Category Archives: Newspapers

Anthony Parakal, the ex-Railway man whose “byline” appeared over 4,000 times on the edit pages of newspapers and magazines for 50 years, is dead

On page 8 of The Times of India in Bombay today, a name which appeared hundreds of times on the edit page of the newspaper, when it had an edit page for adults: Anthony Parakal. A former railway employee, Parakal arrived in Bombay from Kerala in 1954, and appalled by the miserable living conditions got…

J-POD || Podcast || “Coverage of border conflict is a dangerous new low. It signals to China that the incursion doesn’t matter very much or the government has controlled the media” || ex-FT journalist Rahul Jacob

Like nearly news event these days, China’s incursion into Ladakh has revealed the deep fault lines in the media. For weeks, most Indian newspapers and nearly all TV channels pretended nothing was amiss at the border. The exceptions—Ajai Shukla of Business Standard, Sushant Singh of The Indian Express, Manu Pubby of The Economic Times—could be…

“Stop showing satellite pictures of China’s incursion”: TV editors get a patriotic nudge as Army scampers to limit damage of Narendra Modi’s big lie

Hoist by its own petard—which was Shakespeare‘s way of saying “blown by your own bomb”—on China’s incursion into Indian territory, the Narendra Modi government has rolled out “headline management” on a war footing to control the political damage emanating from the prime minister’s naked lie (above). With hitherto “loyal” journalists covering the defence and external affairs…

J-POD || Podcast || “No ruler would be so foolish as to openly declare censorship today. There are enough subtle ways to bring it in quietly” || Coomi Kapoor on the best-kept secret of the Emergency

*** An acclaimed Indian Express journalist, whose husband was jailed during the Emergency of 1975, says governments no longer need to take Indira Gandhi’s route of introducing censorship to control the media or the message that reaches the people. “Parties have found enough ways to control the media without having to formally declare censorship. Governments…

A well-travelled story is one which goes from Rediff to ‘Deccan Chronicle’ to ‘Prabhat Khabar’ to ‘India Today’ to ANI in 4 days flat, with a fiction writer somewhere in between

The heroic courage displayed by Indian soldiers while combating their Chinese counterparts on June 15, the day 20 of their brethren were killed literally at the hands of the Chinese, is now a project fully underway. Across platforms—a news portal (Rediff.com), an English newspaper (Deccan Chronicle), a Hindi newspaper (Prabhat Khabar), a news channel (India…

“Ambiguous. Beseiged. Confusing. Disappointing. Dismaying. Evasive. Frightening. Unpardonable. Unsatisfactory. PM should speak again”: editorials on ‘Surender’ Modi’s cop-out

The major English newspapers all have editorials on Narendra Modi‘s brazen lie, without taking the name of China, that “no one has intruded on Indian soil, nor is any one sitting on Indian soil, nor has any post been seized by anyone”, which made a total mockery of the killing of 20 Indian soldiers last…

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…

The two veterans who unmasked the Chinese incursions “with the tenacity of the NYT reporters who broke the Pentagon Papers”

Mainstream media’s preferred posture on the Chinese ingress in Ladakh, simmering since early May, had been one of denial bordering on wilful neglect, till it exploded in the face with the killing of 20 Indian soldiers on June 15. In Business Standard today, Rahul Jacob, the former Hong Kong bureau chief of the Financial Times,…

Where should journalists park their money for a rainy day? News you can use, courtesy the travails of a retired ‘Times of India’ scribe and his wife

Can even a savings scheme floated by the Prime Minister be trusted any more? Vidyadhar Date, a fine byline from The Times of India of yore, invested Rs 30 lakh with his wife, Hemlata Date, in March. Their investment instrument: the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY), a assured returns scheme for senior citizens, which…

J-POD || Podcast || Data journalism as a career option for young journalists || Advice from Rukmini Shrinivasan, former data editor, The Hindu & Huff Post India

*** Rukmini Shrinivasan, host of ‘The Moving Curve‘ podcast, and former data editor of The Hindu and Huff Post India, on what India’s #COVID numbers mean—and #DataJournalism as a career option for young journalists. Also read: “India’s official COVID numbers are an undercount”  

‘The Hindu’ virtually sounds the death knell for its Mumbai edition, tells 25 ‘elite’ staffers to leave, as COVID wreaks havoc to revenue streams

*** The Mumbai edition of The Hindu, launched with much fanfare five years ago, has run into serious turbulence with over two dozen staffers being asked to leave the 142-year-old organisation at less than a fortnight’s notice. The indicated last date is June 30. Almost all those whose resignations have been sought, orally, had been…

A sacked ‘Rajasthan Patrika’ journalist’s social media post that shines the light on all that is going wrong in the media, in India in 2020

These are tough times for the media: to own it, to run it, to work in it. A nationally advertised political allergy towards media freedom; a global pandemic that is hurting businesses; and a delicate balancing act that is required just to keep the boat afloat, illustrate the key challenges. Nothing captures all this better…

How do English newspaper readers look? And how do they compare to their Hindi brethren? A visual representation.

What is the profile of readers of English newspapers compared to those who consume newspapers in the languages? Over the last week, as distribution has eased in its key market, Bombay, the Times group has run a campaign on its news pages in The Times of India and Navbharat Times, to “reclaim the city”. The…

Everybody loves Rashid Irani: When a fine movie critic—a restaurant owner who doesn’t own a stove or a fridge, and can’t cook—gets stuck at home

How did a Bombay film critic who lives alone, without a cooking range, TV or fridge, and who has eaten all his meals outside for 35 years, live through the 75-day lockdown? Rashid Irani, long time movie reviewer for The Times of India and then Hindustan Times, recounts his saga in Sunday Mid-Day. “Though I…

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…

‘Onions suck out bacteria. Neem sanitiser works for 15 days. Brahmins in Bhopal were saved by prayers over fire”: advice from a top Kannada publisher, an ex-BJP MP, to fight Coronavirus

Vijay Sankeshwar, the transport operator who founded Vijaya Karnataka and Vijaya Vani, shocking the Deccan Herald group and The Times of India group respectively, has offered his sage advice on how to combat #Coronavirus. Dripping with desi and swadeshi, the advice, although well intentioned, is questionable for its science. Sankeshwar, who was awarded the Padma…

J-POD || Podcast || “Journalism is a form of public service. It is dangerous to undermine institutional news. All of us need to become more critical readers and users of social media”|| Alan Rusbridger, former Editor-in-Chief, The Guardian

*** The role of social media in distorting societies by pouring unfiltered information directly into the pockets and phones of users has been evident for nearly a decade now.  But it took the American presidential elections of 2016—which installed Donald Trump in office—for Google, Facebook and YouTube to come in for scrutiny.  At first, Mark…

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…

In the good old days, when journalism was still fun, before the nerds and “grads” arrived and sucked the oxygen out of the newsroom…

Khushwant Singh said he cooked up the weekly astrological predictions for The Illustrated Weekly of India for a couple of weeks when the designated crystalball gazer was rendered hors de combat. The claim was difficult to ascertain given the general record of its source. In the Bombay tabloid Mid-Day, its former staffer Mark Manuel recounts…

“The chief editor ‘Mathrubhumi’ didn’t have”: M.P. Veerendra Kumar, the socialist media baron who brought two globalising forces to their knees in Kerala: Coca-Cola and ‘The Times of India’

The small division looking after the printing of currency notes is one of the outposts of North Block in New Delhi. The bosses can barely be bothered with its expenses. But for a brief while during the I.K. Gujral regime in 1997, it received some serious love. “What paper are we using?” “Why is there…