Saayan Chattopadhyay
  • Journalism Practice, June 2012, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/17512786.2012.663596

Online Journalism and Election Reporting in India

What is it about?

The news media scenario in India has been transformed substantially in the post-liberalization period as privatization and deregulation have facilitated cross-border flows of capital and technology. Online news media, a new yet popular segment, has emerged in the past decade in the wake of India's rapid integration into the global economy. This article focuses on online news reporting of the last general election in India: the 2009 Lok Sabhā election. Although there are an impressive number of studies regarding online social networking or new media in the global context, scant attention has been paid to the Indian subcontinent, the involvement of Indian politicians and political journalists with online media. Considering these aspects, this article explores how online media in India are changing the established political culture, albeit in a limited manner, and raises the issues that interweave notions of modernity, class-consciousness, and emerging participatory practices. The article seeks to make sense of how Indian journalism is transforming through social media use by analysing three different stakeholders during the Indian general election: politicians, political journalists and ordinary citizens. The very fact of “being” or “using” social media, it argues, becomes an enticing aspect for politicians to relate to the young, urban, upwardly mobile middle-class citizens of India and becomes pivotal in the discursive construction of a binary between the “old” politics/politicians and the “new” politics/politicians in present-day India.

Why is it important?

The paper argues that at this particular period in India— when it comes to online election reporting in particular and any such online reporting of important news , in general— it can be useful to understand the practices as "journalism of attraction" and "journalism of utilitarian integration".


Saayan Chattopadhyay
Baruipur College

We are only witnessing a nascent period of adoption and dissemination of emerging technology in the realm of Indian online reporting and the 2009 general election, within its limited scale, provided a critical site to reassess and evaluate the prevailing journalistic conditions and practices.

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