Archive for January, 2009

The chronicle of a newspaper death foretold

31 January 2009

27 years ago, San Francisco newspapers were unveiling a unique facility to enable readers to consume their morning poison over a computer.

It took two hours for an entire newspaper’s contents to be downloaded, minus pictures, advertisements and graphics. And five dollars per hour for telephone time, newscasters were saying the demise of the newspaper hawker were greatly exaggerated.

The rest, as they say, is mystery.

Link courtesy Jim Romenesko

Eight trends in Indian magazine publishing

31 January 2009

Anurag Batra, chairman and editor-in-chief of exchange4media group, in Magazine World, the journal of The International Federation of the Periodical Press:

01) English language publishing has disproportionate advertising revenues in regard to its readership in comparison to Indian language publications.

02) India is a low cover-price market, and the dominant revenue stream is advertising. The common phrase “Those who live by advertising will die by advertising,” certainly seems true in today’s times.

03) The yields from advertising are low compared to rates in other countreis. The highest circulation English magazine sells a full page at an average of about $9,000 (€7,252).

04) Distribution is a challenge, though there are specialist distribution arms entering the market.

05) Indian language publishing is likely to see the most growth.

06) The Indian magazine industry continues to attract entrepreneurs, both in the digital space and print and publishing.

07) International flagship titles and home-grown brands exist and compete well in the same space.

08) The contract publishing business, in an era where brands wish to be media owners, is very under-leveraged in India.

Journalist declining national award is news

28 January 2009

The following news item appears on the nation pages of The Times of India today:

Journalist says no to Padma award

Journalist P. Sainath, whose coverage of the agrarian crisis brought the prime minister to Vidarbha, has declined to be listed for a Padma award this year.

Also read: Why Rajdeep, Barkha must decline Padma Shri

A farmers’ bugbear trumps a farmers’ friend

If you’re working hard to put food on your family

27 January 2009

Third highest civilian honour for Shekhar Gupta

26 January 2009

Only one full-time, working journalist has found a place in India’s Republic Day honours list for 2009. Shekhar Gupta, editor-in-chief of The Indian Express and host of NDTV’s interview programme Walk the Talk, has been decorated with the nation’s third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan. Two others, veteran broadcaster Ameen Sayani and Nai Dunia chairman Abhay Chhajlani, have been awarded the Padma Shri.

Update: Alok Mehta, the editor-in-chief of Nai Duniya‘s Hindi edition, and former editor of Outlook Saptahik, too has bagged a Padma Shri.

***

Last year, three television journalists, Vinod Dua, Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt, had been included in the list.

Photograph: courtesy Newsweek

Also read: Why Rajdeep, Barkha must decline Padma Shri

To: all employees. From: The editor-in-chief

Bajrang Dal singles out NDTV for pub coverage

26 January 2009

Mangalore, on India’s west coast, has seen individual and institutional freedoms being transgressed since the BJP government took over in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

A legislator’s wife disappeared and committed suicide under a hail of speculation. Churches, convents, and prayer halls have been attacked. Buses carrying students of a co-education college have been attacked because girls and boys of different religions were travelling together. Newspaper editors have been arrested, handcuffed and jailed; newspaper publishers and directors have been sued.

As if all that infamy wasn’t enough, hoodlums of the Sri Ram Sena on Saturday barged into a pub at 4 pm claiming that “unethical activities” were taking place inside, and then slapped and kicked girls, and assaulted the men who were with them. The Sri Ram Sena has claimed responsibility for the act. Its convenor Prasad Attavar told The Hindu that it was a “spontaneous reaction against women who flouted traditional Indian norms of decency”. He said these women were Hindus who “dared to get close to Muslim men.”

But in a sign of competitive communalism, the Bajrang Dal has also claimed responsibility for the incident, according to this report and this report and this report and the video above.

Yet, a lawyer claiming to represent the Bajrang Dal has singled out New Delhi Television (NDTV) and issued a legal notice for mentioning the Bajrang Dal by name. The notice has been issued from faraway Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat, and the notice mentions the anchor (Naghma) and the reporter (Nihal Kidwai) by name.

Below is the full unedited, unexpurgated text of the legal notice.

***

Advocate Dipak Shukla, Advocate Gujarat High Court, A-3, Swagat Apt, Bodakdev, Ahmedabad- 380054, Tel 079-26851171

ATTENTION: ALL PUBLIC & PRIVATE COMMUNICATORS

Subject: NDTV Hindi reports mentioning Bajrang Dal name in Mangalore Pub attack (Report dated January 25, 2009 at 5pm, report filed by one Mr. Nihal from Karnataka & the Newsreader mentioning Bajrang Dal name was Ms. Nagma)

This is to bring to the notice of all concerned that:

1. My client Bajrang Dal firmly denies any involvement related to the said attack on a Mangalore Pub or Sriram Sena or any of their affiliated or non-affiliated people whatsoever or whosoever & any of their activities whatsoever.

2. Any attempt by any electronic media, print media, any public or private communicators, any government or private agency or anyone whosoever to spread the above or any such malafide, false, derogatory & criminally defamatory lies about my client will attract civil & criminal legal action as deemed fit.

3. Any damage to my client’s public & social image, standing as well as any Bajrang Dal member’s family’s social standing or businesses will be the sole liability of anyone who tries to spread the above malafide rumour. The financial compensation & the criminal as well as a civil legal action will be applicable to all who indulge into such politically motivated malafide criminal rumour mongering about my client.

4. Any political party or any person in any political party is found to be publicly or privately indulging in spreading the above natured malafide lies about my client will also attract suitable civil & criminal legal action as deemed fit & also will be liable to compensate the damages caused to my client organisation, its members’ family & family’s businesses due to the above criminally malafide activities of such rumour mongers in the above-said issue.

END OF THE ABOVE-SAID DOCUMENT. ANY ADDITION OF DELETION IN THE ABOVE DOCUMENT WILL ATTRACT SUITABLE LEGAL ACTION.

An all-expenses-paid African safari with NYT

25 January 2009

For the third year in a row, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is offering journalism students an all-expenses-paid vacation to travel with him to Africa to bring “fresh eyes” on the problems and solutions of global poverty. And to bring back stories that will appeal to younger readers.

“This won’t be a day on the beach. But it will be memorable and maybe even life-changing. And together we might shine a light on the world’s forgotten problems,” says Kristof, who played a stellar role in bringing the disgrace of Darfur to the world’s attention.

To apply you need to submit an essay to winatrip@nytimes.com or post a response to his YouTube video. The deadline for applications is February 13. The trip will be between a week and ten days in April or May.

To learn more about how to apply visit Kristof’s blog: nytimes.com/ontheground

How global media covered Obama inauguration

24 January 2009

“Over two days, newspapers around the world published 1.2 million articles. Over one 24-hour period, the global radio and television coverage combined added up to 20 million minutes; to watch it all it would have taken a human being 38 years,” reports Richard Gizbert of Al Jazeera English on the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.

“Despite its ancient roots the ceremony provides news networks with a perfect piece of television an historic event, and a central figure whose every move the world will be watching. But did the media get the story right? Does the dominant narrative of change and the start of a new era square with the facts? And what will an Obama administration mean for the media in the United States?”

Laughter is best medicine if you can swallow it

23 January 2009

KPN photo

Indian politicians have a tremendous sense of humour, compared to Indian film, sport, business and other celebrities who believe the media’s job is, well, advertising. They have an under-appreciated ability to take criticism on their chin and laugh it off, although states like Maharashtra have proved an exception in recent times.

But will former Indian prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda like this grim spitting image who released the first issue of the monthly Kannada humour magazine Bari Vaare Kore, edited by cartoonist Prakash Shetty (formerly of The Week) in Bangalore on Friday?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Vir Sanghvi lashes out at Mint “censorship”

21 January 2009

It’s all happening at Mint, the business daily launched by the Hindustan Times barely two years ago.

Founder-editor Raju Narisetti left under a cloud of rumours at the turn of the year. And now, star-columnist Vir Sanghvi, a former editor of HT, has ended his column in Lounge, the Saturday magazine of Mint, with a piece on his website that hits out at the fledgling paper and its new editor, Sukumar Ranganathan.

“I will not write for a publication that censors its columnists and denies them the right to free speech while writing long, impassioned pieces about the freedom to criticize others from the Prime Minister downwards. All of us exhibit double standards to some degree. But Mint‘s hypocrisy takes my breath away.”

Sanghvi’s dispute with Mint apparently arose after Lounge did not carry his “Pursuits” column last week on business journalism in the aftermath of the Satyam fraud.

Reason: it took a swipe at Mint for the manner in which it covered the drama surrounding NewsX, a start-up TV channel that Sanghvi headed till he quit before its launch.

“I believe that the ability to carry criticism of yourself is the mark of a competent editor and a confident publication. Sadly, the new editor of Mint—after Raju’s departure—does not appear to share this view. He refused to carry the article,” writes Sanghvi, while showering praise on Priya Ramani, the editor of Lounge.

Sanghvi’s website also carries the original article which Lounge did not carry. It contains these paragraphs on Mint‘s coverage of the NewsX episode, which ironically appeared in Raju Narisetti’s tenure.

“Easily the worst was Mint—-ironic because I am a columnist—-which managed to get basic details wrong, running biased and inaccurate reports and then following them up with a series of wildly speculative (always attributed to “a source close to the situation”) stories which (long after I had left and other NewsX issues were being featured) nearly always demonstrated a total misunderstanding of the situation.

“As Mint is not a newspaper that carries much news and specializes in thoughtful, analytical reports, these lapses were surprising. One theory  is that the paper likes running Stardust-type media-gossip stores which are either of no consequence (the Delhi Press Club elections ) or just wrong (Pradeep Guha to join Big TV), in the hope that people will talk about them. When NewsX was eventually sold, Mint which had identified the wrong suitors, failed again as Exchange4Media scooped the story.

“But at least it proves one thing. When journos get it wrong, we even get media stories wrong!”

Also read: How come media did not spot Satyam fraud?

Pseudonymous author spells finis to Mint editor?

VIR SANGHVI: Does the Indian reader care for integrity?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,520 other followers

%d bloggers like this: