Sunday, 8 December 2019

More Ads, Less News

Updated: November 5, 2015 9:45 am

SATIRICUS is a journalist. So his English is professionally poor. But it is not so poor that he wouldn’t know the meaning of a simple word like “front” in the “front page” of a newspaper. Atleast so he thought. But it seems he thought wrong. Take, for instance, this leading newspaper that he picked up the other morning just for a glance at front page news. And what Happened? The front page was missing!Satiricus was puzzled. The simpleton that he is, he simply thought—shouldn’t the front page be in the front? Still puzzled, Satiricus turned the opening page that wasn’t the front page. Again no front page. Still more puzzled, he again turned the page. Again no front page. Satiricus was more than puzzled. He was bewildered. With pernicious persistence he kept turning and counting. Then—Eureka! He found it. The front-page news was on page no. 9. Actually it wasn’t the front-page, it was a half-front page, the other half occupied by something more important than front-page news—a huge advertisement. What does that show? It shows that if Satiricus’s knowledge of English is poor, his knowledge of elementary arithmetic is poorer. Otherwise he would have counted right and straightaway calculated that the no. 1 page, of this newspaper was on no. 9.

Adding to his arithmetical ignorance, Satiricus found that the printed page numbers of this newspaper were 26, but they were actually 36. Such a lot of news, Satiricus thought. Well, not exactly. There were 15 full page advertisements, 3 pages occupied three-fourths by advertisements, and 5 pages of half-page advertisements. In all, there were about 22 pages of advertisements out of the “news”-paper’s 36 pages. What does that show? It shows that no news is good news. Rather, no front page news is better front page news. For it tells us all about amazing Amazon, or it reveals to us earth-bound mortals that “heaven is on the 50th floor”. Isn’t that earth-shaking news? It is heavenly news. In fact it would be news even for god in heaven.

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