Can people like us cover people like them?

Of all the reasons proffered for the current state and priorities of the media, Indian and otherwise, one of the most obvious ones has got the least amount of attention: the changing demographic profile.

To some of the key charges—celebrity-obsessed, headline-driven, trivial, titillatory, hit-and-run—the media has no option but to plead guilty. The “real problems” battling our societies gets little or no attention. Fashion shows and film releases have more journalists covering them than farmers’ suicides.

But besides all the pressures of a competitive market, could part of the problem also lie in the kind of people who get to be journalists these days? Could it be that with the media becoming a glitzy, glamourous profession that is beginning to attract the cream of the cream of society?

That the rooted, connected, working class types are not even getting a look in?

It’s an old thought that Pete Hamill, the former New York editor, once articulated. And it gets raised again in The Guardian, London, courtesy Peter Wilby. Wilby writes that what was once a class-less and meritocratic domain has become a graduate-entry profession bursting with people with the “homogenous public-school accent”.

In other words, society’s socio-economic and religious-ethnic base is not reflected in journalism. Ergo:  journalism’s priorties have changed, its focus-areas have shifted, because those who now sit at the desks and go out into the field, have no contacts, no inside information beyond their own little ken.

Maybe, this is just a romantic, nostalgic vision of the past, like saying yesterday’s newspapers or writers were better. Maybe, but it’s a thought, especially in India, where a journalism diploma costs as much as a good management degree at a top business school.

Read the full article: A job for the wealthy and well-connected

Also read: Roy Greenslade

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