Monthly Archives: September 2007

TV’s unsung heroes. (To be continued…)

So you think television is all about slickly coiffured anchors with thickly accented voices sitting in airconditioned studios?  So you think Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt are the stars? Well, keep thinking. The stories and images that have gripped Indian television in recent weeks have all come from small towns, from little known stringers, with…

‘Dear Sir, I’m from Patna. I’ve 40 stings with me’

CNN’s policy guidelines on “sting” operations are clear. The information or evidence to be gathered by a hidden camera should significantly contribute to a story that is of substantial value to society or of vital public interest. The expectation of illegal behaviour or wrongdoing should be strong. Before using a hidden camera a journalist must…

The media moguls in the life of a communist

Tehelka executive editor Sankarshan Thakur has a compelling profile of Prakash Karat, the bossman of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), who has been breathing fire and brimstone at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the proposed Indo-US nuclear deal, in the latest issue. The sketch is interesting for one other reason: the role two major…

A journo who knows about Osama than CIA

He travelled to 12 countries, interviewed more than 600 people, and compiled about 82 legal pads—about 4,600 pages —of handwritten notes. He has met Osama bin Laden’s first wife, Najua. He has interviewed Osama’s second-in-command Ayman al Zawahiri. No wonder “The Looming Tower, Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11” (Vintage paperback) won this year’s…

God’s detractor-in-chief gets a makeover

America’s premier magazines have probably decided that the battle with the Great Editor upstairs is getting a little too ugly. And they are giving two very unlikely ones at the forefront of the battle in different ways, a “complete makeover”. Christopher Hitchens, no doubt spaced out after taking on God, gets an “executive destress treatment”…

D’oh! The most powerful dude in Springfield

Rupert Murdoch tops Vanity Fair‘s annual power ranking once again this year. The New York Times‘ Arthur Sulzberger is at No. 93, NYT foreign affairs columnist Thomas L. Friedman is more powerful at No. 78. “Murdoch fulfilled a long-held ambition to own The Wall Street Journal after making a stunning, cunning, $5 billion offer for…

Don’t look a gift-horse in the mouth. Unless…

Can an advertising agency create alluring ads for cigarettes knowing fully well the dangers of tobacco consumption? Can a public relations agency spin positive stuff about a big brand company that uses sweatshops with terrible working conditions? Can an image consultant sing hosannas in praise of a petroleum bossman presiding over the destruction of the…

Five myths about young readers—debunked

The South African Beeld publishes JIP, a weekly insert for the youth. Gavin Rheeder, Marketing Communications Manager, debunks five myths about young readership. 1. The youth is homoegenous 2. The youth don’t read 3. The youth don’t like newspapers 4. The youth want soft issues 5. The youth want slang Read the full story: 5…

Q: How far should a journo go to get a scoop?

Answer: Don’t ask the daughter of India’s biggest magazine group. India’s television channels have very nearly blurred the distinction between the labels “live”, “flash”, “update” and “breaking news” by using them for virtually anything and sometimes all of them at the same time. (In fact, the India TV channel actually has a helpful daily half-hour…

‘Gentlemen, thank you for coming out’

He is the one-man army targetting Capitol Hill from his apartment in North West Wasshington, D.C. His technique has been called “odious”, “outrageous” and “over the line”. To some he is a hero, a muckraker; to others, he is a pariah. Some say receiving a call from him is like receiving a call from Satan…

‘A media politically free but chained by profit’

The following is the full text of the acceptance speech made by PALAGUMMI SAINATH, the rural affairs editor of The Hindu, while accepting the 2007 Ramon Magsaysay Award in the Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication category for his “passionate commitment as a journalist to restore the rural poor to India’s national consciouness” in Manila, on…

Seven uses of having a readers’ editor

ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Madras: An ombudsman is still not a fixture in most Indian newsrooms largely because editors are very reluctant to cede some of their powers, real and imagined. The Hindu is one of the few papers that has had a readers’ editor for some time and, in today’s column, K. Narayanan lists…