Category Archives: Magazines

To eat or not to eat with a suspicious host who says you can only sit in the verandah but not enter the kitchen where the numbers are cooked

The unintended consequences of the Union finance ministry’s decision to bar entry to journalists pre-screened by the Union home ministry. “Some ministry officials have said they do not like the idea of journalists prowling the ministry’s corridors and do not wish to be accosted whenever they step out of their rooms. They have claimed that…

In battle between newspapers and ‘desi’ newsprint manufacturers, Modi signals which side he is on

Notwithstanding the glowing readership numbers, large sections of India’s news media industry are in choppy waters, battling a low rupee, high newsprint prices, and falling advertising revenues as Google and Facebook conquer the digital space. As if that weren’t enough, the Narendra Modi government has signalled its intentions with a 10% customs duty on newsprint,…

Wisdom at the ‘Sangam’: Journalist Jawid Laiq has called seven elections in the last 42 years with greater accuracy than exit pollsters just by dipping his finger in the Ganga. Will 2019 reverse that trend?

After watching Indians at a polling booth and failing to read their mind on which way they were inclined to vote, James Reston, the late executive editor of The New York Times, grandly concluded that an election was a secret communion between a voter and democracy—it is sacrilegious to pry.  Now, where “Scotty” wrote this…

From ‘what’ to ‘why’ and ‘what’s next’: four ways in which robots and Artificial Intelligence will change journalism in the future, according to Bloomberg News’ editor-in-chief

From Johannes Gutenberg‘s printing press to Tim Berners Lee‘s world wide web, and the telegram, radio and television in between, journalism has been constantly shaped and changed by technology—and not always for the worse. In the 21st century, the news media business is grappling, like other industries, with the prospect of machine learning and Artificial…

“We have very few checks and balances. Almost none. That is a dangerous, and depressing, situation to be in”: Tony Joseph, author of the most important book ever written by an Indian journalist

There was a time when young journalists in Bombay used to hear, in awe, that Aveek Sarkar, the paterfamilias of the Anandabazar Patrika (ABP) group, secretly considered Tony Joseph as the “ideal journalist”. That was high praise coming from the sophisticated owner of Anandabazar Patrika, Business Standard, and The Telegraph newspapers, and Sunday, Business World, and Sports World magazines.…

L’affaire Tejasvi Surya: “Media isn’t losing its freedoms so much as surrendering its freedoms. As a group it is unwilling to challenge the restrictions being imposed on them”

The temporary injunction obtained by BJP candidate for Bangalore South, Tejasvi Surya, against 49 newspapers, news channels and digital platforms has met with a strange radio silence from the affected parties. None of them have (so far) filed objections. No media body in Bangalore or elsewhere has thought it fit to react to such a…

When Aveek Sarkar and Vir Sanghvi met a scandal-ridden Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, they could ask 208 questions and supplementaries, including one, ahem, on #NewIndia. That is called an “interview”, Narendra Modi and PMO please note.

  *** “In the first year of his prime ministership, Rajiv Gandhi was easily accessible to the press and gave candid, free-wheeling interviews. By the second year the candour was beginning to wear thin. And by the time the scandals surrounding his friends and the regime surfaced, he had retreated into his shell.” Thus begins…

Pritish Nandy was the reason Daler Mehndi made the hit number ‘Tunak Tunak Tun’. As at least one answer in every interview in the ‘Illustrated Weekly of India’ would start, “You know, Pritish.”

The big, booming voice of Daler Mehndi, the superb sufi and bhangra singer, no longer rocks pubs, clubs and dinner parties. Bollywood has moved on to his brother Mika Singh, and Daler’s own legal tangles with alleged human trafficking have cast a dark shadow over him. But, Holi Hai! In an interview to Seemi Pasha of…

The Jalgaon freelance journalist whose alacrity ensured that his two sons did not spend 25 years in jail on “terror” charges—but did not live to see their acquittal

In 1984, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated, her two Sikh bodyguards were quickly arrested and convicted. But there was a third man who was found guilty: Kehar Singh. His only fault was that one of the two assassins had visited his house, but he hadn’t informed the police. A campaign was launched to save Kehar…

Who tried to kill a senior journalist? Anushka Sharma will tell Tarun Tejpal’s novel of his would-be assassins, and Amazon will stream it.

With impeccable timing, on International Women’s Day 2019, Mumbai Mirror reports that former Tehelka editor Tarun J. Tejpal‘s 2010 novel The Story of my Assassins, is to be made into a web series by the actor and director Anushka Sharma. A true story, the novel tracks a senior journalist as he sets out to investigate…

Pradyot Manikya Debbarma: The erstwhile ‘Maharaja’, who started ‘The North East Today’ magazine, is now the Congress’s pointsman in Tripura

The Congress party has a new chief in the northeastern state of Tripura: Pradyot Manikya Debbarma. The 40-year-old, whose parents were both Congress politicians, wears many hats: the head of the erstwhile Manikya dynasty; hotel owner—and publisher of the online magazine, The NorthEast Today. TNT started out as a magazine in 2007, but is now…

Former ‘Science Today’ editor Mukul Sharma, the prose and puzzle whiz who found Satyajit Ray’s kisses “unconvincing” and counted the golden flecks in Rakhee’s eyes, is no more.

Indian Journalism Review records with regret the passing of Mukul Sharma, the former editor of Science Today magazine (and its later version 2001), who wrote the scintillating “Mind Sport” column in now-defunct Illustrated Weekly of India. He was 69. Mukul Sharma, who lived in Gurgaon, near Delhi, was previously married to the film maker Aparna Sen. The…

The ‘Sunday’ magazine sub-editor who secretly cooked her way to become the best known Indian chef in the world, after Gaggan Anand (if you believe food critics, that is)

In the Hindustan Times magazine supplement, Brunch, the food writer Vir Sanghvi writes about Asma Khan, the former Sunday magazine journalist whose hashtag could well be #SubKaChaatSubKaVikas. (Sunday, launched by the Ananda Bazaar Patrika group, is now defunct. M.J. Akbar was its first editor.) Writes Sanghvi: “It is a funny feeling when a colleague from decades…

70% of Indians live in the villages but media coverage of rural India is barely 4%, and that is mostly in print media and of non-farm issues

In episode 11 of ‘Shut Up Ya Kunal‘, the poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar tells Kunal Kamra of the abysmal coverage of farm and rural issues in Indian media. Around the 34th minute of the episode, Akhtar says: “In a nation where 70 per cent of the population lives in the countryside and most of…

“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…