Monday, March 10, 2008

Mainstream Indian media versus Blogs

Recently, I set up my machine to view Hindi fonts. I've blogged about it earlier, so I won't go into very much detail. If you're looking to duplicate this setup, get yourself a copy of Ubuntu.

Onward to my main story. For this post, you don't need to have Hindi fonts installed on your computer, or know the Hindi language.

Using Linux, I've been reading a few Hindi blogs, and a few Hindi newspapers. The contrast is quite striking.

The average Hindi newspaper has a remarkably crappy layout: Here is the best possible Hindi newspaper online: Lok Tej, and you can see how difficult the layout is. Compared to that, the layout for the average Hindi blog World From my Eyes is easy on the eyes. The advertisements are few, and well placed, and the font is clean and beautiful.

Little differences like this make the page readable on a daily basis, and I'm a sucker for good layout.

But the more surprising aspect arises when you scratch the surface, and dig deeper. The amount of content for the Hindi newspapers is tiny. Even stories covered on the main page take up all of one single paragraph. This cover story has exactly one paragraph in which the main idea is repeated again and again. There is little analysis by the journalist, and except for methodically writing down what Amar Singh said, it isn't really obvious what extra value the journalist is adding in the process.

Sunil Deepak's analysis of the violence is a much better read about the mattter.

A direct comparison is lacking here, so let's look at our average Hindi blog again: A commentary on Jodhaa Akbar which has quite a deep content. It offers analysis, insight, and a very good perspective of the issues. And it is humorous too!

After a few days of reading Hindi blogs, I really cannot justify reading a Hindi newspaper. Balendu Sharma has a very nice blog: Wahmedia on the Indian media (and sometimes Western too), which points out inconsistency and stupidity in print media. We need more people like Balendu Sharma and Sunil Deepak.

Special mention

The incidence that is being reported on deserves special mention: There are some ultra right-wing nutbags who think that Maharashtra should be for the Maharashtrians, and are inciting violence against people from "outside": North Indians. Indians everywhere (not just Maharashtrians) should loudly proclaim that they do not support this ethnic bullying. We should have the courage to say that these nutbags don't represent us: they are not our leaders. These Indian-Nazis have a platform very similar to the Nazi party, and their slanderous rhetoric is not what I want to support.

Say no to our local Hitler!