Category Archives: A bit of fun

Even half a front page of ‘The Times of India’ is enough to underline the distinction between editorial and advertisement, truth and hype

News is something, somebody somewhere doesn’t want you to put out. All the rest is advertising. That is the broad gist of a quote famously attributed to the legendary Bihar-born columnist and writer, George Orwell. Although it could be William Randolph Hearst who said it. Or Lord Northcliffe. Or maybe even Katherine Graham. The truth…

‘Dus hazaar tadtadate toofan’: Tintin, the Boy Reporter, was like Superman and James Bond, a status quoist, an apologist for hegemony

Uddalok Mukherjee makes a ‘defamatory’ attack on everybody’s favourite journalist, the “world’s most underworked, overexposed reporter”. “Journalists should not emulate Tintin. He is rarely seen filing copies; he is even casual about deadlines. He is arguably a poodle too; he is a pet of the establishment…. “The Boy Reporter’s acquaintances were a mixed bunch of…

How newspapers prepared Rajasthan fast bowler to get his deliveries right—and he has 50 wickets this season to show

Karnataka is playing Rajasthan in the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy in Bangalore. The Hindu has a feature on Rajasthan’s left-arm seam bowler, Tanveer Ul-Haq, who has bagged 50 wickets this season. Tanveer, 27, worked as car mechanic and then as a newspaper delivery boy before a life in cricket beckoned him: “I worked as…

In the tragedy of errors that is Rafale and CBI, former Press Council chief Markandey Katju provides all the comedy, with 48 tweets in four days

A somewhat comical, even if self-serving, side play in the Narendra Modi government’s brazen (and thus far successful) attempts to fool the Supreme Court—not once, but twice—in #Rafale and #CBI, have been the interjections of Justice Markandey Katju*. Justice Katju has tweeted 48 times on or around the “transfer” of CBI director Alok Varma by…

“Headline management”, which Arun Shourie said was the Modi government’s USP, is now faster, vaster, insidious—and real time

During the previous Congress-led UPA government, it was widely rumoured that a non-Hindi speaking Union minister was so mixed up with one English TV news channel that he routinely telephoned his favourite anchor or the “PCR” (production control room) to correct or dictate the “news ticker”. It hasn’t changed much during the BJP-led NDA government,…

Why is BCCI rolling out the red carpet to one “ultra-friendly English news channel”—India Today TV if you really want to know its name?

Girilal Jain, the late editor of The Times of India, used to say that, in India, politics sets the pace and everything else follows in its wake. So, just like some news channels are completely in the thrall of some political parties, some news channels are also the go-to stations for cricket bosses. After the…

NDTV’s Prannoy Roy ‘Sir’ is the kind of generous teacher those aspiring to join Morgan Stanley should get

Every new year, Ruchir Sharma, the precocious Morgan Stanley banker sits down with NDTV’s Prannoy Royfor one hour of ad-free programming, in which he makes predictions for the year ahead. It is first-class television: calm, clean, chummy, insightful—and fun. The “Limousine Liberals”—Sharma gives a bunch of journalists and pollsters a 7-star ride before every major…

‘Deccan Chronicle’ says TOI is stealing its ads!

  Nothing is impossible in the merry world of Indian journalism. Big newspapers (and magazines) flick stories from small ones without as much as acknowledgement. Big TV stations conduct whole debates on issues first flagged by newspapers (and magazines) without so much as a by-your-leave. But at least there’s a word for it: plagiarism. What’s…

When salary isn’t commensurate with circulation

The latest issue of Caravan magazine has more than just the story of former Indian Express editor-in-chief, Shekhar Gupta. There is a fine profile of Eenadu bossman Ramoji Rao, and there are interesting numbers in a data analysis of the big newspapers by howindialives.com. One of the charts (above) in the latter story is how…

18 factoids in ‘Caravan’ profile of Shekhar Gupta

The December “media issue” of Caravan magazine has a 20-page profile of former Indian Express editor-in-chief and shortlived India Today editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta. Authored by Krishn Kaushik, the profile is titled “Capital Reporter”, with the strapline “How profit and principle shaped the journalism of Shekhar Gupta”. *** # The son of a minor bureaucrat from…

Why NaMo shouldn’t take media on foreign trips

As Indian journalists come to terms with a Narendra Modi dispensation that doesn’t want to court them or take them on foreign junkets, K.P. Nayar, the former Washington correspondent of The Telegraph, Calcutta, writes that the US administration is no better. Each correspondent who accompanied US president Barack Obama on his trip to India had…

The hottest reporters covering the World Cup*

The Times of India fills a vital blank in the public discourse: the hottest reporters covering the football World Cup in Brazil— Ines Sainz and Vanessa Huppenkothen. * Search engine optimisation techniques shamelessly at work *** Raveen Tandon as Shobha De: Glamourous, sexy, brainy, seductive Look, who wants to play Christiane Amanpour: Kareena Kapoor Will…

The scoop interview that didn’t see light of day

Reporters look as if they have been stabbed in the back, as if the world as they knew it has come to an end, when their favourite stories and hobby horses are stopped in their tracks by those godawful editors who have “never been in the field” unlike the only Indian living editor who has…

How to pass IAS: read newspapers & magazines

Munish Sharma, a Delhi biochemist turned MBA, has stood second in the Union public service commission (UPSC) exams. He doffs his hat for his success not to textbooks, but to newspapers: “I did not study too much, just read The Hindu newspaper word to word. I loved it. “I read the newspaper, I wrote the…

Mid-cap stock picks for journalists and editors

Although integrity is not exactly rocketing skywards in the Indian media, declaration of assets is anathema to most journalists. The Editors Guild of India (EGI) has periodically tried to bring up the issue but in vain. So, honesty and accountability is a largely voluntary affair. How heartwarming, therefore, that the maverick business journalist Swaminathan S.…

The house that Raj Rewal built for a TOI editor

The national gallery of modern art (NGMA) in the capital is playing host to an exhibition by the architect Raj Rewal. And among the many works on display is Rewal’s design for the residence of the former editor of The Times of India, Sham Lal in New Delhi’s Gulmohar Park area. A true man of…

When Union ministers date journalists, it’s news?

From Buzzword, the gossip column of The Sunday Guardian: There’s more sleaze in Congress cupboard Congress leaders are in a state of shock over revelations on Digvijay Singh‘s secret love life with a married TV journalist. They are worried that more such skeletons will tumble out of their leaders’ cupboards. There are indications that BJP…

Why Shobhana Bhartia was late for PM’s breakfast

As is only to be expected, a number of journalists figure in former Economic Times, Times of India and Financial Express journalist Sanjaya Baru‘s book ‘The Accidental Prime Minister‘ (Penguin), on his days as the PM’s media advisor. But a few publishers and head honchos do too, including Prannoy Roy of NDTV, Samir Jain of…