3:45 pm. Nothing showing on TV

A total black out at Media House. A shocking disbelief in the eyes of each employee. For most of them, this is a first incident of its kind.
A blackout should be going on air too. Nothing being shown in a 24*7 news channel. The rest can be managed subsequently. So, The output head gets on work. An old tape is rolled, until the technical defect is fixed.

The chairs circle around. Various topics get the intellectual involvement of the employees. Yes! Gossiping does not have a competitor when it comes to what people in this country do when not working. Another thing about the media is that everyone here has an opinion.

Trifles aside!
A freelance journalist from Mumbai comes looking for the producer in charge of Entertainment Section.
What the young man tells her was bound to catch my attention.

“ Mam, I can get you the inside stories. I have news and pictures about celebrities – completely nude!!... Doing all sorts of shoddy stuff. Original stories Mam! I am surprised the news channels only report petty Shahid-Kareena fights.” There are so many people with the character of Shakti Kapoor and he is the only bad man known.

On asked how he manages to get those stories, he said he comes across them when he goes for his own assignments as a journalist.

“They would really shoot up your channels TRPs, mam”

The journalist leaves leaving his phone number for further reference.

From Classroom to Newsroom

My experience with one of the television news channels is acquainting me with a lot of new things about the industry. I enter the office after getting my approval as an unpaid intern there. A whole new affair awaits me.

This is what I encounter.

Youtube being browsed incessantly. Video downloads. A new script written and voice over done. A lot of effects applied on the editing machine. And, package ready.

No outdoor shoot. No reporter. No cameraperson required.
Hey! That’s plagiarism, I express articulately. A dozen eyebrows raised. Another half a dozen eyes turn towards me. I realise my ‘mistake’.

“That’s what all other channels are doing”, the assistant producer and my team leader tells me.
I now fathom how various amazing videos are being shown in channels across the country. And that too astounding videos from far off lands.

No attribution required. It would take away the surprise factor. The exclusivity factor too. And it would be like striking your own feet with the axe.

How a 20 second video clip can be stretched to a two minute story, I learnt here. My classroom had taught me to shorten a long sequence of shots into a compact and succinct package. The reverse was applicable here.

The simple knowledge of cutting clips on the editing machine was not enough. It required a professional editor who had this godly skill of “playing” with the clips.

HOW true was the video clip, WHO had posted it, WHERE did the incident take place, WHEN did it happen and WHY. WHAT actually happened?

These 5 Ws and H were an important factor in the classroom. Here, the building up of the surprise factor is the only important component.

The discipline of verification has lost its dignified place. It was of prime importance in my classroom. Not very important here.