Category Archives: Advertising

“Great journalist. Impeccable journalist. Philantropist. Philosopher. Man of principles. Khadi-dhari”: a requiem for a reporter

An obituary advertisement in the Bangalore newspaper Deccan Herald on 19 September 2020, to mark the birth centenary of its former chief reporter, Y.K. Raja Gopal. “Great journalist. Impeccable journalist. Beloved brother. Philantropist. Philosopher. Man of principles. Khadi-dhari” How many of today’s reporters, editors—and so-called “reporters’ editors”—will be remembered with these adjectives on their birth…

45 years after Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, ‘The Hindu’ publishes an ad announcing the death of media in Delhi, in 2020, under Narendra Modi

When Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency in June 1975, a young journalist took out a 22-word classified advertisement in The Times of India in Bombay. It read: “O’Cracy, D.E.M., beloved husband of T. Ruth, loving father of L.I. Bertie, brother of Faith, Hope and Justicia, died on June 26.” The journalist was Ashok Mahadevan, then…

Everybody in the media loves a good sop from the government in the time of #Coronavirus. (Sorry about exhorting the State to let “market forces” do their job in happier times.)

Since its publication in 1996, the title of the journalist P.Sainath‘s book Everybody loves a good drought has been ready fallback for sub-editors stuck for a headline. (A lot like the movie title The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.) #Coronavirus is as good a time as any to doff the mask to Sainath’s book which,…

‘Raavali Jagan, Kaavali Jagan’: 14 pages in today’s ‘Sakshi’ on its owner Jagan Reddy and his rival Chandrababu Naidu prove the old adage: freedom of the press belongs to the politician who owns one

The model code of conduct of the Election Commission of India has been mostly reduced to a joke by pliant officers, cunning chartered accounts, and contemptuous politicians cocking a snook at the fundamental decency of democracy. It is most evident in the manner among political parties and politicians which own media as India heads into…

“If we don’t have the facts, we don’t print the news”: Four big newspaper groups with 12 titles between them join hands to show the power of print journalism

Indian media houses rarely see eye to eye except when their shared commercial pursuits are in peril: like foreign direct investment (FDI) in newspapers, or the goods and services tax (GST) on newsprint, or wage board recommendations eating into their bottomline. For a change, as elections loom and the fake factories start whirring into motion, The…

74 full-page advertisements in 3 English newspapers over 6 days: Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal show how media silence can be bought before an election by the square centimetre

*** Fact: government advertising is what sustains “free media” in India, and pulling back government ads is standard operating procedure. Fact: the government was the biggest advertiser in print and on television before the 2014 elections, overtaking FMCG, automotive, etc. *** Still, it takes the breath away to see the quantum of public money being…

Who does India trust as a news media promoter—Anil Ambani or Mukesh Ambani? Republic Day will reveal as #FirstPostPrint makes its debut.

India’s richest family, the Ambanis, have had a long and tortuous tryst with the media. The subject of well-deserved scrutiny for their less-than-clean methods when India still had a moral compass, they have been media promoters, off and on, with mixed success, in post-liberalised times. But for the most part, the Ambanis have been seen…

‘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 your paper has six mastheads, it’s news

It isn’t everyday that the front page of your newspaper also sports the mastheads of other newspapers, but this is how the front-page of the Hindustan Times looks today, as it announces an advertising tieup with the Ananda Bazaar Patrika group in Calcutta and the Hindu group in Madras. A bunch of advertisers—Amul, Britannia, Fortune…

Are government ads distorting media freedom?

Swapan Dasgupta in The Telegraph, Calcutta: “The national capital boasts a multitude of daily newspapers in different languages. On my part, I subscribe to seven dailies and one is delivered to me free of charge. This Wednesday, which happened to be a public holiday on account of Janmashtami, I perused all eight of these Delhi…

Sex, godman & a very hard product placement

Long years ago, when the divide between church and state was better protected in journalism and the business side had no inkling what was happening on the other side, the editors at Time magazine ran an interview with Mother Teresa with the quote-headline, “I’m just a pencil in the hand of god.” When the issue…

If The Economist looks at Tamil Nadu, it’s news?

In a bleak advertising scenario, Indian magazines have been pushed into running cheap and ugly advertisements, advertorials, and other intrusions dressed up as thinly disguised “innovations”, like a bit of editorial here for an ad elsewhere, to keep the ship afloat. But The Economist, too? The latest issue of the “newspaper” (as the magazine calls…

ʎlısɐǝ sıɥʇ pɐǝɹ plnoɔ noʎ ɟı ‘suoıʇɐlnʇɐɹƃuoɔ*

Since its sesquicentennial 25 years ago, under bossman Samir Jain’s helmsmanship, The Times of India has pioneered several editorial and marketing “initiatives”, all of which are scorned at first by the competition and then quietly copied. On the eve of its dodransbicentennial, after brother Vineet Jain told The New Yorker last year that he was…

‘3 out of 4 women’s mags are bought by men’?

On international women’s day, the newspapers are replete with advertisements and supplements marking the occasion. Rajya Sabha TV, however, takes the cake with an advertisement (above) in most newspapers that shows the faces of all 42 women employees of the channel, from peon to boss, from reporters to editors (and guest co-ordinators). *** In the…

Fabindia, The Times of India and Trishla Jain

Trishla Jain, the artist-daughter of Times of India bossman Samir Jain, has teamed up with the ethnic store Fabindia for “a limited-edition collection of furniture, furnishings, giftware, ceramics, inspired by the young painter’s art”, and TOI and the group‘s business paper, Economic Times, are leaving no stone unturned to let the world know. On Monday,…

The poll straws, they are a-blowin’ in DD News

To predict the meteorological weather, you have Mausam Bhavan. To predict the political weather, you have Doordarshan. Before every general election, the government happily dips into the pockets of taxpayers and pumps in crores of rupees to revamp the supposedly “autonomous” broadcast behemoth. And so it is in the year of the lord, 2013. Under…

Buy our paper, get a Harley-Davidson: Free!

It’s raining gifts in the Bengali newspaper wars. And gone is the age of free flasks, timepieces and tee-shirts to woo subscribers. Ei Bela (the moment), the soon-to-be-launched tabloid from the Ananda Bazaar Patrika group (which also owns The Telegraph and ABP News) to counter The Times of India group’s morning broadsheet Ei Samay (Times…

‘The exclusive Indian political news delicacy’

The Indian bureaucracy is a major journalistic niche, especially in Delhi where a number of magazines (Governance Now, Bureaucracy Today, etc) and websites (Gfiles, Whispers in the Corridor, etc) have sprouted to help readers navigate their way through the thickets of redtape. A display ad for the website Sarkari Mirror appears in Mail Today.