Monthly Archives: January 2010

A columnist more ‘powerful’ than all media pros

There are 12 media professionals—proprietors, promoters, publishers, editors—in the Indian Express list of the 100 most powerful Indians in 2010, but an irregular columnist is listed to be more powerful than all of them. The quirky list, which makes no mention of the methodology or the jury, has two newcomers from the 2009 list—columnist Arun…

Is a bank not allowed to change its newspaper?

PRESS RELEASE: “T. Venkattram Reddy, president, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), strongly condemns the direction issued vide a circular dated 15 December 2009  by the deputy general manager (P&E) of the Kerala State Co-operative Bank Limited, Kerala, to all senior managers of the bank directing the branch offices of the bank to stop subscription of…

Sports writing, statistically full of shit?

Sports writing has been ranked the No.1 “statistically full-of-shit profession” by Cracked magazine. In other words, the so-called “expertise” of sports writers amounts to little more than a shot in the goddamn dark. And they have the numbers to back their claim. “An actual study on sportswriters’ ability to predict college and national football league…

Deloitte: micropayment will be all bark, no bite

The global consulting firm Deloitte has released its predictions for the media sector in 2010. Deloitte India’s media leader Ashesh Jani says, “there will be ongoing challenges for the newspaper and magazine industry, which will continue to threaten to charge readers for online content but that talk is unlikely to be matched by significant action.”…

There are two types of journos in the world…

Robert Thompson, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, in The Australian: “It is becoming clear that there are two personality types in the world of content: the creators and the reverberators. The latter group is merely an editorial echo chamber: the noise is sometimes interesting, but they are neither composers nor musicians. “If we…

How a newspaper welcomed the new republic

The front page of the Bangalore newspaper Deccan Herald 60 years ago, on 26 January 1950, the day India became a republic. Launched in 1948, the paper was then edited by the legendary Pothan Joseph, who, besides editing The Dawn when it was started in Delhi by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, also had a role to…

Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria gets Padma Bhushan

Fareed Zakaria, the Bombay-born editor of Newsweek International and the host of CNN’s GPS, has been decorated with India’s third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan. Zakaria’s name finds mention in the annual Republic Day honours’ list released by the ministry of home affairs. Zakaria, whose mother Fatma Zakaria was one of the stellar names…

Was this man the Father of Advertising?

Charles Babbage is seen as the father of computers. Vinton G. Cerf is seen as the father of the internet. Norman Borlaug is seen as the father of the green revolution. Who is the Father of Advertising? Emperor Ashoka who lived 2,200 years ago, says Prof A.V. Narasimha Murthy, former professor of ancient history and…

What Kerala journos do at Arundhati Roy presser

“God’s Own Country”—copywriters’ Kerala—has become out of bounds for lovers at the hands of stentorian moral policemen. Rightwing mobs prevent (adult) Hindu women from going out with (adult) Muslim men. Leftwing mobs pull out (adult) Congress men having a good time with (adult) women. Paul Zacharia who has written and spoken against those he considers…

A ‘relook’ at relooking at Jyoti Basu’s Bengal?

Amid the torrent of unctuous praise raining on the communist leader Jyoti Basu, Business Standard had a sharp piece by the former Pioneer journalist Kanchan Gupta on Saturday, 16 January, on its op-ed pages. “Had it been Jyoti Banerjee lying unattended in a filthy general ward of SSKM Hospital in Kolkata and not Jyoti Basu…

How Jyoti Basu saved a journalist’s job

The veteran Indian communist leader Jyoti Basu has passed away at the age of 95. In The Telegraph, Calcutta, special correspondent Barun Ghosh recounts how India’s longest serving chief minister helped him keep his job at the newspaper, 25 years ago. “The rain hadn’t stopped falling that July ’84 morning and I reached Writers’ Buildings…

A garland and a platter of fruits on turning 90

The veteran Kannada journalist Patil Puttappa is felicitated by Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa on turning 90, in his hometown, Hubli, on Sunday, 17 January 2010. For a language whose journalism only goes back to 1840, Dr Puttappa is a pioneer and still a rare one at that. “PaaPu”, as he is more affectionately known,…

Hit and Rann: ‘I want to expose the media’

A television promo for the next Amitabh Bachchan starrer Rann, a movie “about the highly competitive world of television news reporting in India“. Directed by the maverick Ram Gopal Varma, Rann is reportedly an insider’s account of how TRP-thirsty news channels manipulate and sensationalise stories. “I am going to expose the media in this film…

The story of 3,285 days in 2 min and 92 covers

The American Society of Magazine Editors and the Magazine Publishers of America video of the “first decade” of the 21st century—through magazine covers. Sadly, the last year of the decade isn’t counted, since the first decade formally ends on 31 December 2010. Link courtesy Jim Romenesko

Letter-writer secures win against top judge

Forty-two years ago, textile trader Subhash Chandra Agarwal, then an  engineering student, was miffed with a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus conductor who refused to give him a ticket for a 20 paise journey. So, he shot off a letter to the editor of the Hindi daily Dainik Hindustan complaining about the misconduct. “When the…

When editor makes way for editor, gracefully

The change of editorship at Indian publications is (usually) a graceless cloak-and-dagger affair, done in the dead of night after the janitors have left the building. Media consumers are rarely ever told why the helmsman has left or why a new one has come in, especially when there is a cloud shrouding the midnight operation.…