Category Archives: Magazines

How a speech of Anita Pratap glorifying V. Prabhakaran ended up in ‘Methagu’, a biopic on the dreaded LTTE chief

Anita Pratap, the Bangalore University journalism student whose byline—when bylines still had value—adorned Sunday and India Today magazines, Time and CNN, is in the news. Pratap, reputedly the first journalist to interview Velupillai Prabhakaran, when he lived in Chennai in 1985, features in Methagu (His Excellency), a biopic on the slain supremo of the Liberation…

J-POD || Podcast || “Phone is king. Less is best. Follow stories, not editions. Newsrooms must be a zoo of different animals” || Life-lessons from news design guru Mario Garcia

At a time when consumers are exposed to beautifully crafted products from around the world, the first object Indians pick up every morning is The Daily Shame. Barring the odd exception, most Indian newspapers in every language look like a dog’s meal—a mishmash of leftovers of all colours, shapes and sizes with barely any clarity…

B.N. Nayak, an unsung hero of Indian journalism, one of the many pillars on which ‘The Times of India’ stands, departs at 70

“Telling people, who did not know Mr So-and-So was alive, that Mr So-and-So is dead,” is one of the better definitions of the basic functions of journalism. And so it comes to pass that newspaper readers in Mysore, who (mostly) did not know who Mr B.N. Nayak was, are being informed today that B.N. Nayak…

The advertisement that Kamala Harris’s grandparents placed in ‘The Illustrated Weekly of India’ in the early 1960s

When the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris‘s mother Shyamala Gopalan, a Tam-Brahm, decided to tie the knot with Donald Harris, a Jamaican black, her grandparents took out an advertisement in The Illustrated Weekly of India, the now-defunct magazine from The Times of India group. Screenshot: courtesy ToI

Facebook, BJP and Narendra Modi: The real story about the ‘WSJ’ expose is not just Ankhi Das’s role, but how FB began meddling in Indian politics before 2014

Facebook’s shady role in Indian politics—hunting with the majoritarian hounds and fuelling the communal fires, for a price—has been blazingly apparent for over eight years now. But it has taken a devastating expose in The Wall Street Journal to reveal why Indian media has been so disinterested in such a juicy story. The August 14 WSJ…

“I was asked to leave my phones outside. I was told, ‘resign now or be terminated’. The HR manager held the relieving letter. By the time I got home an hour later, I’d been locked out of my official email”: a brave note from a “journalist of courage”

Hundreds of journalists have lost their jobs in India in the middle of the COVID pandemic with barely a squeak. The haemorrhaging has hollowed out newsrooms at the very moment news consumers expect more (and better) from journalism. But it is all hush-hush. Chhupa rustom. Unlike more civilised parts of the journalistic world, where the…

J-POD || Podcast || “The stench of dead bodies did not go away from my mind for days” || Parul Sharma, the brave photographer who captured the last lap of hundreds of COVID victims with a smartphone

Over 26,000 Indians have perished due to COVID in the last four months. But is there an image of any one of them that is imprinted in your mind? A single photograph in your newspaper or magazine that you remember instantly, for its poignancy, for its pathos—for its display? *** Whether they are natural or…

How 15 brave reporters and photographers have defended the evidence they collected of Babri Masjid demolition

Excellent story in The Economic Times today of how reporters and photographers staved off a bid to discredit their great work, the midst of grave danger to their life abd limb, during the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, by sangh parivar hoodlums. Screenshot: courtesy The Economic Times

In a bleak media landscape, Sanjiv Goenka picks up ‘Fortune’, wants to get into electronic media as well

For long, Sanjiv Goenka, one half of the R.P. Goenka family who runs the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group, has long had media ambitions. Forever in the running for media buys, Goenka’s name does the rounds each time some enterprise is up in the air, a bit like Rajeev Chandrasekhar‘s. Open magazine is all he has had…

The news of a declaration: Hindi magazine ‘Cricket Samrat’ has published its final issue

COVID has impacted the media in a myriad ways, and magazines, especially niche magazines, are collapsing under its weight. Mid-Day reports the closure of the pioneering Hindi cricket magazine Cricket Samrat after 42 years of publication. Sportstar, the weekly from The Hindu group, has already gone online. *** In the Indian Express, the paper’s sports…

An artist and an interviewer: former ‘Mid-Day’ and ‘Sportsweek’ art director Ataullah Khan falls to COVID

From Jeddah, the news of the death due to COVID, of Ataullah Khan, the well-regarded former art director of the Bombay tabloid, Mid-Day, and its sister magazine, Sportsweek. He also did interviews with movie stars for the group’s Urdu daily Inquilaab. Mr Khan’s brother Masiulla Khan was the art head of The Sunday Observer, both…

J-POD || Podcast || “COVID has given us a brain scan of media thinking. National newspapers devote 0.67% of front page to 69% of India. Corporate media is the bed on which religious and market fundamentalists cohabit” || P. Sainath

*** Less than 2% of India’s population is invested in stocks and mutual funds. Yet, India has at least half-a-dozen business newspapers in English. And just as many business news channels. Every newspaper in every language, in every part of the country, has a page—or half of page—dedicated to business news. Or what they think is business…

J-POD || Podcast || “Every year over 20,000 students pass out. Where are the jobs? || Big media is trapped. J-schools should produce entrepreneurs, one-man armies” || Prof Kanchan Kaur of IIJNM, and Prof Anand Pradhan of IIMC

*** In a nation where more than half the population is below 25 years of age, professional education has boomed in the last couple of decades—to make the most of the so-called “demographic dividend”.  Journalism education—in particular—has seen gravity and logic-defying growth.  As liberalisation freed up the air waves and wallets, and TV channels made…

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…