Category Archives: People

Nine journalists arrested in Telangana for reporting and recording EVMs being shifted in the middle of the night in private vehicles

Mohammad Mohsin, an IAS officer of the Karnataka cadre posted as an election observer in Odisha, has been suspended for “dereliction of duty”. His offence: checking the helicopter of Narendra Modi, days after a black box had been hurriedly carried off the PM’s chopper in Karnataka. *** Now, nine journalists in Telangana have been arrested…

“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.…

How N. Ram’s reporting of the #Rafale scandal in ‘The Hindu’ sped across the digital world and into the phones of readers before the Narendra Modi government could put its pants on

Behind the investigation of India’s two biggest defence scandals—the Bofors deal under Rajiv Gandhi and the Rafale deal under Narendra Modi—is one common newspaper and one common byline, The Hindu and N. Ram. But with one big difference: the first scandal was reported when hard-copy, ink-and-paper journalism was king; the latter in the digital age, when…

How an ‘Economic Times’ reporter’s tweet enabled a 68-year-old Wayanad woman, who survives on Rs 36 a day, to get the photo (and a hug) of a lifetime

  On Wednesday, April 3, Indulekha Aravind, a feature writer with The Economic Times, was in Kalpetta town, in Wayanad in Kerala, meeting people a day before Congress president Rahul Gandhi was to file his nomination papers from the constituency. It is the cliched election vox-pop—a big-town reporter in a small town trying to gauge public opinion,…

‘The Indian Express’, Shekhar Gupta and Manu Pubby: a textbook example of how Narendra Modi’s attack dog ED bit the hand that fed the BJP the AgustaWestland scandal in 2014

The Indian Express which broke the AgustaWestland helicopter scam in 2013 and added to the UPA’s mountain of scandals from which Narendra Modi pounced to power, finds itself being bizarrely accused by the BJP regime of toning down coverage. Manu Pubby, then with the Express, was first to report that former air chief marshal (retired) S.P.…

How a newspaper Editor inspired a spunky English mom to name her first son Ranga—the amazing life and times of possibly India’s first woman columnist, Freda Bedi

Who was the first woman to write a column, and a stridently feminist column at that, in a mainstream Indian newspaper? Unless there were others before her in the languages, could the answer be Freda Bedi, the mother of the actor Kabir Bedi, who wrote in The Tribune, Lahore, in pre-partition India? *** In his…

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 Daily Telegraph’ journalist who found Nirav Modi in London was, er, not quite looking for the diamond fraudster that Narendra Modi had happily let go

Journalism doesn’t always happen by design. When The Daily Telegraph found the fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi hailing a taxi in London, and peppered him with questions, it was not because a crack investigative team was actively looking for the man who had defrauded banks in India of Rs 13,000 crore. It was because the paper’s magazine…

100 years ago, today, the greatest Editor-in-Chief to have walked this planet had a dream, an epiphany—in the home of the owner of ‘The Hindu’—that changed India’s course

One hundred years ago, today, India’s struggle for independence from the British took a decisive and inspired turn, when Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had a dream that would catapult him towards ‘Mahatma’-hood. On March 18, 1919, Gandhi met C.Rajagopalachari in the City that used to be known as Madras, in a home on Cathedral Road that…

Darryl D’Monte, the Bandra boy whose grandfather probably owned half of Bandra, but took a local train to and from work, even when he was Editor of ‘Indian Express’ and ‘The Times of India’

Indian Journalism Review records with regret the passing of Darryl D’Monte, former resident of The Indian Express and The Times of India in Bombay. He was 75. Both papers carried obituaries of D’Monte, an environmental crusader who, even as Editor, travelled to and from Bandra by local train because cars polluted the air. ToI graciously…

News connoisseurs to news nibblers: how BBC is approaching journalism in Indian languages with five words fast disappearing from our ‘bhasha’: trust, credibility, strength, depth, quality

If the English market is tough for serious players in Indian journalism, keeping the head above the water in the languages is a humongous challenge. So immense, so expensive, and so impossible is the task of attracting readers and viewers, and keeping them engaged with quality content, that nearly nobody is attempting to do it.…

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…

Listening to Vineet Jain’s and Rahul Joshi’s cringe-worthy speeches welcoming Narendra Modi, you are left with only one doubt: was the text approved by the Prime Minister’s Office or its propaganda division, Niti Aayog?

“After #Pulwama, the Indian media proves it is the BJP’s propaganda machine“ This was the headline of an article in the Washington Post, on March 4, by two researchers of The Polis Project, who looked at the “contradictory, biased, incendiary and uncorroborated” reports in a number of media vehicles including India Today, NDTV, News 18, The…

Usually journalists try to enter politics during elections, but when a first-class, four-time Member of Parliament decides to return to journalism, it is news

When elections loom into view, journalists with an eye on the main chance, fancy a stint in politics. But in Odisha, the four-time Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Tathagata Sathpathy, a stand-out parliamentarian, has taken the opposite route: back to journalism. Satpathy, owner and editor of the well-regarded Odia newspaper Dharitri, and its sister English…

18 things you didn’t know about ANI, from the ‘The Ken’ and ‘The Caravan’ profiles of the video news agency to which Narendra Modi has given four interviews in five years

When the letters “ANI” stare at viewers in virtually every news clip; when the prime minister gives the agency his first “interview” of the year; when an opposition leader calls the interviewer “pliable”, naturally somebody is going to ask how “Advani News International”, as it used to be once derisively called, became the go-to media…

“‘Fidayeen Anchors’ like Arnab Goswami did what is expected of them. It is moderate-looking journalists like Shekhar Gupta, Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai who have shed their masks.”

The flame-throwing, fire-spewing, war-mongering conduct of the “commando comic channels” in the recent India-Pakistan kerfuffle has attracted near-universal criticism on both sides of the line of control—and across the seven seas. Indeed, these incursions by the TRPF (Television Rating Point Force) into the soul and sanity of the subcontinent were about the only ones not disputed by…

“I keep hearing about the problems media organisations and journalists have undergone [in the Modi era], but the truth is I never faced one: Mukund Padmanabhan on editing ‘The Hindu’

The change of editorship at Indian media houses is (usually) a sinister cloak-and-dagger affair, done in the dead of night sans any grace. Publishers rarely ever feel the need to inform readers why Editor X has left or why Editor Y has come in. Not so, The Hindu. Three months ago, the “Mountroad Mahavishnu” announced…

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…

A masterclass in grace, gratitude and decency from ‘The Hindu’ on how to bid goodbye to an outgoing employee

Decency is not a virtue much in demand in Indian newsrooms, where the mercenary and the mercantile are valued higher. But there is always the rare exception. The Hindu gives its Editor Mukund Padmanabhan (in picture, above) a first-class sendoff upon his retirement, with a graceful (and grateful) front-page acknowledgement of services rendered by him…