Television is often faulted for being superficial and in-the-moment. But that may be changing.
A CNN-IBN 'Special Investigation' I happened to see last night is one great example of how television can tell you a story like no other medium. Iram Mirza followed the 'charas trail' in Himachal Pradesh. Or hash/ ganja/ marijuana/cannabis - whatever you prefer to call it.
Posing as an Australian tourist, she takes a trip into the Parvati valley, where over 3000 acres of land is under 'cultivation'. Where hundreds of locals sit all day rolling charas in a Rs 600 crore trade controlled by Israeli and Italian mafia.
A decent quality hidden camera captured a lot of interesting insights into the trade. I guess I found it all the more intriguing because I've been fascinated by this whole Israelis-in-India phenomenon for a while.
After sealing a deal to buy 40 kgs of charas for Rs 18 lakhs - and capturing it all on tape - Iram and team scooted off. Apparently pictures of her were then circulated around the valley to warn everyone about the 'journalist on the prowl'.
It will be some time before anyone 'Indian looking' is admitted into these psudo-spiritual drug communes. Which is probably just as well - for both the hippie crowd and the locals. Because as long as 'they' keep to themselves - as in Goa, where they populate distant beaches - the police and local officials will accept bribes and turn a blind eye to the activity.
Besides, both Himachal and Goa need these tourists.
In any case, cannabis is not cocaine - there are different points of view on its usage. While most countries still classify it as a drug, it's legal in Amsterdam. Which is where much of the stuff is headed.
Given that a gram of charas which costs Rs 25 to produce in Himachal sells for Rs 3000 in Holland, nothing is likely to change. A couple of fields will be burnt to show 'some action' has been taken while the acres and acres continue to flourish in the distant, upper reaches.
Still, it was a a fascinating peek into a hidden world. And I now know India is famous not just for its Darjeeling tea and basmati rice, but 'Malana cream'...
Here's looking to more stories - from all news channels - which go beyond the moment. Resources are hardly a problem for most of these publicly listed companies. It's about giving enough time - and a mandate - to your reporters.