By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | July 05, 2023

India Soccer Win Banished from Front Page

India won the SAFF Championship last night and the two publications I subscribe to have no lead story of India’s achievement.

Times of India has flagged it off on their Mast Head. It should have been a lead story on the Front Page. Hindustan Times does not even have a single column mention of this achievement.

Imagine what will happen if Lionel Messi scores a hat-trick in some US Soccer League, which I believe he has gone to in the twilight of his career. I’m sure it will make front-page news in these publications. Nay, lead stories spread over four columns with a picture of the Argentine player’s arms raised high. Not to mention a ‘box’ with quotes from soccer buffs!

That he is not even retiring but slowly hiding in the US League speaks volumes of his ability as a player who refuses to believe his time is up. But that is another story for another day.

India Soccer Win
India Soccer Win: In the past week West Indies have made it to the front page for losing to Scotland while England’s Jonny Bairstow gets a Front Page pic.

An Overdose of Cricket and Politics

Coming back to our National publications, even women’s cricket is given the same step-motherly treatment. Men’s Cricket and ICC tournament is all they feed us with even if Jonny Bairstow is in the thick of things, either stumping a protester or being stumped himself! Or for that matter West Indies losing to Scotland!! Seriously??

Even Ajit Agarkar being made the Chief of Selectors gets ample space on the Front Page! Where has our News Sense and Sense of News gone? And what are the Sports Editors doing? Are they just there to fill the numbers with no say in what goes on the front page? I shudder to think what the likes of the late Sports Editors, like S K Sham, K N Prabhu, Sharad Kotnis, Rajan Bala, or even Darryl Crasto would have done. 

So what are we fed instead? Political tamasha that is going on in the State! C’mon, how many inches of precious newsprint will you give to turncoat politicians who disrespect the mandate of the voter? Have you ever gone into that ‘territory’ and even once questioned these unethical acts? Instead, the media is glorifying it by giving reams and reams of news space. 

The Leader Need to be The Last Word

The Leader needs to Guard the Reader. We need it to be the First Voice and the Last Word. Bring out at least one uplifting story on the front page every day that will enlighten the reader and enable him or her to begin the day on a positive note. Bury the grim news somewhere inside, don’t glorify it. The reader is not just interested in being fed an overdose of political news; keep a page inside for it.

India Soccer Win
India Soccer Win: Even Ajit Agarkar gets ample space on the Front Page.

As for Sunil Chhetri who won the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball, when will he be flooded with advertisement offers? And what about the other players who made the team and sweated it out for the country? Where are their profiles gone? Does it only have to be a cricketer in an IPL whose profiles have to be fed to us?

During my interview with former hockey star Viren Rasquinha in 2003, after the Indian team had won back-to-back tournaments in Hamburg and Australia, I had asked him about modelling offers coming to him now. “Where are the offers?” he had asked me rubbing his hands in anticipation. Nothing has changed 20 years hence. 

Just for the Record: For all the political news and analysis we are fed about the state of politics in Maharashtra, let me tell you one thing. Most of the voters are seething. No one is speaking. But yes, the Ballot Boxes will speak during election time. Uddhav Thackeray will be back in Power in Maharashtra.

[Moody Marty: Sometimes funny, sometimes informative, always downright forthright!]

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