Category Archives: Magazines

J-POD || Podcast || “Coronavirus has made us realise how networked we are. Even the ‘News-Finds-Me’ generation is seeking out news now” || PSU media effects research don, Prof Shyam Sundar

*** Media education in India is the bright sun on an otherwise dark horizon, but it’s a bit of a blur. Although there are hundreds of journalism schools across the country, some of them as expensive as B-schools, serious academic research is an exception.  Nothing is measured professionally, consistently and independently. Only the most banal…

J-POD || Podcast || “Media freedom in India has sunk even lower after COVID. Social media has smashed our notion of what is news. The time has come to reconsider the valorisation of news media”|| ACJ chief Sashi Kumar

  *** Largely because of the low road it has taken in the last couple of decades, and directly as a result of the challenges thrown up by the COVID pandemic, the time has come for Indian news media to press the reset button once again.  A hard reset actually. Force-Quit. No one knows what…

J-POD || Podcast || “Jair Bolsonaro is a bad version of Donald Trump. Social media has ruptured the narrative. Steve Bannon is the common thread” || Shobhan Saxena on Brazil, India & the US

*** There are many politically incorrect things Narendra Modi has done in office and gotten away with. But none has been more questionable than inviting Brazil’s loathsome president Jair Bolsonaro as chief guest at the Republic Day in January 2020. Bolsonaro, a retired military officer, had been in office for less than a year, but he…

Soon streaming on a screen near you: Anushka Sharma-backed Amazon Prime show, based “on a line” from ex-Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal’s true story of his assassins

Say what you will, Anushka Sharma is a woman of her word. In March 2019, the actor backed a web series based on disgraced Tehelka editor Tarun J. Tejpal’s book The Story of my Assassins despite the cloud of sexual harassment charges hovering over him. The Bombay tabloid Mid-Day reports today that the project is…

J-POD || Podcast || “A good newspaper is a companion in life’s shared journey. It prepares you to live in a diverse, contentious society. Social media gives you a hollow sense of control” || philosopher Prof Sundar Sarukkai

*** All through history, the rise of the right wing has seen a rage against intellectuals in public life. In India where politics sets the pace and everything else follows in its wake, this is especially evident in the news media. Rare is the newspaper or news magazine today which values experience and expertise of the…

J-POD || Podcast || “No substitute for credible journalism. Media has to cut costs, get into new areas. Journalists need to be multi-skilled in new era” || ex-INS president and ‘Malayala Manorama’ director Jayant Mammen Mathew

*** Battle-weary journalists, who have been there, done that and seen it all, think they know exactly how the media houses which employ them should deal with the existential threat posed by the #Coronavirus pandemic.  You could call this the sentimental view, the belief that, at this inflection point for the media business, the least…

J-POD || Podcast || “Hindi media has swung majorly towards Modi govt. Big newspaper chains have become mammoth like Google and Facebook. News desks are at the forefront of communalisation” || ex-Hindustan editor Mrinal Pande

*** Hindi journalism has been such an unquestioning and uncritical proponent of majoritarian establishment causes for so long that it is an accepted axiom now, but the outbreak of #Coronavirus has decidedly taken it to the next level. The ease with which newspapers and news channels in the heartland have surrendered their professional tasks and…

A true love story: How a Parsi journalist at ‘Current’ met the Editor of ‘Onlooker’ magazine and lived happily forever, but got excommunicated from her community

Two weeks after her death in the middle of the COVID pandemic, The Telegraph‘s fine London correspondent Amit Roy has a long obituary of Gulshan Ewing nee Mehta. Gulshan Ewing was the editor of the women’s magazine Eve’s Weekly for 23 years, from 1966 to 1989, and also editor of the film magazine Star &…

J-POD || Podcast || “If you cannot afford the people that you have, however good they are, do not think twice before rightsizing” || ‘Ananda Vikatan’ chief B. Srinivasan on the big lesson from Corona

*** In the manner in which the mythology of contemporary Indian media is constructed, it would appear that concepts like “reader-friendly” and “marketing” and “brand innovation” were alien in our journalism till Samir Jain of The Times of India arrived on the scene in the mid-1980s. It is only then, we are told, that Indian…

J-POD || Podcast ||”Pakistan media has not tried to find a scapegoat for #Coronavirus like Indian media. Imran Khan has handled media better than Narendra Modi” || Mehmal Sarfraz on what No. 142 can learn from No. 145

*** Coronavirus has had a strange effect on Indian media. Pakistan has vanished off the radar. Well, not entirely but substantially. A sudden intimation of mortality has distracted desktop dvesh bhakts from their core group activity, of protecting India’s borders—by building walls in the minds of Indians; by spitting hatred at their neighbour so that it…

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,…

Will readers pay for the digital content of Indian newspapers and magazines, when they can get PDFs of the world’s best offerings free on WhatsApp?

The folly of Indian print media being overly dependent on advertisements to sustain and grow the business has come into sharp focus during the time of the COVID crisis. An average 16-page daily newspaper costs about Rs 10 to produce. In the quest for circulation numbers, publishers have followed the “penny press” model propagated by…

“To do more for less is the new normal”: Times Group says #COVID crisis needs a “start-up mindset”, as it announces 5-10% salary cuts, defers variable pay and increments

Below is the full text of the note by Sivakumar Sundaram, chairman, executive committee, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL) *** Dear Colleagues, The last one month has been unprecedented in terms of the disruption it has caused in our personal and professional lives. I recognise it must be extremely stressful for all, worrying about…

Gulshan Ewing, pioneering magazine editor of ‘Eve’s Weekly’ and ‘Star & Style’ , passes away at 92

Indian Journalism Review records with regret the passing away of Gulshan Ewing, one of India’s earliest women editors, in London. She was 92 years old. Six days before her death in a care centre, Ms Ewing’s daughter had tweeted: *** Ms Ewing was editor of the society magazines Eve’s Weekly and Star & Style, both…

The company that virtually underwrites Indian journalism says it will protect jobs for 3 months. Are Indian media barons and baronesses listening?

Hindustan Unilever has, by far, been the biggest private advertiser in Indian media for a long time now. Print, television, radio or digital, Lever has been up there, underwriting a lot of journalism, some good, much of it awful. As Indian media houses use the COVID pandemic to play around with the lives and livelihood…

J-POD || Podcast || Three things journalists can do in #Coronavirus season to save their jobs || Must-hear advice from Mumbai Press Club president Gurbir Singh

Journalistic solidarity in India began to crack when media managements started using the contract system of employment to break unions at the cusp of liberalisation in 1991. With newsrooms increasingly split between secure “wage board” employees and higher-paid contractual staffers, journalists became islands. To each her own. #Coronavirus has had many effects, but it has…

Job cuts, salary squeezes, and shutdowns in #Coronavirus season violate due process and the law (and Narendra Modi’s call): Mumbai Press Club to media houses

Full text of Mumbai Press Club statement *** “The Mumbai Press Club is dismayed and shocked at the announcement of several media houses shutting operations, firing staff and announcing mid-stream and unilateral cuts in salaries of journalists and other employees. “Almost acting on cue, several of these media groups, citing restricted business operations and falling…

Who would you like to be locked up with for a few days till the #Coronavirus threat passes? The ultimate fantasy game: “Dead Journalists’ Quarantine House”.

Life in the time of lockdown has turned locked-up captives all creative. Song lists, food recipes, dance moves are pouring forth from every nook and cranny of the globe. Some are lifting up their heads from their screens to see the skies and stars; pots and pets are flowering. Tik-Tok is the way to go.…

“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.…