Once you have a Medianet, then you can only have comparisons with it.
While eyebrows were raised about Medianet, and advertising masquerading as news, the role media has been played during the just-concluded assembly elections is currently being debated in Mumbai.
Marathi newspaper Loksatta wrote about the phenomenon of newspapers and tv channels rolling out "packages" on the candidates in the fray, and openly doling out the advertorial space masquerading as `news' to anybody who paid. Loksatta carried scathing articles on this including a piece by its editor Komar Ketkar last week.
Senior journalist P Sainath has also raised the issue on the Opinion page of the Hindu in an article titled: The medium, message and the money
In rural areas, election is the ultimate opportunity for smaller newspapers to make money. In Nandgaon constituency in Nasik where Chhagan Bhujbal's son Pankaj contested and won, an estimated 200 newspapers exist according to a local media watcher. In some Edit page articles, I found even the mobile number of the writer was published. Perhaps for instant access to those who want to plug.
Some of the news items also had a striking similarity with each other. They were reports about campaign meetings, and after two or three paras, the newsitem listed a long list of names who were present at the meeting. "When you see the list, you know its paid," remarked someone who pointed the trend to me.
Commenting on the state of affairs, a former journalist remarked that Medianet was much better compared to this!