Book Review: Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics by Sahana Udupa.

AuthorDevi, Sudeshna
PositionBook review

Udupa, Sahana. Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. xiv + 278 pages. Hardcover, $117.95.

Sahana Udupa's ethnographic work looks at the phenomenon of urban transformation through the prism of commercial news media. Set amidst the growth of the silicon valley of India, namely Bangalore, the book argues for a more nuanced understanding of news media as being an object and an agent in the urbanization of the city. The book is anchored with extensive ethnographic observations and interactions carried out with the major newspapers published in English and Kannada, primarily with the Times of India Group, during the period 2008-2012.

Udupa, a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute with several years of experience as a bilingual journalist in India, makes three crucial arguments in her work. Firstly, she contends that it is imperative to set aside the existing paradigms in the field of media studies, that is, the commodification model as propounded by Sonwalker in 'Murdochization' of the Indian press: from by-line to bottom-line (2002), Thussu in The 'Murdochization' of news? The case of Star TV in India (2007), and Thomas in Political Economy of Communications in India (2010), as well as the democratic resurgence model discussed by Ninan in Headlines From The Heartland: Reinventing the Hindi Public Sphere (2007) and Neyazi in Politics after Vernacularization: Hindi Media and Indian Democracy (2011). Instead, the author proposes that a new framework of desire-visibility is a more compelling model to grasp the complexities of the media scene in this globalizing context. The mediated desire model traverses beyond commodity consumption to new imaginations of civic activism, cultural ascent, social mobility, and the re-imagination of the body and the self. Similarly, the structured visibility model that is used to give space to diverse voices is couched around norms of sociality, cultural values, and political cultures. Udupa states that there is an inherent tension when both these models collude to frame the urban milieu. This tension opens up new possibilities of addressing the issues of space, consumption, and citizenship in liberalizing economies.

Secondly, Udupa argues that a disjunction exists in the framing of news discourse between English-language media and the regional-language media. In fact, Udupa defines Bhasha media as not simply regional language media, but as a...

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