Monthly Archives: September 2009

Six questions for Stephen Farrell and NY Times

Tunku Varadarajan, the former foreign correspondent of The Times, London, currently a professor at NYU’s Stern Business School, asks some excellent questions on the abduction and rescue of Stephen Farrell, the “seemingly reckless” New York Times journalist, by the Taliban in Afghanistan, at Forbes.com. 1) Did not Farrell assume the risk of some harm befalling…

For the BJP, is the pen mightier than the trishul?

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: Four months after the “nasty jolt” in the 2009 general election (RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat‘s description), the BJP continues to be in a flap over the role of “friendly journalists” in its defeat—and after. Twice the party’s resident intellectual “for all matters requiring an IQ of 60”, Arun Shourie…

Speak out. Sign the petition. Free Maziar Bahari.

Newsweek contributor Maziar Bahari, a 42-year-old awaiting the birth of his first child, has just spent his 81st night in solitary confinement in Iran. Ahead of Iranian President Ahmadinejad‘s visit to the United States, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham makes a plea for Bahari’s freedom in The New York Times: “If Iran wants to be taken…

The difference between 386 and 23 is 363 words

How does the mainstream English media in India report the alleged transgressions of one of its own? S.N.M. Abdi, the Calcutta-based journalist who broke the “Bhagalpur Blindings” story in 1979-80 (in which police blinded 31 undertrials by pouring acid into their eyes) for M.J. Akbar‘s Sunday magazine, and now works for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Hong…

Who, why, when, how, where, what, what the…

The new, redesigned Newsweek has had plenty of what can only be mildly termed “negative fan following”. The designer Juan Antonio Giner wrote recently that it was time to “forget Newsweek“. “It’s irrelevant. Awful design. Cheap opinions. No reporting. No news. No quality. No necessary content. And… a newsroom of hundreds. For what? Fat newsroom…

Arun Shourie: ‘Intolerant. Abusive. Dictatorial.’

Shoma Chaudhury, the executive editor of Tehelka, does a much-required re-examination of Arun Shourie, the former editor of the Indian Express, who occupies an “adumbral position between liberal knight, self-righteous crusader and unselfconscious fascist”, in the context of a recent interview with his protege, Shekhar Gupta. “Shourie joined the Indian Express as executive editor in…

‘How can you say it better in your own style?’

James Thurber, the legendary New Yorker writer-cartoonist, in a 1959 memo on editing: “Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counseling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, “How can I help this writer to say it better…

Loans at low interest rates for photographers

It takes some chutzpah for a bank to utter the word “integrity” in the august company of AIG, Lehman Brothers, Merill Lynch and Goldman Sachs. The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) does so, but surprisingly uses the stout shoulders of the paparazzi to tell the world that it has it.

If imitation is the best form of flattery…

India’s annual sports awards ceremony, held every year on August 30 in the precincts of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, can be a yawn-inducing affair. The same speeches, the same categories, the same…. A reporter of the tabloid Mail Today decides to match the boredom with the same lead paragraphs. At left, is the…

Around 2.40 pm, Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Screenshots of four English news channels (NDTV, CNN-IBN, Times Now, News X) and four Telugu news channels (Saakshi, TV9, TV5, Gemini News), around 2.40 pm on the day the Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajashekhara Reddy‘s helicopter went missing. The top screen proclaiming the missing chief minister “safe” is of Saakshi, the channel owned by…

Any resemblance between mastead & headline…

Any resemblance between the masthead of the newspaper and the headline of the news item is purely coincidental and wholly unintended. A screenshot of the homepage of the Bombay newspaper DNA (Daily News & Analysis) reporting the latest developments in the special court on the November 26 siege of India’s business, film, advertising and media…

Prisoners without a name, cells without a number

Outlook special correspondent Amba Batra Bakshi and Indian Express principal photographer Renuka Puri join hands to bring home the life and lives of the women behind the walls of the largest complex of prisons in South Asia, Tihar. *Also read: Prisoner without a name, cell without a number Tehelka: Hard time tales Business Standard: Life…