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Hyperactive Journalism: The India Examples

March 26, 2012
12:00PM - 01:30PM

Annenberg School for Communication, Room 300
3620 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Categories: Seminar

With more than 600 registered television channels, India boasts the world’s third largest TV market (after China and the United States). A large percentage of these are “breaking news” channels that broadcast “urgent” news stories throughout the day. A great many channels are increasing this breaking news programming in order to tap into a larger viewership. In this way, these news channels have become “hyperactive”—sensationalizing issues, distorting facts, and manufacturing news. The result is a chaotic world of television news, blurring the lines between what is real and what is imaginary.

In this talk, Chinki Sinha will discuss two recent episodes of hyperactivism she has covered as a journalist in India: the September 2010 coverage of a hypothesized deluge in Delhi that led to widespread panic in the region, and the recent “Anna Hazare movement,” where a 73-year-old man’s fast to create pressure for what he termed as a peoples’ version of the pending anti-corruption bill received enormous journalistic attention and partisanship, turning him into a wildly popular hero.

Chinki Sinha is a journalist based in New Delhi. She worked for The Indian Express from 2008 until 2011. She holds a Master’s in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University, and has worked at the Utica Observer-Dispatch. Ms. Sinha is currently a visiting scholar at the Center for the Advanced Study of India. While at Penn, she will be working on issues of access to education and social rights for the poor, in particular looking at the 2009 Right to Education Act in the context of lower-income groups.