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Breaking The News

TV news certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted. But is there a high that can match delivering a perfect show?

brunch Updated: Sep 14, 2013 17:32 IST
Jatin Sapru
Jatin Sapru
Hindustan Times
Jatin Sapru,The Newsroom,Media

Aap TV par aate ho? Waah yaar, mast life hogi”, “Whaddda jaawwwb duuuude”, “So you like, only like, work for like, an hour a day? Sweeeeet.”
To all my friends, acquaintances, haters, appreciators, those who go through the pain of watching me on TV or those who might risk doing so after reading this – the life of a broadcaster is not what some of you might think. It’s not all that easy. It is however, rewarding, depending on what this term means to you.

I remember watching the film All the President’s Men sometime right after school. It didn’t take long to fall in love Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Woodward’s (Robert Redford) oh-what-a-cool job! Unearthing scams, the secret source who calls you at midnight from an undisclosed location, phone calls from those who matter in the power corridors, malts and cigarettes at the work station, and of course the gorgeous ladies with a motive to deceive you (nope, not just the one that you think).

Fast forward to reality. My first internship in a newsroom was with an upcoming news channel. My motive was to observe, contribute and perhaps crack some assignments. I did indeed. I observed the photocopier throughout the million copies I was asked to make, contributed by running the tele-prompter for the anchors who wouldn’t know the full form of NCR if the prompter got stuck (yes, I got yelled at) and I cracked assignments of ordering chai and occasionally accompanying a producer to a shoot. For a junior to dictate content was not even a far-fetched dream.

The grind behind the glamour: Jatin Sapru says starting salaries in TV news are only good enough for a recurring account with the paanwalla

Perhaps I should’ve robbed all my family money and headed to ACN News to work under Will McAvoy and Mackenzie (that’s in the TV show, The Newsroom). They clearly let interns/IT guys and just about everyone contribute to the show. Amazing as it may seem (so did All the Prez’s Men) – I doubt it happens for real, anywhere!
Truth, As It Is Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, has all the makings of a cult show. But only on the TV screen. I’m not saying they never come, but those opportunities never come riding a stallion, especially in your first season. Office romances – that’s at your own talent and peril.

The show simulates the tension and energy of a newsroom: The sources, the content meetings and the wrestling between content and ratings. Don’t, however, expect your boss to tell the CFO that he’ll knock his teeth out if he tries to coerce the tonality of the shows.

Everyone would want to be Will McAvoy. But if you’re eyeing his million-dollar salary, you’ll have to wait longer than that shade of grey and a receding hairline. Starting level packages in our TV news industry are usually only good enough for a recurring account with the paanwaala around the corner. But those days have an unmatched charm. Even cheap whisky and rum in the parking lot with colleagues tasted better than fine malts in a membership-only club.

The High
The media industry is not for the faint-hearted. It cannot be a career option if you wish to go to bed happy. It has its own pace, sacraments, thrills and snags. But there isn’t a better high than delivering a perfect show. The principal emotion of The Newsroom team is what captivates me. A stupendous line of dialogue that’s stuck with me is when Mackenzie tells her team: “Conquering the Fourth Estate is only possible after the death of voyeurism and gossip. We’ll serve news with integrity and not for numbers.”

There’s a sarcastic reference to news by an American journalist, Charles Dana: ‘When a dog bites a man, that is not news, when a man bites a dog, that is news.’ It’s unfortunately taught to journalism aspirants and has become almost biblical. Some sections quietly wait for a man to bite the dog, while others force that man to bite the dog for the sake of Breaking News.

(the Series is Concluded)

His life on screen

* The Newsroom is a drama that chronicles the behind-the-scenes events at a fictional TV news


* The show is controversial; many claim that it is an incorrect representation of what it’s like to work in a newsroom. The show is often

accused of taking fantastic liberties.

* It is also known to make the show attractive to a new generation of youngsters.

* The show is written by Academy award winning screenwriter, producer, and playwright Aaron Sorkin.

SOURCE: Wikipedia and Buzzfeed

From HT Brunch, September 15

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First Published: Sep 14, 2013 15:48 IST