CMS Academy -FAPCCI Awards 2007
Telugu News Bulletins /Channels
Hyderabad, Sunday, 17 February 2008
Chief Guest: Padma Bhushan Shyam Benegal; Special Guest : Shri. Raju Narisetti, Editor Mint
Television is the most potential media. Everyone knows. It can change the
mindset of people. It is a motivating media. It even sets the agenda of the nation.
Television can change the face of the country in so many different ways for the
better. Also, for the worse, if specific efforts are not made to minimize such a
When the round the clock news channels proliferated, there was a hope that India
would enter information age and become a knowledge society – much faster and
more uniformly. There was a hope that these news channels unite people more,
citizens become more sensitive to their neighborhoods, and there would be level
playing opportunities. And they did to some extent. But not commensurately. On
the contrary, a feeling is gaining ground that more is not merrier.
More news channels could mean more problems, more conflicts and more deviant
behaviour. All this perhaps because concerns and priorities of news channels by
and large are not sensitive enough, and channels themselves apparently have not
fully realized their potential. Or, they are not able to unleash their potential. Some
news channels in India do not seen distinguishing themselves, from the objectives
of entertainment channels.
CMS Media Lab has been monitoring news bulletins everyday in New Delhi and in
Hyderabad for a couple of years. An analysis of their contents and structure of
programmes gives us an idea, as to their priorities and the kind of competition they
are under. Also, the hope that competition will increase real choice, enhances very
scope of news, is not fully evident. In fact, it has been “more of the same”
phenomena. “copy cating” has become more gripping now. All this perhaps
because, the subtle difference is missing between what is in the interest of people
overtime and what interests people momentarily.
Active viewer is the best bet for a better television anywhere. But there is no
evidence of that despite increase in “field and interactive” coverage of news
channels. Civil society too showed limited concern about what is being dished out
except for occasional outbursts here and there. Blaming TRPs for this “down hill
race” perhaps is no use.
That is how we thought at CMS we should do something to acknowledge and
appreciate positive powers of news channels. Apart from making analysis to the
consideration of larger pubic, we thought we should take on to the idea of awards.
Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry – FAPCCI, has
come along to join CMS Academy in this initiative. This is more an experimental
initiative of CMS Academy. We seek suggestions from channels, from viewers,
from you all and the civil society to make these awards a worthy exercise.
News Channels in Andhra Pradesh were asked to select best out of their own news
bulletins and send to the Jury for consideration of these awards. Only two
channels responded. Perhaps they were not confident or sure which one to
nominate. Or, perhaps they thought that since CMS Media Lab is already
recording each and every bulletin of their channel there is no need to take the
A general feeling among experts and well informed people also is that it is
difficult to recall a bulletin or a programme of news channels for an award as it is
for naming the bad ones. In fact, a few felt that “bad and ugly” and irrelevant are
often more in news channels.
Except in the case of one or two categories, the Jury felt that none of the
programmes for 2007 could be described “as the best”. In fact, the feeling is that
in a creative field the best is yet to come.
Nevertheless, we thought we should go about in a positive way. The Awards are
for the ones in Telugu and for their programmes during the year 2007. The
channels NTV and TV-5 which came into operation a couple of months ago would
be included for the 2008 Awards.
Nevertheless, we rigorously followed a methodology which reflect the public
concerns and the power of TV. Broadly, a four fronged effort was made for
selecting the awardees for 2007.
First, we brought together eminent personalities for a six member Jury with distinct
expertise to appraise news broadcasts.
The second input was an analysis of contents of news bulletins and channels.
Based on a three year analysis of trends, in the content of news channels, this
exercise was carried out, and the same was made available to the Jury and the
experts. This analysis brings out, the priorities of news channels and the kind of
competition, they are under, and the changes in the last three years.
The third input was a sample survey of TV news viewing households in three
different regions of Andhra Pradesh to bring out viewers perceptions, priorities,
preferences and the extent of viewing. 13 attributes for news channels shortlisted
were also enquired in to in this field study.
The fourth input was a meet of experts from different fields of public affairs for
intense deliberations on the priorities, pre-occupation of news channels. 27
experts participated in these deliberations at this very FAPCCI campus.
The Jury took into account the outcome of these various exercises and finalized the
categories that deserve to be appreciated and also the specific programmes that
deserve to be awarded.
The Jury felt that for the category of scientific temper, no channel deserve to be
considered. In fact, the Jury expressed its disappointment that even news channels
are competing, to churn out programmes promoting blind beliefs and irrational
programmes. And that the extent of such programmes is on the increase.
The Jury also felt that since the best bet for better programmes is viewer, we
should award a viewer who symbolises activism by way of expressing views on
good and bad aspects of programmes of news channels. As there is no other way
for 2007 awards to identify such viewers, we wrote to the channels themselves, to
give us some names of people who have been writing to them, with their feedback.
Only one channel responded with only one name. The message is clear and loud.
We need to promote “active viewership”. We thought awards are one way of
doing that promotional role, however limited way it may be.
Also, apart from what the Jury decided, CMS Academy, as the promoter, thought it
relevant to recognize certain special efforts towards promoting concerns in TV
programmes. With such a view, and this being the first year, we thought we
should recognize some such special initiatives by the channels as well as outside
individually and even by the print media towards promoting sensitive television
viewing. Three such awards are included in this category for 2007 about which
you will hear little later this evening.
The six member Jury has people who are eminent and made a mark in their
They are: K S Sarma, who chaired the Jury has an unusual background. In fact,
very few in the country has the kind of association with TV, and its growth, from
policy as well as operational perspective. He could be credited with some
important initiatives earlier as the CEO of Prasar Bharati, towards competitive
scenario and use of technology to expand the reach of TV in India.
The others are : Dr. K Ramachandra Murthy, then Editor, Andhra Jyoti; Dr.C
Mrunalini,Visual Media Expert; Program Director, Radio Spandana; Shri. G S
Varadachari, Sr. Editor and Head of Telugu University, Dept of Journalism and
author of book on standards in Telugu reporting; Shri. Nagasuri Venugopal, an
analyst of media with regular weekly columns and 25 books on media related
issues and Shri. R V V Krishna Rao, former Director, News, Doordarshan.
These awards are unique. CMS Academy is experimenting with an inclusive and
independent methodology. This is an experiment to publicly recognize, good
initiatives in increasingly crowding news channel scene. That is how we wanted
nationally eminent personalities, who themselves have taken such initiatives, to
give away these CMS Academy – FAPCCI Awards.