Any newbie TV News Producer who wants to compete with the top Indian news channels will be well advised to comply with the following guidelines:
- All news is BREAKING NEWS. This also means that if there is no news, BREAK all journalism rules to get BREAKING NEWS.
- TV news channels are in the business of TRPs, not news.
- It is imperative that Red should be the principal color of your visual style.
- Headlines should be in UPPERCASE (known in India as CAPITALS).
- There should be more animation on your screen than on an animation channel.
- Within each 30 minute segment, there should be at least one story on:
- Pakistan / Terrorism / Al Qaeda
- Indian Politics
- Obama / US – India relationship
- If you’re wondering why Bollywood is not part of the above list, you should realize that Bollywood should have its own 30 minute slot.
- Within each 30 minute segment, there should be at least one SMS Poll, inviting reader participation.
- There should be repeated ‘COMING UP’ teasers via anchors and headlines on the screen. It does not matter if the content referred to actually comes up or not.
- Each news story MUST be accompanied by a video. If no video is available, repeated zoom-in and zoom-out of static photographs is the last recourse.
- The date of the video does not matter; having an outdated video is better than no video at all. Forget industry best practices guidelines of showing actual date of videos. Whether the video refers to the actual event of the story does not matter as long as it is somehow related to the story.
- The protagonist of the story should be circled red in the video. It does not matter how obviously identifiable he is, or even if he is the only person in the video.
- If the video clip is short, loop it till you milk everything possible out of the story.
- Politicians, celebrities and sportspersons never argue, disagree, criticize or blame. They always BLAST, SLAM, or ATTACK.
- Even if a politician, celebrity, or sportsperson says something of the same sort that he has been saying for the last two decades, he REVEALS ALL, BARES ALL, or EXPOSES.
- All interviews to your channel are EXCLUSIVE, irrespective of how many other microphones are visible.
- There are no talk shows, there are only DEBATES. Each 24-hour schedule should have at least one or preferably two debates with guests. The decibel level of the debate, not the content, is directly proportional to the TRPs.
- For every story shameful to India, question and discuss with the guests, ‘Are we just going to forget this two weeks from now?’. Sound moralistic and ignore the piles and rooms of archives available with you.
- Expert opinion counts, but street opinion counts as well, or even better. If you can’t get expert opinion, interview people on the street. The background of the ‘common man’ does not matter, as he is supposed to be common.
- Synchronize your ad breaks as far as possible with other news channels, so that people don’t switch and stick to other channels during your ad breaks.
Readers may provide additional guidelines to you via comments below.