Sunday, October 05, 2014

Who are these people?

In the olden days, just a few elite had access to canvas and paints and became painters. Ditto for those who had access to cameras (both money and technology). I am not saying these people were not passionate - of course they were, but for someone who wanted to explore it as their passion, it was tough - there were many mountains to climb. Today, everybody is an artist. And anybody with a digital camera is a photographer. Go to a bird sanctuary and you will see what I mean. Ditto for artists - there are many. And it is a good thing. People explore what they are good at, work at it and so on and so forth.

Yes, it pisses off the established painters and photographers - because today competition has multiplied. But as in all fields, the good become better with competition - the mediocre crib and wilt.

Today media is a closed industry. Much like the other industries in India in the licence permit raj - where a certain set of industrialists got access to licences and they set up monopolistic or duopolistic companies and thrived making money. This was the socialist set up we were born and brought up in. But slowly, industry opened up. But media remains a cabal - by and large. The acronym best used is BYOC - Bring Your Own Cronies - somewhat like the BYOD - Bring Your Own Device prevalent in technology.

So, you have husband and wife teams operating out of which one or both are famous sons or daughters. Sons and relatives (legal and illegal) of politicians, editors, anchors, newsreaders, lobbyists, industrialists, diplomats, quasi celebrities - even those who get invited for those echo chambers that pass off as opinions are just one short web of hardly any degree of separation. It is an echo chamber at best and a web of multiple conflicts of interest at worst. 

The arrival of social media just turned that around on its head. Anyone can write - all you need is a blog. Anyone can create news on twitter - why some of the best twitter guys have day jobs that are anything but media. Anyone can become a photojournalist - or even a citizen journalist.

As the incident in Madison Square of a famous journo tycoon showed - one sided biased reporting wont help. Within hours, there were images and videos that completely exposed the journo tycoon shouting victim. Social media threatens these existing journalists - who got there because they are part of the cabal and they  are shouting foul because these people - whose duty is sit and watch them talk and pontificate on TV are now newsmakers and hold strong opinion.

It does not help that there is a Prime Minister who also shuns media - who now have to travel on their own to cover the Prime Minister - whereas earlier, they got reserved seats, unlimited privileges and access. They are doubly pissed off with a government that talks directly to people and people who challenge the media.

So, you have hilarious scenes of a journalist taunting NRIs asking how come you have so much time to tweet.
And of journalists referring to company handles taunting their employees.

These are just a few examples, but there are quite a few others where these journalists who got there because they knew someone (Heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by exertion, but they while their companions slept, were busy contacting the right person - Ogden Nash) are pissed off because these ordinary people are questioning them. How dare they question us? Who are these people?

Well, media may still be fighting over whether to allow FDI in media  - but the People are in it already. Get used to it. Bonus link, an old post with a review of Cognitive Surplus.  

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