All posts by churumuri

Coffee. Cricket. Crosswords. Movies. Music. Media.

How Hindi newspapers in the “cow belt”, force-multipliers of the BJP in the North, lent wholesale legitimacy to Narendra Modi’s cringe-worthy #9pm9minutes photo-op

Media scholars believe that the rise of newspaper circulation in the “Hindi heartland”, disparagingly known as the cow belt, is concomitant with the rise and growth of the BJP on the back of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement leading to the demolition of the Babri masjid in Ayodhya. Certainly, the reforms of 1991 helped in making…

“We are all in a deep mess. The time has come for every business to press the ‘reset’ button, especially print media”: newspapers and magazines in the age of #GoCoronaGo: going, going, gone?

*** In 1988, Andrew Grove, the founder and former CEO of the American chip-manufacturing giant Intel, wrote a book titled Only the Paranoid Survive, in which he floated the concept of the “strategic inflection point”. “A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change.…

Remember that poignant picture of Nehru and Vinobha Bhave? The Bangalore lensman who shot it, T.L. Ramaswamy, is no more.

T.L. Ramaswamy, the Bangalore photographer who shot the iconic picture of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru with Acharya Vinoba Bhave has passed away, at age 89. The Nehru-Bhave photograph was published first by the Kannada daily Praja Vani, which pays a warm tribute to him on its pages today. “T.L. Ramaswamy was a calm, simple man who…

Even a mad ‘Fox News’ anchor like Tucker Carlson says Coronavirus didn’t happen because the Chinese ate bats. So why do Rahul Kanwal and Vineet Jain want them to eat ‘khichdi’ and ‘papdi chaat’?

Even in the best of times, Indians are never short of sanctimony and self-righteousness but there has been an oversupply of both since the outbreak of #Coronavirus. The virtues of ‘Namaste‘ as a form of greeting—folded hands as opposed to a physical hug or handshake—has been extolled ad nauseam, even briefly inspiring a BJP IT…

“Worst may be yet to come”: As COVID tears the world, ‘Indian Express’ moots 10-30% salary cut for employees, warns of “more sacrifices” if things do not improve

The Coronavirus pandemic is spreading across newsrooms and board rooms battling advertising and revenue shortfall. Below is the full text of the letter sent by Indian Express CEO George Varghese. = Subject: Challenging times = My dear colleagues, my Express family: Before going even a word further, Thank You. To each one of you, across…

Newspaper industry in very real danger of turning “sick”: INS seeks two-year tax holiday after “triple whammy” of Coronavirus, falling ad revenues, and customs duty on newsprint

*** Forever wailing, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has sought a two-year tax holiday from the Union government following the “triple whammy” of #coronavirus, collapsing ad revenues, and customs duty on imported newsprint. In a letter to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, INS president Shailesh Gupta of Dainik Jagran says the newspaper industry is at…

11 sexy front-pages of the French daily ‘Liberation’ which show journalism needn’t be deathly dull even in the time of a raging pandemic

Front pages of newspapers across the world have the same, sombre look and feel in the time of disease and death. Not the French daily Liberation, which continues to keep the shopfront stylish and inviting. The piece de resistance came on the day after Asterix illustrator Uderzo passed away: Obelix carrying Coronavirus.

If you come today, it’s too early. If you come tomorrow, it’s too late. But between that tomorrow and today there will be many tomorrows: Shekhar Gupta meets Dr Raj Kumar with Swami Nityananda watching.

*** It is not widely known that the Kannada movie legend Dr Raj Kumar won only one national award in his long and illustrious career, but it was not for his acting prowess but singing. Dr Raj Kumar won the award in 1993 for his rendition of Nada Maya in Jeevana Chaitra but the Raj…

In the 50th year of her founding, Gopal Raju’s baby ‘India Abroad’ meets a sudden and cruel end

As it is, things were bad for the news media, especially print media. The outbreak of COVID has exacerbated the situation and provided the perfect cover for managers to guillotine publications. From the United States, grim news of the end of ‘India Abroad‘, the voice of ethnic Indians, in the 50th year of its founding.…

How language newspaper owners “advised” Narendra Modi on how to shape his response to COVID, six hours before he announced a 21-day lockdown

Narendra Modi‘s relationship with the news media since becoming prime minister in 2014 has been built on conspicuous contempt and confrontation, but behind the scenes, chummy co-option and cultivation has been a constant endeavour. Modi likes the world to believe he is not bothered with what the “news traders” of the mainstream media say, when…

While the social order collapses spectacularly, HT and TOI open their doors for its political masterminds to expound on their ‘vision for a better tomorrow’, and an ‘action plan’ to get there

*** After 66 months of unbridled ‘Lok Kalyan‘, it might appear to any ordinary mortal with 1MB of common sense that there is not very much new that Narendra Modi has to offer humankind any more—nothing that hasn’t been heard before. Nothing that has not been seen through by voters in Delhi today—or in Jharkhand, or…

Indian journalists have blithely “moved on”, from one spectacle to the next. Their Kashmir counterparts meanwhile continue to battle “appalling conditions”.

The following press release has been issued by Kashmir Press Club on the grim conditions for the functioning of the media in the Valley: Kashmir Press Club on Monday convened an urgent meeting to discuss physical attacks, threats, intimidation being meted out to the journalists in Kashmir by J&K Police. The meeting in which representatives…

When Narendra Modi told an impressionable journalist that his glasses cost only a few hundred rupees; that he wore a simple Indian watch; that he got his clothes stitched from the same tailor each time

After eight, maybe nine, years of carefully coiffured image management, there is nearly nothing about Narendra Modi‘s expensive wardrobe that is debatable. Anybody blessed with even just one functional eye can see that he changes his clothes virtually hour of the day, rarely ever repeating colours. Anybody who can type a question in a search-engine…

Pouting, preening, posing, hinting: how ‘objective’ journalists are voting in the Delhi elections without really ‘reporting’

*** Journalists are human, of course, but nobody works harder than Delhi-based journalists to prove that to the world, especially during festivals like ‘Holi’ when the Twitter timelines of the bold-faced names are plastered with unidentifiable faces. #DelhiElections2020 offered yet another chance to ‘Tweetiyas’ to demonstrate they are just like the rest of humankind, and…

Only ‘The Telegraph’ has the courage to buck the law (and political correctness) to publish the chilling Reuters photo of ‘Rambhakt Gopal’, the “teenager” who shot at Jamia Millia students

*** Delhi Police initially put the age of “Rambhakt Gopal” at 19 before a marks sheet magically produced by a “news agency” showed the gunman who shot at Jamia students as being 17 years old began doing the rounds. That has been sufficient for all but one prominent newspaper to mask the identity of the…

A Hindu bomber detonates the Mangalore ‘bomb’ in the face of Kannada news media. And a newspaper suggests mental tests and medical treatment for the ‘real terrorists’: embedded editors, owners and TV anchors.

Karnataka is the outlier in peninsular India—the only state in the South that the BJP has managed to come to power, by hook and by crook. Twice. There is a plethora of political reasons for this, including caste realignment, but there can be little doubt that the Kannada media has played a hands-on role in…

The curious case of PayTm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s secretary only seems to get curiouser and curiouser. But it’s business as unusual at SoftBank.

The reckless culture at the Japanese venture capital firm SoftBank has attracted global journalistic scrutiny, thanks to the vaporisation of its co-working bet WeWork. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son’s dalliance with the blood-stained Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman for the $100 billion “Vision Fund” which lubricates virtually every big Silicon Valley startup, including Uber, has also…

In America, Jeff Bezos has the First Amendment and the institutions to protect media freedom. How will Amazon’s founder deal with the Narendra Modi regime’s apparent ‘Washington Post’ problem?

Over 67 months, the Narendra Modi government has overtly, covertly and expertly extended the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) of the #GujaratModel—freezing government ads; bringing corporate pressure on owners; filing bogus FIRs; trolling, name-calling; denying access and licenses; getting editors replaced; owners changed, etc—to get mainstream media to toe its line and manufacture consent. Suddenly, it…

Unlike gau-belt newspapers, Tamil and Malayalam newspapers are more sober and less triumphalist on the Ayodhya judgment on their front pages. Kannada is a gone case; Telugu is on the way.

The symbiotic relationship between the Hindi language press and the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, each feeding off the other, has been much documented. Today’s front pages, the day after the Supreme Court delivered its verdict, shines a mirror on it. As opposed to the safe, anodyne headlines of English newspapers, which for the most part are sober,…