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Newsmakers 2010: Your vote

Medals and scams. Corruption and controversy. Violence and inflation. In a year when so much made the news, what will the people remember 2010 for? Kanika Gahlaut asks. Newsmakers 2010: A survey | City wise

india Updated: Dec 31, 2010 01:29 IST
Kanika Gahlaut

A good newspaper, the writer-playwright Arthur Miller suggested, “is a nation talking to itself.” We decided to take that literally. We got the nation to talk on news in 2010 — and turn that into news.

For those of us in the business, putting together a newspaper is a painstaking method which involves a piece of news moving from the edit meeting to the newsroom, passing through a series of checks through the day before it ends up in parts of the newspaper based on what is “newsworthy.”

But while putting together the news is an objective process, how the news is received, perceived – and finally, remembered — can be subjective.

Take our survey, which polled Indians across eight cities. We gave respondents multiple choice questions on events and issues that made up the news this year and asked them to rate them in order of importance.

Though it’s a close call, India remembers 2010 not for 2G Spectrum, seen as the biggest scam in Indian politics, but for the administrative chaos and financial irregularities surrounding the CWG in October.

CWG seems to be a running theme in the national conscience. It may be top of mind for the wrong reasons — but also for the right ones. The CWG/Asiad medals top the list as the year’s crowning achievement. The CWG opening ceremony was the second most cheerful moment for India after Sachin’s first ODI double 100. Rahman’s song for the event featured high on the list of disappointments, coming a close second to the PM’s inaction against corruption.

Polls have a tendency to throw up issues that are most recent, so the CWG still figuring prominently — despite scams such as Adarsh and 2G dominating the news after it — on people’s minds is an indicator of how important the event was to India. But there are some discrepancies as well. Despite the CWG mess having such high recall, when it comes to anti-heroes, it is not CWG’s architect Suresh Kalmadi who tops the list, but the man at the centre of the 2G scam, A Raja. Respondents, it seems, are aware that they are reacting to the news on an emotional level — issues of national pride evoke strong sentiment— rather than in order of national importance. This head-heart conflict could explain the contradictions.

And while the aggregates our survey threw up are interesting, the differentials are perhaps even more so — the difference in how cities voted on key issues shows that how news is remembered depends greatly on age, gender and geography (see box, below right).

The trivia tells us something about ourselves as well. Despite Ranbir and Deepika being the new stars, the Kat-Salman break-up had us most hooked. And across the board, Rakhi Sawant’s brand of reality got a thumbs down. Let’s say Amen to that.

Newsmakers 2010: A survey

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City wise