Monthly Archives: April 2009

Understanding the Susan Boyle phenomenon

One hundred million views on YouTube later, Richard Gizbert, host of Al Jazeera‘s media show Listening Post, declares that the Susan Boyle phenomenon was “no car crash, but no accident either.” Also read: The 10 craziest things about Susan Boylemania Advertisements

The Scoreline: different strokes for different folks

The second season of Indian Premier League (IPL), the shotgun wedding of cricket, cinema, celebrity, cheesecake, and commerce, is now into its second week in South Africa, but its influence is alrady being felt not just on the way cricket is played but on the way cricket is covered on the sports pages. The table,…

‘Indian media’s bias ominous for democracy’

New York City-based human rights and media activist Partha Banerjee, in Counter Currents, detects an eerie similarity behind “the media-supported rise of Rahul Gandhi” as the next potential prime minister of India and the rise of Rajiv Gandhi and his brother Sanjay: “I must say I’m frustrated to see the rampant bias in favour of…

Prime Minister, maybe, but not a very good sub

Indian prime minister hopeful, L.K. Advani, prides himself as a former journalist, having worked at the journal Organiser, published by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), where for seven years he wrote film reviews. Former Mid-Day editor Aakar Patel uses Advani’s memoirs My country, My life to assess the man credited with the “when-asked-to-bend, the-Indian-media-crawled” quote…

Why media must not rush to report FIR in rapes

On the face of it, a First Information Report (FIR) may be a public document which can be obtained from the concerned magistrate. And once a judicial trial begins, the FIR and the evidence of the witnesses comes within the public domain as the judicial proceedings are open to the public. However, this is not…

‘Stifling speech is a losing strategy with bloggers’

Salil Tripathi in the Far Eastern Economic Review: “Most Indian businesses are growing accustomed to criticism from bloggers. Yet there are still some that, instead of mounting a PR offensive, send in their lawyers and try to stifle speech on the Internet. What they’re finding is that this approach is counterproductive—they may succeed in silencing…

8,909 letters in 304 publications, and counting

New Delhi-based chartered accountant Mahesh Kapasi reports that his name appears on page 71 of the 2009 edition of the Limca Book of Records for the third most number of letters to the editor published: 8,909 letters in 304 newspapers and magazines since 1974. Of these 3,411 letters have appeared in multi-city editions and 2,885…

Nobody can accuse BBC of parachute journalism

A team of 40 BBC journalists from 12 languages began an 18-day tour of India on a special train on Saturday to cover the ongoing Indian elections. The journalists will visit Ahmedabad, Bombay, Patna, Calcutta, Bhubaneswar, Allahabad and Hyderabad. Here, BBC assignment editor Mark Perrow flags off the journey for the cameras. Photograph: courtesy Rajeev…

How the Indian media covered the 2009 poll

Blogs, internet chats, Jaago Re, Jai Ho!, Lead India, microsites, rock concerts, TV commercials… The 2009 general election has not been short of media noise. But has it really spurred youngsters to shut up and vote? Or is it all blather and brand building with an embedded social message? Meenakshi Ravi of Al Jazeera‘s media…

Pyramid Saimira, Tatva & Times Private Treaties

SHARANYA KANVILKAR writes from Bombay: A nice little question mark hangs over Times Private Treaties, the controversial investment arm of The Times of India group, after India’s stock market regular yesterday barred 230 persons/entities from dealing in the securities market following their “prima facie” involvement in a forgery scam involving Pyramid Saimira Theatre Limited, an…

Is Indian media in denial on Indian recession?

P. Sainath, the Magsaysay Award-winning rural affairs editor of The Hindu, writes in today’s paper: “At least two major newspapers have informed their desks that the word “recession” is not to be used in connection with India. Recession is something that happens in the United States, not here. The word stands exiled from the editorial…

‘FIR is not a license to titillate or sensationalise’

Eight women’s groups protested before the headquarters of The Times of India group in Bombay on Saturday, accusing the tabloid Mumbai Mirror of sensationalising the story of a rape victim and violating her right to privacy. The tabloid, ironically edited by a woman (Meenal Baghel), had published in entirety the statement made by the victim…

‘The media is as guilty of neglect as politicians’

Is the Indian media as guilty as those in the Indian polity in the “neglect” of the country it covers (and uncovers)? At least two well-known journalists, from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum,  seem to think so. Kalpana Sharma, formerly of The Hindu, writes on the media website, The Hoot: “Elections are a time…

Blogger breaks into India’s most powerful list

Businessweek magazine has compiled its latest list of the “50 Most Powerful People in India”. There are four media people on it—a pioneer-entrepreneur who founded an advertising agency, a software company and an internet portal; a publisher who inherited the world’s biggest selling English language newspaper; a writer who founded a pathbreaking webzine turned magazine—and…

‘Good reporters don’t have friends, only sources’

From The Atlantic magazine’s review of the Russell Crowe-Ben Affleck-Helen Mirren starrer State of Play, releasing today, April 17: “The problem with journalism—and with journalism movies—is that getting the story isn’t the same thing as getting the girl, or getting the bad guy.  You file a story, and if you’re very, very lucky, and have…

Is Barack Obama an Indian politician in drag?

Not AIDS, not DRTB, not even XDRTB. Blaming the messenger/ blaming the media is the fastest growing pandemic, and US president Barack Obama too seems to have succumbed to it. Well, at least that’s what The Economic Times suggests in its headline “Obama blames 24-hour news cycle for US woes“. “For too long, too many…

Outlook cartoonist bags Maya Kamath award

Sandeep Adhwaryu, the chief illustrator of Outlook magazine, has bagged the first prize in the first “Maya Kamath Memorial Award for excellence in cartooning-2008”, organized by the Indian Institute of Cartoonists, Bangalore. This was the winning entry: The award carries a cash prize of Rs 25,000. The award is in memory of Maya Kamath, India’s…

‘A grammar book by grammatical incompetents’

April 16, 2009, marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Elements of Style, the landmark book by William Strunk and E.B. White. In The Chronicle Review, Geoffrey K. Pullum, a professor of linguistics and English language at the University of Edinburgh, uses the occasion to stick a long, deep, and well honed knife…

New magazine looking for education reporters

Careers360, the newly launched career monthly, is looking for reporters in Bombay and Delhi, with a flair for writing, a nose for data and numbers, a panache for accuracy, and an unwavering commitment to education. If you think you fit the bill, send a resume with samples of writing, if any, to publisher Mahesh Peri.…

A small warning to the photo thieves of the world

Sourcing photographs was a donkey’s job in the “good old days”. The digital era has made it infinitely easier, of course, but it has made it even more easy for news organisations—newspapers, magazines, websites, TV stations—violating copyright laws to be caught and shamed. NISHANT RATNAKAR alerts us to a Flickr group called Indian Copyright Laws…