An ex-model begs and the media laps it up

Over the last couple of days the media has been carrying a story of a former model who was living on the streets and begging for a living. The appropriate shocked reactions from the modelling community and the media aside, please give me a break. (Yes, I do feel sorry for the girl and the problems she’s going through.)

This incident makes news because she’s an ex-model who has walked the ramp with Sushmita Sen or whoever else. There are scores of people who are suffering equally if not more and they don’t get a modicum of coverage, let alone a second glance at the media. Just because Geetanjali Nagpal is (was?) beautiful she gets special treatment. How shallow is that?

And, from what I’ve read, the girl has family who disowned her because of alleged drug problems. She has a family unlike so many street kids who don’t. Why doesn’t the media take up profiles of these kids? Not high enough on the “sexy” scale? Won’t sell ads?

I’m not saying that stories like these shouldn’t be covered. They can be, but there is more to the journalism than just selling newspapers (or ads). The media needs a bit of introspection to realise what their role in society is and reconnect with that role.

But, what do I know, I’m just a blogger.

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3 thoughts on “An ex-model begs and the media laps it up

  1. I totally agree with you.

    There is journalism, which reports the facts, the truth and news that really matters to us.

    And there is journalism that will only look for opportunities that will sell. It is us ordinary public who encourages this form of journalism with our hunger for cheap gossip and inconsequential news.

    The decadent lifestyle of having too much, we have caught up with the west.

    I do not agree that you are “just a blogger”. :)
    For I see the bloggers’ developing role as the future of interactive journalism. A network of bloggers sharing incidents and events and their thoughts, that no professional journalists can ever access.

    Some bloggers atleast.

  2. I’m going to be the devil’s advocate here. I haven’t read or followed this story at all, and is the first time I’m hearing of it, but my first reaction was– what a great story! As a journalist, I would have covered it.

    Not because it’s sexy. Not because she’s special or beautiful. But because the underlying message in this story is– this could be YOU.

    The Indian middle-class often thinks that problems of poverty, homelessness, etc, don’t affect us. We’re above it all. We have families to take care of us. We go to work in our air-conditioned cars to our air-conditioned offices, and then come back to our air-conditioned homes. These are not OUR problems.

    But a story like this changes that. It says, this is YOUR problem. Help do something about it.

  3. Little Indian: Bloggers do have influence to a certain extent but not as much as people think. The media, especially TV and newspapers, have a much wider reach than bloggers.

    MK: The story was easy to cover, it had shock value, and so it was engaging. I doubt that the story forced people to think that it was “their problem”.

    Anyway, my point is that the media is obsessed with stories such as these with celebrities or borderline celebrities and taking place in major cities.

    The media’s become so insular in its view that somehow the rest of India doesn’t matter. It does and it should. I’m not saying don’t cover these sorts of stories. Cover them by all means.

    But, also cover the stories that are harder to find–go dig a bit, get your hands dirty, investigate, and report what you find. Isn’t “uncovering the truth” something journalists should be doing?

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