Sunday, January 16, 2011

Making news

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: No!
Reporter: Why?
Pax: We had no clue till we walked out of the airport and bumped into you.
Reporter (turning to the camera red-faced): 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.
Reporter: Err...
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.


Harish P I said...

Very true.. :-)

Nona said...

With such reporting, we don't have to look anywhere else for drama (and comedy!)

Unknown said...


Kiran said...

I'll play reporter and re-state the obvious: This post had me in sp(l)its :D

And in case you haven't noticed, the reporters put on the same display of breathlessness for every conceivable news item - right from a cat nursing a pup .. to .. make sure you get this right - *stories of daily soaps*!!!

Anonymous said...

Now that you mention it, this does happen. Good one.

Anonymous said...

news 9 bangalore, i presume?


Victor Guerra said...

Entertaining & hilarious read that was!
This reminds me of another real incident (two weeks ago) wherein a US pilot had spilled coffee over his messaging 'paraphernalia' in cockpit and had to land somewhere else due to missing signals. Imagine the 'ecstasy' of passengers within that aircraft!

Alka said...

Bang on...with 24 hr news channels they often invent news.

Vinod Ramamoorthy said...

Faking news has to be the only news which is worth believing these days!

Vidhya said...

Good one! The news seems to be the most dramatic show on television these days!

PK said...

Hey what happened to ur twitter account & tweets?

Midhun Manmadhan said...

A good take on 'Tabloid Journalism' at it's best !

Shashi Prabha said...

Nice post! Well articulated! Enjoyed reading it!! :)

Chekku said...

LOL!! good tribute to the state of reporting we have..

I hope you have seen this video..

Grayquill said...

You had me laughing the whole way through. This was a good one and fun. When the camera light is on someone, it must be a rough spot. We the viewer are saying okay person on the screen say something and make it impressive or important. That would be pressure especially if a person didn't have anything to say. But it makes good laughs for us. :-)

totalliemeh said...

ure not on twitter.

Anonymous said...

"...said that the passengers were thanking their lucky cricket and Bollywood stars that they got out alive and unharmed..."
RoFL! :D
Keep 'em coming!

Destiny's child... said...

I haven't laughed heartily after reading a blog like I did just now, in a long time...:D
I agree, they churn out news when there is no news and when there is news they run it till you get sick and tired and bloated and knocked out by it.

Vyazz said...

I just returned to India after living in Russia for the past six years. And frankly with nothing much to do all day I switch on the television, only to be shocked to my core. Dozens of news channels who show the same even went at great lengths to describe how shani's influence lead to a ghastly murder in some unknown city!!!!! A plethora of reality shows, superbly decked up bahus making rotis, and MTV which has everything except music!!!!!
I loved ur post!!!!!
Loved its hilarious undertone!!!!!
Kudos to ur writing!!!!
My first time here.....and Im sooo gonna follow ur blog!!!! :D

Sunil J said...

Great post... and I like the way your blog is evolving. More serious issues, without any loss in your trademark sense of humour.

silverine said...

Harish and Karthik: So you noticed too! There is hope for us :)

Nona: True :)

Kiran: :D That observation was hilarious but so true.

Anon: Thanks.

Jackson: No it was IBN I think!

Victor: That sounds scary!

Alka: You are right. Keeping news streaming must be a tough job. So invention is the key :p

Vinod: All news is faking news or paid news these days :)

Vidhya: Very true!

PK and Tottalie Meh: Was trying out Twitter for sometime. Not very interesting, so deleted my account. Lets see whats the next social media phenomenon.

Midhun and Shashi: Thank you :)

Chekku: Thanks for the link :)

Grayquill: You summed that up well. But I wish they has a little respect for viewers intelligence :)

Anon: Thanks :)

DC: :D Well described!

Vyazz: Thank you and thanks for the following. For a newbie like you, I am sure it was a culture shock :)

Sunil: Thanks buddy :)