Voters vs. Elected…

News Gathering... ?

News Gathering... ?

Here’s a typical press conference or an event with a political gathering…

The government representative will obviously make a speech whether or not appropriate.. and speak for as long as he or she wants, and will start to compliment the present ‘change’ and rhetorically blame the last ‘9’ years for causing the woes of today.. ( which are nothing more than a supply-chain management issue, i.e. we are hoarders)

Anyway coming back to the point… so this minister will go on and on… and the journalists will be looking for the sexiest headline in the speech… something catchy like judiciary, impeachment, trial, fraud, dictatorship, musharraf, coalition, operation, inflation, and such few other words… and when the journalist sends the information back at the newsroom, there it will be rephrased so thats its “catchier”..

But some journalists wait for the after-press conference interaction. They then jump for the opportunity of a headline which may get termed as exclusive… and if its better than any other channel… the editors of other channels will pressurize their reporters to get a better soundbite… and the game goes on…

So what does jumping for the opportunity of a headline mean? Well… its more like feeding in words… in to the mouth of your subject… most politicians seem to fall for it… but there are the clever ones who do not fall in the journalists’ trap…

Here’s a scenario…. A journalist gets a chance to talk to… let’s say, shahbaz sharif… now he needs to know what shahbaz sharif is ‘hot’ about nowadays? and what he will say about it will cause others to start following? For example, he can questioned on a few things as far as my knowledge is concerned… for example, in the current circumstances he is a subject for

  1. the future of the coalition?
  2. the restoration of judiciary?
  3. how his brother was not allowed to contest…?
  4. the military operation and their consent?
  5. the relationship with the punjab governor?

So when the journalists ask such a set of questions ‘HOT’ for that time – it can and has a chance of becoming headlines…

But, the politicians are smarter… because now headlines change from hour to hour…

That is the kind of the trap the media has fallen into… the journalists are always in pursuit of headlines and sometimes even feed the words to get a soundbite consisting of that word… like asking a question saying something like ‘the coalition is seeing cracks many say… the operation was without consulting the coalition parties, and ANP might fall out too.. are their differences?’ etc…

Now the answer will include at least one of the above HOT words which can make headlines… like cracks, consultation, differences, ANP, operation, etc.

And that will be a good headline…

But the problem are the repeated number of “LIVE” sessions of today’s political class…

Different political faces come on TV every hour forcing almost all channels to go LIVE…

And why is that?  To follow someone else “breaking the story first”.

Someone is always first.. for that matter GEO News does a good job in breaking the story.. the “TAAZA TAREEN” ticker.. which at times has things like: ‘… islamabad aur pindi mein halki halki baarish’… LOL! 

Any how following the political identities is what most channels are falling into the trap of.. and that is why we see headlines changing from hour to hour…

Journalism was meant to focus on public issues so that the government acted on resolving them.

Journalism was to give ‘Voice to the Voters’… instead it has given ‘Voice to the Elected’


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