Once upon a time in the land of Indial, an exposé left many major media houses reeling. Letters were released showing how favourable opinion could be bought in exchange of an ‘official’ status costing a few crores. Many correlations were found between the intensity and the nature of newspaper reports and the awarding of contracts to a kinda-significant, large-ish gaming event of the time - the Uncommonwealth Games.
Left with no option (and being unable to tell correlation from causation), the media houses came together to save their profession and published a policy document, which is reproduced below:
Joint circular by the Pressing Council of Indial
Guiding Principles: Transparency, Honesty, Truth and a little Revenue through Service and Technology
Slogan: Don’t be very evil
In view of recent public outrage due to activities of leading newspapers like the Timers of Indial, Hindustani Timmies and the rest, we have decided to restructure some of our policies based on our guiding principles. We hope this will bring credibility back to the profession while keeping the gravitational pull on our money sacks undisturbed.
1. Transparency: Starting today, newspapers will be officially selling the official tag for events. Yes, now businesses and common people can have official papers for their tournaments, music shows, weddings and thread ceremonies.
In exchange, nice stuff will be written about the events and their officials (official officials?). This service comes in different packages of single article, editorial and all-out sucking up.
2. Honesty: To make it clearer to the undiscerning public, media companies who lose out on the 'official' race will now have to mention 'It sucks balls that we're not official' before writing anything negative about the event they lost out on. We feel that this is a step in the right direction for the world of advertorials and will also lead to a chuckle or two.
3. Truth and a little revenue: Advertisers will no longer be able to buy adspace in newspapers because there won't be any. In fact they will no longer be called advertisers, but ‘new editors’. The new-look newspaper will simply be filled with a large number of articles, as newspapers should be. If ‘editors’ write their opinion, are we not being truthful? We think so too. [Exception: Point 2 above].
Note: We have no intention of adding a ‘sponsored by…’ tag, as we believe we are well within the limits of our slogan without doing so.
4. Service: Since advertisements will no longer exist, even if companies are launching their products, they will have to come up with articles which will be reviewed and published for a small fee. Newspapers can even write some on behalf of the new editors. Please find enclosed with this document examples of articles. [1. Automobiles - 'Tartar Micro car saves the life of thousands'; 2. FMCG - 'Coldgates toothpaste proven to create uncontrollable pining in the opposite sex').
5. Technology: We will upgrade our website so that it no longer uses crappy text animation, MS Paint logos and frames (seriously, we still use frames). We promise.
As one of the pillars of democracy, it is our duty to pretend that we are responsible. Therefore we have spent time and money in issuing this circular. We are confident that these steps will help restore public opinion in our favour.
And if that doesn't work, we'll just have to use our influence to change it.
Oddly, something similar is starting up in the real word. Who’d have thunk?