Archive for February, 2010

‘I thought she would live forever': A love story

21 February 2010

For reasons they (we) know all too well, journalists’ marriages have (generally) become the byword for short, rocky, if not wholly unhappy, relationships.

Not so, T.S. Nagarajan‘s.

The renowned photographer, master of the black-and-white form, was happily married to wife Meenakshi for a full 50 years till two Decembers ago.

In his privately published book ‘A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf & Other Memories‘, Nagarajan describes living her, loving her and then losing her.

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Photograph: “The very first picture I took of Meenakshi after our wedding. It was done on the lawns of Rajghat in Delhi. She was trying to give me the good news that she was carrying a baby!” (courtesy T.S. Nagarajan)

Click here for the full story: ‘I thought she would live forever’

Amitabh Bachchan versus the Mumbai Mirror

20 February 2010

Amitabh Bachchan, who only eight months ago confessed he wanted to be a journalist in his next life, continues to have problems with those practising the craft in their current life.

Four months ago, the BBC’s star of the millennium” was in a tug-of-war with Abhijit Mazumder of MiD-DaY. Earlier this week, he had problems with Kaveree Bamzai of India Today.

Today Bachchan, who played the conscientious media baron Vijay Harshvardhan Malik in Rann two weeks ago, is sparring with The Times of India group and Meenal Baghel of Mumbai Mirror.

The tabloid from the Bennett, Coleman stable, issued free with The Times of India in Bombay, ran a story attributed to “Mumbai Mirror Bureau” on his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai allegedly having problems in conceiving due to stomach tuberculosis.

“It’s no secret that Aishwarya is 37, and she isn’t getting any younger. But it now comes to light that the reason for her inability to bear a child at the moment is because she has been suffering from stomach tuberculosis for a while.

“Says a source, ‘The medication Aishwarya is taking for her stomach ailment is hampering her from getting pregnant. Until the tuberculosis is fully cured, she is unlikely to risk a pregnancy’,” reads the operative portion from the story.

Aishwarya Rai denied the story on the day it appeared, calling it false and fabricated, which the paper carried in full.

Now, Bachchan, who, according to Mumbai Mirror, is said to have described the ailment as rich man’s TB on his blog, has blogged back against the “soiled and unworthy piece of garbage” in post number 669, demanding an apology and a retraction for the “debased journalism”.

“The unprofessional and slanderous nature of this article in such an esteemed and respected newspaper as the Mumbai Mirror is deeply disturbing. It brings the author of this article into disrepute. It brings the editor that published this article into disrepute. It brings this particular newspaper into disrepute.

“Due to the illicit nature of this slander, I request a retraction and full apology. The full apology comprises the names of the individual journalist and chief editor, the journalist’s and editor’s unqualified retraction and refutation of the contents of thearticle, the apology should be addressed to both Aishwarya Rai Bachchan first and specifically, and also to the Bachchan family in general.

“The apology is to be printed on the first page of the entertainment section of the Mumbai Mirror on the same page, in the same size print, and including the signatures of the aforementioned journalist and editor and an immediate donation of a sum of (amount to be decided by members of my extended family of the blog) to a national charitable foundation of your choosing that supports those who suffer fromtuberculosis and an article in your newspaper highlighting its work.”

Newspaper screenshot: courtesy Mumbai Mirror

Also read: ‘FIR is not a license to titillate or sensationalise’

Pradyuman Maheshwari: Will someone ask Amitabh Bachchan to keep a check on what he blogs?

When a politician weds a journalist, it’s news

17 February 2010

Not too many Indian politicians have a good word about journalism or journalists, but at least one of them, Congressman Jitin Prasada will (hopefully) do so from today. The 36-year-old junior minister for petroleum and natural gas married television journalist Neha Seth in New Delhi on February 16.

Prasada, 36, belongs to the Kapurthala royal family and even boasts of a link to Rabindranath Tagore. Apparently his great-grandmother is the Nobel laureate’s niece. The Hindustan Times quoted him last year as saying he wanted a non-politician wife: “I need a getaway.”

Seth, 30, a former staffer at CNN-IBN, quit the channel last year reportedly to be part of BJP leader Vasundhara Raje Scindia’s campaign team in the run-up to the assembly and general elections in Rajasthan.

The Times of India reports her parents are page 3 regulars on the Lucknow circuit.

“The wedding proposal came from the boy’s side,” ToI quotes the bride’s mother Poonam as saying. “I was very annoyed with Neha for rejecting every wedding proposal that came for her. I would tell here you’ll be left on the shelf if you carry on this way…. They are well-suited for each other. He’s a fine boy.”

The reception from the girl’s family is scheduled to be held in Lucknow on February 20.

Photograph: courtesy IBN Live

It’s all happening in the newsmagazine space

17 February 2010

The latest advertising campaign of the newsweekly The Week targetting Outlook*.

The Cochin-based Week is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), while the Delhi-based Outlook along with market leader India Today are not. So The Week used figures filed by Outlook before the registrar of newspapers (RNI) for the ammunition for the ad.

* Disclosures apply

Also read: The Week journalists win IPI, ICRC awards

Everybody knows what GIEM is, who TGI is

Why Jethmalani started ‘The Sunday Guardian’

16 February 2010

The well known criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani on his increasingly testy relationship with the media, at an interaction with journalists of the Indian Express:

Pragya Kaushika: You have criticised the media but you have invested in a new paper, The Sunday Guardian. Why this sudden interest in the media?

Ram Jethmalani: It was due to my disenchantment with the press. I am a habitual writer but nobody has been publishing my articles. So I started this paper with a sense of total frustration with the press….

Vinay Sitapati: You criticised the media, but a large part of Ram Jethmalani is a media creation. You are constantly invited to TV news channels.

Jethmalani: Media does invite me but they invite me for opinions which they like and they also invite me because they think that more people will view their channel.

Sitapati: Many of the views that you give are picked up by millions of people and surely some of it is designed to be that way?

Jethmalani: I am not finding fault with the press. Yes, it is a two-way relationship.

Illustration: courtesy Outlook

Read the full exchange: ‘The greatest milestones of law…’

Also read: Will M.J. Akbar recreate The Telegraph magic?

A bigger masthead than the previous week

‘If a headline asks a question, the answer is no’

12 February 2010

Foundation for Media Professionals (FMP) seminar: Can the intelligence bureau and the research and analysis wing be accountable?

Thursday, February 18

5.30pm-8 pm

Venue: Nehru memorial museum and library, Teen Murti house, New Delhi.

Also read: Andrew Marr: How to read a newspaper

ToI group editor in flap over honorary doctorate

11 February 2010

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Bennett, Coleman bossman Samir Jain, it is said, doesn’t like his editors becoming the news instead of quietly packaging it in the newsroom. A test of that famous kink comes in Bangalore, where the helmsman of The Times of India group’s Kannada daily has been hogging the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

On January 25, Vishweshwar Bhat, editor of the mass-circulation daily Vijaya Karnataka, was shortlisted for an honorary doctorate degree by his alma mater Karnatak University in Dharwad. ToI reported that Bhat’s name had been cleared by the governor of the State, H.R. Bharadwaj, who is also the chancellor of the University.

So far, so good.

But trouble first came from the local unit of the Berlin-based “coalition against corruption”, Transparency International. On February 5, the chairman of TI’s Karnataka chapter, the former high court judge M.F. Saldanha, shot off a letter to the University and to the governor questioning the choice of the journalist.

“…the person concerned has been primarily responsible for instigating and fuelling communal hatred by regularly publishing extremely volatile and offensive articles and editorials in his paper, all directed against the minorities, particularly the Christians and Muslims as also against Dalits,” read a section of Justice Saldanha’s letter to the University.

The following day, February 6, Vijaya Karnataka carried a brief news report stating that Bhat had decided to decline the University honour due to “personal reasons”.

Today, Deccan Chronicle, which competes with The Times of India in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Madras has front-paged a story claiming that the Governor has ordered an “inquiry” into the decision of the University to honour Bhat.

Bhat has been at the receiving end of protests by Dalits in recent weeks.

Late last year, the Bangalore police commissioner Shankar Bidari attributed a series of negative reports about the functioning of the city’s police in Vijaya Karnataka to his decision to turn down Bhat’s request for gunmen in view of a perceived “threat” to his life.

Letter: courtesy Flickr

Newspaper facsimiles: courtesy Deccan Chronicle and Vijaya Karnataka

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Also read: Is management responsible for content too?

Indian youth prefer newspapers over TV for news

9 February 2010

Newspaper printers, publishers and promoters have plenty to thank India’s youth.

A nationwide survey by the National Council of Applied Economics Reserch (NCAER) shows that two out of every three people in the 13-35 age band prefer to get their news from newspapers, although more youngsters are exposed to television than print.

Infographic: courtesy The Indian Express

Read the full story here: Print media holds its own

A bigger masthead than the previous week

8 February 2010

The front page of the second issue of M.J. Akbar‘s new weekly newspaper, The Sunday Guardian.

Will M.J. Akbar recreate The Telegraph magic?

2 February 2010

New Delhi has a new Sunday paper, The Sunday Guardian, edited by the veteran editor, author and columnist M.J. Akbar. The 40-page weekly, priced at Rs 3, hit the stands on 31 January with the renowned lawyer Ram Jethmalani as chairman of the board of MJP Media Pvt Ltd.

This is the second weekend paper to be launched in recent weeks after the Crest edition of The Times of India, which is priced at Rs 6 and is published on Saturdays.

The 20-page main section of The Sunday Guardian has one page of city news, two pages of [covert] investigations, three pages of national news, one page of the week in review, a two-page picture essay, four pages of comment and analyses, two pages of business, one page of south Asia, one page of world news,  and one page of offbeat news.

The masthead of the 20-page supplement, Guardian20, is larger than the main masthead. The design, layout and mix of both the main paper and the supplement remind the reader of The Asian Age, the paper Akbar launched after leaving The Telegraph; some of the typography and notches have shades of The Guardian, London.

“Delhi has never had a newspaper created specifially for Sunday,” claims the inaugural editorial, forgetting the existence of The Sunday Mail (which had Sunil Sethi, Coomi Kapoor, et al on the staff) and the Delhi edition of The Sunday Observer of Vinod Mehta more than 15 years ago.

“Creating a newspaper is tricky. The Indian reader is both savvy and demanding. As the tightrope walker says, balane is essential. Sunday is a day of repose and reflection, with time to delve into matters missed in the mad rush of the six working days. Our first rule was simple: a newspaper is news printed on apper. But the horizon of news cannot be limited to the familiar, and must stretch concerns of governance, social change, business to the exciting aesthetic of the unqiue visual and many-coloured kaleidoscope of life outside politics. Lesire is too precious to be downgraded into frivolous.”

Also read: ‘Never let your head stoop as a journalist’

Editor charges prime minister of sabotage

‘Media can’t be in a state of perpetual war’

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