No connectivity between the private print and audio-visual media

Dear Editor,

For some time now I have been pondering the apparent lack of connectivity locally between the print media and the audio-visual, specifically the private media. One is tempted to describe each as the other’s counterpart. But there are in fact very separated parts. If only by implication, the one is ‘deaf’, the other ‘purblind’, and does not bother to listen – just like my aversion to networked programmes.

My particular lesson is taken from the wide range of topics – local, regional and global – addressed on TV by various categories of specialists, experts and some less expert, and aimed at informing listeners of every dimension. Yet strangely enough, however relevant, the discourses appear to make little or no imprint on the next day’s reporting – no indication of reaction (even if the reporters may have heard) – a regrettable absence of any summary or evaluation which would have been a useful service to those who might have missed the benefit of the particular presentation.

When unavoidably I have missed regular features like Plain Talk, Eye On The Issues, Spotlight, to name a few, there is absolutely no recall. At least the last-named is repeated once, unlike the others. But how is it possible that the contents of such programmes are unworthy of further debate off-screen, so to speak?

Arguably there is a missed opportunity here to ‘keep the pot boiling’ by sustaining the momentum of enquiry and even controversy – in service to a public overwhelmed by a surfeit of centralised perspectives.

On the other hand, it is very possible that I may have missed what could only be the occasional (or specific) reference to a newspaper ‘quote’ during the many aired discussions to which I have listened (exclusive of the official network). In contrast I pay attention to BBC World News displaying the headline stories of international dailies.

It is relevant to the above context that I must remark, with much regret, the eloquent silence surrounding the departure of one correspondent who straddled both the written and aural sectors of the media.

I personally do not recall seeing any formal acknowledgment of the cessation of Christopher Ram’s “Business Page”, after some twenty years of authorship. They whom one euphemistically calls ‘stakeholders’ would be churlish not to acknowledge Ram’s extended contributions of informed analyses of business structures and behaviours in this country. However controversial may have been some expressed perspectives, there were also lessons to be learnt, even by students.

Similarly the departure of the programme ‘Plain Talk’ from the TV screen would not only have robbed listeners access to a range and depth of views on the strengths and weaknesses of; opportunities for; and threats to, our society; but perhaps more importantly, denied current and future analysts of our socio-economic condition scope to exchange critical evaluations, while sharing needed information to the public at large.

Their contributions have been essentially Ram’s, as he would prod, cajole and even incense in order to chat pronouncements from mild to outrageous, on issues of the day.

With their disappearance a once bold intellectual light has been snuffed from our screens, leaving at this stage (if there is such a state) a darkened vacuum. Last Sunday October 27, I instinctively switched to Channel 7 at the scheduled time, only to be assailed by female figures gliding across a skating rink – as if symbolic of the fact that we had come full circle.

 Yours faithfully,

E.B. John

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