Santosh Desai: Letting readers decide is a cop-out

Notwithstanding all the kvetching among journalists about managerial interference, there can be little doubt that B-school types are doing a lot more thinking of what is happening to the profession—and the way forward.

Santosh Desai, the managing director and CEO of Future brands—and a compelling Times of India columnist—showed just why in his presentation “The Need for News”, in New Delhi last week.

Desai’s key point: despite all the segmentation, fragmentation and decentralisation of news—which has seen dependence on traditional news outlets go down and the collapse of the idea of the “single truth”—humankind would still want news to be served up by professionals.

In other words, news consumers like a bit of hand-holding to make sense of the world. Giving them “what they want” and letting them decide, is not quite the magical mantra it is made out to be but a cop-out.

“Newsmaking and newspapers are an order-making device. When we hold a newspaper, it gives the feeling that the world is a knowable place. It allows for an orderly movement of time.”

Therefore, news, he avers, cannot be moulded by consumers or crowdpsourced or user-generated all the time; credibility becomes even more critical when news gathering gets atomised.

The role of media titles in such an atmosphere, he says, is threefold: the curation of opinion, the certification of authenticity, and the ability to stand outside the market system while participating in it.

View the full powerpoint presentation: The_Future_of_News

Read the Agency FAQs report: The changing face of news

Also read: Of headlines and buylines


  1. Mahesh Vijapurkar

    Desai is right. Righteousness on the Internet does mean what is purveyed is fact to the best of knowledge of even the purveyor. Ignoring professional journalism is a peril the society should avoid.

    1. Sam

      How do you convince someone who diligently follows the blog of an anonymous blogger?

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