Is good journalism bad business? Should the media self-regulate?
These,and many other points related to the role and power of the media came in for an incisive analysis during a session organised by Indian School of Business here on Friday.
“Given the demographics of a changing India and the dramatic transformation in media technology,journalism in India will always be good business. But credibility and accuracy will be key to its valuation,” said Shekhar Gupta,Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Express,while delivering a talk on Is good journalism bad business?
The challenge for today’s business graduates,Gupta said,is to work on revenue models for credible journalism. Although there are examples of philanthropy paying for good journalism,there is no contradiction between good journalism and good business provided you get both right,he said.
The “stink of scandal” may touch even trivia in today’s journalism but the media play both constructive opposition and watchdog,Gupta said. Lets try to imagine,had the reach of the media been as wide during the 1984 Sikh riots as it is today,how many of those innocent people who were attacked and died would have been alive today with live reporting keeping a check on the situation?
Talking about ethics and self-regulation in the media,he said events in real time and the pressure to simultaneously report and interpret in real time is the big challenge for the media today. Gatekeeping,therefore,plays a crucial role,Gupta said.
On the irresponsible media coverage of 26/11 Mumbai attack in 2008 a point raised by an ISB student Gupta said: It can be looked at as a learning phase for the Indian media,where many journalists could not judge the level of penetration of their live reporting. Some may have broadcast details which they should not have. Here the role of editors comes into play. It is the editors job to take the call on such issues.
Gupta also discussed the comparative growth of print media and electronic media. It has been observed that profit shares of big media houses have been recording a slide for the past two years while the print media readership has gone up to 75 crore. One reason for the slip in the electronic media growth,in my opinion,is the fact all channels are delivering the same stuff to the viewers. Why would a viewer want to watch the same thing on all channels?” he said.
Later,Rakesh Bharti Mittal,vice-chairman and managing director of Bharti Enterprises,addressed the students.
The gathering included Pradeep Singh,vice-chairman & managing director,Infrastructure Development Finance Company,and faculty members of ISB.