Barkha Dutt features in the Saturday profile of The New York Times. Well not for the reasons she would have loved.
The Mediagate controversy which in many ways is being wrongly dubbed as Barkhagate by many outlets won the NDTV group editor this distinction which she would have liked to let go.
I was all excited to read how the NYT reported this, but it was a letdown.
Understanding that it was a profile even then it was over exaggerated, too over the top and flouted the basics.
There I go with what made me wonder if it was an NYT report.
1. But last Tuesday Ms. Dutt, the most famous face of India’s explosively growing 24-hour cable news business, found herself the subject of the kind of grilling she normally metes out. (Well she is famous but to call her the most famous is a bit too over the top. In J schools we are taught to mind our adjectives)
2. Ms. Dutt the 38-year-old star reporter and anchor of the biggest English-language cable news network, has become the most recognizable face of this media explosion. (sounds like a bit too much)
3. In the tapes, Ms. Dutt appears to offer to pass messages between Ms. Radia, who appeared to be trying to get a politician suspected of corruption reappointed as telecommunications minister at the behest of her clients, and senior leaders of the Congress Party. (it appears that the sentence is a bit too long)
4. MS. DUTT has been called the Oprah Winfrey of India, but that description both overstates and understates her influence and reach. Ms. Winfrey, best known as an empathetic talk show host, cemented her place in the American media firmament with her shared narrative of personal redemption. Ms. Dutt blends the hard-charging bravado of the young Christiane Amanpour with the feel-your-pain empathy of Anderson Cooper. (Way too over the board, having been a journalist in India, let me tell you this is like breaking news to me. It’s certainly not like this)
5. Her florid style would be familiar to most cable television viewers in the United States, long accustomed to reporters who put themselves at the heart of the action. But in India, where for decades the government’s subdued broadcasts were the only option, her breathless, from-the-battlefront dispatches were a revelation. (Agreed that her style has followers, but the bit about striking a relationship between state broadcasting and her style is again over the board. In my opinion what got her prominence was the mere fact that she was the first female reporter in a war zone)
Why I felt down by this for the simple reason that when you look at publications like NYT you look for information which is new and makes you take notice and say is that so. Even the writing is a thing to watch out for when NYT does a profile.
But this just looked like something picked from here and there. Also there were more quotes by others and very few from Dutt herself.
Wonder how it will work for an American audience, but for someone who is familiar with Indian media scene and even has seen bit of Dutt’s work this piece isn’t worth it.