K Krishnakumar Photograph:( Others )
Being a TV News anchor in times of coronavirus
This too shall pass - albeit with excruciating pain and agony. But as it passes, most of us are at home watching the catastrophe unfold. Many working from home, while at it.
Some of us are still out there working. One of them is me - a TV News Anchor.
Not the most dangerous of jobs, far from it. Yet one that needs to be done, and for which you need to risk stepping outside of the home to tell people, watching you, to never step out.
The truth is this TV news anchor/reporter is a character that society loves to bash. And for good reason. No questions asked.
But strangely the one who gets bashed the most, ends up getting watched the most too.
It's some kind of weird collective catharsis.
But away from the maddening crowd, there's a huge chunk of the population who have simply given up. They simply do not want to watch anybody. They claim to be above it all. They say it's all biased anyway. Yet they reinforce their own biases through their choices in social media activity. And blame the TV News anchors for not being in sync with their views.
It is a vicious cycle.
However, in this apocalyptic moment when even the good old newspaper is out of reach, for many, News TV has become the crucial constant - one of the essential services.
In a country like India where nearly one-third of the population is illiterate, the News channel fills in the information gap.
Disseminating credible information, at the earliest, to as many people as possible is crucial at this hour.
TV sets are all-pervasive in a country where over 20 per cent still live below the poverty line.
Even in English news, where the entire target audience is at least literate, and way above the poverty line, TV News has become the prime source for getting verified information at the earliest.
Yes, for that audience, social media is King and has superseded TV. But then social media is flooded with all kinds of miracle coronavirus cures and vaccines. And panic-inducing conspiracy theories.
Now, there is a slow realisation. If at all there is some kind of kryptonite to help humanity defeat this virus, it will surely be announced on TV. Along with all those gut-wrenching data points about the number of deaths and infections.
So to all those cynics who had written us off, I say, one way or the other, we're your best shot now. It's either us or those Whatsapp forwards. You choose.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)