Posts Tagged ‘NDTV Profit’

At 7, Race Course Road, this is Pankaj Pachauri

19 January 2012

In what is perhaps the first acknowledgement of the fact that the UPA government could do with slightly better media schmoozing, Pankaj Pachauri, the host of NDTV Profit’s magazine show, Money Mantra, has been roped in as communications advisor at the prime minister’s office.

Pachauri, 48, has previously worked at The Sunday Observer, India Today and the BBC Hindi service in London. He will report to the PM’s principal secretary Pulok Chatterji.

An official press release reads:

“Pachauri, who will report to the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, will advise on communicating the Governments programmes, policies and achievements to the media and the public at large, particularly using the electronic, print and new and social media.”

Pachauri’s first two tweets to his nearly 26,500 followers since taking over reads:

# “Prime minister starts discussions on skill development with a dozen cabinet colleagues. Most important issue for this decade.”

# “Adviser to PM on skill development S. Ramadorai presenting roadmap to train and skill millions of youth in India.”

The PM’s media advisor Harish Khare, who has resigned in the wake of Pachauri’s appointment, has been quoted by PTI as saying: “I want to rediscover the joys of being a reporter.”

Image: courtesy Mail Today

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

Everybody loves a nice mutual admiration club

30 November 2010

Ratan Tata, the bossman of Tata Sons in the middle of the 2G spectrum allocation scam following the outing of the tapes of the conversations of his chief lobbyist Niira Radia, has given an interview to Shekhar Gupta, editor-in-chief of The Indian Express and host of NDTV’s interview programme, Walk the Talk.

The text of the interview—played endlessly on the weekend by NDTV channels in the run-up to Tata moving the Supreme Court pleading for a gag order on the media, citing his privacy—has been carried on three broadsheet pages on two consecutive days by the Express.

It concludes in the paper today with these paragraphs:

Shekhar Gupta:  Having this conversation with you is always such a privilege because besides everything else one learns so much.

Ratan Tata: Thank you.

SG: Always inspirational talking to you.

RT: Let me just tell you that you come to be somebody that I really respect because of the fact that you stand for, what you believe in and I have enjoyed every moment we have been able to share together, I hope that friendship will grow as we go forward.

SG: Insha’allah. Thank you so much.

RT: It’s something I’ll cherish. Thank you.

Cartoon: courtesy Mail Today

Also read: How to get tomorrow’s news today. An example.

22 only if they are counting ‘NDTV’ and ‘Profit’

3 July 2009

NDTV Profit

An advertisement for NDTV’s business channel Profit, appearing in the latest issues of the newsweeklies.

Just a couple of things you might like to know

21 March 2009

“Full Disclosure” is an alien concept in Indian media where edit masquerading as ads, ads masquerading as edit, editors masquerading as party spokesmen, conflict of interest, etc, all cohabit in a blissful orgy. Rarely is the reader or viewer told if there is a slippery wheel within a wheel, as if news consumers have an allergy to it.

Former Business India editor Omkar Goswami now has a show titled Question Time on NDTV’s business channel, Profit. Last week, he interviewed “one of the cleverest persons I’ve had the pleasure to know”, Nandan Nilekani, one of the founders of the Information Technology giant, Infosys.

Full disclosure No. 1: Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy is an independent director on NDTV’s board.

Full disclosure No. 2: Omkar Goswami is an independent director on the board of Infosys.

Maybe, neither disclosure is required because both interviewer and interviewee are stellar professionals in their own right. Maybe, neither disclosure would have added to the body of knowledge at the viewers disposal. Maybe, the viewer is just not interested in these details.

But….

How come media did not spot Satyam fraud?

8 January 2009

A requiem for Indian business journalism, in the delightfully breathless style of Juan Antonio Giner, founder-director, Innovation International Media:

‘Satyam’, meaning truth.

India’s fourth largest software services provider. The darling of Hyderabad.

An outsourcing company with 53,000 employees that serviced 185 of the Fortune 500 companies in 66 countries.

A company which now says 50.4 billion rupees of the 53.6 billion rupees in cash and bank loans that it listed in assets for its second quarter, which ended in September, were nonexistent.

India’s biggest corporate fraud ever.

Hell, India’s biggest fraud ever: customers, clients, shareholders, employees, families down in the dumps.

India’s Enron.

We have heard all the big questions being asked. So far.

How come the analysts did not know?

How come the auditors did not know?

How come the regulators did not know?

How come the directors did not know?

How come the bankers did not know?

Yes. But where is the other question?

How come the media did not know?

Yes.

How come the English newspapers did not know?

# Not Deccan Chronicle, not The Hindu, not The New Indian Express, not The Times of India.

# Not The Economic Times, not Business Line, not Financial Chronicle, not Business Standard, not Financial Express.

How come the foreign newspapers did not know?

# Not New York Times, not Wall Street Journal, not Financial Times.

How come the Telugu dailies did not know?

# Not Eenadu, not Andhra Jyoti, not Andhra Prabha, not Saakshi.

How come the general interest magazines did not know?

# Not India Today, not Outlook, not The Week.

How come the business magazines did not know?

# Not Business Today, not Business World, not Outlook Business.

How come the English news channels did not know?

# Not NDTV, not CNN-IBN, not Times Now, not Doordarshan News.

How come the business channels did not know?

# Not CNBC, not NDTV Profit, not UTVi.

How come the Telugu channels did not know?

# Not ETV, not Maa TV, not TV9, not TV5, not Doordarshan

So many media vehicles, but so little light on the infotech highway yet so much noise.

But who is asking the questions?

Is journalism that doesn’t shed light journalism?

Or puff?

Or PR?

Or Advertising?

Also read: Is this what they really teach at Harvard Business School?

Is Satyam alone in creative accounting scam?

New Year card Ramalinga Raju did not respond to

One rule for Modi, another rule for Chidu?

1 March 2008

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: Saturday afternoons don’t figure highly on the radar screens of TV channels. Because they are all in the “hills” smoking cigars, eating caviar, and calculating how much richer the soaring valuations have made them in the week gone by, channel heads all believe this is the time when the aam janata, after biryani and a glass of beer, are too groggy to pay attention and keep the “People Meters” ticking.

So this is when they sneak in soft not-so-newsy stuff—travel, food, books, letters, automotive, spirituality, gadgets—and other “events” and other stuff designed to keep in the media plans of advertisers.

But the afternoon of Saturday, 1 March 2008, was different. It was the day after the 2008-09 budget had been presented by P. Chidambaram. And it was the afternoon the Union finance minister had decided to give his traditional post-budget interviews to the media after (presumably) a nice Chettinad lunch.

Network 18 with two business channels in its bow—CNBC-TV18 and CNBC-Awaaz—was given first shot.

Its managing director Raghav Bahl was to conduct the pow-wow and all morning, the network’s channels, including CNN-IBN, promoted the “First Post-Budget Interview”. It was to begin at 2.50 pm. But, as an eager nation waited for PC to explain what he had done, the clock stretched to 3 pm. Finally, it began at 3.15 pm.

Most of Bahl’s initial questions were on the waiver of loans for small and marginal farmers that is said to cost the nation Rs 60,000 crore. Where is he going to find the funds for it, Bahl asked—and asked—and asked. Chidambaram guffawed and gave that trademark “Look-I-went-to-Harvard-how-many-of-you-did” smirk which reporters from North Block to Sivaganga dread.

When Bahl continued to insist on an answer, PC said helpfully: “Look, whatever way you try to get it out of me, I am not going to reveal it on a TV show when Parliament is in session.”

But Bahl wouldn’t give up. And when he asked once more, PC said: “Look you are wasting your time. You might as well squeeze in your other questions.”

When an unrelenting Bahl pushed again, Chidambaram said “That’s it,” got up and walked out of the interview, while Bahl, who uses a walking stick, sat in his chair.

End of interview within three minutes.

Live.

You didn’t see the walkout “live” in your hypogogic haze, did you?

I did.

And the moment I saw it, my mind immediately raced back to Narendra Modi‘s famous walkout from an interview with Karan Thapar last October. That walkout was sparked when Thapar insisted on a “regret” from the Gujarat chief minister for what was allowed to happen in the aftermath of the Godhra train blaze.

First a Modi walkout, then a Chidambaram walkout, that’s yet another CNN-IBN “exclusive”, I thought.

But while the Modi walkout was the meat and drink for the channel and other media for days on end, news of the Chidambaram walkout has been very nearly blacked out. The walkout wasn’t replayed endlessly on CNN-IBN or CNBC in the evening bulletins on Saturday. The walkout didn’t become the “Image of the Day”. And the walkout finds no mention whatsoever in Raghav Bahl’s report of his interview on IBN Live.

So, what gives?

As the home of two business channels, with a Hindi business newspaper coming up, Network 18 cannot obviously afford to rub the finance minister on the wrong side. With a partnership with Forbes coming up, and countless FDI/FII/FCCB deals coming up, Network 18 cannot obviously make an issue of this minor conflagration.

Still, can there be one rule for Modi, and another rule for Chidambaram?

One rule for a chief minister with a past; another rule for a market-friendly finance minister?

One rule for a BJP man, another for a Congress man?

To his credit, Bahl eventually managed to convince Chidambaram to address the nation in his smug, supercilious best once again. So some lost ground was recovered. But as Chidambaram’s “first” interview on Network 18 and his second interview with NDTV aired at more or less the same time, the irony was stark and striking.

Cross-posted on churumuri

Business journalism or the journalism of business?

17 February 2008

The quality of Indian journalism has been under question for as long as Indian journalism has been around, especially by those who found the news and views contrary to their own closely-held beliefs, assumptions and ideologies.

Quibbles like the agendas of publishers and editors; the bias and prejudice of journalists; the unethical trade and professional practices; the growth of monopolies, have been around for ages. In recent times they have been joined by complaints of corruption, commodification, dumbing down, trivialisation, and celebrity culture. At the end of the day, though, there was little that the reader/viewer/listener lost in material terms from such news and views.

But what when she does?

As the stock market culture has taken root, the business channels on television have become the primary source of information, advice and guidance for investors. But how much of what they put out as “expert opinion” is the result of adequate inhouse research, and how much of it is hype and advertising? And how can we be sure that the channels, anchors and reporters are not susceptible to “market pressures”, to put it mildly?

The outgoing chairman of the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) M. Damodaran has spoken with characteristic candour in an interview with Shekhar Gupta of the Indian Express for NDTV’s Walk the Talk. Presumably referring to the debacle of the Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Power IPO, Damodaran said he had received a copy of a letter from an aggrieved investor on his penultimate day in office:

“In a letter sent to a TV person along with a few media houses and a copy endorsed to me, the investor asked, ‘I saw you guys saying everything was good about a particular issue till it listed below the issue price. And now I find you saying everything is wrong and talking it down. What happened to you guys?’

“I think there’s considerable merit in it (the letter)…. How is it that suddenly on listing, all the virtues that you thought resided in some particular issue disappeared? I think the media has a very large role to play and I am afraid that that role is not being played to the best of its ability�”

Business channels, anchors and reporters can go wrong with stocks, shares and companies, just like news channels, anchors and reporters can go wrong with elections, opinion polls, exit polls. It cannot be the rule, of course, but it is a occupational hazard. But with business journalism, the news consumer puts his hard-earned money on the line. Surely, he is entitled to receive news and views unsullied by corporate or personal motives and motivations?

Rumours of business channels having conflicts of interest, and rumours of business anchors and “experts” playing the market with insider information, and “talking up” or “talking down” the market, have been in the air for nearly five years now. On the overcrowded business TV screens, the distinction between news and advertising has all but disappeared. But Damodaran is the first to point this all out in so many words.

“When we heard the term anchor-investors first, I thought an anchor investor was the guy that brings in a lot of money initially into a project around whose reputation others invest. I am beginning to believe at the end of my three-year tenure that an anchor investor is one who is an anchor and an investor put together. I am worried that (they are) those who are responsible… who take the message to a billion plus people who will hopefully, one day be interested in the market. If that message gets distorted, what happens?

“There are people who make statements that are very clear indications of talking up or talking down stocks. And what do we have by way of investor protection? A disclosure that says, is this person having a position in that stock? Earlier, we had statements like “not really”, “maybe”, “it’s likely that my clients have”. Today, you get a broad spectrum such as “It is entirely possible that I have this.”

“Is this disclosure? It is clearly not. I would want to know before someone gives me advice whether you are giving me that advice because you will benefit. Current disclosures are far too routine. In fact, people have been saying things like “We are running out of time, can you make the disclosure to us. Disclosure is complete if you make it to the right audience, not to a television anchor. It is to the investor who is going to put his money. Filing disclosures is not good enough.”

Obviously, with million making decisions on the basis of the business channels, there is a need for a code of conduct. Damodaran says both his predecessors made moves in that direction. The first time, SEBI was told that the channels would draft one themselves, but there was no motion. The second time, SEBI said it would come up with a code, but there were no takers. Damodaran says SEBI has also tried to individually engage people, but he says a lot more needs to be done.

Also read: Ethical journalism is a bad word at CNBC-TV18

MTV isn’t the only channel making a bakra out of you

The media and the stock market collapse

Cross-posted on churumuri

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