Is it really free of commercialisation?

By Sonia Khudanpur

The recent change in the layout, design and the editorial policy of DNA has been discussed repeatedly in our journalism class. The questions that arises from this sudden change of attire is how commercialised this paper has become and has it now become as commercialised as other infamous newspapers.

The layout and design of the paper was changed some time last year. The change was welcome as it increased the white space in the paper, leaving more breathing space around the articles. This gave it a neat and organised look.

The next change was not only huge but also appalling. On 1st February, 2010, Aditya Sinha, the editor-in-chief of DNA said, “For years, many of you felt that the newspaper edit page has long outlived its usefulness. It’s boring, very few read it and it’s a chore to fill. It’s more punditry than expert comment. It’s become a single-page editorial ghetto; and that makes little sense in this TV/ mobile/ web age, where you’re looking for more news validation and analysis. Thus, DNA has decided to do away with its edit page.” The editor felt that editorials are a waste of space in a newspaper and decided to remove the entire page. In place of this the paper promises to give more analysis and comment throughout the newspaper.

The new change in its editorial policy has raised doubts over its purpose as a newspaper. It has been a tradition for newspaper to have an editorial page in the middle pages of the newspaper, where the newspaper allows the readers to understand its ideology. It also helps the readers to know what the paper stands for and believes in. With pieces written by columnists, readers can understand issues better and look at the side of the story that cannot be shown in a news article on any other page. The purpose of the editorial to facilitate transparency between the newspaper and the reader, as the page allows readers to look into the mind of the paper.

Deleting the editorial from the paper, points to the fact that it is probably more interested in giving more space to articles and advertisements that will increase their revenue. The paper seems to have lost interest in serving the public and seems to catering to the needs of the big business that benefit it directly.

A week of analysis to see how much of analysis and comment the paper provides showed me that all their saying is a lie. The paper is not giving you ‘more analysis and comment throughout the newspaper.’ On any given day the paper has about five analytical and comment pieces. The regular columnists have been done away with. This is clearly a mockery of the readers, who are being made to believe that this new change is good.

In my opinion, DNA has made a grave mistake in prioritising. The reader’s interests are now of secondary importance. What is most important to it is commercialisation, which is clearly noticeable if one goes through its choice and placement of articles in the paper. Its reportage has become superficial and does not reflect the problems of the people. It has also adopted strategies like the ‘India +ve’ strategy that mocks the very existence of journalism in this country.

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