    Coming back to YOUR BLOG post, extremely well written, succinct, awesome. Covering the salient points it is indeed a very good post from you in recent times.

    Keep up the good work.


    • Thanks for reading Tejas… and my spelling is not based on numerologists!! WordPress wasn’t giving me ‘Mili’ so had to take ‘miilee’
      Anyway, Do write your post too… I’d like to read. Even I like their music. I like the way they introduce each song with details of the makers, artists etc…

  5. This is an excellent post. Really well written. The media standards have come down drastically! Just like you, I used to respect the news reporters when I was in school but now I despise them for using their silly, brainless techniques.
    AIR is definitely the best when it comes to sound reporting.

    • Glad you liked the post… The news standards are at an all time low today… I can’t believe I used to admire Barkha at one point…. I feel like shooting her today… and NOT with a camera!!

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