Sunday, July 31, 2005

Media coverage of the cloudburst

Mumbai was again hit hard by the rains today, but you wouldn't know it if you looked at the Indiatimes website. At the time of posting this, they mention the rain in Mumbai in just the sixth headline from the top. The first two are about cricket, but the headlines that stand out, because they are in bold text, are the third and the fifth one. And these are:

Countdown: India's top 20 socialites
Global girls: half-Indian, fully famous

I point this out because it evokes one of the important questions I think we need to ask ourselves at this time. Many of us have pointed out the ineptitude of the administration during this crisis. I think we also need to ask if our mainstream media (MSM) have let us down. While some of the coverage has been good, time and again in the last few days, we have been served up with stories centred around celebrities, and I think the news most of us want to see from our newspapers goes beyond Marc Robinson's trauma at having to wade home after a pedicure or Amitabh Bachchan's not having had a bath in three days. Or the "grumpiness all around" that comes from not getting a copy of the ToI.

Most of the bloggers who are part of this blog have expressed similar sentiments in the last few days,and I do not believe that we are in a minority, and that the millions of people who subscribe to these MSM outlets actually prefer celebrity-oriented stories over good old-fashioned reporting in times like this. On the contrary, I think most people feel as let down as us, but have no way of expressing their feelings, and not enough choice (though that could be changing now). We are all, essentially, being taken for granted by MSM. And they no doubt believe that if a few of us vote with our wallets, it will make no difference to their bottomline.

So are they right? What is there that we can do, in practical terms, that will make a difference?


Anonymous Shashank said...

I think this blog is a wonderful effort by all those who are contributing

Keep it up guys

I couldnt find a similar source with as much information condensed in one location as your site

Lets hope more and more people visit this site

Any way in which i could help?

Sun Jul 31, 10:45:00 AM GMT-7  
Anonymous Shashank said...

Did anyone else notice TOI patting itself on the back for no reason and boasting that despite the fact they were not able to distribute newspapers after the terrible showers they met people dying to read the next day's paper??

Ranging from film actors to industrialists,all the people from Page 3 had something to whine about on how they missed out on their fav paper

Doesnt this narcissistic behaviour indulged in by the country's leading paper disgust you?

Arent we reminded of the repeated printing of reports on how TOI beat Hindustan Times in the National Readership Survey and in general how good it is??

Why doesnt it print more ways of helping people?

Some proposals on the drainage system,some more helpline numbers for those affected

Some super-criticism of the disaster management team and govt authorities!

Sun Jul 31, 10:56:00 AM GMT-7  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This might be diluting the topic but forgive me

I assume some of you must have read about the plight of celebrities on during the rains.

But Meghna Naidu takes the cake--claimed she walked from Dadar to Andheri in high heels wading through water.


Sun Jul 31, 11:08:00 AM GMT-7  
Blogger Mangta Hai said...

Amazing blog site, keep it up guys.

What is happening to the online news website like Mid-day and Times of India?

It is sad to see that all you see is Sponsored Ads that boost of low fares to India and NRI services, but in a time of crises like this, not a single link saying 'Click here to help' or links that get you in touch with Non-profit organizations in Mumbai (India) that conduct relief efforts and for NRIs a way to help them out in this effort.

Sun Jul 31, 11:11:00 AM GMT-7  
Blogger netneo said...


BTW..Shashank/Anonymous out there was me

Thats "netneo"

Thanx guys for inspiring me to make my own blog

This was the first blog that i read and ive already made mine!

If its not too much do have a look sometime

Do y'all have a club and all out here?

Sun Jul 31, 11:30:00 AM GMT-7  
Anonymous Sanjit Krishnan Kaul said...

Well TOI and similar crap does sell irrespective of the any of the sentiments you echo in the post. All what matters is that it sells. Can we do something about it? Well yes stop buying the TOI and spread the word as loudly as you can. In simple terms boycott the MSM!

Boycott it for a month at least. Not reading the MSM for a month will not be too much of a problem for the addicts too! If millions feel the pinch why does the TOI sell. Lack of options is a convenient explanation. Try not reading the MSM for a month. What is the big deal? Stuff that deserves coverage goes uncovered anyways.

Sun Jul 31, 12:23:00 PM GMT-7  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the wikipedia description of TOI, there is some mention of it being financed by the CIA. Is this a Western consipracy to hijack the media?

Sun Jul 31, 12:46:00 PM GMT-7  
Blogger Doctor Bruno said...

Hi Amit,

With reference to your post
Indeed, one of the common themes during disasters in India is that the government often fails to live up to their duties, while private parties take the initiative and do much of the work

So if I happen to pass by and give you a match stick, that becomes a great help....... If I take two people from a alow lying area in my car, I become "HERO" and rediff or Indian Express carry a 2 para writeup on me.....

On the other hand, you expect your government to give you raincoats, a accomodation, heater, food and what not !!!

And once the accomodation is given, you comment on that ---obviously schools and colleges (which are often used as temporary shelters) are not made for persons to stay and there will be difficulties -- what is the use of the comment that the authorities dumped us in this school.... there is no fan .. no light...... and very few toilets

Once the food is given, there are again complaints............

When the city floods, every one immediately fault the government......... Yes the government and municipality and corporation are there to blame... but the greater part of the blame comes to the common man (including me and you)

If everyone followed the rules (often termed as unwanted) laid down by the government without bribing the officials, this would not have happened.....

For examples Schools should have one toilet for every 20 students and every class room must have a fan and tube light.. if the school had followed the rules while constructing , you and me will not blame the govt for the accomodation

There were Ponds "once upon a time"..... now we have bus terminals and flats and shopping complexes on the places meant for storage of water....... where will the water go...... it will go to the streets and inbetween rail tracks

Indiscriminate construction is obstructing the natural flow of water to the sea, say environmentalists. ''The flowing out of the Mithi river has been impeded,'' offers environmental activist and author Darryl D'Monte, as one example of excessive land reclamation. The river, winding through various suburbs before emptying at Bandra, is the city's biggest storm water drain. (This para Taken from Indian Express)

The same problem !!!!

Who is to blame........ Both people and govt........ Who should be blamed more ....... People

After all, the stampede following tsunami rumour is entirely due to people and not govt !!!! isn't it

SO why are you people bend on blaming the govt for the disaster !!!


Sun Jul 31, 01:25:00 PM GMT-7  
Anonymous Neeraj Krishnan said...

What is there that we can do?
Have world class university programs in journalism, encouraging real talent to consider that profession.
Allow foreign investment in print media.
Have powerful anti-trust enforcement to prevent current large players from making the market uncompetitive.

What is there that we can do in practical terms?

Sun Jul 31, 02:08:00 PM GMT-7  
Blogger km said...

I speak for those of us not living in India (but closely associated with Bombay).

It is disappointing to scour the traditional news outlets for updates on the rain situation. There is hardly anything substantial to be found (except for the good old BBC.)

If a humble little blog can do it, why can't the major newspapers run a "sticky" section on the rains and the aftermath?

The mainstream media has resources at its disposal but not enough imagination or motivation, it appears to me.

How about carrying an in-depth analysis of the disaster by postal code or neighborhood? Is any newspaper doing it?

Sun Jul 31, 03:55:00 PM GMT-7  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is Times of India, for ram's sake - not Times of Mumbai. There is more to India than Mumbai.

Mon Aug 01, 01:57:00 PM GMT-7  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question: Do tv channels also constitute MSM? I was appalled to see Radhika Bordia (NDTV) talk of a north south divide during the rains and then interview some random south mumbai kids to prove her point.

Heres why I was upset :

a. Colaba,Girgaum,Parel are all in South Mumbai and all low lying. They would have been as bad as kurla or kalina had they too got 944mm of rain.

b. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? It may then be time for the residents of SM to suffer.

c. Most people of SM have family and friends in NM who lost everything incl. their lives.Isnt Ms Bordia mocking at their sorrow ?

d. Why are irresponsible journos like Ms Bordia not pulled up for creating divides where there are none? How I hate these Delhi wallahs descending here and pontificating to boot.

e.And finally, large parts of SM were built by the Brits and honest Indians who actually knew what town planning was all about. Most of NM has been constructed by the acts of venal pols who use money from Mumbai to nurse their rural constituencies and who have no stakes in the city.
Its these guys who allowed the slumlords and builders to make merry simply because they were earning from it.
We send 6 MPs to parliament. Even accounting for the death of one, does anyone know if the other 5 raised the issue of mumbai on wed. in parliament ?

Tue Aug 02, 12:23:00 AM GMT-7  
Anonymous aksharadubey said...

Radhika Bordia's north-south divide story was bang on. I live in Andheri and many of my friends in Colaba and the difference was never felt as much as the day of the rains. The children,I agree were a cop out evidence but I think it's interesting to see these perceptions.
As for the Dilliwallahs. I was born in this city and is the only city I relate to, love and adore and I can tell you 'Dilliwallahs' like Radhika Bordia have done some fantastic reporting from Mumbai - captured its problems and issues beautifully and evocatively.
But you all need to get your facts right. There was NO cloudburst. Record rain and a cloudburst are two very different things.
As for the site, great idea.

Tue Aug 09, 06:28:00 AM GMT-7  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



Wed Sep 16, 01:05:00 AM GMT-7  

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