Archive for April, 2012

KBK: The cartographic pioneer before PhotoShop

26 April 2012

An advertisement appearing in The Times of India in Delhi today, in memory of Kul Bhushan Kumar, who set up a pioneering cartographic service for Indian newspapers over 60 years ago.

“KBK”, as his signature read, was a migrant from Peshawar who hopped across the border after Partition, setting up his syndication agency in Bengali Market in the heart of Delhi, supplying newspapers with information distilled into graphics decades before “graphics” became the buzzword.

Following KBK’s demise nine years ago, his son Vijay now runs the show, from the same address.

The editor who said ‘no’ to Ramnath Goenka

25 April 2012

The veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar pays tribute to V.K. Narasimhan, the legendary editor of the Indian Express during the Emergency in 1975, in a column in Deccan Herald:

“The day Indira Gandhi was defeated at the polls Narasimhan was ousted to bring in S. Mulgaonkar. Ramnath Goenka explained that this was his obligation because Mulgaonkar had been forced to quit during the Emergency.

“Goenka had a point but what annoyed everyone was the abrupt change made even in the print line without Narasimhan’s knowledge.

“In protest he left the paper.

“Senior staff was at Goenka’s throat for the unceremonious departure of a person who had led them in the fight against the Emergency at a time when editors had compromised with the establishment.

“I was deputed by Goenka to bring back Narasimhan as editor of The Financial Express, his original position, but he refused to return because of the manner in which he was treated by Goenka…. I can never forget the scene when I left his house: Narasimhan and his wife were sitting on the floor of their tiny kitchen and sipping coffee.

“He had no job, no position. Nor did he care because persons like Narasimhan drew strength from their faith in values which today’s journalists generally do not pursue, much less cherish them.”

Narasimhan’s son V.N. Narayanan went on to be editor of The Tribune and Hindustan Times.

Read the full column: A journalist of great courage

Also read: Hindu and HT were worst offenders in 1975

‘Jacket’ ads continue to trouble ‘The Hindu’

24 April 2012

In January, a jacket advertisement on the front page of The Hindu, featuring a Tamil Nadu Congress leader who loudly proclaimed his affection for Sonia Gandhi at the beginnig of the new year— “We remain, Madamji, ever at your feet”—caused a bit of buzz.

Then, Siddharth Varadarajan, the paper’s incoming editor, wrote on his Facebook account:

“To all those who messaged me about the atrocious front page ad in The Hindu’s Delhi edition on Jan 1, my view as Editor is that this sort of crass commercialisation compromises the image and reputation of my newspaper. We are putting in place a policy to ensure the front page is not used for this sort of an ad again.”

Now, another jacket ad in the paper’s Tamil Nadu editions prompts a note from the editor of the paper.

Image: courtesy The Hindu

External reading: The Hindu reacts on Sonia Gandhi ad

Press Trust of India strike for Majithia wage board

19 April 2012

Press Trust of India (PTI) employees are going on strike tomorrow demanding the implementation of the recommendations of the Majithia wage board.

Below is the full take of the PTI news advisory to subscribers.

***

ZCZC
PRI COM ECO ENT GEN NAT SPO
.NEWDEL DEL31
ADVISORY
Attn: All Subscribers

PTI news and photo services are likely to be affected from 2:00 am on April 20, 2012 to 8:00 am on April 21, 2012 due to strike called by the trade union in PTI over the Wage Board issue.

We regret the inconvenience that may be caused to you.

General Manager – Admin
PTI, Delhi
KIM
04191244
NNNN

***

Also read: INS: “We reject wage board recommendations”

Media barons wake up together, sing same song

Why Majithia wage board is good for journalists

9 reasons why wage board is bad for journalism

POLL: Should newspapers implement wage board?

Allow me to point out, Mr Arnab Goswami

How papers are working around Majithia wage board

Eight reasons journalism is the best profession

18 April 2012

A recent survey ranking journalism as the fifth worst job to have—alongside dishwashers and oil rig workers—has got journalists all worked up.

Jeff Bercovici lists eight reasons why that’s not true, despite the low salaries,the long and irregular working hours, etc.

# You’re always learning

# You get paid to read a ton

# You get paid to meet interesting people

# You get to meet celebrities

# Maybe you even get to enjoy a little celebrity

# “Stress” is excitement

# Journalists get around

# And then there’s the small matter of self-expression

Read the full article: Forget that survey

Also read: Congratulations, all of you, for a great job

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Photograph: In the hit film Jaane bhi do yaaro, two commercial photographers (played by Naseeruddin Shah and the late Ravi Baswani) pick up freelance assignments for Khabardar, a muckraking publication edited by Shobha Sen (Bhakti Barve) that ostensibly wants to expose the link between an unscrupulous builder (Pankaj Kapoor) and a corrupt municipal commissioner (Satish Shah). The lensmen come up with damning evidence but, well, the editor is “stringing along” with another builder (Om Puri) and strumming a different tune.

‘Praja Vani’ special issue guest-edited by a Dalit

14 April 2012

Many Indian newspapers now invite a “Guest Editor” to create some buzz.

Usually the guest is a boldfaced name: a cricketer (Yuvraj Singh), a godman (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar),  a businessman (N.R. Narayana Murthy), a news maker (Amartya Sen) or a celebrity.

Take a bow, Praja Vani.

On the birth anniversary of the father of the Indian Constitution, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, the Kannada newspaper from the Bangalore-based Deccan Herald group has brought out a special issue, guest-edited by the Dalit writer and social activist, Devanur Mahadeva.

Eight broadsheet pages of the 16-page main edition—plus seven out of eight pages in two four-page broadsheet supplements—have pieces commissioned by the guest editor.

In all, there are 37 pieces of text, led by an introduction from the paper’s editor, K.N. Shanth Kumar.

Each of the pages carrying the pieces has a common panel that reads “Swatantra, Samanathe, Sodarathe” (freedom, equality, fraternity) and each article carrying the piece has an icon of Ambedkar.

Among the articles, a business page report on India’s first Dalit bank; a metro section story on why Bollywood ignores Ambedkar; and an edit page piece on the need for social police.

Robin Jeffrey, whose lament on the lack of diversity in Indian (read English) newsrooms, prompted the experiment would be pleasantly surprised at the spunk of a leading regional-language newspaper.

Image: courtesy Praja Vani

Also read: 6 pages for Ambedkar; 393 pages for ‘The Family’

Anybody here Dalit and speaks English?

Is Vijaya Karnataka ready for a Dalit editor?

Journalism lesson #1: No one’s indispensable

13 April 2012

Tabish Khair, journalist turned poet, in Open magazine:

You were with The Times of India in Delhi for a little les than five years. How has your life as a journalist shaped your writing?

You lose your fear of deadlines, and learn to keep them. You realise that the world is far wider and weirder than you had imagined. And you discover that you are necessary but not indispensable.

 

Congratulations, all of you, for a great job…

13 April 2012

Infographic: courtesy Hindustan Times

***

Also read: If you’ve been feeling nice about yourself…

This magazine’s newsroom is a real brothel

Journalists vs journalist in Bangalore free-for-all

11 April 2012

The page one story in 'Kannada Prabha' on Tuesday, in which a journalist claims to have broken a story before a Bangalore tabloid editor who is claiming credit for it.

PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: A veritable dogfight has broken out in Bangalore between a 24×7 Kannada news channel owned by the MP, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, and the owner-editor of a weekly Kannada newspaper.

On the surface, the dispute is over credits for a recently released Kannada film.

But, deep down, the spat has served as a platform for some unabashed shadow-boxing between two leading Kannada journalists that has already seen plenty of bile being spilled on the tabloid editor’s parentage, his sexual exploits and financial dealings, not to mention his journalistic vocabulary and targets.

And everybody from film folk to co-journalists have been happily indulging in a slugfest that has also become a TRP battle between the two leading Kannada news channels.

***

When the Kannada film “Bheema Teeradalli” opened last Friday, Ravi Belagere, the editor of the popular Hi! Bangalore  tabloid popped up on the No.1 Kannada news channel TV9.

He claimed it was he who had unearthed the story of Chandappa Harijan, on whom the film had allegedly been based, but he had neither been consulted by the film makers nor acknowledged in the credits or compensated for it.

All through the TV9 show, the film’s producer, director and actor hemmed and hawwed on where they had suddenly found the inspiration for the film while Belagere, a regular face on Ramoji Rao’s ETV, tore into them.

***

The moment the two-hour TV9 show ended on Saturday, the scene of action shifted to Suvarna News 24×7, Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s news channel whose editor-in-chief is Vishweshwar Bhat and whose friendship with Ravi Belagere has seen better times.

(Belagere used to write a weekly column for Vijaya Karnataka edited by Bhat and Bhat played a guest role in a film produced by Belagere that didn’t quite see the light of day.)

Ravi Belagere (centre), editor of Hi! Bangalore, with Suvarna News and Kannada Prabha editor-in-chief, Vishweshwar Bhat (left), in happier times

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For months, the two Bangalore journalist-friends turned foes had been at each other throats, more in private than in public. It’s been open season since the film row broke.

On one night on Suvarna News, Pratap Simha, the news editor of Kannada Prabha (a Kannada daily owned by Chandrasekhar and edited by Bhat) and who had been the attacked in a cover story in Belagere’s publication earlier, threw a series of challenges to the tabloid editor.

On another night, the publisher of a competing tabloid pulled out love letters allegedly written by Belagere. A telephone caller, who claimed he was a police inspector, called Belagere “loafer” and “420” on-air.

***

Ravi Belagere again reappeared on TV9 to explain the many photographs and videos he had shot to prove his “intellectual property rights” over the disputed film, but the film’s key men had parked themselves in the Suvarna studios.

In between, Kannada Prabha jumped in to the action.

On page one on Tuesday, it led with the account of another journalist T.K. Malagonda, who claimed he had written about Chandappa Harijan long before Belagere, and that he had provided all the information and photographs to him and that he had not been acknowledged for his effort—the very claim Belagere was making.

On Tuesday night, Suvarna News went one step further. As the two-hour show went on, a crawler ran on TV screens: “If who have been harassed by Ravi Belagere, please dial 080-40977111.”

A long and famous friendship, it seemed, had come to an end.

Time for focus-groups in Indian journalism?

10 April 2012

Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the film maker and producer behind such big hits as Parinda, 1942: A Love Story, Munnabhai MBBS and 3 Idiots, is a big fan of focus groups—exposing a small audience to a film before its release and tailoring the finished product based on their reaction.

In an interview with Shekhar Gupta of the Indian Express for NDTV’s Walk the Talk programme, Chopra extends the focus-group logic to journalism; a practise that has been and is tried by some media houses in a limited sort of way in the name of giving readers and viewers “what they want”.

I believe you pioneered the idea of a focus group—you call a bunch of people, show your films to them.

Yes, Ferrari ki Sawaari (an upcoming film) has been seen by 500 people already. 3 Idiots was seen by over a thousand. I’m the only guy who shows the movie because I’m willing to listen to them.

How does it work?

I’m open to criticism. That’s the big thing. Let’s say you have written an article. You are running this newspaper. I read it and I tell you I don’t agree. There are two ways you can look at it. One is, let me listen to him, I may or may not agree with him. The other is, what does he know about newspapers?

Read the full article: Vidhu Vinod Chopra

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