The sound of money
Media establishments have begun to implement dubious editorial practices and the individual no longer has a choice.If journalists young and old are writing copy that could put PR agencies out of business, who among us is going to do something about it? A HOOT editorial, with inputs from MAHESH VIJAPURKAR. Pix: CNN IBN panel on the Shave India Movement.
Posted Monday, Dec 07 14:01:09, 2009
In just the past week the media has been reverberating with the buzz of commerce. It is extraordinary how charged up the industry becomes when it is enthused by the prospect of making a buck in a bad year. On television and in print there has been a repeat of Gillette's Shave India campaign of an earlier year, with people who look like reporters with mikes going out asking women whether they like clean shaven men better. A topic of such pressing public interest importance that The Times of India even ran a front page bylined story on the subject, with no hint of irony and no indication that it was a sponsored feature.
Just yesterday there was a programme--not ad--again on it on CNN IBN. On an earlier panel discussion on this channel, a guest had actually gestured to suggest that in times of terrorism beards are not such a good idea! The ostensible news point: independent surveys which show that the majority of women prefer clean shaven men.
Competing for attention with this was a series of advertisements in the Economic Times and the Times of India advertising the success of the group's private treaties campaign. On December 4, 2009 for instance the Mumbai edition of the newspaper put out a half page colour advertisement on the Times Private Treaties on page 19 titled How to Perform the Great Indian Rope Trick and cited the Pantaloon's case of being a leader in retail and how it could "pull it off" because of Pantaloon's partnership with Times Private Treaties. The advertisement read: "With the added advantage of being a media house, Times Private Treaties (TPT)went beyond the usual role of an investor" by not straining the partner's cash flows. It was because of "the unparalleled advertising muscle of
How explicit are we going to get? The stress is on the deals being with a media house where the full clout of the media is on offer for your brand. Where else but in the editorial space could that be provided, apart from the advertisements printed in exchange for the stake? Critics of TPT have voiced the fear in the past that something adverse about a client can be ignored or downplayed, thus undermining the credibility of the publication and compromising editorial values.
Even without an arrangement such as Private Treaties, reporters have begun to write such obliging copy that their stories have begun to sound like publicity brochures. Check out the front page story DNA carried on
Meanwhile the repercussions of what went on during the
The sober learning from
The Election Commissioner in
After the Hindu exposed how much coverage Chief Minister Ashokrao Chavan got in the state elections for how little declared money, only Mint chose to carry the story forward.
If journalists young and old are writing copy that could put PR agencies out of business, who among us is going to do something about it?