Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian’

Why Jug Suraiya doesn’t buy Hindustan Times

18 October 2013

There are many reasons why people buy newspapers (and inshallah, newsmagazines).

To be part of the shared conversation; to get an organised view of the world; to keep up with the Joneses; to get news and views and ads; to be educated and engaged and entertained.

Jug Suraiya throws light on another reason in The Times of India:

“After subscribing to it, along with the TOI, for many years, I recently stopped getting the HT newspaper. While it’s a good enough paper otherwise, the main reason I used to get the HT was for its cryptic crossword.

Bunny and I have been crossword addicts for many years, and we got the HT for its cryptic puzzle – a feature which for reasons best known to itself the TOI lacks.

“When HT stopped carrying its cryptic crossword – which it took from The Times, London – Bunny and I stopped taking the paper. We now print out the online Guardian puzzle every day.

“But the discontinuation of the HT has left a small gap, an absence, in my mornings. While before I had two papers to read in the mornings, now I have just the TOI.”

Read the full article: Used to it

Will Barack Obama be page one news tomorrow?

7 November 2012

Will Barack Obama‘s reelection be front-page news in your newspaper tomorrow?

Not if your paper has a “jacket advertisement” in this Diwali season, in which case it will technically be on page 3. Not if your paper two jacket ads, in which case it will be on page 5.

In many ways, Indian newspapers have overturned the traditional importance of the front page (the disease now afflicting even The Guardian, London) although there are many  media watchers who believe a newspaper is well within its rights to monetise its most important space.

***

The veteran editor Surendra Nihal Singh addresses the issue in the latest issue of Society magazine:

In this age, the advertisement department has more sway than the editorial. What do you have to say about it?

Nihal Singh: The front pages of mainstream newspapers are plastered with adverts. This is happening very often. These newspapers are killing the essence of the front page.

The Statesman had strict restrictions on front-page advertisements. During my editorship of the paper in Calcutta, the advertisement manager Chandran Tharoor (father of politician Shashi Tharoor) would beg me for an xtra half-centimetre of space for a front-page advert, but I used to turn down his request.

The contrasts could not be starker with today’s media. In many newspapers, it is the advertisement department that sets the terms. The newspaper owner has given himself the title of editor.

Then again, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi was not front-page news in “India’s national newspaper”. Reason: The Hindu only carried ads on page one in the innocent days of 1948.

Also read: Selling the soul or sustaining the business?

Arun Shourie: a Hindu right-wing pamphleteer

Umberto Eco has a piece of advice for journalists

2 December 2011

How long should news stories and features be in an era of short attention spans? Does serious stuff have an audience when there are a million diversions? Should we only give what readers and viewers want? Is it all about boiling it down for the lowest common denominator?

The questions facing journalism are eternal.

The Italian writer Umberto Eco, 80, provides a simple answer in The Guardian, London:

“It’s only publishers and some journalists who believe that people want simple things. People are tired of simple things. They want to be challenged.”

Europe, maybe. In India too?

Read the full article: People are tired of simple things

Also read: ‘Reader is king, reader is CEO’

From Our Staff Correspondent: R.K. Narayan

8 June 2011

On the 10th anniversary of his death, The Guardian, London, has a long piece on the legendary creator of the fictional town of Malgudi, R.K. Narayan, who did a short stint as the Mysoe correspondent of the Madras newspaper, The Justice:

“After graduating in 1930 from the Maharaja’s College – prototype of the Albert Mission College in Bachelor of Arts – Narayan decided to “throw [himself] full-time into this gamble of a writer’s life”.

“In his memoir, he recalls with affection his first typewriter – an “elephantine” Smith Premier 10, which had separate keys for upper and lower cases, and which he had to sell to a shopkeeper to pay an overdue bill for sweets and cigarettes.

“One of his first professional assignments was as the Mysore correspondent of a Madras newspaper, the Justice.

“All morning he “went out news-hunting” in the bazaar and the law courts and police stations, gathering everything from crime stories to gymkhana results. At 1pm he returned home, “bolted down a lunch”, typed up his report, “and rushed it to the Chamarajapuram post office before the postal clearance at 2:20pm”.

“He aimed to produce “ten inches of news” a day, at a rate of about 15 annas an inch, but “thanks to the news editor’s talent for abridgement” his earnings were minimal.

“Though he dismissed this work as “a little bit of pot-boiling”, one can see that the news-hunting Mysore stringer is an important forerunner of the chronicler of Malgudi – an ambulant, inquisitive figure, “going hither and thither”, his antennae tuned for stories.”

Read the full tribute: Rereading: R.K. Narayan

Illustration: courtesy R.K. Laxman/ The Tribune, Chandigarh

Also read: R.K. Narayan on Mysore

Ved Mehta on a day in the life of R.K. Narayan

T.S. NAGARAJAN: The R.K. Narayan only I knew

T.S. SATYAN: The R.K. Narayan only I knew

R.S. KRISHNASWAMY: A day in the life of R.K. Narayan

CHETAN KRISHNASWAMY: As Mysorean as Mysore pak, Mysore mallige

‘Indian media eclipses America’s and Europe’s’

12 April 2011

It is one thing to scoop the cables of American diplomats obtained by WikiLeaks, and it is quite another to project WikiLeaks’ maverick founder, Julian Assange, not merely as the facilitator of the cable-leaks but as the fount of all wisdom contained in them. But The Hindu has managed to do both inside 30 days.

First, the Madras-based behemoth published the first tranche of the 5,100 cables obtained by it, via WikiLeaks. And now, a glowing, front-page story by editor-in-chief N. Ram in today’s paper has Assange offering his view on the Indian prime minister’s disputation of the authenticity of the US embassy cables.

Inside, on the op-ed page, is the first part of a 60-minute interview by Ram and The Hindu‘s UK correspondent, Hasan Suroor, with Assange, in which the “brilliant and articulate editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks” offers his view on —pinch yourself—”a broad range of issues relating to India, the world, political economy, journalism, the goals and methods of WikiLeaks, and the threoretical framework worked out by its chief”.

Question No. 1: Mr. Assange, the publication in March-April 2011 of the India Cables accessed by The Hindu through an agreement with WikiLeaks — and thank you very much for that — has made a dramatic impact on politics and public opinion in India. As you know, it rocked Parliament and put the Manmohan Singh Government on the back foot, at the same time not sparing the Opposition. The Indian news media, newspapers as well as television, have picked up the continuing story in a big way and, I think, WikiLeaks has become a household name in India. Not that you were not known before but now it has great relevance in India, as Bofors did in the late 1980s and early 1990s. How do you think this compares with the impact Cablegate had when it first broke in November of 2010 through The Guardian and four other western newspapers?

Julian Assange: I am very encouraged by what’s happened in India – for The Hindu that’s 21 front pages and there’s a spectrum of publishing in India which I think eclipses that of The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and The New York Times, and El Pais, which were our original partners, although some of them had also done some very fine work. This is something we have seen with some of our other regional partners in Latin America, like Peru and Costa Rica coming up before elections — that the local focus is able to really burrow into important details.

I am tempted to say, based upon my reading of The Hindu that it is in a position to report more freely than these other papers are in their respective countries. That may be, I suspect, not just as a result of the strength of The Hindu but as a result of the weakness of the Indian federal government as a structure that is able to pull together patronage networks and suppress journalism as a whole in India. While it’s certainly true that each one of the factions involved in Indian national politics is able to exert pressures, I think it is encouraging that India as a whole has not turned into one central pyramid of patronage, which is something we do see a bit in other countries like the United States.

Read the full interview: ‘WikiLeaks has provided the critical climate for political change’

Photograph: N. Ram, editor-in-chief of The Hindu (left), with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (courtesy The Hindu)

***

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

Newspapers used to bribe voters in Tamil Nadu

Could WikiLeaks strike some Indian journalists?

Mr. Assange, the publication in March-April 2011 of the India Cables accessed by The Hindu through an agreement with WikiLeaks — and thank you very much for that — has made a dramatic impact on politics and public opinion in India. As you know, it rocked Parliament and put the Manmohan Singh Government on the back foot, at the same time not sparing the Opposition. The Indian news media, newspapers as well as television, have picked up the continuing story in a big way and, I think, WikiLeaks has become a household name in India. Not that you were not known before but now it has great relevance in India, as Bofors did in the late 1980s and early 1990s. How do you think this compares with the impact Cablegate had when it first broke in November of 2010 through The Guardian and four other western newspapers?

I am very encouraged by whats happened in India – for The Hindu thats 21 front pages and theres a spectrum of publishing in India which I think eclipses that of The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and The New York Times, and El Pais, which were our original partners, although some of them had also done some very fine work. This is something we have seen with some of our other regional partners in Latin America, like Peru and Costa Rica coming up before elections — that the local focus is able to really burrow into important details. I am tempted to say, based upon my reading of The Hindu that it is in a position to report more freely than these other papers are in their respective countries. That may be, I suspect, not just as a result of the strength of The Hindu but as a result of the weakness of the Indian federal government as a structure that is able to pull together patronage networks and suppress journalism as a whole in India. While its certainly true that each one of the factions involved in Indian national politics is able to exert pressures, I think it is encouraging that India as a whole has not turned into one central pyramid of patronage, which is something we do see a bit in other countries like the United States.

Could Wikileaks strike some Indian journalists?

6 April 2011

The leaked cables of American diplomats in India, published by The Hindu in conjunction with Wikileaks, has exposed a “brazenly mendacious and venal ruling class”.

But are some Indian journalists likely to be get exposed too?

Pankaj Mishra writes in The Guardian, London:

“There are many more dramatic revelations in store from WikiLeaks and The Hindu; these are tense days and nights for many politicians, business people and journalists. They probably hope the bad news is buried by the cricket World Cup celebrations.”

Read the full article: Behind ‘Rising India’ lies the surrender of national dignity

Also read: How The Hindu got hold of Wikileaks’ India cables

In its golden jubilee year, ET gets a new design

18 February 2011

Quietly, almost as if it doesn’t want anybody to notice, India’s oldest and largest business paper,The Economic Times, has undergone a redesign. On top is the front page of the launch issue of the paper in its new avatar (Monday, 14 February 2011) and below is the paper from exactly a week before.

The pagination of the paper from The Times of India stable, which turns 50 this year, remains more or less the same. There are no new pages or sections. In other words, old wine in slick new bottle is enough to ward off the design challenge posed by the Hindustan Times‘ business paper, Mint.

The key changes are in the colour of the masthead from blue to black; new headline fonts; a tighter body font taking it closer towards the body font of ToI; and plenty of icons and logos, even in headlines. Keen observers of design will notice subtle shades of inspiration from designs of The Guardian, The Observer and International Herald Tribune.

The top-secret redesign, which has been subtly introduced sans announcement, has reportedly been executed by Itu Chaudhuri Associates, which designed the original template for Open magazine and was behind some of India’s best book covers in the late 1990s, including Arundhati Roy‘s Booker Prize winning God of Small of Things.

Images: courtesy The Economic Times

Also read: 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

Less is better for the new, redesigned rediff.com

Kilburn? Cardiff? Kee farak payinda, yaar?

9 September 2010

David Hopps of The Guardian on dealing with Indian TV and radio stations on the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal:

The best stations in India rival any in the world. They are not averse, shall we say, at cutting to the quick. Those less good leave you in a state of bewilderment. They shout phrases like “The breaking news is… ” and then ask you to comment on claims that Pakistan have just abandoned the tour.

Normally you are in a coffee shop on the way to the ground and have no such information. You then have one second to guess whether they know something you don’t or whether they are existing in a fantasy world.

It can become a long-standing relationship, because you like the attention so much that you do it for free. One of the funnier moments (involving one of the classier TV outlets as it happens) went like this:

“Mr David, putting you through now sir.”
“No, not now. I am in a traffic jam in Cardiff….”
“It’s news time, sir. Now sir.”
“In roadworks, in rush hour.”
“Now, sir, now, sir.”
“So now we go live to the
Guardian‘s senior…
[do they have to say "senior"?]
“… cricket writer, David Hopps, who will tell us the latest. David, have the Pakistani cricketers arrived at Kilburn police station?”
“I’m in Cardiff.”
“And what is the scene like in Cardiff?”
“I am just outside the Pakistan hotel and, as luck would have it the Pakistan team coach has just arrived.”
[Wow, this is lucky, I may get through this]
“How much security is there?”
“Just a few policemen milling around and, erm, one of them has just insisted I turn my phone off.”
“That’s the latest from Da…”

I feel more like Alan Partridge every day.

Who wins, who loses when it’s Gandhi vs Gandhi

26 April 2010

When the Mail Today juxtaposes the Congress scion Rahul Gandhi with the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, who should feel more offended, Gandhi junior or Gandhi senior?

The Guardian‘s media critic, Roy Greenslade, sees the promo in conjunction with Mont Blanc trying to sell pens in the name of Gandhi and Telecom Italia trying to sell phones in the name of Gandhi.

The Congress party sees it the other way round, according to a gossip item in the Indian Express.

Image: courtesy The Indian Express

Also read: Gandhi for the goose ain’t Gandhi for the gander?

Will M.J. Akbar recreate The Telegraph magic?

2 February 2010

New Delhi has a new Sunday paper, The Sunday Guardian, edited by the veteran editor, author and columnist M.J. Akbar. The 40-page weekly, priced at Rs 3, hit the stands on 31 January with the renowned lawyer Ram Jethmalani as chairman of the board of MJP Media Pvt Ltd.

This is the second weekend paper to be launched in recent weeks after the Crest edition of The Times of India, which is priced at Rs 6 and is published on Saturdays.

The 20-page main section of The Sunday Guardian has one page of city news, two pages of [covert] investigations, three pages of national news, one page of the week in review, a two-page picture essay, four pages of comment and analyses, two pages of business, one page of south Asia, one page of world news,  and one page of offbeat news.

The masthead of the 20-page supplement, Guardian20, is larger than the main masthead. The design, layout and mix of both the main paper and the supplement remind the reader of The Asian Age, the paper Akbar launched after leaving The Telegraph; some of the typography and notches have shades of The Guardian, London.

“Delhi has never had a newspaper created specifially for Sunday,” claims the inaugural editorial, forgetting the existence of The Sunday Mail (which had Sunil Sethi, Coomi Kapoor, et al on the staff) and the Delhi edition of The Sunday Observer of Vinod Mehta more than 15 years ago.

“Creating a newspaper is tricky. The Indian reader is both savvy and demanding. As the tightrope walker says, balane is essential. Sunday is a day of repose and reflection, with time to delve into matters missed in the mad rush of the six working days. Our first rule was simple: a newspaper is news printed on apper. But the horizon of news cannot be limited to the familiar, and must stretch concerns of governance, social change, business to the exciting aesthetic of the unqiue visual and many-coloured kaleidoscope of life outside politics. Lesire is too precious to be downgraded into frivolous.”

Also read: ‘Never let your head stoop as a journalist’

Editor charges prime minister of sabotage

‘Media can’t be in a state of perpetual war’

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