As Nepal continues its valiant attempts to limp back to normalcy, as the survivors try to piece together their shattered battered lives, a hue and cry of completely different sort seems to overwhelm the average news hungry common men across the world. It is the manner, depth and sensitivity with which this extreme loss to mankind, the devastating fury of nature was brought to life across the world via journalists who literally put their lives on the line in an attempt to get you the best news first.
Yes in this world obsessed with the need to stay connected and bombarded with a multitude of social platforms, news and its coverage has undergone a severe transformation. Exclusive, breaking news, news flash today are common terms buzzing across any newsroom at any given point of time. The battle seems to be how fast, how quickly and hominy times a day can you bring forth the most sensational news to your viewers. News by its very nature is something out of the ordinary, something that always creates a ripple even in still water but the need to package it in a way to derive the maximum sensational quotient can at times be overwhelming to those sitting on the other side of the TV/screen with a remote or a mouse in hand and will not wait for more than 30 seconds before flipping.
So be the way CNN’s celebrated medical journalist who is also a doctor performed complicated brain surgery on camera or an Indian journalist trying to bring in unending supply of survivor accounts ended up asking an absolutely insensitive question to a freshly bereaving mother who lost her son and all her mortal belongings in the earthquake. Not only does it raise key question about journalistic practices, ethics and standards of news coverage, it is also an appeal to be humane to all those suffering is literally providing your bread and butter. It is at these instances that I often think of a senior editor who mentored us. With a wry smile on his face, he would always say better be late but be accurate, be sure and let not your news ever harm/hurt the ones not deserving.
Today more often than not, newsrooms witness practically battle scenes when a competitor might have scored a two second victory in the race to bring the news first. I feel media houses today need to take a strong stance in reintroducing the golden concept of ethics back into the newsroom with the same swiftness as the “Indian Media Go Back in Nepal” twitter trend was made to vanish all together from twitter all of a sudden.