Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Broken News

Every minute of the hour, there is something noteworthy happening in this world. Yet, one can not call every detail of it a breaking news. For something to be qualified as breaking news, it must satisfy the criterion of audience liking. Generally, if audience ratings (by the means of SMS in contrast to letters in the past) for a particular topic are 'hot' anything (even remotely) related to that matter becomes a breaking news.

Sports, by the way, is not far from the "breaking news" category. The daily sports news roundup on ESPN, called Sportscenter has generally been a good program. If you have missed some interesting sports story during the day, you could re-capture that in this staple-diet program. I had believed that ESPN-Star were a few goodies left in the game of sports telecast; until I watched the dramatically comical performance in yesterday's Sportscentre (hindi mein).

It started with the breaking news of how a certain journalist(!) with SC obtained 'secret' document that contained the complete premortem (hate that word postmortem) of Indian cricket team's style. The analysis started with the captain, continued with the little master and concluded with Mohd. Kaif. The bowlers were also thoroughly examined for slightest of 'short'-coming (that's no bouncer to the reader, is it?).

And after the analysis was read out from the documents, came the most hilarious! The SC team went on interviewing the batting genius of Sunny Gavaskar. He was asked to comment on each of the chapters in the document. He started off with the little master:

"Yes, he is susceptible to short stuff. He was out trying to work the short ball towards third man,
maybe a couple of times? He has about 10000 runs in tests and 14000 runs in ODI's under his belt. Yes. He is very much susceptible to the short deliveries."

"Sir, about Rahul Dravid, he is mentioned to be a poor player of the ball angeling right into him....?"

"Yes. Definitely, you-know. He has shown that weakness a couple of times in his career. He has scored nine thousand runs in both forms of international cricket. He is quite susceptible to that stuff."

Along with those words, Sunny had a terrific smile on his face. It was a treat to see him taking on the breaking news! I doubt if SC had planned such a downfall of its own breaking news. The reporter asking Sunny Gavaskar to comment was virtually in tears as the great batsman did not show any signs of giving the breaking news some respect. And that too, with a complete authority.

Sunny's tongue-in-cheek performance on the show was a great help for my restoring the belief in ESPN-Star. Other news channels, beware! They need to analyze the breaking news thoroughly themselves before breaking it to the viewers. If they don't do that, the viewers would show their disappointment because of the broken news in their ratings.

Ratings, which all the News channels hunger for!

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