Monthly Archives: June 2008

Why the Indian media does not take on Ambanis

Anand Giridharadas has a lengthy profile of Mukesh Ambani, the bossman of Reliance Industries, in Sunday’s New York Times. As usual, there are a couple of paragraphs on the Ambanis’ messy relationship with the media. “Critics say Reliance has been especially effective at managing the press. [Two] former Reliance executives, who requested anonymity for fear…

A voice, a face, a legend is gone: RIP

Tim Russert, the chubby but stern face of American political journalism, “the greatest political interviewer of our time and maybe all time,” has passed away after a “sudden heart attack”. He was 58. Moderator of the flagship Sunday morning program Meet the Press and the Washington bureau chief of NBC, the proud son of a…

‘Is abusing politicians the nation’s agenda?’

Harinder Baweja of Tehelka buttonholes Rajat Sharma, the editor-in-chief of India TV that sits on top of the heap of Hindi news channels, with its mix of sleaze, superstition, and “a host of other debatable tricks” that has left its seven competitors playing catch up: # TV viewership is like a game of cricket. There…

All the news fit to print, all the booze fit to air?

“NDTV Good Times” is a lifestyle television channel that is the result of a collaboration between India’s leading English language television network NDTV, and India’s leading liquor manufacturer, United Breweries (UB). On the face of it, “NDTV Good Times” may seem like a good idea for M/s Mallya & Roy. For UB, the channel’s name…

Sure, size matters, but does only size matter?

How much smaller can a newspaper sheet get before it becomes a newspaper chit? From 60-inch web presses (the old Wall Street Journal or The Hindu) which generated very wide 15-inch by 22¾ front pages, we have come down to acceptable 54-48 inch web presses which generate 12½ to 13½ inch front pages (New York…

Is all fair dinkum in love, war and football?

Serious sport, George Orwell famously wrote in 1945, has nothing to do with fair play. “It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting” where “the most savage combative instincts are aroused”. The Polish tabloid Super Express…

MEMO: The world is not answerable to the media

Santosh Desai, CEO of Future Brands, in Tehelka: “What if it turns out that there is truth in some of the salacious suggestions made by the media and the family is involved in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder,” asked Barkha Dutt in her [NDTV] show We The People. She was, of course, answered effectively by the Talwars’…

GUARANTEED: 20 ways to kill a newspaper

At the World Association of Newspaper summit, Juan Antonio Giner, vice-president of Innovation, has unveiled a surefire recipe to kill a newspaper. 1. be dull and boring 2. change slowly 3. print yesterday’s news 4. don’t take risks 5. expect different results by doing things the same way 6. insult your readers 7. lie to…

Not the land of the cow, the land of holy cows

The “sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic” of India is fast becoming, if it has not already become, the “notionally sovereign, chauvinistic, parochial, intolerant republic”. Especially from a media point of view. On Sunday, political psychologist Ashis Nandy came under attack from the BJP government of Gujarat for an “opinion” piece blaming the middle class for…

All expenses paid health journalism seminars

PRESS RELEASE: The University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication is calling for applications for its California Health Journalism seminars. The all-expenses-paid program, held in Los Angeles, offers journalists a chance to step away from the newsroom to hone their skills and gain new perspectives on covering health and health care. The deadline for…

‘I don’t envy those who have to follow Murdoch’

Best-selling author Jeffrey Archer on Rupert Murdoch on the NDTV show Walk the Talk, hosted by Indian Express editor in chief, Shekhar Gupta: I know you have your interest in so many things, also in cricket, but also on the fourth estate, the media, for example. What is your view on Murdoch now? Well, Murdoch.…

‘A DISGRACEFUL ASSAULT ON MEDIA FREEDOM’

What is the role of a newspaper in a democratic society? Is it just supposed to reassure us that the sun rose majestically in the east this morning? Is it committing a cardinal sin in reporting that the big fellow may have strayed off his path while we were groggy? Is a newspaper wrong in…