Indian newspapers, television, magazines all seem to have unanimously decided that the attention span of the time-strapped reader and viewer has shrunk so much that stories should end before they begin.
So, is there place for long-form journalism, where every reporter and writer is potentially a short story writer, which Robert Benchley described magnificently in a 1925 New Yorker essay: “Up the dark stairs in a shabby house plodded a bent, weary figure”?
Yes, says Sandipan Deb, the editorial head of the newly launched magazine division of the Rs 14,000 crore RPG group which aims to bring out six magazines by 2010. The first one is due out in October this year, and Deb gives Mint a snapshot of what the flagship is going to look like:
“It’ll be a cross between the Time magazine and The New Yorker. The brief is to bring out a weekly free-thinking magazine. Our target audience is the discerning reader, who is well travelled and well-read, who enjoys reading the best global publications, and has the time and taste for good reading.”
Read the full interview here: ‘There are no second chances in publication’
Photograph: courtesy Mint
Yes, India is ready and eager!
India is ready, eager and a bit wary perhaps? Can we have a magazine which does not imitate? Can we have a magazine which emerges from our critical tradition (arguably, if there is only one!) . There are fantastic writers and journals in some of our languages, can we look to them for inspiration and for authorship even? Can we in turn give those authors a platform too? That would make it a truly Indian magazine. The Little Magazine is somewhat like that, not strictly journalism, but new writing.
So, can we?
This “eagerness” of the Indian reader has always been fostered by an intuitive ambition to promenade through the hitherto unknown, to unravel the mysteries of those occult realms, and of course to pass time qualitatively imbibing the various truths that this world has to offer. India’s populace has been always been liberal to long-form literature, especially when the content has had a desi feel, which would assist the reader in relating to whatever was being read. Such a strategy, if deployed, will garner resounding success from all quarters. It however remains to be seen whether the “time-strapped” reader would be receptive to such a campaign. It could be a mixed bag that is in the offing for the very respectable Sandipan Deb.
I think, such magazine, will get takers from a special section of country and definetely take time to get huge success.