Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Neha J, 

The new age has seen all possible decline in the media scenario; be it print or broadcast, which includes ‘n’ number of publications and channels. The new media as it is known is undoubtedly lowering down to a stature where it considers people, mere puppets in its hands. The fact that media thinks that its audience needs to be spoon fed is, in itself an example of how incapable they think their recipients of information are.

The actual dumbing down of media as started by the 24 hours news channels is soaring, where related to the present context, because they initially created their need in the market and eventually led viewers to be hooked to their channels for some expatiated piece of news or just a piece of information. Viewers started relating more to a 24 hour news channel, although, much too hyped, than a half hour news bulletin in prime time slot. Reason being, they could only get briefs of information about some event from a half hour news bulletin, where the 24 hours channel was able to provide them with what they had desired, ample information about everything, be it all futile.

Now, this is all what the new media had wanted. They are able to control the viewers’ mindset, which indeed is established by them only. The new media scenario shows how down it has stooped itself in the rat race for success and competition. Where the exact dumbing down is to be taken into consideration, we come face to face with the fact that media has perhaps, forgotten its relevance and essence of being present in today’s world. Where there’s cutting edge competition, they are applying all methods, to win audience. But at the same time they forget that there are other media to cut them down when supply of information or news is concerned. When people start making choices, they end up choosing the best; human nature justified, for the thirst for information from the most reliable source is unquenchable. The more he gets, the more he desires and that too, the best.

Although, this dumbing down can be defended by saying that where such cut throat competition prevails, surviving is quintessential, and so media organisations use all possible tactics to win audiences or readers, so to say. But such slouching presents a picture of misery. It shows how jaded such media is with things it itself showcases. And in such case to woo your viewers or readers is not as easy as it appears to be. News is characterized by novelty, and being a perishable item, what is news this moment might just be important information the very next. So, newsmen are supposed to play upon news. To make news out of important piece of information that appears to be in public interest, is vital, but to unnecessarily exaggerate it, shows an unconstructive face of media. Success in today’s vying world is priority for one and all, failing which they stand nowhere. And here is where the newly evolved media comes into play.

The print medium loses its worth and credibility where the nose for news is to be characterized. They no longer remember that what they write can be harmful, to a person’s or a party’s repute. People go more with the written word, they rely more on a piece of written information than a telecast. They keep such information as record and reference. And providing them with news which is not trust worthy is actually playing with their loyalty towards you and the image of your publication as well.

The plans which publications implement for more readership- increase in the number of supplements or increase in the number of pages and even resorting to giving certain packages to the readers to attract more readership, show that they feel deficient where providing news is concerned, which is supposed to be their primary function. Their foremost duty is towards the common man, that of providing unbiased, impartial information, but when they indulge in such methods, they are thinking of profit, and thus turn to mere business firms and not true publications working for the public good. No doubt, the society turns topsy-turvy.

Media, as is said, the fourth pillar of society is verily responsible for nation building and formulating view points. But the dumbing down cannot let it perform this function with aplomb. It affects view points, thoughts and changes the mindset of not one person but an entire group, so to say.

And it undoubtedly, takes into its grip, the entire society. The fact that people are affected at large with what media gives them, is being played upon by media houses. In order to have monopoly in the market, they are going the wrong path of success. Sure is dumbing down of media affecting the people and their surroundings as a whole. No doubt, media has evolved to be an entity working, not for the benefit of the common man, but for itself and its associates. A true business, indeed it has become.         

(This Writer is founder of Society - Alley! Visit her blog to read more articles written by her) 


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