Saturday, June 07, 2008

No match for books

For years, Chennai has had only two morning newspapers – that is, after The Mail closed down in the early 1980s. Readers really had nothing much to choose from – while the older paper was conservative, the other was bold and often made for interesting reading. However, for credibility, people relied more on the older.

The newspaper publishing business in Chennai changed after the launch of a newspaper headquartered in Hyderabad. And the scene has changed further with the recent arrival of the fourth – from Mumbai stables.

So, how are the four papers different? How do you choose one, or even two? Surely, reading all four with the supplements is impossible even if you are unemployed! In any case, news stories are likely to be similar; and with features too, there’s hardly much that stands out – it’s all about fashion and lifestyles, parties and Page 3 celebrities, and about people and places you have read over and over again.

Don’t forget there are business newspapers too – there are now five, with the launch of a new one from the same Hyderabad stable. And an evening newspaper as well.

To top it all, there is television, news as it unfolds. And there is the BBC, CNN, Discovery and National Geographic if you are keen on watching some excellent documentaries.

Another thought: does reading two or four newspapers really enhance your knowledge? At the end of it, how much do you gain? Not much, I’d say.

Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten that books are much better companions; they open out the world to us much better. Sad that many of us are not able to make time to read good books. If only we could!

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