Archive for the 'Media' Category

Unraveling of a ‘What The Black’ Mystery

Ah, I wrote ‘black things I would still like to buy‘ and mentioned that it was part of #WhatTheBlack activity. Now that promo is over, it is time to unravel.

An aside: This reminded me of a dialog (though it is not quite the same thing) from the movie ‘Prestige': Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.

#WhatTheBlack was an interesting campaign around the theme of colour black which resonated with me, and few small things that indicate beginnings or begin our morning literally. It was an interesting campaign to build a mystery, pique your curiosity just enough to wait for next day’s clues. Frankly I couldn’t; I could have guessed the product. Here are all the ‘clue’ pics:

Day 1 – A black egg, you break it to find a rock, solid chocolate :) Egg is symbol of beginnings.

Day1_1Day_1_2

Day 2 – Black newspaper, a thing you begin your mornings with

Day 2

Day 3 – a black tissue paper, a black glass (presumably for coffee) and an empty

Day_3_1

Final unravel – Tada!

This is what the #WHATTHEBLACK product is: COLGATE SlimSoft Charcoal toothbrush.

prize

You can find more about this special toothbrush here.

Book Review: Between the Headlines

Between the headlines is everything the book blurb and the publisher claim to be – it is the journey of a TV reporter – her life and times. Unlike recent genre of books by Indian women – this is not a chick lit with juicy, eye-grabbing story about love life. Love figures, but it is not the focal point of the book. Focus always remains on the work life of a TV reporter.

Satyabhama Menon has just moved from Delhi to Bangalore as a TV reporter for new, upcoming N.E.W.S India channel. Like all journalism students, she has dreams to make a difference – and make it big while doing so. (I know because I was one myself longtime ago.) However, she realizes in a competitive business like TV journalism, talent is not the only factor that takes you places. There are small, asinine things as pesky bosses or input teams, office politics, jealous colleagues and of course TRPs that always govern the priorities. TV reporter, especially a budding one, remains a small cog in the network.

Saddled with mundane, mindless and menial (from a TV journalist’s POV) assignments such as vox populi (that too fake), small-time weather reports (involves a trip all the way to Coorg just to cover rains!), Satya struggles to carve her niche. It does not help Ram Kedhia, a high-ranking channel boss insists on sabotaging her career –keeps her on low-priority stories, or breaking news duty (which means though she is at work waiting for ‘breaking news’ she is not getting to work on stories) and worst while world is praising her story, he accuses her of inefficiency and unprofessionalism.

Yet Satya’s opportunities to shine come up from unexpected assignments. Even as a novice, she soon learns to use her resources well – gets her young cousin to find suitable college folks for vox pops, builds up rapport with her camera guys – who time and again will prove to be valuable allies. She finds herself increasingly disillusioned in the world of TV journalism – suddenly channel diktat arrive that since TRPs indicate crime beat is most popular and all useful stories from other genre are forgotten. Truth, even if an exclusive bite, is snipped and lies are both forgiven and forgotten without much ado by ‘honest’ idols.

Continue reading ‘Book Review: Between the Headlines’

Commonwealth Games 2010 – Indian Pride and Some Home Truths

So, CWG begins today, right now as I write it.

Today we welcome it with optimism and jubilant spirit with hope it is successful. We had to bridge sea waves of emotions of outrage, disappointment and anger to arrive at this placid, equable point of view.

What were we angry at? Because the games WERE mismanaged by the organisers, hated not only at home, but also worldwide. This made some of the most ‘patriot’ of us to quickly to run and defend it. After all, how can we let our country put down by others. Mind you, we are an emerging Superpower, just like China that was praised for wonderful organisation.

But, I hate to break it to you, supporting CWG now that games have begun is one thing but nothing could have been more misguided than to rake in patriotism to jump to defend it few days back. For a millisecond forget what media, essentially foreign media, says. Let’s take a hard look at facts at home – consider this a sum up of all that you read past few days.

Continue reading ‘Commonwealth Games 2010 – Indian Pride and Some Home Truths’

Anti-Moral Policing Protest in Delhi

The Stand Up to Moral Policing protest in Delhi was worth a visit. :) Well, I was not a visiter, I travelled half the Delhi (not to mention sacrificing my morning sleep on weekend :P) to be there to protest against moral policing. And I was not alone. There were others who too had traversed the whole length of the city on the Valentine day’s eve for the same cause. :D

Continue reading ‘Anti-Moral Policing Protest in Delhi’

Mumbai Under Seige

Taj Hotel Burning at Mumbai

Taj Hotel Burning at Mumbai

Image courtsey CNN-IBN slideshow

26 November: Shock reverberates in my body when I see the morning newspaper headline, while traveling for work. Mumbai under siege. 80 dead, 300 injured. I visibly withered after reading the headline. I had missed last evening (25 November) bulletin.

Was it a coincidence that a day ago I had watched Denzel Washington-Bruce Willis-Annette Bening-starrer 1998 movie, The Seige? One of the targets of attack in the movie was elite broadway after having hit the commute system. Eventually military was called to manage country’s own citizens against all prudence. Now elite hotels like Taj and Trident Oberoi are under siege. Terrorists have attacked Nariman House, CST terminal and hospitals. Since three days! Death toll and number of injured have increased since the first newspaper headline. 125 lives lost and 327 injured as per latest bulletin. You can check list of released hostages, injured, and deceased here at Mumbai Help.

Continue reading ‘Mumbai Under Seige’

Official Author Web sites

The idea of this post originated while I was surfing through various author site looking for some useful stuff. I felt most official Web sites of celebrities are devoid of any substance. They are almost always mundane, put up as a promotional exercise or a money-making enterprise. While some make a beutiful web site with little content. Here is a Web site review of few mainstream authors.

J. K. Rowling

This billionaire writer, who has recently been news more for the controversies she evoked than the books she wrote, has a amazingly designed Web site. However, it can be bit slow to download on slow connections. It also provides you five other language options (which were of no use to me, though :) ).

This site does not seem to be updated very often. You can find a brief biography of J. K. Rowling with her pictures in an animated diary. Butterflies, spiders and bugs move occasionally on the web site, making the design interesting. :) And you bet, there is a member’s section called W.O.M.B.I.T.

Continue reading ‘Official Author Web sites’

Gurgaon School Murder: Insensitive Media and Law Enforcement

I was not planning to blog as I was busy. But I could not do without expressing my feelings. I am enraged.

CNN-IBN: Gurgaon killing A hot news now in India, especially Delhi, is the murder of a class 8 student by his classmates in school premises. People are discussing every aspect of this sordid story in detail. School is to be blamed. Parents absconding. Must be bad parents. Where did the guys get revolver? Juvenile murderers are unrepentant. Blah! Blah! Blah! Did anyone notice that something was amiss? It caught my attention in the morning when a colleague was showing this news piece from yesterday’s newspaper to other colleague. Nothing wrong with it. But she said, “See they killed a Tyagi!” (The other colleague happens to be a Tyagi.) So did you figure out what’s wrong?

Hell, why did the police and the new channels have to name the accused kids? Why did they publicise every bit of information about them and their school identity cards was broadcast on the television? However heinous the crime, we have to concede that they are yet in teens, not adults? Why are we marking them as criminals for whole life? We are robbing them of a chance to make a decent living.

A search in news paper web sites also informs me that naming the juvenile offender in public was illegal according to Juvenile Justice Act, Article 21, Chapter 2:

No report in any newspaper, magazine, news-sheet or visual media of any inquiry regarding a juvenile in conflict with law under this Act shall disclose the name, address or school or any other particulars calculated to lead to the identification of the juvenile, nor shall any picture of any such juvenile be published.

What do you have to say about this?

Another news

Before finishing this post, there is another news I want to share that you might dismiss as frivolous. However, it means a lot to some. Jodie Foster has finally come out in public and admitted she is a lesbian. The gay community is delighted at being her being open about her sexuality.

7-12-2007: News That Caught My Attention Today

Following three pieces of news caught my attention today:

Female Bartender1. Supreme court allowed Women to work as bartenders: We got rid of one of the archaic laws today. Supreme Court observed that to not to allow women as bartenders was unconstitutional. Of course, it was gender-based bias. The court also emphasised that the hotel or restaurant needs to ensure safe working conditions for female bartenders. Now even a 21-year-old can be bartender. :)

                          Image Source: Sarina Bains/Tufts Daily

2. Lead India Show Live on TV: The eight Lead India finalists I wrote about in a previous post will now fight it out on TV on Star One. The host of the show is Anupam Kher. Watch first episode tomorrow at 8.

3. Global Warming is destroying nature: Several species are dying out (extinct) gue to climate change. 3,000 flying foxes dropped dead. Giant squid migrated north to commercial fishing grounds off California. Butterflies have gone extinct in the Alps. Most plants and animals were affected in Bali. Habitats of polar nears and penguins are melting away. Coral reefs and microscopic plankton that blue whales and other marine mammals eat for food are also dying due to acidic ocean water.

Media Campaigning for Development

Media campaigning is one of the reasons that made me want to join media. (I didn’t though, because I had learnt hard way that my body wasn’t able to cope with irregular work hours.)

Few months back, I read this news item in Hindustan Ttimes that said a local NGO had undertaken an initiative to educate villagers. The women who carried cow dung cakes were provided laptops so that they could teach their fellow villagers. I was impressed, I thought it was a beginning. I wanted to be a part of it, I wrote to the reporter whose email address was given at the end of the new copy to learn more about the NGO. But reply never came. :(

That was the birth of my grouse with media that when they report something good-going, like a ray of light in development, there is not enough information for the reader to pursue and support it. Adding required information such as contact details of the NGO adds authenticity to the news report, this is more so important in the wake of era where case like Uma Khurana are booming aplenty.

I decided to find more such news that is reported in the news and add it on my blog. Here is a brief list:

1. Bal Vikas Bank: A bank that is managed, operated, and utilized by only street children. If you saw the movie Traffic Signal, you would realize how street children are made to part with their hard-earned money by bullies. This bank provides them an safe-keeping option for their money, which of course is not a huge amount yet all they own in the world. And the children who manahe it and keep the accounts should the responsibility with great aplomb. Working children all over the country want to be part of this programme, if you are interested you could contact this NGO here.

2. Salaam Balak Trust (SBT): Organizing walks for various reasons is a rage in the city. You can walk with Pradip Kishen to watch trees of Delhi, you could walk to watch monuments of Delhi in a group, and you can walk with Javed and Salim to watch how street children on New Delhi railwy station survive. Yes it’s true, there is such a walk. Javed and Salim who conduct this walk were street children before they were rescued years ago. The proceeds from it goes to educate the street child, an initiative by SBT. Ashwin Kumar’s internationally aclaimed short movie Little Terrorist’s hero was kid who was rehabilitated by this NGO. You can visit this site here and read more about case studies. Spending 250/- bucks for this walk is also considered good enough by this organization.

3. Sponser an Elderly: There are NGOs where you can pay for the monthly or yearly expenses of an elderly. The amount, as given in the news report, ranged from 7000/- to 24000/- a year. But for the elderly individual, his/her yearly expenses have been taken care of. The newspaper account said that most young were doing this, and the elderly who were sponsered bless them. There were some youngsters who took out time to spend with these elderly citizens to provide them emotional support. I searched and came up with two such organizations, click here and here. Contributing to these organizations also gets you tax rebate. :)

4. The Hunger Site/Breast Cancer/Child Health/Lieracy Site/Rain Forest/Animal Rescue: I have known this web site since I was in college. How it works is simple, you just need to click for each of these causes daily, and the sponser of the site will provide a cup of food/book/mammogram per click. So click this link daily. I had learnt of this site from a US news paper when several food packages were distributed in Somalia.

I read about success and case studies of each of these NGOs/organizations in newspapers and magazine. There are more, yet to be tapped. But it is late, I have got to sleep. I will be back with more, I promise.

Hope together we can make a difference!

Responsible Citizen or Responsible Media?

My worst fears came true today with the arrest of ‘sting operation’ journalist in Uma Khurana case.

Two days ago, while traveling to work, Shikha, my friend, colleague, and travel partner :), told me the news about Uma Khurana. The story is pretty simple yet sad reality.

An unknown news channel runs a so-called “sting” operation “uncovering” a government school teacher who was forcing school girls into prostitution by blackmailing them. An unidentified girl posed as a “victim.” After a hue and cry, Uma Khurana was arrested and man-handled by the mob. It was chief minister Sheila Dixit who announced that Uma Khurana has been suspended from her job at school.

Uma Khurana Man-handled

What is the cost of her individual dignity?

When Shikha told me about the school teacher Uma being beaten by angry students, my first fearsome doubt was: Is she really the accused? Was it right to manhandle her without giving her a chance to defend herself? Even if Uma Khurana is a “pimp” as the news story called her, what gave the mob a right to manhandle a woman who hadn’t yet been proven guilty by law? I doubted the authenticity of an unknown channel. But obviously, rest of the city didn’t. Also, it seems it is easier to take out your frustration in a mob, because mob has no face.

Two days after the story ran, police became confused as none of the parents came up to lodge a story. It turns out the “victim” in the sting operation was not a school girl at all! She was instead an aspiring journalist who gladly posed as schoolgirl-turned-prostitute on camera. (It is an different issue altogether how difficult it is to find jobs at entry level in this country.) Police is now questioning the journalist who ran that story. Today the journalist was arrested. A shame! A disgrace!

Ah, before you make the same mistake of jumping the gun and rendering the journalist guilty, take a while to think who should be ashamed in this entire episode.

Shame on the citizens of the country who do not think twice to kill in rage (do not forget the recent Bhagalpur incident or other road rage killings that happen everyday on roads of India), who do not give a hoot about law and order in the country. Shame on the news channels who mock sacred principles of journalism to garner cheap publicity or TRPs.

I condemn such news channels who run false stories, they do not appreciate the freedom fourth estate enjoys in our country. If our present Information and Broadcasting minister P. R. Dasmunshi would have his way, he would impose a news content code to regulate what news could be shown on TV and when! They also plan to lay down rules for sting operation. Such regulations threaten the freedom of Indian media. But do we value this freedom?

When will the Indian media value the power they hold on masses and resolve to use their freedom responsibly? As they say in Spiderman movies, “With great power, comes greater responsibility.” Media, along with its sting operations is useful weapon against social and political evils, but one that needs to be utilized judiciously.

The onus of being responible citizen lies on us. As for media, we need to keep making our collective voices heard.


Subscribe to Visceral Observations

     
Add to Technorati Favorites

Thank you, Chirag!

This header has been created by Chirag.

A Torch Against Terrorists

     

What I SOMETIMES Tweet

I also write at:

Blog Archives

Read by Category

World AIDS Day 2008

Support World AIDS Day
The Hunger Site
Creative Commons License
Visceral Observations is written by Poonam Sharma. It is licensed to her under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License
Directory of General Blogs
August 2014
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 83 other followers