Posts Tagged ‘CWG’

How The Times of India went after N. Srinivasan

3 June 2013

toi

ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Madras: Depending on what you expect of your newspaper, either The Times of India played just the right role in the N. Srinivasan matter: proactively taking up an issue that concerns a “nation of a billion-plus”, right up to the very end, even if it did not secure the end it would have liked.

Or, it plainly overdid it, to the exclusion of all else, eventually falling flat on its face.

Over a 13-day period beginning May 22, ToI ran 87 pieces (outside of general BCCI/IPL pieces) with the BCCI president exclusively in focus and almost all of them either demanding, provoking or predicting the end for Srinivasan following his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan‘s arrest in the alleged IPL betting scandal involving Vindoo Dara Singh.

Among these 87 pieces were seven editorials, mini-editorials and opinion pieces, five interviews, and four cartoons.

It even launched a public service advertising campaign (below) midway through the campaign.

toi

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ToI‘s hunt for Srinivasan’s head—which even as of today is far removed from the original IPL spotfixing scam involving S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan—began on May 22, the day it launched its “I Lead India” campaign with the poser: “Do you feel you can be a changemaker?”

But it was only on May 28, the day after Srinivasan told a BCCI meeting in Calcutta that he would not resign following his son-in-law’s arrest for his purported involvement in betting, that the ToI coverage took on a more aggressive, advocacy air—eerily reminiscent of the paper’s Commonwealth Games campaign—urging board members, politicians and other sportspersons to speak up or quit to bring pressure on Srinivasan to do the same.

In making the murky BCCI saga its bread, butter, jam and marmalade day after day for 13 days, The Times of India relegated more important but less reader-friendly stories, like the massacre of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh at the hands of Maoists to the inside pages.

# On May 26, the day after the Chhattisgarh massacre in which 28 people perished, the story was second-lead (as indeed in the Hindustan Times).

# Srinivasan’s fate was the lead ToI story on each of the 13 days; in contrast, the Chhattisgarh ambush found a front-page mention only on four days.

# Altogether, ToI ran 29 stories on Chhattisgarh as opposed to 87 on Srinivasan alone.

# Four times, ToI invoked the name of India Cements, Srinivasan’s company (“India Cements stocks hit 52-week low”, “India Cements brand to take a hit”, “India Cements disowns Meiyappan”, “India Cements underperform peers”) to drive home its point on Srinivasan.

# On May 29, ToI rounded up 30 talking heads seeking Srinivasan’s ouster.

The role of Times Now in drumming up the anti-Srinivasan mood is outside of this quantitative analysis, but with Srinivasan only “stepping aside” for a month at the end of all the sound and fury signifying nothing, the newsworthiness of the Times campaign is open to question.

Below are the Times of India‘s 87 headlines, graphics straplines, intros, editorials, mini-editorials, cartoons, interviews involving Srinivasan over the 13-day period.

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May 22

Lead story: IPL fixing scandal could reach the top

Team-owner’s relative [Gurunath Meiyappan] under lens

Phone records link him with betting syndicate

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May 23

Lead story: Police prepare to question BCCI chief’s son-in-law for betting links Day after TOI‘s report, CSK boss Gurunath Meiyappan elusive

BCCI chief mum on Meiyappan role

Editorial: Clean the Stables

A school dropout, Guru tried to build career in Srinivasan shadow

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May 24

Cops land at BCCI chief’s family’s doorstep Srinivasan’s son-in-law gets summons, seeks time

[CSK] Team boss lost a crore on bets: Vindoo

BCCI brass faces fixing heat

Rules did not stop him from wearing two hats Industry captain and BCCI power player

From Board chief, the silent treatment

Srinivasan also under CBI lens in Jagan Mohan Reddy assets case

BCCI chief may use his clout

Interview: ‘Those at the top in BCCi should resign': Lalit Modi

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May 25

Guru arrested, Srinivasan may lose crown

After hours of grilling, cops say BCCI chief’s son-in-law ‘involved in offence’

Srinivasan rejects growing calls for resignation, threatens to ‘fix’ media

Interview: It’s either Srinivasan or Sahara, says Subroto Roy

India Cements shares at 52-week low

India Cements disowns Gurunath

Is Srini trying to insulate CSK?

Law catches up with the son-in-law

Srinivasan should quit right away, say voices in the BCCI

Interview: A.C. Muthiah has a go at his arch-enemy

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May 26

Real final: Srinivasan vs Rest of India

Ouster plan: first nudge, then shove

‘I won’t be bulldozed into quitting, media unfair': Srinivasan

Graphic: 3/4 majority to remove President

Strapline: Someone’s stepping down

Cricket fans should bat for a change

BCCI prez may manage to stay on

Law will take its course: Board chief on son-in-law Srini meets Meiyappan’s lawyers

‘Brand India Cements to take a hit’

IPL needs to cleanse itself from within

Former stars want BCCI prez to go

Srini men start lobbying, Shukla meets Jagmohan Dalmiya in Kolkata

Interview: ‘It was a huge mistake to bring Srinivasan into administration': A.C. Muthiah

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May 27

Weak-kneed BCCI falls in line as Srinivasan flatly refuses to walk

Strapline: Chief says he is above board

Editorial: The darkest hour—Srinivasan must quit, followed by the overthrow of cricket’s absentee landlord and revamp of BCCI

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May 28

Lead story: Why are they silent?

Cartoon: He is taking bets on who’s going to be the first to resign

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May 29

Lead story: Jyotiraditya Scindia becomes first neta in BCCI to say Srinivasan should resign

Strapline: Across fields, Board boss under fire ‘Time for him to go’

Talking heads with 30 voices

Interview: Srinivasan holds power and wields it: Kishore Rungta

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May 30

Lead story: Finally, Rajiv Shukla and Arun Jaitley say they too want Srinivasan out

Cracks widen in BCCI, even treasurer Ajay Shirke says he would have quit

Strapline: Chorus against Board boss swells

Six talking heads

Srini still has the numbers to hang on

Cheating case filed against Srinivasan

Strapline: Wheels within wheels

Minieditorial: calling for resignation

Jaitley, Shukla asked defiant Srini to quit; BCCI chief said ‘Not in my nature’

Third edit: The Sons-in-law factor, by Bachi Karkaria

Edit page piece: Rip the veil of silence, by Ayaz Memom

May the foes be with you: all the president’s men are fair-weather friends

The endgame has begun

Dalmiya denies he asked Srinivasan not to resign

No one in BCCI asked for his resignation: Shirke

***

May 31

Lead story: Majority now against Srinivasan, can call BCCI meet to remove him

Strapline: Board boss on a turning pitch

How Srini gave himself a life term

Srini’s conflict of interest hearing from July 16

Cartoon: I’m going to hang on to this post as long as I want

India Cements underperform peers

Anti-Srini camp won’t wait for probe

19 talking heads on which way board meet will go

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June 1

Lead story: Game all but over for Srinivasan

Six days after BCCI boss declared he had board’s unanimous support, he’s running out of partners His no.2 and no. 3 quit, several more top officials to follow suit

Cartoon: Punchline: The best spot-fixer I’ve seen—he’s so fixed to the spot that no one can get him away from it

***

June 2

Lead story: Srini sets terms for exit, BCCI members unwilling to play ball

Strapline: His four demands

Mini editorial

Srinivasan wanted Shukla to go too

Advertisement: “To run sports in India you don’t need to be good in games, only in gamesmanship”

Srinivasan vs ICC

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June 3

Lead story: Match result: all out for no loss

Srinivasan to ‘step aside': some say it’s a face-saver for him, others call it an anti-climax and a sham

Strap line: Will he really sit it out?

Editorial: nation dismayed: BCCI’s credibility lies in tatters as India’s cricket fans are sold a lemon

For Srini, a strategic time out

‘Nobody dared ask Srini to quit, only he spoke for first 40 minutes’

Cartoon: I’ve stepped aside

Srini shot down Shashank Manohar‘s name

***

Infographic and advertisement: courtesy The Times of India

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Also read: The Times of India and Commonwealth Games

107 headlines from TOI on Commonwealth Games

How The Times of India pumped up Team Anna

CAG names HT, CNN-IBN, NDTV in CWG report

11 August 2011

The Times of India made news last year when it was revealed that there was more than journalistic spunk behind its aggressive Commonwealth Games (CWG) coverage.

Now, the Delhi tabloid Mail Today reveals the opposite: that the soft treatment of the CWG scam by many of ToI’s competitors may have had something to do with CWG contracts in their pockets.

ToI‘s main competitor in Delhi, Hindustan Times, and its partner Hungama had been contracted to create a website to put out realtime information on events at the games.

The comptroller and auditor-general (CAG) has now found that the HT-Hungama combine was awarded the contract although its documentation was deficient.

It also found the website set up by them deficient; it lacked speed and was not up to date with information.

Likewise, the CAG has found fault with the manner in which the contract for the production and broadcasting of commercials was given to CNN-IBN and NDTV.

The monies are minute: Rs 6.73 crore in all, but the CAG report swings the spotlight on cross-media ownership amounting to conflict of interest.

Image: courtesy Mail Today

Also read: The Times of India and the Commonwealth Games

107 headlines from ToI on the Commonwealth Games

Is the prime minister right about Indian media?

29 June 2011

Like a bad host, who abuses his guests after calling them home, the prime minister of India launched into the media today after calling a bunch of five editors for a much-delayed interaction. It took Manmohan Singh just 25 words in his 1,884-word opening remarks to stick it into the editors.

“An atmosphere has been created in the country—and I say this with all humility—the role of the media in many cases has become that of the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge… . We take decisions in a world of uncertainty and that’s the perspective I think Parliament, our CAG and our media must adopt if this nation is to move forward,” Singh said.

As if the media was responsible for the 2G, CWG or KG basin scams that has seen his ministers resign or prepare to. As if the media was responsible for the thuggish behaviour of his ministers (like Kapil Sibal) in undermining “civil society”, in other words the people of India. As if the media was responsible for runaway prices or inflation.

Or, as if the media was responsible for hurling a question mark over his tenure. Etcetera.

So, what do you think? Has the media overstepped its brief? Has it become accuser, prosecutor and judge? Has the media done its job in unravelling scams and keeping the pressuer on the government? Is the media wrong in clamouring for a cleaner, less corrupt system?

Or is Manmohan Singh barking up the wrong tree by shooting the messenger?

The five editors with prime minister Manmohan Singh: from left, T.N. Ninan of Business Standard, Raj Chengappa of The Tribune, M.K. Razdan of Press Trust of India, Alok Mehta of Nayi Duniya, and Kumar Ketkar of Divya Marathi

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Also read: Why the PM is hopelessly wrong about the media

How well is the PM’s media advisor advising him?

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 Times of India and the Commonwealth Games

3 September 2010

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from Delhi: The year of the lord 2010 has seen the The Times of India in uber-aggressive mode.

The nation’s largest English daily that rarely ever wants to “afflict the comfortable” despite its size, reach, reputation, resources and influence, has pulled out all stops in exposing the murky IPL dealings of Lalit Modi, Union minister Sharad Pawar and his MP-daughter Supriya Sule, and their NCP partyman Praful Patel.

In all those four IPL-related stories, Times provided blanket coverage and then let matters rest after a while. But if there is one story on which it has been relentless in the last couple of months, it is its attack on the Commonwealth Games (CWG)—and Pawar’s former factotum, Suresh Kalmadi.

Day after day, Times has employed reporters, editors, columnists, authors, even commissioned industrialists, to rip the games and the chairman of its organising committee apart, with the kind of first-rate journalism that ToI has condemned to play second fiddle over the last decade.

A cursory count shows that between 1 August and 2 September 2010, The Times of India (Delhi market) has published no less than 107 negative headlines on the Commonwealth Games (sample them here) with the author Chetan Bhagat just short of advocating a boycott of the CWG on the pages of The Sunday Times of India.

Given how rarely ToI wants to rock the boat, the question that is naturally being asked in Delhi and Bombay is, why. What’s behind the Times‘ new-found aggro?

Legitimate journalism, is of course the easiest explanation for ToI‘s proactivism. The fact that the CWG is in a mess—inflated bills, corrupt deals, leaky stadiums, incomplete facilities, etc—is beyond doubt, and Suresh Kalmadi’s own culpability in this (and other) dubious deals is also beyond question.

After all, if politicians like Mani Shankar Aiyar can ask searching questions on the CWG, why shouldn’t a newspaper?

Yet, it is unnatural for a “feel-good” newspaper like The Times of India, whose advertised credo is to wake up the reader with a good feeling in his head, to rub in the bad news in the all-important Delhi market, day in and day out. Moreover, bigger scams involving more important people have been allowed to rest.

So, what gives?

There are no answers, just whispers.

But for over a fortnight now, journalists have been hissing about a four-page document that reportedly suggests that the Times‘ interest in the story may be more than just journalistic.

Now, it is up on Flickr.

The first page of it is a signed November 2009 letter from a director of Times of India group (C.R. Srinivasan) on a ToI letterhead to Suresh Kalmadi, outlining the “costumer connect initiatives” the group proposes to undertake.

“Kindly let us know of your decision to grant ‘official newspaper’ status to The Times of India at your earliest convenience,” concludes Srinivasan’s letter.

The second page is a signed note from Times Group general manager Gautam Sen to the additional director-general, communications, of the CWG organising committee, presenting a “comprehensive print proposal” (for Times of India, Navbharat Times, Maharashtra Times, Mirror and Sandhya Times) along with a rate-card.

For 2-page reports on five key milestone days (carrying a half-page ad of CWG at DAVP (department of audio visual publicity) rates and a half-page ad at commercial days); for six one-page reports (where in 65% of the page will have edit and 35% will be paid-for); and 12 full pages of advertorial at DAVP rates, Times proposes a Rs 12.19 crore package.

For a claimed combined nationwide circulation of 51.84 lakh copies for the five dailies, the breakdown is Rs 4.61 crore + Rs 3.31 crore + Rs 4.27 crore = Rs 12.19 crore.

The last-two pages doing the rounds—an unsigned note from a bureaucrat to a senior bureaucrat or to Kalmadi himself, explaining the fineprint of the proposed Times package—leave little to the imagination.

In summary, the ToI proposal has the following benefits:

# OC [organising committee] in totality pays for 16.6 pages and in return gets the leverage for 28 pages.

# It [ToI group] has the potential to form opinions of the public at large. It is also expected that with the influence that the ‘Response’ department has over editorial, the OC can get neutral and positive coverage from now to the Games.

# We can consider and extended and beneficial deals with ToI‘s other propoerties viz, TV, radio, internet, etc, including Economic Times (all editions) may be requested of ToI.

While on the face of it, the sum of Rs 12.19 crore may seem large, the benefits offered on a national basis are considerable and the proposal should be considered favourably.

Obviously, these notes and letters do not represent the full story and there is nothing—repeat, nothing—in them to suggest that the Times‘ coverage of CWG and Kalmadi has a connection with this and/or other correspondence.

But judging from the CWG coverage so far, it is fair to assume that ToI did not get the “official newspaper” status. (The buzz is that Hindustan Times has received that status with a lower than Rs 12.19 crore bid. At what terms HT secured the ‘My Delhi, My Games’ tag is not known, but Delhi’s two biggest English dailies do not come out smelling of roses.)

Judging from the hyper-ballistic coverage of CWG and Kalmadi on Times Now, it is also reasonably safe to assume that the plan to extend the deal to Times‘ other properties came to nought. (CNN-IBN swung the baton rights’ deal, unlike Times Now and the other aggrieved bidder, NDTV.)

Nevertheless, at a time when other Indian media specialities like “medianet, paid news” and “private treaties” have become the flavour of the season, the four-page ToI-CWG note lays bare the alarming interplay between editorial and advertising in Indian media houses like never before.

The two-page note appended to the Times‘ managers’ notes also shows how advertisers are confident of buying “neutral and positive coverage” if they can throw a few crores.

Conversely, the bottomline is clear: if an advertiser doesn’t play along, there is hell in store.

107 headlines from ToI on Commonwealth Games

3 September 2010

Pride of the nation? No, shame of the nation.

The following is a list of the 107 “negative” headlines on the Commonwealth Games that have greeted readers of The Times of India (Delhi market) from August 1 to September 2, 2010:

•    Now, two top cyclists fall victim to dengue
•    Dengue threat right at Games Village doorstep
•    Missed deadlines hits security, lock down of sites not possible
•    Only one week for full security drill at venues
•    The lyrics are ridiculous; 6 months and 5 crore in making, A.R.Rahman’s track for games not exactly Waka Waka or Maa Tujhe Salaam, people say
•    TOI poll – Delhiites say life disrupted, India’s image hit
•    City govt. erred in diverting SC fund for Games : PC
•    Tourists show little interest in Delhi Games
•    Dengue will peak around Games : MCD
•    CWG venues won’t be ready even if PM mops the floor : Modi
•    Whose boycott? It won’t make any difference if you skip the CWG : Jug Suraiya
•    Miffed Rathore pulls out of CWG trials
•    Vijender unhappy, Akhil OK with boxing selection trials
•    Shooters brace for the worst
•    Shivaji Stadium may not make it to games
•    Work finished in haste, rubble on roads and faulty bikes irk cyclists
•    Cutting it fine : Sheila now sets Sept 15 as deadline
•    Balloon show under cloud
•    Rain Gods unhappy, jokes CM
•    Leaky stadia : Architects say roof designs were altered
•    Venue thrown off track as earth sinks in after rain
•    City gripped by digging frenzy
•    Green cost of infrastructure projects : 40,000 trees
•    OC won’t pay docs for Games duty, says they are serving nation
•    Pvt. sponsors will make up for PSU pullout : Kalmadi
•    CWG misses yet another deadline : ticket sales
•    Rs.28,000 cr Games expense sounds like wrong priority (Azim Premji)
•    Big guns may miss CWG bus
•    Top athletes skip drug test, may make it to games
•    Drivers for ambulances till missing
•    Payment row delay work at Games
•    Now DDA under scanner over CWG pools
•    Swimming pool may not get certification from top body
•    Cops : Only 14 days for security rehearsals
•    Hospitals told to buy ‘costly’ Games medical equipment
•    UK firm charged over six times for CWG over lays
•    Catering delay : OC passes buck to IRCTC
•    Archery venue wide off the mark
•    Fennell & Hooper pushed through dodgy SMAM deal.
•    Games ambulances in need of emergency care
•    Oz legend Dawn Fracer calls for boycott at Delhi
•    Deshmukh puts Rs 300 cr. funding on hold over corruption charge
•    Nimbus pulls out of sponsor liaison bid
•    Delayed DDA projects may again miss deadlines
•    London splurge & sleaze exposed by OC official
•    Venue delays hit volunteer training program
•    No open tenders floated for big balloon
•    Latest goof-up costs Rs.1.3 cr
•    Dengue danger at games venues & hospitals
•    Patriot games (Edit) : Jug Suraiya
•    05 CWG panel never came into being
•    Eye on Games business, city sees spurt in trafficking of minor girls
•    AM films did not have director when OC accepted its bid
•    After merchandise, catering may be the next casualty
•    City roads still dug up, MCD gets the jitters
•    50 days to go : Can this mess be cleared in time for the games?
•    Roped in for games duty doctors get ill treatment
•    Merchandise – selling firm pulls out
•    Dug up & delayed, CP down in dumps
•    CWG projects : panel asks govt. to explain cost overruns
•    Cong core group grapples to find way out of mess
•    BJP seeks PM reply, no one else will do
•    Kalmadi, Fennell under ED scanner
•    No time to waste; Govt. must take charge at the games (Edit)
•    Key investors in top CWG supplier have fictitious village address
•    Games flats home to mosquitoes
•     Desperate measures : Delhi hotel may slash their rates
•    Deadline passes, no sign of CWG caterer
•    Power shortage grounds T3s domestic operations
•    Kalmadi cleared payment for AM deal which he had ‘never heard of’
•    Queen ‘not aware’ of CWG controversy
•    Now, Games tickets miss deadline, buyers angry
•    Getting to the bottom of CWG scandal, Shobha De.
•    Kalmadi’s OC had hand in all big Games buys
•    CWG controversy brings LS to a halt
•    OC omitted brands used for Olympics in recommendation
•    Pots bought for crores banned from stadia
•    Despite denials, heads star to roll – OC treasurer quits; 2 officials removed, SMAM deal scrapped
•    OC tweaked tender to keep small player out
•    OC’s free ad time demand spooking sponsors?
•    Kalmadi’s Darbari flaunted Rajiv link
•    All in the family? OC treasure’s son heads firm laying games tennis turf
•    NTPC too threatens to pull out funding
•    Early birds will find trailing venues
•    After railways, NTPC says no donation if any agency gets cut
•    OC says no hiring, will buy treadmills
•    Foul play (Edit)
•    Common stealth Games (Edit)
•    We shouldn’t have hosted CWG 2010, says Baichung
•    Rlys threatens to pull out as sponsor.
•    Suppliers hire treadmills for Rs.1.00 lakh, lease them to games for Rs.10.00 lakh
•    Delhi ignored repeated advice : Ex CVC chief
•    Catering deadline extended again
•    SC funds diversion causes uproar in RS
•    60 days …. 30 headaches
•    ED smells a rat, probes 2 more foreign payouts.
•    Out of sync agencies slowed games work
•    Officials prove CM wrong, take a dig at deadline
•    Row is political says Australia’s CWG chief.
•    Engineers say they can’t finish VK games flats
•    Delay in printing manuals affects training of volunteers
•    Net ball venue has flaws : Oz manager returned home with ‘Major Concerns’
•    Weightlifting venue opens with dripping roof, seepage in walls
•    The heavens opened up, still in denial on games
•    Forewarned govt. still in denial on games
•    The ultimate games of also-rans (M.J. Akbar)
•    Work at swimming stadium is shoddy, says FINA vice president.

Image: courtesy The Times of India

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