Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hype in the media - The ESISI Syndrome

In the past few weeks, quite a few “historic” events have occurred in India – or so the media would like us to believe. Be it the Srinagar - Muzaffarabad bus service, the visits of Wen Jiabao and Pervez Musharraf, or the Indo-Pak cricket series, the media would love us to believe that every second of each of these events has something historic about it.

While I agree that all the above (except probably the Indo-Pak cricket series) were historic, what I object to is the constant live commentary that something earth-shattering is happening at that particular instant. It was especially irritating to hear this kind of stuff in the cricket matches. Every once in a while, one of the commentators would say “This is a very crucial phase of the game”.

I guess it’s just that the commentators (be it in politics or news) have to make themselves and their news coverage seem important (and quite often a lot more important than it actually is) to the viewer so that he doesn’t switch channels – or worse, switch off the tv. Its an instance of what I call ESISI syndrome – Excessive Sensationalism to Increase Self-Importance.

Hopefully the media would realize sooner rather than later that by making every second of news seem important, they decrease the relative importance of any news – and viewers think in terms of relative and not absolute importance. In other words, it’s always a fight for the viewer’s time and he/she may choose to watch the channel that he considers more important than the rest.

1 Value-adds:

Blogger Sudheer Narayan said...

yet another example of gametheory.. where all channels senstaionalise... thereby reducing their relative and absolute utility of the effort.

April 28, 2005 9:44 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home