ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Drought of Reporting

Coverage of important issues like droughts and natural calamities is often very different in English-language and local-language newspapers. P Dhanmanjiri Sathe 


For those who routinely read newspapers in two languages—usually one in English and the other in any of the Indian languages—it would be a familiar experience to find that the first-page headlines are quite distinct in both the papers. While the focus and investigative content may differ due to regional priorities, quite often what is central news in one daily is not even mentioned in the other one. This is indeed baffling.

We are all aware by now that India is reeling under one of its worst droughts and this is true of Maharashtra also, where the drought is still unfolding itself. Let us examine an earlier episode of drought in the state, specifically that which occurred in 2012–13, one of the worst (till then) droughts in the post-Independence history of Maharashtra. Consider the manner in which the drought was covered by the Pune editions of one English and one Marathi newspaper—both serious publications belonging to the same publishing house. We tracked news with respect to the drought situation in Maharashtra from November 2012 onwards, when water scarcity began, and stopped towards the end of May 2013. (June is when the monsoons normally arrive.)

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