Thursday, September 11, 2008

The NEWS Equation

Our life today is controlled by media. Be it newspaper, television, radio or the internet, we depend on news for a lot of our day-to-day decisions and sometimes even blindly. This fact is well understood by Media companies, Governments and Businesses alike. Unfortunately, it is also being used actively to mislead the common man.  News today is no more the simple raw information but it undergoes a complex process of editing and mixing before being delivered. Thinking over it for some time, i feel that the Media companies operate a  huge mixer which continuously churns out news according to the following equation 

NEWS = x% Information + y% Hype + z% Personal Biases + w% Political Biases 

Different media companies use different values for x, y, z and w and yield different types of news. A case in point is the recent news about the bootup of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN. A channel called Aaj Tak in India ran a TV series which would have made a layman believe that the bootup of LHC would destroy the world.  In this case, their percentage of hype was very high and little factual information was presented. Even if they would have done a simple google search for LHC and the myths surrounding LHC, they would have realized that speculations about formation of massive black holes have been long dismissed by emminent Scientists. But the media today is more interested in their own TRP ratings and very little interested in presenting facts.