Archive for July, 2012

Undercover Story: Indian spies get their own mag

31 July 2012

From The Buzz, the gossip column of the Hindustan Times:

“Living life below the radar can be an onerous task particularly for the spouses of Indian Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) spies. To give expression to husbands, wives and children of India’s cloak and dagger operators, R&AW launched its first in-house magazine (aptly named Anamika) last week.

“Led by Neeta Tripathi, wife of R&AW chief Sanjeev Tripathi, and some spouses of spies who would rather remain unnamed, the colourful magazine provides an insight into the world of R&AW with sections based on identification processes such as retina scans, fingerprinting, bar codes and footprints.

“It has a section on the profiles of wives of previous spy masters with children contributing poems, photographs and paintings to the glossy magazine. Plans are afoot to make the magazine a monthly affair with the hope that the government does not bring it under the ambit of the Official Secrets Act. No cover after the cover page.”

Read the full column: The Buzz

Hussain Zaidi: ‘Unlikely mafia killed J. Dey’

21 July 2012

He is a crime reporter of note, having authored two best-selling books (Black Friday and Dongri to Dubai), one of which became a hit film, another is in the making.

He has seen his protege Mid-Day crime journalist J. Dey murdered. He has seen his own colleague, Jigna Vora, being picked up for Dey’s murder, allegedly for helping the underworld to bump off Dey (after which his stint as the Bombay editor of the Asian Age came to a sudden end).

S. Hussain Zaidi answers the key question in an interview with India Ink, the India website of the New York Times:

Q: Your friend and colleague Jyotirmoy Dey was shot dead last year and your fellow crime reporters are being investigated in that case.

A: Mr Dey was my favorite prodigy. I taught him crime reporting. In 1995, when he joined The Indian Express, he said he wanted to do crime reporting and in turn he would teach me how to do weight lifting.

When I saw Mr Dey’s dead body on June 11, 2011—I have seen a lot of dead bodies. I have seen dozens of dead bodies,—but J. Dey? He was 6 foot 3 inches, when I used to look at him, such a strong muscular man; I thought he would never die. It was incredible sight to see him dead.

Who killed him is really a mystery, but I don’t think the mafia is behind his killing.

Photograph: courtesy Roli Books

Read the full interview: A conversation with Hussain Zaidi

Also read: Will underworld dons trust such a hot reporter?

Journalist arrested in journalist’s murder case

J: Dey: ‘When eagles are silent, parrots jabber’

Remember, for one day you will be gone too

20 July 2012

With bottomline-conscious bean counters and brand managers stomping all over newsrooms these days, rare is the media house that pauses to salute those who are no longer with us.

To its credit, the Indian Express bucks the trend.

On its pages today is an ad for Vijay Pratap Singh, its reporter who was among those killed at a blast outside the residence of a Uttar Pradesh minister in 2010, leaving behind a wife, a five-year-old son and a 10-month-old daughter.

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Alfred D’Cruz: ToI’s first Indian sub-editor

Tarun Sehrwat, 22 and killed in the line of duty

Chari, a lens legend at The Hindu

Harishchandra Lachke: A pioneering cartoonist

T.N. Shanbag: Man who educated Bombay journos

Rajan Bala: cricket writer of cricket writers

Jyoti Sanyal: The language terrorist and teacher

Russy Karanjia: The bulldog of an editor

Sabina Sehgal Saikia: The resident food writer

M.G. Moinuddin: The self-taught newspaper designer

Naresh Chandra Rajkhowa: Journo who broke Dalai Lama story

J. Dey: When eagles are silent, parrots jabber

E. Raghavan: Ex-ET, TOI, Vijaya Karnataka editor

Prakash Kardaley: When god cries when the best arrive

Pratima Puri: India’s first TV news reader passes away

Tejeshwar Singh: A baritone falls silent watching the cacophony

N.S. Jagannathan: Ex-editor of Indian Express

K.M. Mathew: chief of editor of Malayala Manorama

Amita Malik: the ‘first lady of Indian media’

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K.R. Prahlad: In the end, death becomes a one-liner

M.R. Shivanna: A 24×7 journalist is no more

C.P. Chinnappa: A song for an unsung hero

Financial Times takes on The Times of India

19 July 2012

The Times of India group’s two-decade long fight with the Financial Times over the use of the FT trademark in India has taken a fresh twist with the Times group announcing the launch of a new edition of a “supplement” titled Financial Times in the Delhi national capital region (NCR).

Launched in the early 1990s in Bangalore, essentially to protect the Economic Times from a foreign player of the size and standing of FT by stymieing its entry, the Times group’s move landed in the courts, where some kind of closure was reached in May this year.

With ToI taking out ads last week for its Financial Times (“Business news now customised for Delhi NCR”), the real Financial Times has hit back with an ad in ToI‘s rival Hindustan Times, that carries a message from its chief executive officer, John Ridding:

“The Financial Times would like to make it clear that the internationally renowned ‘Financial Times‘ newspaper is not in any way associated with the Indian title of the same name, published by Times Publishing House (TPH), part of Bennett, Coleman & Co.”

Curiously, the FT advertisement does not appear in the Indian Express, with which it has entered into a tieup after a breakup with Business Standard.

External reading: An epic battle concludes?

John Elliott: How FT was blocked by India’s media industry

Also read: Thrice bitten, will FT find real love after 20 years?

‘Corporate sector has a strong say on media’

16 July 2012

First, he commented on the “abnormally affluent” Shekhar Gupta in his memoirs Beyond the Lines and then he apologised to the Indian Express editor-in-chief at the book’s launch.

In between, Kuldip Nayar also appeared at Idea Exchange, the Express‘ in-house interaction programme, taking questions from the paper’s journalists.

Maneesh Chhibber, assistant editor: What do you think of the standard of journalism today?

Kuldip Nayar: Well, I’m disappointed. In those days at the Express, there was no check on us. We could publish any story. Whether it hurt A, B or whether it rubbed the corporate sector the wrong way, it didn’t matter. Ramnath Goenka knew certain stories going into the paper were wrong. At night, he would call me and say, after seeing the front page, “Kuldip, woh jo galat story Cabinet ki hai na, us aadmi ko pata nahi hai. Par kuch nahi, jaane do.” He never tried to contradict us. I have a feeling that now you have to pull your punches because the corporate sector has a strong say. I do not find any pressure from the government, but I do see pressure from other forces which is reflected by newspapers.

Unni Rajen Shanker, managing editor: I just want to clarify this: at the Express today, any story that is worth printing will go to print just as it used to. It is still the same.

Kuldip Nayar: Thank you.

Read the full interaction: Kuldip Nayar at the Express

Also read: Kuldip Nayar on Shekhar Gupta, N. Ram & Co

Shekhar Gupta on the Indian Express and Reliance Industries

Prabhu Chawla: No one can destroy Ramnath Goenka‘s Express

Fali S. Nariman: “Courage of the 2 o’ clock kind”

 

National Awards for Excellence in Journalism

12 July 2012

The press council of India (PCI) headed by Justice Markandey Katju, who has spent the best part of his tenure tutoring the media on upping its quality, invites entries for national awards for excellence in journalism, through a DAVP advertisement laden with typographical mistakes and syntactical errors.

Sreenath Sreenivasan named Columbia CDO

12 July 2012

Sreenath Sreenivasan, the Tokyo-born son of former Indian diplomat T.P. Sreenivasan, who freelanced for India Today, Business Today and The Sunday Observer before joining Columbia University on its staff, has been appointed its chief digital officer.

Link via Vishwatma Bhat

Also read: Do journalism schools produce better journos?

Time, Sandesh and the six degrees of separation

11 July 2012

As the row over Time magazine’s “Underachiever” cover line on prime minister Manmohan Singh engulfs primetime news, Mail Today cartoonist R. Prasad cuts through the post-colonial clutter.

New York Times‘ India website IndiaInk has a gallery of past magazine covers on India, while Rediff compiles a slideshow of previous Time covers on Indians.

Meanwhile, Prasad links the brouhaha over Time‘s cover with the kerfuffle over Union minister Salman Khurshid‘s comments in the Indian Express on the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a fresh cartoon.

Also view: After the full-page report, the full-page ad

The Indian cartoon offending the Aussies

The curious case of David Davidar & Vikram Seth

10 July 2012

David Davidar, the Gentleman magazine journalist who became the face of Indian book publishing, is back in the news with a writer, Sivasundari Bose, alleging that Davidar plagiarised from her work, The Golden Stag, for his debut novel, The House of Blue Mangoes.

Bose claims similarities between the locale (south eastern tip of India), the time (the turn of 20th century), the sentences etc to make her claim.

Nilajana S. Roy, the Business Standard‘s literary critic, draws from her own example in journalism to show why Bose’s charges ring hollow.

“Some years ago, I took Vikram Seth out to lunch. We went to Dakshin, the signature South Indian restaurant at the Marriott; I switched my tape recorder on and ate very fancy appam-stew. The interview ran in Business Standard.

“A few days after it came out, I received an angry email from a man who accused me of plagiarism. Rahul Jacob at the Financial Times had also taken Vikram Seth out to lunch the month before. My accuser claimed that I had never actually had lunch with Seth; I had stolen Jacob’s experience for the column.

“The problem was that Vikram Seth behaves the same way when he’s taken out to lunch. He will duck under highly polished tables to see if they’re polished on the underside. And his opinions on writing and books in my interview and Jacob’s interview were presumably similar, though there were no direct quotes in common.

“I knew my accuser was misguided, and yet, the accusations were surprisingly hurtful. I hadn’t read Jacob’s Lunch with the FT before writing my own column. But still, I wondered whether I had managed to rip off his style in an act of psychic theft.

“When I did read both “Lunches” side by side, I finally understood my accuser. Jacob and I had taken the same man out to lunch and had come up with different experiences — but we talked about the dishes Mr Seth ordered, his enjoyment of the meal. Plagiarism was built into the grid.”

Photograph: courtesy The Globe & Mail, Toronto

Read the full column: When it’s not stealing

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Also read: Bombay Times, Hindustan Times and plagiarism

How should publications deal with plagiarists?

‘Plagiarists speed up spread of knowledge’

If imitation is the best form of flattery…

The award for the best opening paragraph goes to…

Since flattery is best expressed through imitation—II

Everybody’s is changing the game these days

PM’s ex-media advisor robbed again and again

9 July 2012

The postman always rings twice? Harish Khare, the former Hindu chief of bureau in Delhi who became prime minister Manmohan Singh‘s media advisor, has been robbed. Again.

Image: courtesy The Times of India

Also read: How well is Harish Khare advising the prime minister?

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—I

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—II

Never believe anything until it’s officially denied

The minister, the prime minister and the advisor

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