A TOI article on VTech Shootings

Let me start by saying that I am sorry for the loss of lives at VTech… Its a sad thing happened and my way dealing with it is to not think about it… or talk about it…

But… I really wanted to write this post about an article related to VTech shootings in TOI that I read and the brilliant work of journalism that it shows… It talks about the two victims of Indian origin. As at that point of time there was no official new of who the Indian student was, it was difficult to get any information about the student… armed with only the name, the journalist visited Orkut and wrote the following in the news article:

According to reports from the campus, friends were searching for an Indian student, Minal Panchal, who has been reported missing.

Minal Panchal has her Orkut scrapbook full of prayers hoping she is fine and urgent pleas to respond and tell her near and dear ones that she is safe.

A friend mentions that he has heard about the shootout and asks if she is fine. From then on there is a deluge of worried messages.

Minal, who hails from Mumbai, lists her occupation on the networking website as an architect. Her personal profile describes her as a tall, slim, attractive young girl.

Now there are two things about this report that really amaze me… Firstly, it goes to show how much can be uncovered about a person from his/her profile(s) in the various social networking sites. I have personally googled and searched orkut, if needed, for random people who have contacted me before getting back in touch with them.

Secondly, the reporter actually considers it a brilliant piece of investigative journalism to put information from someone’s profile into a new report… I mean really… how much truth does one put up there in the profiles ? Would some one in the personal profile say that he/she is short, obese, unattractive guy/girl ? and how does saying “Her personal profile describes her as a tall, slim, attractive young girl.” amount to news ?

It’s crap like this that makes me read TOI less and less… You go to TOI thinking you will read up something neat and you end up finding reports like this…

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