Category Archives: Magazines

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…

Is ‘Modi media’ paving way for ‘soft-Fascism’?

In an opinion piece in The Times of India, the academic and international affairs analyst Kanti Bajpai says an India under Narendra Modi will be marked by “soft-fascism—a society marked by slightly less extreme levels fo authoritarinism, intimidation, chauvinism, submission and social Darwinism as classical fascism—and he includes the media as being among the four…

When a newspaper Editor looked like a hippie

Mainstream Indian (print) editors today are usually at their nattiest best, wearing carefully chosen Fab India kurtas if not designer clothes, trendy watches and slick spectacles, with not a strand out of place on their mane. But there was a time, in 1971, when editors looked like Makarand Deshpande.  Guess who this newspaper editor is?

The Khushwant Singh “pre-obituary” from 1983

Khushwant Singh, the self-proclaimed “dirty old man of Indian journalism”, has passed away at his home in New Delhi, at the age of 99. Exactly, 30 years ago, when Singh was 69, the journalist Dhiren Bhagat wrote a pre-obituary of the “sardar in the light bulb” for the now-defunct Sunday Observer. Ironically, Dhiren Bhagat was…

Question: India’s best political reporting is in…?

Although India’s best and biggest corporate scams—from Satyam to Sahara and everything else in between—routinely escape the business papers and business magazines and business channels, for quite a while, the best political reporting has come from The Economic Times.  And The Times group is losing no opportunity to drum home the message, even as it…

Operation Rajnikant: starring Samir & Vineet Jain

There are 12 media personalities in the Indian Express list of the most powerful Indians in 2014—“ie 100″—for 2014, but 10 of them are proprietors, only one is a journalist and the other is a former journalist. As usual, the most interesting part of the prospective list are the factoids accompanying the profiles. # 19,…

In new law mag, Sunanda Pushkar post-death pix

There’s a new magazine on your news stand: India Legal. The 84-page magazine, priced at Rs 100, and edited by former India Today executive editor Inderjit Badhwar is published out of Delhi. Writes Badhwar in the editorial of the launch issue: “The thrust of our magazine—as should be the endeavour of all competent news journalism—is…

In Ernakulam, this is Anita Pratap reporting for…

Former Tehelka, India Today and Headlines Today journalist Ashish Khetan is to be the Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate from the New Delhi constituency, continuing the fledgling party’s strange infatuation with journalists. But from deep south, there is news that AAP may field a blast from the past, Anita Pratap. The former Time, CNN, Indian Express,…

President speaks of paid news, dumbing down

The following is the full text of the speech delivered by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, at the inauguration of the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) in New Delhi on Thursday, 27 February 2014: *** By PRANAB MUKHERJEE “Seventy-five years ago, the world was a very different place. Our country…

Are journalists already poised to ride Modi wave?

As the 2014 general election campaign gathers steam, the masks are beginning to come off, as journalists who make no pretence of their political and ideological inclinations (without disclosing it publicly) walk over to the other side, just as they did in previous elections. Ashutosh of IBN-7 is officially the Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate from…

On TV, Congress loses to BJP, Left loses to AAP

The point has been made before, that the current political coverage, especially on television, is more than somewhat skewed, tilting unabashedly towards Narendra Damodardas Modi of the BJP vis-a-vis Rahul Gandhi of the Congress. Now, the CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechuri explicates it a bit more in the Hindustan Times, comparing the TV coverage of Arvind…