With the Narendra Modi dispensation in town, journalists in Delhi are suddenly facing the prospect of dealing with subjects; unknown quantities, with whom they have had little or no prior interaction.
The new government moving into Delhi appears to have no time to indulge the kind of access journalism which flourished under the UPA government. The lack of proximity of most senior journalists to the Prime Minister-designate and those around him has led to the predicament of even celebrity journalists resorting to humdrum reportage. Even reporters who have covered the BJP for long aren’t any wiser.
And reporters are cribbing. For some time now, journalism in Delhi had amounted to nothing more than sound byte collection and access journalism (information fed by senior figures to senior journalists on the basis of old relationships).
This has changed.
In spite of all the news reports about the possibles in the Modi cabinet, reporters privately admit it to it being mere ‘kite-flying’ and that nobody actually had any idea who would be included. The senior BJP leadership has also gone quiet, worried about spoiling their own chances of inclusion in the cabinet. Indeed, Modi’s displeasure is already clear to some guilty of these indiscretions.
Some of the Vijay Chowk media scrum was also told off by a senior BJP leader who thrust their microphones at his car window. “I’ll be happy to talk to you. Get an appointment.”
One wag commented, “The rules of the game seem to have changed. Journalism will become a tougher job.”
As to the cabinet, “Only Modi knows his mind. Everything being reported right now is just kite-flying,” said another journalist.