DailyPost 2535

If you can hog the media limelight, you have arrived is a truism for political leaders and as much for political parties. Media can make or mar today, much more in a world where perceptions can be created. Perceptions can be created in a very well-orchestrated manner, the gullible masses barely able to understand the design behind it. Even among the better off ones, who supposedly carry grey matter over their shoulders are always ready to be carried away either by way of media blitzkrieg or by way of political headline management. Given the changing nature of the media, creating headlines has become a science in itself.

So, you have today, electronic media, print media and steadily becoming a dinosaur, the social media. The most recent entry and the blockbuster have been advertisements in recent years, which knows no bounds. It is given the shape and form of news many at times deliberately. It is presumed to have symbiotic relationship. Delhi ads in Kerala are not unknown. It can create one of its kind commitments. Each have to be dealt differently and there is not denying the fact that there is no free lunch. The mainstream media, the TV which has ruled over hearts and minds is still to wane away. Managing headlines there is critical for politicians and political parties.

The art of creating and peddling news really started with the 24/7 news channels. Now they manufacture news. With news broadcast becoming a relic, the prime-time debate topic is the headline. If few channels go ahead with that topic, the day is made. You can keep on discussing for half an hour to one hour. The topic has nothing to do with real news value, from the common man’s point of view. But you sell. The stage-managed headline / debate topic what everybody aspires for and then an anchor to support you, and direct the debate in the manner you want can be the ultimate political privilege. If you can get some news out of it, you can only be termed a genius. Think of the plight of people, if this is the order of the day.

Print media is no better. The headline can give a different slant to the issue itself. It would look so benign to start with but slowly you would be able understand the design, after going through the headlines of a few of the top dailies. The headline can make you a winner or a loser, or help you sail through a crisis. The positioning of all pervasive headlines speaks for themselves. However much we claim to be unimpacted by it, the reality is, that the impact can felt over time. The connect between liberally providing ads and headlines of choice or the right slant, cannot be wished away. Then we have social media and political lot is working full time on it. Making a viral presence here, can be much more of an attractive proposition compared to headline management given the direction social media has taken. Viral videos and omnipresence in the right social media circuits, can make you a roaring success in no time. Is a leader sum total of the headlines?

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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