TODAY -

Scanning Media Coverage
- Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: September 28 2015 -



When one scans the contents of prominent newspapers in the Northeast region of India, what distinctly emerges first is the sheer difference in the quantum of news in broad categories like Development, Politics, Crime, Governance, Art and Science.

While these differences indicate the primary interest of local newspapers in giving better focus to local peculiarities and dynamics; there is a marked qualitative difference in both the form and the content of the news.

As expected, prominent issues related to politics (insurgency, electoral politics), development (infrastructure, mining, and investment), crime and governance (petty crimes, land encroachment, border dispute-based ethnic clashes), art and culture have been given adequate coverage.

However, there are certain patterns that seem to connect them all, not necessarily at the level of similarities or difference of theme.

These reports seem to fall into the following the pattern of Action and Reaction of the Normative Approach.

Action and Reaction Approach here refers to the reporting of news based on events and getting the basic minimum information and reactions from sources the reporters or correspondent think are credible.

Most of these news stories are based on the normative inverted pyramid structure of news.

According to this structure, what is considered the most important information of an event is put right at the top or the beginning. This is the pattern in all the stories on insurgency-related violence in the Northeast.

If the killings or violence events are claimed by armed groups, it is even easier to make a direct link with the incident.

In the normative tradition, this ritual of gathering information by the media is subsequently followed by the reactions of people who are either victims or who were responsible for protecting the lives and properties of the people.

The pattern of reporting strikes, blockades or bandh related violence has become either too predictable.

However, what one notices is the pattern of poor follow-ups. Though most of the newspapers could cover the complexities of events and incidents unfolding, many of these reports seemed to be buried once and for all.

This is true not only of news stories related to insurgency or political violence. While the first pattern of action and reaction dominates the first one or two days after the event, there are poor or inconclusive follow-up reports on the events.

More often than not, newspapers seemed to have taken a hardened stance based on the respective State’s stand, irrespective of whether such a stance will at all bring a consensus between states or further fuel the dispute under media scanner.



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