Post-liberalisation India has witnessed a dramatic growth of the television industry as well as on-screen images of the glitz and glamour of a vibrant, ‘shining’ India. Through a detailed ethnographic study of Star News and Star Ananda involving interviews, observations and content analysis, this book explores the milieu of 24-hour private news channels in India today. It offers insightful glimpses into the workings of one of the mightiest news corporations in the world and its ability to manufacture everyday reality for its audiences.
Based on fieldwork in Mumbai and Kolkata, this study not only provides a detailed description of the television newsroom, its rituals and rhythms, but ventures beyond it to investigate how editorial and corporate strategies converge increasingly in an industry driven by profit. Through analysing how TRPs work to produce a non-inclusive idea of the ‘audience’ and examining hundreds of hours of news content, the book explores how news channels construct a vision of nationhood and of a successful and vibrant economy that caters primarily to the needs of the resurgent Indian middle class.
While it will be of particular interest to media and cultural studies scholars and students, and to journalists and media professionals in general, this lively, engaging book also aims to give the general reader the wherewithal to analyse and critique the continuous barrage of 24-hour news television today.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements. Preface 1. Introduction: News of a middle-class nation 2. Methods and madness: The mechanisms behind this research 3. From state control to corporate hegemony: A brief history of Indian television 4. Corporate incursions: Branding programmes, selling myths 5. Newsworthy? Rating news for an imaginary audience 6. Collaboration and critique: Editorial responses to corporate incursions 7. Optimistic news: What makes the screens 8. Conclusion: Understanding news through ethnography. Appendix. Bibliography. About the Author. Index
Somnath Batabyal is currently Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.