June 15, 2008

life in journalism: the delhi bias

A majority of Indian English media publications -- (newspapers and magazines -- are headquartered in Delhi even though 40-70 per cent of the news and features content would be getting generated from their Bombay bureaus. Since the headquarter is Delhi the editor-in-chief and his 1-3 deputy editors are also based in Delhi. Headquarter is where the production of pages (design, layout etc) takes place.

Now, my observation over the past many years has been that these editors have a large bias towards stories done from their Delhi staff. This gets manifested in many ways -- preferable treatment of story ideas from their Delhi team vis-a-vie those from Bombay, better positioning of stories of the Delhi journalists etc.

Why this bias? It could be the generic Delhi cronyism and favoritism at play. Merit kicks in only later.

The above does not happen 100% of the time but I would estimate it to happen 60-90% of the time depending on the publication and also depending upon who the editor-in-chief is.

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