Category Archives: Newspapers

“Worst may be yet to come”: As COVID tears the world, ‘Indian Express’ moots 10-30% salary cut for employees, warns of “more sacrifices” if things do not improve

The Coronavirus pandemic is spreading across newsrooms and board rooms battling advertising and revenue shortfall. Below is the full text of the letter sent by Indian Express CEO George Varghese. = Subject: Challenging times = My dear colleagues, my Express family: Before going even a word further, Thank You. To each one of you, across…

Newspaper industry in very real danger of turning “sick”: INS seeks two-year tax holiday after “triple whammy” of Coronavirus, falling ad revenues, and customs duty on newsprint

*** Forever wailing, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has sought a two-year tax holiday from the Union government following the “triple whammy” of #coronavirus, collapsing ad revenues, and customs duty on imported newsprint. In a letter to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, INS president Shailesh Gupta of Dainik Jagran says the newspaper industry is at…

11 sexy front-pages of the French daily ‘Liberation’ which show journalism needn’t be deathly dull even in the time of a raging pandemic

Front pages of newspapers across the world have the same, sombre look and feel in the time of disease and death. Not the French daily Liberation, which continues to keep the shopfront stylish and inviting. The piece de resistance came on the day after Asterix illustrator Uderzo passed away: Obelix carrying Coronavirus.

If you come today, it’s too early. If you come tomorrow, it’s too late. But between that tomorrow and today there will be many tomorrows: Shekhar Gupta meets Dr Raj Kumar with Swami Nityananda watching.

*** It is not widely known that the Kannada movie legend Dr Raj Kumar won only one national award in his long and illustrious career, but it was not for his acting prowess but singing. Dr Raj Kumar won the award in 1993 for his rendition of Nada Maya in Jeevana Chaitra but the Raj…

In the 50th year of her founding, Gopal Raju’s baby ‘India Abroad’ meets a sudden and cruel end

As it is, things were bad for the news media, especially print media. The outbreak of COVID has exacerbated the situation and provided the perfect cover for managers to guillotine publications. From the United States, grim news of the end of ‘India Abroad‘, the voice of ethnic Indians, in the 50th year of its founding.…

How language newspaper owners “advised” Narendra Modi on how to shape his response to COVID, six hours before he announced a 21-day lockdown

Narendra Modi‘s relationship with the news media since becoming prime minister in 2014 has been built on conspicuous contempt and confrontation, but behind the scenes, chummy co-option and cultivation has been a constant endeavour. Modi likes the world to believe he is not bothered with what the “news traders” of the mainstream media say, when…

While the social order collapses spectacularly, HT and TOI open their doors for its political masterminds to expound on their ‘vision for a better tomorrow’, and an ‘action plan’ to get there

*** After 66 months of unbridled ‘Lok Kalyan‘, it might appear to any ordinary mortal with 1MB of common sense that there is not very much new that Narendra Modi has to offer humankind any more—nothing that hasn’t been heard before. Nothing that has not been seen through by voters in Delhi today—or in Jharkhand, or…

Pouting, preening, posing, hinting: how ‘objective’ journalists are voting in the Delhi elections without really ‘reporting’

*** Journalists are human, of course, but nobody works harder than Delhi-based journalists to prove that to the world, especially during festivals like ‘Holi’ when the Twitter timelines of the bold-faced names are plastered with unidentifiable faces. #DelhiElections2020 offered yet another chance to ‘Tweetiyas’ to demonstrate they are just like the rest of humankind, and…

A Hindu bomber detonates the Mangalore ‘bomb’ in the face of Kannada news media. And a newspaper suggests mental tests and medical treatment for the ‘real terrorists’: embedded editors, owners and TV anchors.

Karnataka is the outlier in peninsular India—the only state in the South that the BJP has managed to come to power, by hook and by crook. Twice. There is a plethora of political reasons for this, including caste realignment, but there can be little doubt that the Kannada media has played a hands-on role in…

The curious case of PayTm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s secretary only seems to get curiouser and curiouser. But it’s business as unusual at SoftBank.

The reckless culture at the Japanese venture capital firm SoftBank has attracted global journalistic scrutiny, thanks to the vaporisation of its co-working bet WeWork. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son’s dalliance with the blood-stained Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman for the $100 billion “Vision Fund” which lubricates virtually every big Silicon Valley startup, including Uber, has also…

In America, Jeff Bezos has the First Amendment and the institutions to protect media freedom. How will Amazon’s founder deal with the Narendra Modi regime’s apparent ‘Washington Post’ problem?

Over 67 months, the Narendra Modi government has overtly, covertly and expertly extended the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) of the #GujaratModel—freezing government ads; bringing corporate pressure on owners; filing bogus FIRs; trolling, name-calling; denying access and licenses; getting editors replaced; owners changed, etc—to get mainstream media to toe its line and manufacture consent. Suddenly, it…

Unlike gau-belt newspapers, Tamil and Malayalam newspapers are more sober and less triumphalist on the Ayodhya judgment on their front pages. Kannada is a gone case; Telugu is on the way.

The symbiotic relationship between the Hindi language press and the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, each feeding off the other, has been much documented. Today’s front pages, the day after the Supreme Court delivered its verdict, shines a mirror on it. As opposed to the safe, anodyne headlines of English newspapers, which for the most part are sober,…

Mahatma and the media: Gandhi was the ultimate super-achiever. He didn’t need TV, internet, social media, cheer leaders, event managers and fake news—and he had the courage to face the press. #HowdyGandhi

The incredible part about the fairly predictable #GandhiAt150 coverage in today’s papers—a week after the carefully choreographed #HowdyModi—is how much the Mahatma accomplished without TV, Internet, social media, cheer leaders, event managers—and pre- and post-paid owners, editors, anchors and reporters. Leading the freedom struggle, dealing with fractious colleagues, fasting, walking, writing letters and books, editing…

It’s brave of the Editor of ‘The Telegraph’ to make a rowdy minister’s phone call public. But what after the ink dries and the Sarkars hear from an even bigger hooligan?

Being a professional Editor in India—professional being the operative word there—is a lonely, treacherous job. What transpires with scared proprietors or bankrupt boards is not to be shared with the world. The bottomless stupidity of the managers and bean counters is best not advertised. And, in between, there are creepy phone calls, “messages”, complaints, and…

To mark Narendra Modi’s “unprecedented” 69th birthday, 11 newspapers in 7 languages respectfully open their editorial pages for the perfect “bow job” by his party colleagues

Narendra Modi turns 69 today. In itself, the number ’69’ is not ‘abhut purva‘ as the alliterator-in-chief himself might say, except for its more popular connotation. Turning 69 is not any different from turning 67 or 68, and certainly not as significant as turning 70. The pradhan sevak is still a sexagenarian. At best, one could…

The world’s only Sanskrit newspaper ‘Sudharma’ has turned 50, and wants Narendra Modi to release its souvenir issue. Will he?

The world’s oldest and probably the only Sanskrit daily newspaper Sudharma has turned 50. Published from Ramachandra Agrahara in Mysore, the two-page, five-columb newspaper delivers politics, culture, sports and civic affairs. According to a report in Star of Mysore, India’s most successful afternoon newspaper, Sudharma reaches 2,000 readers. “We need six to seven hours to…

The Piyush Goyal Theory of Journalism: the farther a newspaper is from New Delhi, the greater its chance of taking the pants off politicians*

  Piyush Goyal‘s theory of Albert Einstein‘s theory of Isaac Newton‘s theory of gravity is a cute case study for headline management in Indian newspapers. The loud railway and commerce minister—who is a chartered accountant and BJP treasurer in touch with corporates—is widely known for his “phone calls”. The coverage in today’s papers of his faux pas reveals how…

Not just BJP, Congress too: ‘Hindustan Times’ reporter alleges Punjab chief minister put pressure on paper’s management to ease her out, citing “biased” reporting

Expectedly, post the 2019 general elections, Indian media has turned into a pool of blood, each day bringing news of journalists leaving their organisations (Nitin Sethi of Business Standard), or being moved around (Faye D’Souza at Mirror Now). At least two anchors (Ajit Anjum and Smita Sharma) have left TV9 Bharatvarsh, and there have been…

The Drumbeaters of Dystopia: Wrapped in the tricolour, Indian news media can barely contest the establishment narrative in Kashmir—global outlets can only find holes in it

*** Forty days into the Kashmir “lockdown”—stupid American jargon for a brutal and undemocratic suppression of fundamental rights—there are three, possibly four, “narratives” of what is happening in the valley. There is the local Kashmiri view, which we do not know much about, and possibly they themselves don’t. There is the mainland India view, which…

In 31 days of August, 5 leading English newspapers had 63 political and almost-political bylines on their edit and op-ed pages. Leader of the pack: ‘The Indian Express’ with 32 BJP voices in 39 pieces.

There once was a time, there was actually, when the editorial page was prime real-estate in a newspaper—the home of evolved minds; a trove of thoughts and ideas; and a showcase of scholarly even if somewhat boring writing. The dumbing down of the edit page, which began with the interventions of Samir Jain in The…