For most part of soon-to-be-bidding-goodbye 2008, it was the Year of the Rat (子: courtesy the Chinese Zodiac). The rodent-like association comes across as a pretty good retrospective analogy when we glance at some of the events that shaped the World Calendar in 2008. World markets were ratted out by irresponsible acts of financial destabilization. A historic rat-race (with all the customary sheen) between Obama and McCain was played out in the USA. Musophobia can be forgiven with rat-like dirty deeds playing out in a 60-hour drama on the shores of the Arabian Sea.
Enough of the forced rhetoric. Let us start looking at some of the scenes that were staged on the World Forum in 2008. Specifically, our interest is how media effected landmark changes and was affected in return.
Changed Election Campaign Tactics: The domain of politics saw the biggest ever (till date) US elections. With campaign spends topping a cool $ 1b; it was also the most expensive election in the World. The initial scuffle for contest ticket in the Democratic Party was keenly fed by the media. In the standoff between a lady candidate (Hilary Clinton) and an African-American one (Barack Obama), the winner would have something unique anyway. YouTube played host to an audience of millions as Obama and Clinton garnered support through infomercials. Social Networking played a huge role in this year’s election. Both the Republican candidate, the decorated war veteran John McCain and Barack Obama had ample presence in MySpace and Facebook. MySpace had dedicated sections like MyDebates for interactive response. Facebook opted for the user’s initiative. Proven hugely successful, this is sure to grow into a recognized campaign platform in times to come.
Changed the way Public Angst translates into Action against Politicos: This year will be remembered for Mumbai 26/11. The resilience and resolve shown by the TV reporters was exemplary. The terrorist siege was faithfully reported by dozens of dedicated journalists. Media was guilty though of senseless publicity seeking rumor-mongering in certain cases. The stance of media against the political will or the lack of it has been refreshing. Vox publica no more. People have been motivated to sit up and take affirmative action. Ministers who were accountable have been forced to resign.
Changed the way Man contributes to Society: The social initiative campaigns undertaken by the TOI group: Lead India and Teach India have been hugely successful. The common man’s leader with non-political agenda has been chosen. Rajendra Misra from Bangalore won the Lead India contest in the debut year. Teach India based on the much lauded Teach America model has encouraged a lot of people willing to give back to society, a platform to do so.
Changed the definition of Entertainment(and Cricket) in India: The Indian Premier League (IPL) was the most important sports event from a media perspective in 2008. The instant cricket format with all the jazz was a runaway hit. It minted millions and started a highly successful revenue stream for BCCI as well as ICC. The public gobbled up the excitement as is evident from the sky high TRP’s. The psyche of regionalist support translated into a cash cow. Cricket became superbly entertaining. It attracted hitherto uninterested audiences. Therein lay the success of the DLF-IPL.
Amy Taylor become a famous netizen after she caught her husband cheating on her in Second Life and filed for a virtual divorce. Our lives are certainly getting more and more bizarre.
Jessica Yellins of CNN created quite a stir when she appeared holographically projected in the studio form Washington DC on election night.