Posts Tagged ‘The Economist’

Hindu Business Line redesigned by Aurobind Patel

24 January 2014

bl

In its 20th year of publication, Business Line, the business daily from The Hindu stable, has gone in for a relaunch, accompanied by a redesign.

In the image above are the front pages of the paper the day before (left) the new design (right) was unveiled on Thursday, January 23.

Writes BL editor Mukund Padmanabhan in the first issue of the relaunched paper:

“The new look, created by one of the country’s finest designers, Aurobind Patel, achieves the extremely difficult task of showcasing content without screaming or attention-grabbing gimmickry.

“Starting with the careful selection of fonts and the colour palette, attention has been paid to the smallest detail to give you a design that is exquisite in its simplicity and its elegance. The effort has been to resolve the traditional conflict between content and design by fusing them into an integrated and harmonious whole.”

For the record, Aurobind Patel designed the original India Today and was design director of The Economist, London, before returning to India. He redesigned the Economic & Political Weekly (EPW) two years ago.

The earlier Business Line was designed by Mario Garcia.

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Also readAnother boiler-plate redesign from Mario Garcia

Good heavens, another Mario Garcia redesign

Yet another paper redesigned by Mario Garcia

How come Mario Garcia didn’t redesign this one?

Finally, a redesign not done by Mario Garcia

The Hindu redesign was a mishmash, an eyesore’

If The Economist looks at Tamil Nadu, it’s news?

11 June 2013

economist

In a bleak advertising scenario, Indian magazines have been pushed into running cheap and ugly advertisements, advertorials, and other intrusions dressed up as thinly disguised “innovations”, like a bit of editorial here for an ad elsewhere, to keep the ship afloat.

But The Economist, too?

The latest issue of the “newspaper” (as the magazine calls itself) has eight pages of a Tamil Nadu government ad heralding the achievements of two years of chief minister Jayalalitha‘s rule.

And, presto, there is a one-and-a-half page story on Tamil Nadu preceding it.

Headlined “A successful show begins to pall“, the Economist calls the state “one of India’s great success stories”, a “consistent economic performer” and “one of India’s most prosperous states”. An accompanying box titled “Lights, camera, election” dwells on why so many Tamil politicians are former film stars.

All very valid observations, no doubt, but all very old hat (the Economist was first published in September 1843).

Thankfully, the piece has enough caveats to blunt any accusations of doing what the adperson ordered.

It calls Jayalalitha a “Brahmin starlet turned autocrat” who has faced several corruption charges; it labels her co-star Cho Ramaswamy as one who “both seduced and murdered her on stage”; it talks of the endemic graft and Jayalalitha’s penchant for filing defamation cases against her critics.

Still, you are left wondering: would the Economist have suddenly looked at Tamil Nadu’s miracles if it weren’t for the ad?

Conversely, was The Economist correspondent doing a critical journalistic piece and the Tamil Nadu information and public relations directorate heard of it and decided to push in an ad (which was published in all newspapers on May 16)?

The role of the press in India-China relations

23 May 2012

In which, The Economist, London sounds no different from the average bankrupt politician who blames the media for all his ills, as if India-China relations would have been a bed of roses if there were no newspapers, television, websites or magazines:

“The National University of Singapore this month convened a workshop on the role of the press in India-China relations. It brought together practitioners and experts from China and India and one foreign journalist (Banyan).

“To say there was a meeting of minds would not be honest. The Chinese journalists were frank that their role in bilateral relations was to promote them. The Indians thought their job was to report and analyse them. The foreigner agreed with the Indians.

“Some consensus was reached, however, in identifying the problems. Far too few Indian reporters are based in China—just four—and vice versa. Indian commentary on China tends to be monopolised by a few loquacious hawks, including retired members of the security and intelligence establishment, whose paranoia about China seems to carry especial weight.

“And, with the burgeoning of the Chinese media, nobody knows any more who speaks for the government. In particular, the Global Times, a newspaper produced out of the People’s Daily stable, which takes a strongly nationalist and hence sometimes anti-Indian line, could give the Indian press lessons in hawkishness. And the blogosphere remains heavily policed. So the dividing line between “outrageous-but-tolerated” and “officially sanctioned” is very blurred.

“One point of consensus was that much is the fault of the foreign press, accused of playing up tensions and frictions between China and India, and thereby influencing perceptions in both countries, which are then reflected in the local press.”

Read the full article: India-China relations and the media

Also read: The Hindu and the scribe who was told to shut up

China Daily‘ hands back occupied territories to India

Hu, Wen and why China scorns the Indian media

Censorship in the name of ‘national interest’

If a report isn’t ‘wrong’, surely it must be ‘right’?

Chinese hackers break into The Times of India

Never believe anything until it’s officially denied

One paper’s 40% threat is another’s 60% dud

‘China Daily’ hands back occupied areas to India

28 November 2011

Tongue firmly in cheek, James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly (a one-time resident of Beijing) calls it “the world’s finest daily”. Two weeks ago it began to appear on the streets of the United States.

Now, “China Daily” has spread its wings to India.

A 24-page edition of the weekly tabloid, printed in Hong Kong and priced at Rs 10, appeared in Delhi on the weekend, tucked into one of the business dailies (not The Hindu Business Line).

Barring a two-page spread of ads of serviced apartments in Hong Kong, the edition is almost completely free of any kind of advertising, except for an in-house ad (above) advertising its availibility in India.

The storylist of the inaugural November 25-December 1 is decidedly nationalistic. The cover story, headlined “Brand Global“, talks of Chinese brands likely to make up the next wave of household items.

Many of the other stories would warm the cockles of Pravda staffers. “Key gas pact signed with Turkmentistan” and “China, Brunei ink energy deals” are the headlines of news stories. There is an opinion piece on East Asia not being a US playground and another warning US against spying activities.

The only India components in the launch issue are an opinion piece by former Hindu and Indian Express analyst C. Raja Mohan on Indo-Pak ties, and a full-page profile of the PC-maker Lenovo’s India head, by a correspondent in Calcutta.

For a “Made in China” product, quality control in “China Daily” is still not cuting edge yet: two different stories on pages 4 and 5, one on China’s global brands and the other on intellectual property laws, carry the same intro: “China is bracing for a leap forward in marketing and promotion of its products across the world.”

No, wait, it is not a mistake; the stories are actually linked, just that the editors thought that a common intro would convey China’s much-renowned sense of uniformity better.

Indian nationalists and nuisance-makers might, however, like to take a second look at the map of India in the issue-ad (on page 6) in the launch issue, which only shows the parts of Kashmir as being occupied by Pakistan and not the parts occupied by China (as a New York Times map, above, shows) .

Surprisingly, though, unlike The Economist which repeatedly faces troubles at the hands of Indian censors for the “inaccurate depiction of India’s borders”, China Daily has sailed through.

Also read: The Hindu and the scribe who was told to shut up

How New York Times stumped Indian censors

Censored, but no copies of Economist have been confiscated

EPW, the ‘Economist’ of emerging countries?

26 November 2011

The former West Bengal finance minister, economist and left ideologue, Ashok Mitra, in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“Gentlemen do not engage in public brawl; if they have a grievance to air, they write to the London Times. That was the British code…. The Indian gentry, as could only be expected, inherited the code of the ruling nation….  For all of them, the British convention of unburdening one’s point of view in letters to newspaper editors became the accepted mode.

“A geographical distribution of the load of the letters that got written took place almost in the natural course. Gentlemen in the south — and occasionally ladies — would write to the stodgy Hindu owned by the Kasturi family. Those in the west wrote to The Times of India, managed by the Bennett Coleman group, which had already passed on to Indian hands.

“Letters from the northern region would crowd into the office of the Hindustan Times, owned by the Birlas and edited by the Mahatma’s son, Devdas Gandhi. For the East, the preferred destination was the Chowringhee Square address in Calcutta of the still-British-owned Statesman, slightly hoity-toity, but at least continuing to be jealous of the elegance of its language and grammar.

“The habitué of the writing-letters-to-the-editor club are miffed to no end by the steady plebeianization of the entire lot of what were once described as national newspapers; these look more and more tabloid with every day and have ceased to be ambassadors of daily tidings from all over the country and the world. The intellectual community, in particular, is disconcerted; it is, it feels, beneath its dignity to have its contributions besmirched by being printed next to pictures of damsels in G-strings and money-crazy cricketers caught red-handed for spot-fixing — those pearls of wisdom deserve a better receptacle for display. It is now increasingly turning to the Economic & Political Weekly. A weekly publication with its limited circulation is not quite the same thing. Even so, the EPW has at least the imprimatur of respectability; it is supposed to be the leading social science journal coming out of Asia; it is, some say, the Economist of the emerging countries.”

Read the full article: If the price is right

Also read: EPW journalist bags Appan Menon award

EPW: Top-6 dailies devote 2% coverage on rural issues

The Economist: How to get from B to A

The Economist: A newspaper that’s a genuine viewspaper

How ‘New York Times’ stumped India’s censors

13 September 2011

Foreign publications usually get into a kerfuffle with superpatriotic Indian authorities over the depiction of the geographical boundaries of India in maps and infographs.

Publications like The Economist, for instance, have noisily run afoul of censors for (corrrectly) showing parts of Kashmir as belonging to Pakistan and China.

The New York Times which recently launched an India blog called India Ink, has found a way out of a potential panga by using a cartoonish map of India (above), which magnanimously hands back the Pakistan-occupied and China-occupied parts of Kashmir to India, and which is far removed from the cartographic version of India that NYT otherwise uses (below).

So, which is the India the NYT blog will cover?

(Which is, just a roundabout sort of way of drawing the attention of the “host, chef and chief bottle washer” of India Ink, Heather Timmons to sans serif. Chill.)

Also read: The Indian Express stands up for The Economist

Censored, but no copies of Economist have been confiscated

The troubling nexus doesn’t trouble too many

The Indian Express, Reliance and Shekhar Gupta

7 June 2011

The shadow of Mukesh Ambani‘s Reliance Industries (RIL) has hung heavily over the northern editions of the Indian Express for the last seven years, in a marked departure from the late 1980s when Ramnath Goenka‘s paper was seen as Dhirubhai Ambani‘s chief  bully and bugbear.

Tongues have wagged incessantly about how well paid Express staffers are given its insignificant circulation and non-existent advertising; about the kind of foreign tieups it stitches up (The Economist one day, Financial Times the other); about the about-turn the paper’s former editor Arun Shourie made as NDA minister; about how comfortable the paper’s current editor Shekhar Gupta looks wth the Reliance gang, and so on.

The bazaar gossip—does Mukesh Ambani have a stake in the Express?—barely evokes any surprise.

In an interview with Shuchi Bansal of Mint, Shekhar Gupta catches the bull by the horns:

“What is there to explain? The shareholding statement is published every year in the paper. Express Holdings and Enterprises Ltd, the holding company, is 100% owned by Viveck Goenka. Then there is Viveck Goenka himself and a small bit of shareholding is with me. The shareholding of every company is listed by every company with the ministry of corporate affairs.

“I am surprised this question gets asked.

“I have handled the management for this company for a long time. This company has gone through due diligence by the finest team of experts in the business. There is no question ever, ever of any corporate whether its name begins with R or T or B or XYZ owning a single share.

“Funding cannot happen under the table. The issue is that the fight between Reliance and Express was vicious that films are being made on it now.

“What is our challenge as editors? We cover Reliance as any other corporate. Sometimes difficult calls have been taken because Express has a campaigning mindset. The solution is to do straightforward classical journalism.

“We are instruments for nobody.”

Read the interview: No question ever of any company owning even a single share in IE

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Also read: Is the Indian Express now a pro-establishment paper?

Have the Tatas blacklisted the Times of India again?

Why the Indian media doesn’t take on the Ambanis

The Indian Express stands up for The Economist

2 June 2011

The censorship of foreign magazines and newspapers depicting the “wrong” map of India is as old as the hills and barely makes news. Certainly, no Indian newspaper finds it worth its while to stand up for the “erring” firang.

But the Indian Express, which is in a content sharing partnership with The Economist and prints a “co-branded” page of material from the London-based “newspaper” every weekday, has come out forcefully against the censorship of, well, The Economist.

The May 19 issue of the Economist (cover story: The World’s Most Dangerous Border“) came plastered with a white sticker to mask a Kashmir map, which showed it not as one composite whole (as Indian publications do), but as a piece of real estate divided between India, Pakistan and China, as is the reality.

Express responded, first with an editorial and then with a front-page editorial cartoon (above).

“International news publications are often delayed because a special Customs cell has to stamp each such map with the disclaimer that these are “neither accurate nor authentic”.

“Though The Economist has explained that using the Line of Control in the absence of an agreed international frontier is merely to state the status quo, not endorse it, the government will have none of it.

“Despite the fact that the technology has rendered such strictures irrelevant, the Indian state remains inordinately panicky about how its boundaries are represented”

The Economist‘s cartographers are, however, not unused to seeing their work being censored. Last year, it printed a chart showing India at the very top of its censorship table.

“Since January 2009 The Economist has been banned or censored in 12 of the 190-odd countries in which it is sold, with news-stand (as opposed to subscription) copies particularly at risk. India has censored 31 issues and at first glance might look like the worst culprit. However its censorship consists of stamping “Illegal” on maps of Kashmir because it disputes the borders shown.”

Cartoon: courtesy E.P. Unny/ The Indian Express

Thrice bitten, will FT find love after 20 years?

4 May 2011

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: For a newspaper that likes to think it is the handbook for global executives on how to run their businesses, Financial Times hasn’t quite had a textbook entry into India.

Twenty years ago, when the doors of the economy were opened ajar and the rumours of the iconic British business newspaper being published from India gained steam, The Times of India group tripped FT by launching a weekly supplement to The Economic Times, mischievously calling it Financial Times. A long courtroom battle over trademark violation ensued between the two groups.

Boxed into a corner, FT got into a tieup with what was then India’s no. 2 business newspaper, Business Standard, becoming the first foreign company to make a major investment in Indian media. FT‘s representatives sat in the BS news and board rooms, but that relationship went sour in 2008, with FT divesting its 13.85% stake in the paper.

Three years ago, rumours of Raghav Bahl‘s Network 18 launching the India edition of FT hit the roof, with rumours of then ToI executive editor Jaideep Bose being wooed to head the operation. ToI again hit back, retaining “Jojo”, as Bose is known, and elevating him to editorial director. The global downturn also helped put the project in cold freeze.

Today, the Indian Express group of Viveck Goenka, which owns the Financial Express, has announced a “content partnership” with the Financial Times, exactly two years to the day after it started printing a facsimile edition of FT‘s rival, The Wall Street Journal.

“In addition to daily news and features from the Financial Times, readers will benefit from access to reporting from FT bureaus around the world and columns by eminent writers such as Martin Wolf, Lucy Kellaway and Simon Schama,” reads a front-page announcement in the Express.

Express is already in a similar “content partnership” with The Economist, which is half-owned by Pearson, the publishers of FT, publishing a co-branded page a day.  The Rupert Murdoch-owned WSJ, besides printing its editions in Express presses, is in a “partnership” with Mint, the business daily owned by the Hindustan Times.

Thrice bitten, will Financial Times find lasting love in relationship no. 4 with the Express group? And will the consummation of the marriage see the birth of FT in the 20th year of reforms? More to the point, is there an unseen hand, with nascent interests in news television, behind the Express-Economist-FT partnership?

Censored, but no copies have been confiscated

29 September 2010

Since January 2009, India has “censored” The Economist “newspaper” 31 times, mostly for its depiction of Kashmir in its maps. Usually, newsstand copies are more at risk of attracting the “illegal stamp” against subscription copies.

Image: courtesy The Economist

Link via Boing Boing

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Why Chinese children are learning Hindi

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