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News blogs in India: A potential yet untapped?

By soumya dutta
Posted May 24, 2013 in Internet
Blogs or weblogs are an exciting new form of social media where one can express their point of view. Blogs can be personal, documenting the bloggers personal experiences or they can be used for social, political and cultural dialogue. Blogs can be the perfect alternative window for a journalist who wants to highlight issues which mainstream newspapers choose to ignore. Citizen journalism through blogs can have the desired result. While discussing news blogs there are distinctions that need to be made. There are full fledged news blogs run by big media corporations as well as news blogs operated by professional journalists on their own and amateurs. Earlier it was unthinkable for an amateur to reach a global audience with a piece of news. Now, thanks to weblogs persons are reporting incidents which are widening the horizon and shaping a global understanding of shared cultures.
The performance of new media in India has invoked a lot of interest. India is a country where problems galore yet dreams blossom. Experience with new media usage in a country like America is bound to be different from India due to a number of reasons. India is a country of diverse culture and language. In contrary to earlier mass communication theories which felt audience to be passive receivers of messages bombarded at them, audience actually are active receivers forming meaning out of content according to their social and psychological reality. The multi cultural, multi lingual reality of India makes it difficult to conclude that the experience is uniform. According to Zee Research Group statistics, in India the over all internet penetration is a mere 11 percent though the country ranks third after China and America in the number of active users which stands at 120 million. The low penetration levels leave a large section of the country out of the ambit of ‘blogosphere’. There is a growing space for alternative voices in India who are trying to break the shackles of political polarization. Their strength can increase significantly if internet penetration levels become high and ‘blogs’ become a household reality. A WaTConsult Research Report on Blogging in India by Ekalavya Bhattacharya throws some light on the blogging scenario in the country. Of the net savvy individuals who are aware of social networking; 30 % are not aware of blogging, 14 % are active bloggers, East and South Zone of the country have highest number of regular blog readers while North Zone cuts a sorry figure. Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai are leading cities in India when it comes to blogs.
News blogs in India are mainly operated by the big established media houses like Times of India and Indian Express; nevertheless, blogs managed by individuals are also chipping in with some significant contributions. India Uncut by Amit Verma is news and views based blog which is offbeat and refreshing. Agent Provocateur by Kanchan Gupta delves deep into news as it breaks, discussing different angles of the story. Edit India is also one of the popular news based website on blogspot. It takes a critical view on Indian media and its developments. Citizen Journalists of India, a blog hosted on blogspot platform discusses various developments in the Indian political scenario and also share information on different facets of citizen journalism. Blogs of this nature,however, are not large in number. The new India which is cosying up to internet and the world wide web are yet to ascertain fully the potential of news blogs. Incidents never reported, issues concerning communities find space in news blogs. Active dialogue with the readers is possible and there is scope for participatory development. Not subject to editorial controls as witnessed in newspapers and electronic media, news blogs can empower citizen of the country. Though there is lurking dangers of credibility of blogs run by amateurs, news blogs are an untapped potential waiting to get their due recognition.

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