Big Media can learn a thing or two about attribution.
It could have been just another day in the unexamined life of the breaking news ticker.
But hours after the Tribune reported the news about the clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh, India Today ran a show announcing that it was “the channel that broke the story”. And Tribune special correspondent Ajay Banerjee called out the network’s “tall claim” on Twitter, tagging the channel and its news director Rahul Kanwal.
It was a channel’s broad claim that it broke “the story”, unlike the casual deployment of the breaking news ticker – Times Now’s generic ticker claimed “news breaks here first” while reporting on the incident in Arunachal Pradesh.
Banerjee’s remarks highlight how Big Media can learn a thing or two about attribution.
In May, when an Indian Express exclusive by reporter Andrew Amsan and photojournalist Abhinav Saha highlighted the “abuse of power” by an official at a Delhi stadium, allegedly forcing athletes and coaches to wrap up training earlier than usual, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal directed all such facilities run by the Delhi government to stay open for sportspersons till 10pm. However, it was CNN News 18 that rushed to take credit for the impact.
The channel ran the Delhi government’s announcement as breaking news calling it a “Mega News 18 impact”. While a ticker noted that the report was by the Indian Express and credited Saha for the visuals, the “Mega News 18 impact” bubble flashed on the screen every few seconds.
The reporter, photojournalist, and other journalists soon took to Twitter to point out the hypocrisy. CNN News18 later deleted the tweet containing a video of its news broadcast that took credit for the report.
The race for TRPs often turns into a battle for credit.
In 2016, Arnab Goswami claimed on Times Now that the channel broke the Commonwealth Games “scam” whereas several media houses had picked up the story after RTI replies. The same year, Rahul Kanwal of India Today hit out at Times Now for “lifting” another report, calling the channel “serial copycats”.
In 2016, India Today and Times Now also tried to attribute an RBI decision to withdraw a circular to their reports. The circular stated that deposits of more than Rs 5,000 in old notes in banks would be subject to scrutiny by bank managers.
Here’s an example when a Newslaundry report was claimed as an exclusive by a prominent media house.
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