Sunday, March 11, 2007

Media coverage of Arun Nayar's marriage

Finally the 'royal' shaadi is over. Most people will guess correctly that I am talking about the marriage of Arun Nayar and Liz Hurley. When the functions related to the marriage were ongoing, the media coverage was incredible. I am sure that it was very important to the couple to enjoy the marriage, and may have been important to cover in terms of gossip, but it never made sense to me as to why national newspapers cover this event on the front page. I know, I know, give the news that readers are interested in, and gossip is one major part of that, but that is what inside pages are for.

The Television channels are even worse; it can get pretty funny sometimes. Something happens during the marriage, and you browse the news channels, except for the stock market channels (and a couple of others), every channel will have the same thing on their top stories list. At such times, one wishes for some political event to happen, so atleast there will be some variety in the coverage.

I wonder why this coverage of celebrities rankles me so much, maybe it is because it seems so non-serious. So two important personalities who do not live in India got married in India (although one of them is of Indian origin), and the coverage they get is incredible. What would have been nice to see are some inward looking stories about why there is so much press madness over celebrities. There were only two issues related to the marriage that came out - what were the various events that were happening, and how the poor journalists were mistreated by the security arrangements. This second part always makes me smile. The media wants to cover such events as if it is their birth-right, and if the concerned parties want to prevent this wide coverage and hire security, of course there are bound to be clashes.

From what coverage I have seen outside India, there is also media madness about celebrities, so the international media is no different in that respect. The difference that seems to be is that there is a section of the media that concerns itself to be about serious issues, and will avoid all these celebrity events and other such non-events. In India, I am yet to see such a differentiation in our print and visual media. The only exception to this celebrity chasing that I have observed is from the weekly magazines such as India Today and Outlook.

Any guesses on what the next such item is going to be? You guessed right - the marriage of Abhishek and Aishwariya will be tne next such media explosion. From news about this marriage and the World Cup Cricket, you will not be able to get any other news in any detail.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 11:37 AM