There was something interesting that I observed on the 30th September 2010 when the Ayodhya verdict was given by the Allahabad High Court.
I left office early that day and reached home at around 2pm. I usually loathe news channels, especially Hindi ones. (Do I need to give a reason other than sensationalism?) And amongst the English ones, I stick to CNN-IBN first, simply because of Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai, and then Times Now or NDTV. And apart from these three, I feel no other general news channel actually deserves to be called a news channel. They are not even 'views' channel, for Christ's sake!
On switching on the TV, I straight away jumped to CNN-IBN and was not surprised to see Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai heading the show. As the verdict was not out I started my channel surfing. (being a human male, we're used to channel surfing just to know 'what's there on the other channel?')
And then something struck me! All the others news (views) channels had their correspondents on the field, especially at the Allahabad court, but CNN-IBN didn't have a correspondent. They had their channel's 'National Bureau Chief', a certain Mr. Bhupendra Chaubey on the field!
Why? I got the answer as soon as the verdict was out and the lawyer brigade emerged from the 'super secured' court room. Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad representing one of the party to the dispute, was the first famous and qualified person to emerge from the court room, he was hounded by camera crews with his face almost shoved with microphones! (nothing new I'm sure) Every media person was stoning him with adulterated and cliche`d questions, but there stood Mr. Chaubey, with a blazer on, in the heat, asking some really simple but relevant question to him with his loud non baritone voice. And voila, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, answers him by calling his first name. And for the next 10 minutes, it's only Mr. Chaubey and Mr. Prasad in a dialogue covered by the entire national media.
And Mr. Chaubey repeats the feat with other 'important' guests.
This was the differentiation tactic that CNN-IBN employed. If its an issue of national importance to be covered by each and every media house of the country, send your Generals, not the pawns!
And as usual Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai had a very eminent panel for the show, a social scientist, a Supreme Court lawyer, a liberal Muslim theatre veteran Padma Shree awardee and a very senior journalist. They were all very well versed of the Ayodhya issue.
I think this was a very good management tactic ployed by the channel.
Awaiting your comments.