Posts Tagged ‘Obituary’

When everyone forgets, the family remembers

1 October 2013

soumya

An ‘In Memoriam’ advertisement appearing in New Delhi newspapers on September 30, for Soumya Viswanathan, the Headlines Today journalist, who was found murdered in Delhi in 2008, shortly after leaving work for home.

In 2009, United News of India (UNI) reported that Soumya’s employers, TV Today Network, were fined Rs 250 for violating the capital’s working hours. The 26-year-old journalist had left her place of work at 03:02 am, say police, who got word of the incident at 3.41 am.

Also read: What we can learn from The Daily Telegraph

S.D. Rohmetra: founder-editor of Daily Excelsior

Charudatta Deshpande: journalist turned corp comm manager

Sivanthi Adityan: editor of Tamil daily, Dina Thanthi

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’

***

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

TOI reports first Indian sub’s death after 22 days

22 June 2012

The Times of India doesn’t usually run obituaries of its staffers. But the paper makes an exception today, June 22, to mark the demise of its first Indian employee who passed away on June 1:

“Veteran journalist, historian and author Alfred D’Cruz died in Bandra after a brief illness. He is believed to be the first Indian to have been employed by the editorial department of The Times of India way back in 1947. D’Cruz was 91. D’Cruz is survived by his son and three daughters, one of whom was also employed at TOI.

“D’Cruz was handpicked for the job by the then British editor, Sir Francis Low. “There were no Indians as part of the editorial team at the time. My father often recalled working till 4am, struggling with the hot metal press to prepare the blocks for photographs because computers were yet to arrive on the scene,” his son Sunil said from Muscat.

“In 1982, D’Cruz retired as editor of TOI‘s ‘Who’s Who’ yearbook but remained active for years after that. At the age of 69, he joined a newspaper in the Gulf and worked there until the Gulf War.”

Let the record state that the news of D’Cruz’s death was reported by the Bombay-based Afternoon Despatch & Courier on June 7 and the Oman Observer on June 14 and The Times of India on June 22.

The obituary in the Oman Observer records:

Writing under the pseudonym Afie, Alfred D’Cruz was the only scribe to write the Round & About column in the Evening News of India [the now-defunct evening newspaper from The Times of India group] for some time when the late ‘Busybee’ [Behram Contractor] was on leave.

Also read: 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’

***

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

James W. Michaels, Rest in Peace

6 October 2007

James W. Michaels, the US army ambulance driver who was faster than any reporter to tell the world that Mahatma Gandhi had been assassinated, and then went on to edit 1,000 issues of Forbes magazine over 37 years, passed away in New York on Tuesday, the eve of Gandhi’s birthday. He was 86.

Michaels covered India’s independence and the bloody communal rioting that followed for the news agency, United Press International (UPI). He was the first foreign reporter to get to the scene of fighting in Kashmir, traveling on horseback to the remote, mountainous region.

(In a 2001 interview, he called India’s first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharhal Nehru “the worst disaster to hit India”.)

In 1954, when Michaels came to Forbes as a reporter, the magazine’s circulation was 130,000. When he stepped down as editor in 1999, the circulation was 785,000, and was described by a former head of Time magazine as “the smartest editor I’ve ever worked for.”

“He virtually created modern business journalism. He saw Forbes as the ‘drama critic’ of business. Under his stewardship, Forbes became the definitive source of who was doing well, and who wasn’t, and why,” Steve Forbes said.

In a touching obituary on the magazine’s website, Forbes editors write:

“He referred to himself as a working journalist. By that he meant that he could skip the dinner party circuit and avoid Manhattan’s media scene. Instead, he would put every article through his typewriter, usually making it a lot shorter. “It was always said that Michaels could edit the Lord’s prayer down to six words and nobody would miss anything.”

A New York Times obituary recalls that Michaels “belittled the ‘on the other hand’ kind of balance so many publications strive for as mere wishy-washiness.”

Michaels believed that it was the editor’s right to get into a reporter’s copy as much as possible to make it accessible to readers. Allan Sloan, Michaels’ protege who now works at Forbes‘ competitor Fortune, writes:

“When I was sued over an article entitled “Drilling for Suckers”—the subjects felt they needed several million of Malcolm Forbes‘ dollars to ease their pain—I testified under oath that I wasn’t sure which parts of the piece was my original writing and which were Jim’s….

“Working for Jim was more than occasionally maddening, but he was the greatest editor I’ve ever seen or ever expect to see. He used to say he could cut at least 15% out of any story, no matter how tightly written. In his memory, I’m making this 15% shorter than my normal space. So maybe he’s gotten the last word after all.

***

This is James Michaels’ report of Gandhi’s assassination:

‘Bapu (father) is finished’

New Delhi, January 30, 1948: Mohandas K. Gandhi was assassinated today by a Hindu extremist whose act plunged India into sorrow and fear.

Rioting broke out immediately in Bombay.

The seventy-eight-year-old leader whose people had christened him the Great Soul of India died at 5:45 p.m. (7:15 a.m. EST) with his head cradled in the lap of his sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Mani.

Just half an hour before, a Hindu fanatic, Ram Naturam, had pumped three bullets from a revolver into Gandhi’s frail body, emaciated by years of fasting and asceticism.

Gandhi was shot in the luxurious gardens of Birla House in the presence of one thousand of his followers, whom he was leading to the little summer pagoda where it was his habit to make his evening devotions.

Dressed as always in his homespun sacklike dhoti, and leaning heavily on a staff of stout wood, Gandhi was only a few feet from the pagoda when the shots were fired.

Gandhi crumpled instantly, putting his hand to his forehead in the Hindu gesture of forgiveness to his assassin. Three bullets penetrated his body at close range, one in the upper right thigh, one in the abdomen, and one in the chest.

He spoke no word before he died. A moment before he was shot he said–some witnesses believed he was speaking to the assassin–“You are late.”

The assassin had been standing beside the garden path, his hands folded, palms together, before him in the Hindu gesture of greeting. But between his palms he had concealed a small-caliber revolver. After pumping three bullets into Gandhi at a range of a few feet, he fired a fourth shot in an attempt at suicide, but the bullet merely creased his scalp.

Excerpted from A treasury of great reporting: literature under pressure from the sixteenth century to our own time, edited by Louis L. Snyder (Simon & Schuster, 1949)

Also read: James Michaels’ report on the Gandhi funeral

Photo courtesy: Chang W. Lee/ The New York Times

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