Category Archives: Magazines

“Anybody can do an MBA. Not everybody can become a cartoonist”: the sage advice that turned Satish Acharya into a 24×7 cartoonist in the social media age

Although the Mysore-born R.K. Laxman is the best known of them all, it is Kerala that has produced more political cartoonists in the English language: P. Shankar Pillai, O.V. Vijayan, Abu Abraham, Kutty, Unny, Ravi Shankar, Ajit Ninan et al. In recent years, Satish Acharya has joined his Kannadiga torch-bearer as a political cartoonist of promise,…

How can a journalist find the time to write a book every year? Nicholas Coleridge, who has written 12 of them, has an effective 3-step formula.

Exactly 25 years ago, Nicholas Coleridge, then a hot shot manager at Conde Nast publications, wrote a fabulous book called Paper Tigers, on the foibles, fortunes, eccentricities, influence and political manoeuvring of newspaper tycoons. In India, he met Samir Jain of The Times of India, Ramnath Goenka of The Indian Express, and Aveek Sarkar of The…

N. Ram: ‘Today’s mainstream media is scared to touch the Rafale scandal like it did Bofors. An overarching fear of Narendra Modi has had a chilling effect.”

It is rare in Indian journalism for the same journalist to be at the centre of two major investigations, 30 years apart.  In 1989, Narasimhan Ram was Associate Editor of the family-owned newspaper The Hindu when he, along with Chitra Subramaniam, dug into the #Bofors gun deal that set the stage for Rajiv Gandhi’s downfall.  In…

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…

“Since Shujaat Bukhari’s murder we have been dying a little everyday, slowly and bitterly. Did his killers celebrate? Did they get what they took away from us?”

Shujaat Bukhari, the longtime Kashmir correspondent of The Hindu and Frontline, who launched Rising Kashmir, was assassinated in Srinagar, in June 2018. In the Sunday magazine section of The Hindu, his wife Tehmeena Bukhari, a doctor, writes of her and the family’s trauma. *** “Since his murder — unsolved to this day — we have been…

Hey, Ram. The “goodness” of the editor-in-chief of ‘The Hitavada’, also the governor of Tamil Nadu, crashlands on ‘Hindu’ soil.

Can a journalist in a court of law make a submission in a case not involving the journalist? The unequivocal answer, according to the Madras High Court, is “yes” but only if called for by the court. *** The controversy began in October 2018 when Tamil Nadu police filed a case under Section 124 of the…

Why India’s position is not rising on the World Press Freedom Index: exhibit 139 and exhibit 140

Since modern Indian civilisation began in 2014, the Guinness Book of Records has kind-of replaced the Constitution of India and the Bhagwad Gita as the epics to emulate. Under Narendra Modi, the preferred goals are Olympian—citius, altius, fortius. Therefore, the world’s largest khichdi, the world’s tallest statue, the world’s largest yoga gathering, the world’s longest monologue…

If you read ‘The Times of India’ group’s Bengali daily ‘Ei Samay’ today, would you know that its Editor…?

No news is good news, when a newspaper Editor is finally arrested for his alleged non-journalistic misdemeanours. Suman Chattopadhyay, the well-regarded Editor of the Bengali daily newspaper Ei Samay of The Times of India group, was taken into custody yesterday for his alleged involvement in the chit fund scam. And…. And there is not a…

Kind attention: M.J. Akbar, Vinod Dua, Prashant Jha, K.R. Sreenivas, T.S. Sudhir, Gaurav Sawant et al

In October 2018, New York Review of Books (NYRB) published a piece by Jian Ghomeshi, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) host. Four years earlier, i.e. before #MeToo, Ghomeshi had been fired after more than 20 women had filed complaints of harassment and physical harm. Ghomeshi was subsequently acquitted of all charges which included hitting, biting,…

Ravi Nair: the journalist who pushed the #Rafale deal into the national and political consciousness

Twitter in India today is mostly a platform to preen for loud Delhi gasbags—or a signalling system for has-beens trying desperately to stay on the right side of Tongue Parivar. Good journalism, therefore, gets subsumed by those who shout, scream and shriek—and then shout, scream and shriek some more when somebody, usually another gasbag, retweets…

Vinod Mehta, the Last Great Editor, 1942-2015

sans serif records with deep regret the passing of the Editorial Chairman of Outlook magazine, Vinod Mehta, in New Delhi on Sunday, 8 March 2015. He was 73 years old and had been ailing for some time. He leaves behind his wife Sumita Paul, their canine companion, “Editor”, two brothers and a sister—and legions of…

A legend who told MLAs where to get off: RIP

sans serif records the demise of S. Balasubramanian, the chairman of the Tamil weekly Ananda Vikatan—who also served as its editor, managing director and publisher for 50 years—in Madras on Friday, December 19. He was 78. Mr Balasubramanian hit the national headlines in 1987 when he was sentenced, arrested and jailed for refusing to apologise…

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…

In ‘The Last Mag’, Nishant Patel is Fareed Zakaria

DILIP CHAWARE writes from New Jersey: The Last Magazine is Michael Hastings’s novel which has been published a year after his death. This controversial young journalist, who worked for Newsweek as a war correspondent, died last year in a car accident in Los Angeles when he was just 33. Very few were aware about this…

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…

A half-century in the service of the Paper Tigers

The evening newspaper Star of Mysore profiles M.R. Subramanya, popularly called by his admirers as “Paper Subbanna“, who has just completed 50 years as a newspaper distributor in Mysore. Subbanna entered newspaper distribution in 1963 after unsuccessfully launching Chitralaya, a tabloid devoted to the Kannada film industry in Bangalore. “I am happy with my profession and…

RIL, Network18 & the loss of media heterogeneity

Even as the takeover of Network18 by India’s biggest corporate house, Reliance Industries Limited, receives scant scrutiny in the mainstream media on what it portends in the long term, the journalist and educator Paranjoy Guha Thakurta weighs in, in the Economic & Political Weekly: “The consequence of RIL strengthening its association with Network18 is a…

‘Media freedom bleaker with Ambani domination’

The takeover of Network 18 group with its myriad news, business and entertainment channels has received scant review in the Indian media, but the author Pankaj Mishra bells the cat in Bloomberg View: “There is no denying that the future of media freedom in India looks even bleaker than ever after Mukesh Ambani’s Silvio Berlusconi-style…

Indian Express, India Today teach NYT a lesson

To say that the Indian media is in a tizzy of seismic proportions would qualify as the understatement of the year. So far. Editors are quitting, being sacked, or finding ever new ways of being quietly eased out. Promoters are exiting their dream projects after acquiescing to giant business houses. Reporters are making discreet enquiries.…

Coming soon, from the author of ‘Lucknow Boy’

The cover of former Outlook* editor Vinod Mehta‘s upcoming book, Editor Unplugged. Published by Penguin, the 500-page book, priced at Rs 599, will be out in December 2014, three years after his memoir Lucknow Boy. The photograph on the book jacket is by Briana Blasko. *Disclosures apply Also read: Vinod Mehta on Arun Shurie, Dileep…