News presenters and reporters never cease to amaze me. Their skill and innovativeness are absolutely amazing.
A few days back there was a near miss incident between two aircrafts at an Indian airport.
As soon as the news channels got a whiff of the news they were at the airport faster than a VIP motorcade in a hurry. When I switched on the TV, the reporter was already in front of the airport, breathless and choking. You would have thought she ran all the way from the news studio to the airport at the way she was hyperventilating.
As soon as the reporter saw the camera focusing on her, she straightened up, took a deep breath and screamed a brief summary of the incident into the microphone, ending the summary on a chilling note. Cameraman wiped the spittle off the lenses with a soft cloth.
I waited expectantly to see the offending aircrafts and perhaps the shamefaced pilots and who knows some scared looking cabin crew too. But all I saw was banners of various airlines with smiling happy crew members promising to look after you better than the airline in the banner above, below and to the left/right of their banner.
The camera then started zooming in and out the logos of the two airlines on the reservation windows at the airport. After a long time of zooming in and out of the logos from various angles, the reporter started screaming again, catching me off guard. I picked myself up from the floor and listened as she screamed the obvious again... about how the passengers had a close shave, over crowded airports blah blah etc.
After this the camera panned to the faces of bewildered passengers who were wheeling their baggage trolleys out.
Reporter: Were you scared when you realized that you had just missed being mangled and minced and charred to death in the aircraft?
Pax: We had no clue till we walked out of the airport and bumped into you.
Reporter (turning to the camera red-faced): Ahem...as you can see the passengers are in a terrible state of shock.
Reporter then looked gravely into the camera and said that the passengers were thanking their lucky cricket and Bollywood stars that they got out alive and unharmed.
Camera zoomed out to show a shot of the airport. (Still no aircraft in view)
Camera was back on the reporter's face after lingering on the airport for a few seconds and she recounted the near miss incidents that had happened this year. Animated sequences of near misses in the past start playing on the television screen. The aircraft's in the animation reminded me of very old video games.
Reporter faced the camera again and I flinched and cowered in fear of another tongue lashing. But a retired looking gentleman comes into the frame instead and the reporter introduced him as a retired civil aviation official/pilot/air force pilot/some other retired person remotely connected to aviation.
Reporter: Mr. XYZ You are an expert in *some aviation expertise*. Can you shed more light on this incident?
Retired guy: The sudden rise in air traffic has put tremendous pressure on the aviation infrastructure leading to incidents like this.
Reporter: Is the government doing anything about this?
Retired guy: In 1856 when I was the *some aviation designation* of *some aviation organization* I worked in we had submitted a report on the dangers of overcrowding our runways.
Reporter: And what happened….
Retired guy: They modernized the airports and runways.
Retired guy: I guess it’s time to submit another report!
Reporter: Err thanks! (shoves him out of camera view muttering “Kahan kahan se chale aate hai”)
Reporter looked at the camera again. I dived under the sofa in sheer terror. From under the sofa I watched in fear as she summed up the situation by stating more obviousess and signed off by giving her and the cameraman's name. I heaved a sigh of relief, my nerves in shreds.
And that is how modern reporting is done peoples. 20 minutes of audience engagement on pure hot air!
Don’t worry about that irresistible itch to scratch your head after watching such news. It’s not dandruff, but just plain bewilderment at the 20 minutes of missing time in your life that you just cannot explain.