Sania gets a superstar welcome

Bangalore, DHNS : Move over Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, your time at the top of the popularity charts is close to over. In fact, the turn of events at the KSLTA tennis stadium courts here on Sunday evening actually suggested that the time for a new icon has already come.

Taking Sachin’s place will be teen sensation and darling of the crowds, Sania Mirza. The 19-year-old, top seed at the $175,000 Bangalore Open tennis tournament which gets underway here on Monday, arrived to a tumultuous welcome. The huge crowd outside – and inside – the stadium waiting to catch a glimpse of the star, had to be seen to be believed. Stepping out of a swanky Mercedez Benz at the gate, Sania was quickly whisked away. […]

Is the above intended to be a joke?

No. It is not. The above appeared today in Page One of what I believed to be one of the most trusted newspapers in Karnataka — The Deccan Herald.

Read the first couple of paragraphs in the above story, and it reads like an epitaph on Sachin Tendulkar’s fan following and popularity. It writes off the achievements of Sachin and negates his fan following as compared to that of Sania Mirza.

Well… Really now. Wake up! This is not a college journal or a tabloid. We are talking of one of the leading English daily newspapers of the country.

Not that I am a die-hard fan of Sachin, but is anybody even buying this story that Sania has become a bigger star than Sachin, or for that matter any other cricketer? How many people even turn up to see Tennis in India? Did we not all so recently read about the poor turnouts at the Chennai Open? Or were we supposed to forget that already.

It is a nice thing to encourage people to support a rising star. It is quite another to adulate and present misinformation just to make the story more interesting. There actually is a word for it: Sensationalism. 

I can’t help but wonder aloud: What’s happening to the Indian media and its journalists? With the passing of every day, the Indian news media is getting to more sensational, with the news values being effortlessly moved into the backseat; on the backburner even. 

Has the Indian media turned a new leaf, a leaf that’s taken right out of the Fox channel or the Sun Magazine?

I have been buying the Deccan Herald (DH) for a long time now, especially since I felt I could not stand the Times of India‘s (TOI) obsession with the skimpy clothed women from all around the world. That too on the front page, and almost all the pages of the supplement. Most of the celeb stories that appear in the pages of the TOI can give the Sun Magazine a run for its money.

But recently, the DH sadly has not been far behind, with the Metro Life and other supplements transforming into lesser clones of the Bangalore Times. I do hope that I am overreacting here, for if this continues DH is going to have one reader less… If they care about the reader at all.

Please. I do not want to know what Sachin or Sania had for breakfast. All I expect are fair accounts and objective views of the happenings in the world I live in. Is that too much to ask?

Journalism in India, sadly, seems to be taking a wrong turn. Err… Can somebody call the Media Ombudsman?