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Title: News production practices in Indian television : an ethnography of Star News and Star Ananda
Author: Batabyal, Somnath
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis is the result of ethnographic research carried out in television newsrooms in two Indian cities; Kolkata (previously Calcutta) and Mumbai (previously Bombay). The research was situated in Star Ananda in Kolkata and in Star News in the city of Mumbai, both channels part of the Rupert Murdoch owned Star group. The fieldwork was conducted through 2006 and the early part of 2007. The central research question this thesis tries to answer is: Doordarshan, the state run television channel, enforced a hegemonic, unitary notion of India since its inception. Has the proliferation of private news channels in India in every regional language given rise to a pluarility in how the nation is articulated in Indian television channels? Methodologically, this thesis is an ethnographic study. It uses participant observation and depth interview techniques as research methods. With over 90 recorded interviews with senior journalists and media managers, this thesis will provide rich empirical material and in depth case studies. It sets out to test the "orthodoxies" of media theory that has been influenced by ethnographic studies conducted mostly in the West. This work makes three overarching claims. Firstly, the assumed traditional divide between corporate and editorial no longer holds in Indian television. Each also does the job of the other and a distinction between them is purely rhetorical. Secondly, journalists imagine themselves as the audience and produce content they think they and their families will like. Given that these professionals mostly come from wealthy backgrounds, across television channels in India a singular narrative in content and a hegemonic understanding of an affluent "nation" is achieved. Connected with this is my third claim: news channels and advertisers targeting affluent audiences promote a notion of a prosperous "nation". Though catering to different audience groups - Hindi and Bengali speakers - by targeting the affluent Star News and Star Ananda produce a similar, unvarying content that promotes an idea of a unitary "India.".
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral