Television

Blasts send news channels scurrying for coverage

MUMBAI: It was a matter of minutes, but Star News pipped its rivals to field coverage and providing images of the bomb blasts in Mumbai and proved its mettle in covering live news better when it mattered the most.

Trashed thus far by critics for being slow on the uptake and more interested in the glamourous side of city life, Star News showed its true colours when its camera team and reporters reached Mumbadevi Zaveri Bazaar, the Gateway of India before the rest of the news channels' crews. Aaj Tak was still conferring live with bureau chief Shishir Joshi who seem to be far away from the scene of the blasts. Later, AajTak's crew got into the act.

While all the channels flashed the news immediately, the difference lay in the presentation and depth of coverage. NDTV 24*7 was way behind its sibling NDTV India, which had live reportage happening from the scene of the blasts, even though actual footage of the blasts came a little after Star News. Sahara Samay Rashtriya on the other hand did a better job with correspondents and cameramen on the field speaking to locals getting first hand accounts.

That Star News' anchors and reporters were geared for the emergency showed in the comfort levels with which the news was being tackled. Public broadcaster Doordarshan put safety first by refusing to divulge the number of casualties and even had deputy prime minister L K Advani saying that he would be hard put to comment until he had further information.

The foreign broadcasters, BBC and CNN were predictably the last to join the coverage. Compare that to the time when we had to tune in to BBC to find out that Mrs Gandhi had been assassinated. CNN did have correspondent Ram Gopal live from India pitching in with a report but that was around an hour after the news came out in full on domestic channels. It later picked up footage from Sahara Samay. The wheel clearly has turned full circle. Where the international news media used to inform us about developments and disasters within the nation, today Indiy,Indian media suffice.

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