The op-ed space is shrinking in Hindi newspapers and what it means

the print media as a whole suffers from a serious revenue crunch and this has contributed considerably in no small measure to the dip in edit page standards | Image - Eunice Dhivya

The strength of a newspaper primarily lies in the vibrancy of its edit page with its leader comment and the op-ed columns and not just in circulation numbers. Newspapers are not just messengers. The edit page is central to them.

While the editorials seek to set the direction for public policy, the op-ed articles and the ‘Letters to the Editor’ section constitute the vibrant arena of public debate and shape public opinion.

As an institution, the media played an intellectual leadership role in the society. The edits were called ‘leader comments’ and they enjoyed autonomy not only vis-à-vis the powers that be, but also avoided pandering to the base sentiments of the ‘masses’.

The character of the editorial page gives a newspaper its distinct identity. More vibrant the edit page, stronger is the impact of the newspaper. However, a large number of veteran journalists and seasoned media observers feel that the editorial calibre of the regional print media in the crucial Hindi heartland has drastically declined.

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