Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Naive Reader...Who? You and me

My routine every morning is to wake up, brush my teeth and saunter to the drawing room where I'm greeted by two very essential elements to any morning person - Tea and Newspapers.
The contents and quality of tea may be under my control but the contents and quality of the newspapers unfortunately is not.
Firstly, more than half of the newspaper content swirls around the media, entertainment and sports industry or some appendage of it. Nothing wrong with this, especially since I very much like all three of those. However, after reading through the pages I end up wondering where journalistic ideals are headed because many of the articles that stare at me, particularly in the supplements, seem to be very questionable.

Here's the thing -
Karan Johar may make some wholesome family entertainers about people who live in castles, fly in helicopters, dance in colleges, have extravagant love affairs and so on and so forth. We may love these movies and even shed a tear or two in the cinemas or at home while we watch a bad fake print of it...but do we really need to be confronted by articles that give us a lowdown on what his 'students' are up to every single morning till the Friday that sets his cash registers ringing?
Makes you think.
Are journalists writing about trivial issues that subtly plugs say...an upcoming film...on their own accord or is there more behind the picture?




A few days ago I happened to read about an article online in The New Yorker about how the print industry around the world is on a decline, however, India on the other hand is still a burgeoning market where the many of the larger companies are reaping profits. How is it that the companies here actually see profits?
According to the article, bigwig Bennett, Coleman & Company Ltd. who is responsible for a newspaper called 'The Times of India' rakes in the profits due to reliance on the system of advertorials, particularly in their supplements.
An advertorial is basically when an article in the paper is paid for by an entity. 
It looks like an article, probably could be an article but isn't really an article because someone paid someone to put it there so that the public can read it in the name of news.
Ahaa!
Makes you think.

How is such a system working successfully?
Because, you and me, we are the naive readers. We gulp down any string of colorful words put together to push us in a pre-mediated direction.
We put ourselves in a situation where we probably don't know who the governor of the state is but rather know who the manager of Karan Johar's students is? (Thinking about who the Governor is are you?)

'Pour me some chai and KJo marketing this morning'


So, if the supplements stare at us bright in the face with advertorials, do the main papers hide behind this concept too?
Makes you think.

Think about that with a lemon bar.
Definitely, one of my favorites till now from the Hummingbird Bakery.


Ingredients:
200g caster sugar
3 eggs
100ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
Ingredients for base:
140g plain flour
35g icing sugar
a pinch of salt
120g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
  2. For the base: Put the flour, sugar, salt, butter and lemon zest and using a handheld electric whisk, beat until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Press the dough evenly into the base of the prepared baking tray.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Leaving the oven on, leave the crust to cool slightly.
  3. Put the sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest in a bowl and whisk until well-mixed.  Pour carefully over the baked base and return to the oven.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the topping has set in.
  4. Leave to cool completely and dust with icing sugar before serving.  Alternatively, you could cover the lemon bars and refrigerate it overnight before cutting them up into individual bars.

There may be a million things we could question in our daily lives. I think that we must do the questioning, irrespective of whether we receive the answers or not. Irrespective of whether we know who the Governor is or not!

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