News is news; it has no art, no colour: Prabhu Chawla

From black & white journalism, news today needs to follow ad compulsions & reader preference diktats, states the Editorial Director, New Indian Express

e4m by Surbhi Bhasin
Updated: Jul 23, 2012 7:27 PM
News is news; it has no art, no colour: Prabhu Chawla

The Indian Newspaper Kongress (INK) 2012, held on July 20 in New Delhi, put the spotlight on newspapers. Organised by exchange4media Group, the annual event aims to understand what the future holds for the newspaper industry, as stakeholders contemplated on how to bring about further growth for the medium. INK 2012 was presented by Dainik Jagran. Business Standard was the print partner.

In an era where the objective of readership is changing, news is increasingly becoming a product now, which is a dangerous trend, because selling news has become similarl to selling any other product. This observation was made by Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express, who maintained, “News is news; it has no art or colour. News has to be told as it is.”

Recalling the time when he had started out in journalism, Chawla said that for him news was either black or white and there was nothing beyond that. But today, there is no art, only communication. It is the art of storytelling today, with every medium covering the same story in different forms.

He further said, “We know only facts and nothing else. We bond the facts, we chase the facts; for us, a story begins after we have got in touch with the first contact. The problem of journalism is that when you indulge in the art of storytelling, you are not telling the story, but conveying your own opinion.”

Today’s readers are happy only if the story is wrapped in colourful visual, some good writing.

He did not agree with advertising agencies that dictate the format, font, size, and headline to editorial. Chawla lamented, “Advertising agencies and clients are forcing newspapers to put editorial in particular formats.”

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