How did Delhi based news channels miss the biggest political story right in their backyard?
Flix Monday, March 02, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute Editorial| February 11, 2015| 6. 40 pm IST In the last 24 hours since Delhi decided to lay out the red carpet to the Aam Aadmi Party, giving it 67 of the 70 seats in the state assembly, journalists and political analysts have collectively gloated over how the arrogance of Amit Shah and the aloofness of Kiran Bedi cost the BJP the election. Fair enough. But Shah and Bedi weren't the only souls who didn't see the tsunami coming. They had company in the huge media contingent in Delhi. The Delhi results hold an extraordinarily significant lesson for the Delhi television media (the print media too to a large extent). Every TV news channel boasted about how it had 70 reporters for 70 constituencies. Really? And yet none of them could predict this wave that drowned the BJP and the Congress? Mind you, this happened right under their nose, in their own backyard. It just shows that in the world of television journalism, that has got reduced to aggregation of soundbites, no reporter worth his salt had his ear to the ground, or rather they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have time or luxury to indulge into some serious analysis. One can understand if the verdict was a close 40-30 to either party. A contest that could have gone either way. But this kind of a wave cannot be missed even by a blind man. How is it that no media reported that AAP would reduce the BJP to pulp like this? And don't forget, Delhi is a loud city that engaged in a high-decibel election. And this was not a silent wave. How is it that the media mikes did not pick up the voices of disgruntlement? Let us take the example of Krishna Nagar- one of the safest seats for the BJP where the party has won since 1993. In 2013, Dr Harshvardhan won by 43000 votes from Krishna Nagar. That Kiran Bedi lost from here by 2200 votes this time, means some 45000 voters changed their preference. This was one constituency that every channel reported from. Not one picked up this amount of resentment against Bedi? Not one of them reported that BJP's CM candidate could lose? The fact that the Delhi media failed to see this AAP landslide should serve as a wake-up call. Delhi media organisations have become complacent, more happy to invest money in pollsters rather than empowering their reporters and encouraging them to spend time on the ground. A good reporter will always - we repeat, ALWAYS - get an accurate sense of what is happening because he or she will ask the right questions to far many more people than a pollster who will be interested more in getting his questionnaire filled up, with x number of respondents. The former is meant to be an inquisitive exercise, the latter more academic. It is all very fine to speak and dissect a result according to swings for and against a party. Media anchors who know their patch will rely less on exit polls and more on what they have seen and heard on the ground. The manner in which the Delhi election was covered by the doyens of Indian television media, was therefore a huge letdown. They were as ignorant as their viewer sitting in Jamshedpur, Kochi and Pune. So the next time, the glitterati in the Delhi media parachute to a Bihar, a Bengaluru, a Mumbai, or a Kolkata for a big news story, playing big brother to the more clued in journalists in the bureaus, show them their Delhi report card. As their marks were frankly no better than Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute