Archive for the 'World Wide Web' Category

Reuters’ Modi interview: “Sensational tokenism”

13 July 2013

Reuters‘ scoop interview with Narendra Modi published yesterday by the news agency, but apparently given 17 days ago on June 25, has created headlines for the Gujarat chief minister’s continuing lack of contrition for what happened under his watch in 2002.

And for his faux pas of comparing the victims to “kutte ka bachcha” (puppies).

On Twitter, Sruthi Gottipati, one of the two Reuters‘ journalists who sat down for the powwow has complained of the manner in which the interview has played out on Indian TV and in the newspapers.

But those who have been fighting Modi on the courts of Gujarat and Delhi have bigger problems with Reuters‘ interview than the “kutte ke bachcha” gaffe. They say Reuters “failed to, conspicuously, persist with any accurate, difficult or pinching questions.”

Here, below, is the full text of the press release emailed by the Business India journalist turned activist Teesta Setalvad of Citizens for Justice and Peace.

***

PRESS RELEASE: Seven days before Reuters published its [Narendra Modi] exclusive, a privilege denied by the PM-aspirant to an Indian news agency or channel, we [Citizens for Justice and Peace] had been contacted persistently by a Reuters correspondent.

Not Ross Colvin or Sruthi Gottipati who now carry the journalistic honour of grabbing moments with a man who rarely likes to be questioned, especially if the questions are persistent like say those of Karan Thapar in 2007.

Thapar keen to get to the bottom of what Modi actually felt about 2002, did not  simply casually record – as Reuters has done – Modi’s response but asked, insistently, whether Modi actually regretted the mass reprisal killings that had taken place, post-Godhra, on his watch.

Modi simpered, dithered, glared and admonished…when none of that worked, and Thapar persisted, Modi did what he does best.

He walked out.

Not so with Reuters, that managed its exclusive but failed to, conspicuously, persist with any accurate, difficult or pinching questions.

***

The young man from Reuters who finally tracked me down in the Sahmat office at 29 Ferozeshah Road last week was clueless, he said, about Gujarat 2002. Apologetic about this ineptness, he kept saying that his bosses had asked him to track down the SIT report.

They had not bothered to contact us directly.

We insisted that he, read Reuters, do what fair journalism demands: look at the SIT clean chit in context; examine also the amicus curaie Raju Ramachandran’s report that conflicted seriously with the SIT closure and clean chit (opining that there was material to prosecute Narendra Modi on serious charges).

Both the SIT and the amicus were appointed by the same Supreme Court.

We insisted that Reuters examine the Supreme Court Order of 12.9.2011 that gave us the inalienable right to file a Protest Petition; we pointed out that Reuters must read the Protest Petition itself that we filed in pursuance of this order on 15.4.2013, peruse the arguments that we have been making before the Magistrate since June 25, 2013.

***

We tried, as best as we could,  to communicate that Reuters should read the SIT clean chit in the context of these overall developments.

No, No, said Reuters that had possibly already bagged the interview by then.

Who says a politically important interview should address all developments and facts, in a nutshell, tell the whole and complete story?

Much better to perform a tokenism, throw in a few questions about 2002, not persist with questioning the man charged with conspiracy to commit mass murder and subvert criminal justice with the complexities and gravity of charges and legal procedures that he currently faces – and which are being argued in Open Court in Ahmedabad.

Easier to be glib, grab headlines in all national dailies including by the way the one in Telegraph which is the only newspaper to report that Modi used “kutte ke bacche” not puppy as an analogy for which creatures may inadvertently get crushed when a “road accident happens.”

Never mind that many have been convicted for criminal negligence when they drive and kill.

On business and development, too, while Reuters plugs the man themselves in the first paragraph of the interview, there are no real probing questions on foreign direct investment, the Gujarat government’s back out to solar power companies (reported two days ago in the Economic Times) and so on….

So, quite apart from the more than despicable “kutte ke bacche” comment that Modi reportedly made, quite apart from the fact that he chose Reuters for his debutante mutterings not a national agency or channel, what is truly tragic about the whole exercise is the compliant journalism that it reflects.

The Reuters interview is not a dispassionate or thorough exercise that attempts to genuinely probe opinions and views. It is a sensational tokenism.

Teesta Setalvad, secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace

How the ‘Forbes India’ editors were forced out

6 June 2013
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Top row: Indrajit Gupta (L), Dinesh Krishnan
Bottom row: Shishir Prasad (L), Charles Assisi

SHARANYA KANVILKAR writes from Bombay: The abrupt exit last week of the top four editorial heads of the business magazine Forbes India, including of its editor Indrajit Gupta, has swung the spotlight once again on the questionable—but rarely ever questioned—human resources (HR) policies and practices in Indian media houses.

In this case, one of India’s biggest: Network 18.

On the face of it, the “termination” of services of Indrajit Gupta, and the “resignation” of managing editor Charles Assisi, director photography Dinesh Krishnan, and executive editor Shishir Prasad, might seem like a small matter—even an “internal” issue—in a company whose 2012 assets were valued at Rs 2,400 crore.

In fact, Network 18′s chief operating officer Ajay Chacko sought to paint the exits as a routine matter; almost a natural consequence of the ongoing “restructuring” in the company after First Post editor R. Jagannathan‘s leadership role was expanded in March to also overlook the print publications in the stable such as Forbes India.

“There were always going to be some redundancies after ‘Jaggi’ took over [as editor-in-chief],” Chacko told Media Nama, after reports of the sudden exits emerged, suggesting that in a converged newsroom, the presence of the four was not required.

However, a closer examination of L’affaire Forbes India, based on multiple off-the-record conversations, reveals the brazen manner in which giant Indian media companies, whose promoters flatulently pontificate on how India must be run, conduct themselves and play around with the lives of their employees and their families.

More importantly, the exits throw not-so-kind light on the pulls and pressures Indian newsrooms are facing due to growing financial pressures; how global brands which franchise their titles are dealt with by their Indian partners; and how the high-stakes game of “valuations” is getting shaped in the digital age.

Above all, that all this should have happened in a business magazine belonging to a company with two business TV channels (CNBC-TV18 and CNBC Awaaz), which is part-owned by India’s most powerful business house, Mukesh Ambani‘s Reliance Industries Limited, provides no small irony.

And that there is so much silence all around from the media fraternity tells its own story.

***

forbes-india

The launch issue of Forbes India, 2009

Insiders at Forbes India, which was launched within four days of the UPA return to power in 2009, say there was little indication of the impending exits of M/s Gupta & Co till as recently as even a fortnight ago.

When the magazine came out with a special double issue to mark its fourth anniversary recently, SMSes and e-mails congratulating each other were being happily exchanged between the editorial and business sides.

But plenty was afoot in the boardroom of Network 18′s Matunga office in central Bombay, where Forbes India staff were now sharing the floor with their First Post colleagues, in the first baby steps towards “integration”—the creation of a combined newsroom where the website’s and magazine’s staffers would happily cohabit under editor-in-chief R. Jagannathan, “Jaggi” as he is known to friends and colleagues.

Indrajit Gupta, Charles Assisi, Dinesh Krishnan and Shishir Prasad, all key founding-members of Forbes India’s launch team, were involved in conversations with the HR side of the company, reminding them on the Employee Stock Options (ESOPs) which they had apparently been promised five years ago when they were being induced to come on board.

The quantum of the combined ESOPs is not known.

Forbes India insiders say it is about Rs 2 crore in all, split between the four; others at Network 18 say it could be a little higher but not exceeding Rs 5 crore. However, unlike in listed companies, Network 18 underwrote the value of the ESOPs. Meaning: it assured the four Forbes India staffers that it would pay the promised money at the end of four years.

Network 18 sources say about a month and a half back, the four Forbes India staffers began the process of cashing out their ESOPs, first informally, then officially.

On Friday, May 24, when they met formally with the company’s HR, they were told to forego their old ESOP scheme and presented with a new ESOP scheme.

They were given a 48-hour deadline to sign up.

However, on Monday, May 27, the HR head Shampa Kochhar, in the presence of Jagannathan, is said to have served editor Indrajit Gupta a fait accompli: resign on the spot by signing a letter that absolved the company of all claims on the five-year-old ESOPs and take a severance cheque. Or have your services terminated.

Indrajit Gupta is believed to have opted for the latter course.

The experience of the other three was no different.

They, too, were told to relinquish the old ESOP plan and presented with a new ESOP plan. And they, too, were told that they must resign on the spot or face termination with no benefits.

Unlike Gupta, Assisi, Krishnan and Prasad resigned.

(A fifth ESOP recipient, online director Deepak Ajwani, however acquiesced.)

***

msg

When news of the exits trickled out on Thursday, May 30, it was clear that the dirty tricks department was already at work.

Forbes editors were negotiating with a PE (private equity) fund to take over the magazine once Network 18′s franchise with Forbes expires next year. Network 18 found out and asked these editors to quit,” read one SMS this reporter has seen.

In truth, though, Network 18′s end-goal of integrating the Forbes India newsroom with the First Post newsroom seems to have been the trigger which sparked the implosion—and the ESOP scheme seems to have come in handy to force the exits.

The less charitable view within Network 18 is that the “old school” Gang of Four sought to cash out their ESOPs because of their reservations over the “integration” plan and that they were always hoping to go out this way and end up as martyrs in the eyes of the world.

# From the Forbes India perspective, integration meant its reporters reacting to breaking business news and writing for First Post, perhaps vice-versa too. It also meant getting used to having an editor-in-chief (Jagannathan) besides the editor (Indrajit Gupta).

# From the First Post perspective, integration meant the domain expertise of an established brand like Forbes India in business stories. It meant access to sources and subjects. It also meant credibility.

# From Network 18 group’s perspective, it meant a larger workforce to feed the “bottomless monster” that is the worldwide web, at no extra cost.

Initially it looked like a win-win, and the indication was that Jagannathan and Gupta were on the same page.

The two had worked together at Business Standard and at a review meeting in April, the former is reported to have said that he would make way for the Forbes India team to run the show after a few months.

Network 18 sources say initially Gupta & Co were not seen as a “hindrance” to the integration, although at least two of the four were allegedly told in their “exit” meetings with HR that they were seen as such and that they would be “redundant” in the converged newsroom.

Since a couple of crores could not have been the problem for either Network 18 or RIL, the key problem area could perhaps have been “mindset”.

The orbits of the two organisations—and their means, methods, motives and motivations—are signficantly different.

Like its US parent, Forbes India occupies the leisurely and rarefied world of a fortnightly. Stories are deeply, immersively researched. Stories are slow-cooked from a week up to a month or more, before being written and re-written and re-re-written by editors.

On the other hand, First Post is all speed and on-the-spur. Provocation is its middle name. And, despite coming from a massive group backed by a giant business house, much of its output is cheaply spun and rehashed by arm-chair pundits with an “angle” and “attitude”.

More importantly, the political impulses of the two organisations were diametrically different.

Although Forbes prides itself as the “capitalist tool” in America, Forbes India had a slight liberal streak. First Post, on the other hand, like Network 18 founder Raghav Bahl, unabashedly tilts to the right. (Bahl recently said in the presence of Narendra Modi that India’s predominant political impulse was “right”.)

In the end, a low-cost solution seems to have been found to a potentially head-on editorial—and ideological—collision between the online and offline organisations, but at what cost?

Regardless of what prompted the exits, will Forbes, which licensed its title to Bahl’s Network 18 for six years, be told why the top four names on the masthead will be suddenly missing from the next issue?

Will its readers be told?

***

At the end of the day, though, the issue is one of signals.

By securing the exit of senior editors in this fashion, by showing how dispensable even an Editor is, the signal has gone down the line, to fall in line. Or else.

And by making ESOPs such an elastic matter, other ESOP holders in different companies of Network 18 have been sent the signal that they too can take nothing for granted.

But…

# What signal does the viewer receive at 9 am every week day, when Udayan Mukherjee and Mitali Mukherjee start grandly quizzing TCS, Infosys or Wipro managers on ESOPs?

# What signal do editors across the country receive when the Press Council, Editors’ Guild and other bodies remain silent when media corporations treat employees and their lives with such abandon?

# What signal do media houses send of their concern for a free, fair and responsible press if HR staff behave in an irresponsible manner and attack professional, independent minded journalists?

# What signal does a global brand like Forbes, or other foreign media houses, receive of the seriousness of their Indian partners to play by the book and observe the rules?

# And finally what signal does Mukesh Ambani’s RIL, which is now in the media in a big way, send of the seriousness of corporates to preserve the core values of the media?

Also read: What Raghav Bahl could learn from Samir Jain

Free speech gets a major boost (in the a**)

30 January 2013

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So, young Indians cannot tell their friends in what they like on Facebook, without being “pre-screened” by Harvard types (or hauled into a police station by Shiv Sena goons). So, bloggers cannot publish their “online private diaries” without the sword of 66(A) hanging over their heads.

So, tweeters can be blocked and Savita bhabhi‘s enviable lifestyle is subject to some faceless babu’s sense of humour (or voyeurism). So, the Mahatma‘s life is beyond scrutiny in the land of you-know-who. So (oh!), Aamir Khan‘s film will miraculously not be screened, also in the land of you-know-who.

Or his TV show.

So, TV stations cannot show protests without threatened by the information and broadcasting ministry (or corporate titans). So, newspapers cannot report what their reporters see without being told that the tap of government advertisements could be turned off.

So, M.F. Husain cannot die in his own country. So, A.K. Ramanujam‘s interpretation of the Ramayana hurts somebody.

So, Ashis Nandy cannot drop his pearls on corruption without offending Dalits, tribals and OBCs. So, Salman Rushdie cannot go to a lit-fest in Jaipur (or Calcutta) without offending Islamist fundoos. So, Shah Rukh Khan cannot write what’s in his heart without offending.

So, Kamal Hassan‘s new film can be banned by a government run by a former film actor.

Sometimes, you do have to remind yourself it is a free country, don’t you?

Image: courtesy R. Prasad/ Mail Today

That was the year that was in the ‘free’ Republic

3 January 2013

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GEETA SESHU writes from Bombay: The year 2012 ended with a Kannada TV reporter, Naveen Soorinje, in jail for more than 50 days after the Karnataka High Court denied him bail.

Mangalore-based Soorinje, was incarcerated on November 7, 2012 after police charged him under the UAPA and under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for reporting on the raid on a homestay party by a Hindu fundamentalist group in July.

Soorinje’s bail application was rejected on December 26.

The same month, a television journalist, Nanao Singh, was shot dead in a police firing in Manipur.

In 2012, India was a grim place for free speech. It recorded the death of five journalists. Another 38 were assaulted, harassed or threatened.

There were 43 instances of curbs on the Internet, 14 instances of censorship in the film and music industry, and eight instances of censorship of content in the print medium.

***

The year began with the brutal killing of journalist Chandrika Rai (42), his wife Durga (40) and their two teenage children — son Jalaj (19) and daughter Nisha (17) — at their residence in Madhya Pradesh’s Umaria distict in February.

Other journalists to die this year were Rajesh Mishra in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, Chaitali Santra in Kolkata and Raihan Naiyum, in Assam.

We list and detail below all the incidents which occurred in the course of the year.

That the death toll of journalists would have been higher, is clear by the brutality of the assaults and threats to journalists: Thongam Rina, associate editor of Arunachal Times, was shot at and critically injured in July; Kamal Shukla in Chhattisgarh was assaulted by a local politician because he wrote a story on illegal tree-felling in Koelibeda, the constituency of the state’s forest minister Vikram Usendi; in Gujarat’s Palampur district, television journalist Devendra Khandelwal was attacked with iron pipes by relatives of MLA Mafatlal Purohit for reporting their involvement in illegal construction.

***

Sec 66 (a) and internet freedom: The 41 instances of free speech violations related to internet use in the Free Speech Hub’s ‘Free Speech Tracker’ testify to the growing use and abuse of this medium.

Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan, two young Facebook users, in Palghar, Maharashtra, in October, were arrested under the draconian Sec 66 (a) of the Information Technology Act, one for posting a critical status comment on the shutdown of the city in the wake of the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray and the other for ‘liking’ the post!

The nation-wide protest that followed forced a review of the charges against them and a closure report by police. However, they will still have to wait till January 2013 for the formal dropping of charges against them.

Already, the fears over the misuse of the controversial Section (66 A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, were confirmed by other instances: the arrest of two Jadavpur University professors in April 2012 for their e-mails on the cartoons poking fun at that projected West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee; the arrest of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for sedition, for insulting national honour and for sending offensive messages under Sec 66 (a) of the IT Act in August 2012: two employees of Air-India, Mayank Sharma and K.V.J. Rao, who were sacked (and reinstated after the protests) after their arrest over a Facebook post, three youth arrested in Kashmir for allegedly anti-Islamic posts and the arrest of industrialist A.S. Ravi for tweeting about Karti Chidambaram, son of Union minister for P. Chidambaram.

Earlier, in June 2012, the union government ordered the blocking of more than 250 sites and web pages following the widespread panic and exodus of people from the North East out of Pune, Delhi and Bangalore.

Some accounts that disproved the morphed pictures and the propaganda were also blocked.

The Google Transparency Report put India top on the list of countries making demands to take down content.

***

Censorship in other media: Censorship continued in all arenas, from the literary and cinematic worlds, to art and theatre.

Protests of vigilante groups against all manner of expression continued with political parties and social groups taking offence against film songs, dialogues and titles of movies, art exhibitions and theatre performances and even the use of mobile phones by women.

In May, the Human Resources Development Ministry’s attempt to expunge cartoons from NCERT and CBSE textbooks for their alleged anti-Dalit connotations sparked an inconclusive debate on casteism in educational content while the cancellation of Salman Rushdie’s proposed visit to the Jaipur Literary Festival in January only showed the pusillanimity of the state administration.

Covert state surveillance was on the rise, with an increase in government interception and monitoring of emails and telephone conversations, privacy violations and hate speech cases are also under the scanner.

(Veteran journalist Geeta Seshu hosts the free speech hub at the media blog, The Hoot)

Also read: 3 deaths, 14 attacks on journos in 2011

The man who hasn’t read a newspaper for 5 years

15 December 2012

Nikhil Pahwa, the editor and publisher of the media website Media Nama, is among the “37 Indians of tomorrow” in India Today magazine’s 37th anniversary issue.

The 29-year-old digital journalist paints a scary picture of the future for dead-tree media professionals who still latch on to the innocent belief that their word is gospel.

“The pace of growth and the spirit of the community in the digital industry is like a drug to me. I haven’t read a newspaper in the past five years. Twitter is my breakfast, Google is my lunch, and Facebook is my dinner,” says Pahwa.

India Today says Pahwa joined the website Freshlimesoda.com12 years ago and made 22 friends, none of whom he met. The site closed down in 2003 and Pahwa says he is still in touch with all of them.

Photograph: courtesy Pinterest

Prabhu Chawla, Pritish Nandy & Modi 87:13

2 December 2012

Narendra Modi‘s detractors (and drumbeaters) went into overdrive recently when The Times of India reported that 46% of the Gujarat chief minister’s one million Twitter followers were “fake”, 41% were “inactive”, and only 13% were “good”.

TOI used a newly launched internet website to check fakers on Twitter to arrive at the numbers. Status People deems followers as fake when they have “few or no followers and few or no tweets. But in contrast they tend to follow a lot of other accounts.”

Generally speaking, celebrities tend to attract more fake and inactive followers.

Here’s how 32 of India’s tweeters from the media world—reporters, editors and columnists; hacks, flacks and wonks—fare when subjected to the same test as Modi. Jonathan Shainin of The Caravan magazine who has over 11,000 followers has the highest percentage of “good” followers (52%); Shashi Tharoor with over 15 lakh followers is neck and neck with the PM’s office for the most “fake” followers (43%).

Former Illustrated Weekly of India editor Pritish Nandy, with over 275,000 followers, has the fewest “good” followers: 13%. Both Nandy and former India Today editor Prabhu Chawla, who has 97,000 followers, have as many “fake” and “inactive” followers as Narendra Modi: 87%.

The chairman of the press council of India, Justice Markandey Katju, with 6,000 followers, has 40% “inactive” followers.

***

@bdutt: 36% fake, 49% inactive, 15% good

@sardesairajdeep: 31% fake, 51% inactive, 18% good

@virsanghvi: 34% fake, 50% inactive, 16% good

@sagarikaghose: 43% fake, 41% inactive, 16% good

@prabhuchawla: 39% fake, 48% inactive, 13% good

@nramind: 36% fake, 46% inactive, 18% good

@pritishnandy: 44% fake, 43% inactive, 13% good

@thejaggi: 8% fake, 47% inactive, 45% good

@swapan55: 16% fake, 47% inactive, 37% good

@tavleen_singh: 12% fake, 54% inactive, 34% good

@kanchangupta: 11% fake, 48% inactive, 41% good

@malikashok: 11% fake, 59% inactive, 30% good

@sachinkalbag: 9% fake, 48% inactive, 43% good

@waglenikhil: 22% fake, 49% inactive, 29% good

@suchetadalal: 10% fake, 54% inactive, 36% good

@madhutrehan: 11% fake, 55% inactive, 34% good

@smitaprakash: 32% fake, 52% inactive, 16% good

@praveenswami: 22% fake, 45% inactive, 33% good

@mint_ed: 11% fake, 43% inactive, 46% good

@jonathanshainin: 7% fake, 41% inactive, 52% good

@mihirssharma: 30% fake, 45% inactive, 25% good

@shivaroor: 9% fake, 48% inactive, 43% good

@madversity: 25% fake, 40% inactive, 35% good

@fareedzakaria: 15% fake, 52% inactive, 33% good

@svaradarajan: 24% fake, 41% inactive, 35% good

@dilipcherian: 9% fake, 50% inactive, 41% good

@suhelseth: 23% fake, 60% inactive, 17% good

@acorn: 8% fake, 42% inactive, 50% good

@pragmatic_d: 6% fake, 47% inactive, 47% good

@shashitharoor: 43% fake, 42% inactive, 15% good

@PMOIndia: 45% fake, 44% inactive, 11% good

@katjuPCI: 9% fake, 40% inactive, 51% good

‘The exclusive Indian political news delicacy’

26 June 2012

The Indian bureaucracy is a major journalistic niche, especially in Delhi where a number of magazines (Governance Now, Bureaucracy Today, etc) and websites (Gfiles, Whispers in the Corridor, etc) have sprouted to help readers navigate their way through the thickets of redtape.

A display ad for the website Sarkari Mirror appears in Mail Today.

In which Julian Assange gives it to MasterCard

3 July 2011

20 secure phones to assist in staying anonymous: $5,000

Fighting legal cases across five countries: $one million

Upkeep of servers in over 40 countries: $200,000

Donations lost due to banking blockade: $15 million

Added cost due to house arrest: $500,000

Watching the world as a result of your work: priceless.

Also read: How The Hindu got hold of the WikiLeaks India cables

Could WikiLeaks strike some Indian journalists?

The curious case of N.Ram, DMK and Jayalalitha

How US forces hunted down Reuters staffers

The Times of India, Indiatimes.com and IPL-4

10 May 2011

Not so long ago, a much-feared Indian publisher who shall go unnamed wanted the broadband expansion in India to be slowed down because, well, it would woo readers away from his newspaper to the world wide web.

Well, the times, they are a-changing.

Last month, Indiatimes.com, the internet arm of The Times of India group, bagged the global internet, mobile and audio rights for season 4 of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and the happy coverage of the happy event, and its happy fallout, is a standout example of the perils of cross-media ownership.

Here’s a brief timeline of how the IPL-Indiatimes partnership has been covered on the pages of The Times of India and The Economic Times.

***

March 22: TIL-Nimbus bag IPL media rights

“Our convergent media approach across the web and mobile, coupled with the strength of the entire Times Group, will take brand IPL to the next level for audiences across the globe,” said Times Internet Limited CEO Rishi Khiani.

April 6: IPL advertising rates hit record highs

“Several traditional brands, who would earlier consider advertising only on television, are now keen to also launch their online campaigns. The primary drivers are innovation and interactivity, possible through this medium. Advertisers will get an opportunity to do better targeted campaigns and reach out to a younger demographic of office-goers,” he said.

April 9: IPL4 live streaming huge hit on Indiatimes

Live streaming of the inaugural IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings on Friday turned out to be a big hit on the net. The Indiatimes site, where this edition of the IPL is being hosted, had as many as 500,000 unique visitors, a healthy jump from last year…. “The first day was an enormous success,” said Rishi Khiani, CEO Indiatimes. “We had nearly 100% uptime which was a great feat given the amount of traffic.”

April 12: Indiatimes partners with YouTube to globally distribute IPL matches

Under the terms of the agreement, Google will be a non-exclusive partner for IPL content for two years. Both Google and Indiatimes will seek to capitalize upon individual brand strengths and collaborate on monetization efforts both in India and rest of world markets.

April 15: IPL web audience continues to grow through joint distribution

Times Internet CEO Rishi Khiani said the online audience for IPL was experiencing rapid growth compared to the previous edition of the 20-20 league. “We used the first 2 days of the season to iron out all of the kinks in getting the experience to work perfectly for everyone. But from the beginning, the audience growth has been trending higher, with every next day having more visitors than the day before it. On Wednesday we had over one million visits.”

April 19: Online viewership of IPL rises 62%

“We foresee a bright future for online screening of IPL matches in coming years,” said Rishi Khiani, CEO, Times Internet. “A common misconception is that people only watch online from the office. But our stats show that night games have almost as much consumption as day games. The experience allows you to do much more online, including watching highlights of previous matches, and viewers like that,” he added.

April 28: Watching IPL more fun online than on television?

Indiatimes CEO Rishi Khiani said: “We routinely receive one comment per second during a match, which can spike up to three comments per second during exciting periods. Indians are passionate about cricket and love talking about it, and what better way to do so than online? You can catch up with old friends, make new ones, share stats and trivia, get involved in debates – and do all this without missing a single ball.”

Also read: IPL scorecard: Different scores for different folks

How come no one saw the IPL cookie crumbling?

The Times of India and the Commonwealth Games

Look, who’s in the IPL racket? An editor!

Kannada Prabha uses reader-generated headlines

2 March 2011

“Interactivity” has been the buzzword in the English media for over a decade now.

Readers have always written letters to the editor in the past, but now they also do film reviews, shoot and caption pictures, draw cartoons, ask and answer questions from other readers, take part in citizen journalist shows, post realtime comments by SMS and Twitter, and so on and so forth.

Much of this interactivity—intended at giving the news consumer a sense of participation in the news production process—is at the front-end.

How about some interactivity in the rear of the shop?

In an era when television, the internet and the mobile phone deliver news realtime, Vishweshwar Bhat, the new editor of Kannada Prabha, the Kannada daily belonging to the New Indian Express group, pulled out a new trick out of his hat in the past week.

Using his blog, Facebook account and Twitter feed, Bhat invited readers of Kannada Prabha to suggest “fresh, crisp, bright, punchy” headlines for the Union budget, railway budget and the State budget for the following day’s paper—and printed them in the paper with due credit.

At 6.30 pm on February 24, Bhat invited suggestions for an 8-column banner headline for the State budget. He received 126 comments by the 9.30 pm deadline he had set.

For the railway budget the following day, there were 96 comments, and for the Union budget on February 28, there were 60 comments by 10 pm.

“I hadn’t expected such a response. None of the contributors were fulltime journalists but their headline writing skills were on a par with that of professional sub-editors,” wrote Bhat.

While the winning headline made it to the front page of Kannada Prabha, tens of other entries with the names of contributors found mention in the sidebars on the inside pages.

***

Photograph: The March 1 front page of Kannada Prabha, carrying an eight-column banner headline suggested by reader Ravi Sajangadde for the Union budget. The editor’s note at the bottom-right of the page explains the headline and acknowledges the reader’s contribution.

***

Also read: A blank editorial, a black editorial & a footnote

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