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Published: Wednesday, 13 April, 2016 10:26 AM
Read and develop points for discussion for GD Topic : TV debates have become TRP booster shows?
In the age of ‘breaking news’, every incident is turned into a spectacle with dramatic effects to catch the attention of the viewers. A news story is worthy of being aired on news channels only if it can be ‘packaged’ in such a way that boosts the TRP of the show and channel. Thus, dramatic visuals, sound effects, tone of the anchor, panel of ‘experts’ become ingredients feeding the race for higher TRPs.
A. The face of the media industry has changed with the spread of television and the introduction of 24 hour news channels. These channels are akin to monsters who need to be fed with news regularly to keep them running. Therefore, everything has become ‘news’ these days, be it a cat crossing a road or the personal lives of celebrities.
B. Also, journalism seems to have moved away from investigative journalism, which includes proper and detailed coverage of a news story with evidences. Journalism today believes in sensationalism, wherein a news story is appropriately packaged to thrill and entertain the viewers. A case in point is the reportage of the Mumbai attacks, which even helped the terrorists with their movements, as the TRP hungry media built their primetime shows around live visuals emanating out of Mumbai.
C. One of the important aspect of TV shows is to organise debates between a panel of people who claim to be experts on the issue being discussed. The panellists are carefully pulled in from different sections of the society, to add diversity to the shows. The belief being that the bigger the panel of experts, the more chances of the channel hogging TRPs. Also, debates are conducted in an aggressive tone and questions crafted in such a way that ensures an animated, aggressive and volatile debate.
D. True. The aggressive tone of the debate is meant to arouse passions in the viewers, who, otherwise, would not care to think about the issue or even look at it. Primetime news shows, in particular, have become battle zones, where the one who outshouts the other wins the debate. And in most cases, this person is none other than the anchor of the show. Anchors, who are supposed to act as moderators of the debate, so that a balanced perspective is maintained, assume sides and prejudice the result of the debate.
E. However, all this makes for compelling viewing for a lot of people, who relate with the emotions expressed by the multiple panellists. The channel has no qualms as their revenues from advertising and other sources depend on the TRPs they get. More TRPs mean more revenue and vice versa. No channel wants to be left behind in this race, therefore, we see all channels going to the extent of claiming itself the winner of the race.
F. Not all debates are meaningless. They are an effective way of apprising oneself with a plethora of opinions and to keep oneself abreast of the events unfolding in the society. A wide representation of experts ensures that the viewer gains all perspectives on an issue.
|In the rush for TRPs, the essence of debating is lost. And the viewers lose out on a reasoned, intelligent, balanced debate which is informative in nature and helps them build their opinions. The race for TRPs is a huge threat to the credibility of journalism and compromises on the best journalistic values.|
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