Category Archives: People

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…

The ‘Sunday’ magazine sub-editor who secretly cooked her way to become the best known Indian chef in the world, after Gaggan Anand (if you believe food critics, that is)

In the Hindustan Times magazine supplement, Brunch, the food writer Vir Sanghvi writes about Asma Khan, the former Sunday magazine journalist whose hashtag could well be #SubKaChaatSubKaVikas. (Sunday, launched by the Ananda Bazaar Patrika group, is now defunct. M.J. Akbar was its first editor.) Writes Sanghvi: “It is a funny feeling when a colleague from decades…

NDTV’s London correspondent cornered, bullied, shouted at anti-terror march by NRIs for doing her job, for working for NDTV: “If you are an Indian, then say ‘Bharat mata ki jai’.”

As India hurtles inexorably towards fulfilling the wet fantasies of idiots itching for action against Pakistan after the deadliest attack in 30 years of militancy in Kashmir—under Narendra Modi‘s magisterial watch—the contours are being framed. Attacking newspapers like Gujarat Samachar. Conditioning minds through embedded channels. Trolling and labelling journalists who counsel sanity. *** NDTV’s excellent…

“Anybody can do an MBA. Not everybody can become a cartoonist”: the sage advice that turned Satish Acharya into a 24×7 cartoonist in the social media age

Although the Mysore-born R.K. Laxman is the best known of them all, it is Kerala that has produced more political cartoonists in the English language: P. Shankar Pillai, O.V. Vijayan, Abu Abraham, Kutty, Unny, Ravi Shankar, Ajit Ninan et al. In recent years, Satish Acharya has joined his Kannadiga torch-bearer as a political cartoonist of promise,…

“The skill and excellence acquired by a journalist at the workplace is hers. It’s not company property”: How Delhi HC backed Sucherita Kukreti against Rajat Sharma’s ‘India TV’

To prevent journalists from jumping ship for a higher CTC, thus necessitating higher costs for retention and fresh recruitment, India’s media barons often have informal “non-poaching” agreements. The simple philosophy: “We won’t take journalists from your company. You don’t take journalists from ours.” Such duopolistic practices run counter to the “market economy” which most owners…

How can a journalist find the time to write a book every year? Nicholas Coleridge, who has written 12 of them, has an effective 3-step formula.

Exactly 25 years ago, Nicholas Coleridge, then a hot shot manager at Conde Nast publications, wrote a fabulous book called Paper Tigers, on the foibles, fortunes, eccentricities, influence and political manoeuvring of newspaper tycoons. In India, he met Samir Jain of The Times of India, Ramnath Goenka of The Indian Express, and Aveek Sarkar of The…

The millennial journalist who broke the story of the year (so far) has been just five years in the profession; wasn’t even born when India’s liberalisation began!

Print journalism is dead. Check. India’s conflicted business newspapers do not break stories. Check. Indian Institute of Mass Communication doesn’t produce the brightest bulbs. Check. If you haven’t achieved something of note by 30 you never will. Check. *** On the death anniversary of the greatest Editor-in-Chief to have walked this planet—Mahatma Gandhi, if you…

“Sanity, dignity, robustness, journalism and an end to cynicism”. How Barkha Dutt kicked off her latest innings on Harvest TV. (Or is that HTN News, or NewsHtn?)

Former NDTV presenter Barkha Dutt, the Emmy-nominated TV presenter—and easily the best in language, poise and presentation—is back on air, with a new “show” on the Kapil Sibal-backed TV channel. These were her opening words on first day, first show. “Good evening, my name is Barkha Dutt and you are watching ‘Democracy Live’, your brand-new…

Kannada University postpones silver jubilee event after students and teachers object to the ‘consistent misogyny’ of an invitee: a right-wing newspaper Editor

  The valedictory function of the silver jubilee of Kannada University—a University set up in Hampi in Karnataka 25 years ago to celebrate the state’s language—has been abruptly postponed following protests over the participation of a newspaper Editor. The event, scheduled for January 31 and February 1, was put off after students and professors objected…

N. Ram: ‘Today’s mainstream media is scared to touch the Rafale scandal like it did Bofors. An overarching fear of Narendra Modi has had a chilling effect.”

It is rare in Indian journalism for the same journalist to be at the centre of two major investigations, 30 years apart.  In 1989, Narasimhan Ram was Associate Editor of the family-owned newspaper The Hindu when he, along with Chitra Subramaniam, dug into the #Bofors gun deal that set the stage for Rajiv Gandhi’s downfall.  In…

In Jammu & Kashmir, is there a deliberate design to delegitimise photo and video journalists, and to remove them from the scene of action?

Keeping accreditated journalists out of government events and government offices, under one ruse or the other, has become such a norm in State after State that it barely attracts any more than momentary attention. But when six accomplished journalists are kept out of the Republic Day function in Jammu & Kashmir, a state the Narendra…

Who brought Subhash Chandra of Zee to his knees—‘The Economic Times’, ‘The Wire’, or that usual suspect, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries?

Who broke the story of the troubles of the Zee conglomerate which led to a notional crash in stock prices by as much as Rs 14,000 crore on January 25, which then led to its founder “Dr” Subhash Chandra‘s extraordinary mea culpa? Was it Mohit Bhalla of The Economic Times who set the stage more than a month…

The humble home of the village school master who, at age 23, founded the Mahavishnu of Mount Road, ‘The Hindu’

  The ‘Friday Review’ supplement of The Hindu carries, in its Bangalore edition at least, a feature on the little town of Tiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur district, where its founder G. Subramania Iyer was born and where he received his initial schooling. Mr Iyer, who started life as a school teacher, was 23 when he started The Hindu with…