Posts Tagged ‘Vanity Fair’

Aditya Sinha tears into Indian Express ‘C’ report

8 April 2012

Aditya Sinha, editor-in-chief of DNA, in his weekly column:

“There was a telephone call from my father, who lives abroad, a few days ago. He wanted to know if it was true that the Army had planned to attack Delhi back in January, as reported in The Indian Express. Don’t worry, I said, no such thing. If the Army Chief had planned a coup to ensure he spent another year in office, then he wouldn’t have filed a petition on his date of birth in the Supreme Court.

“When we rang off, it seemed that there must be many ordinary Indians far and near who were scared by this story. What a shame. And the author tried to camouflage the cynical timing of the story (immediately after the government’s ugly spat with the Army Chief) by saying the story took 11 weeks to materialise.

“That would be credible if the story was loaded with data or fieldwork, like a story on child malnutrition in Maharashtra, for instance; it wasn’t. Even an RTI application gets answered in less time (though no RTI request would have generated such a cock-and-bull story).

“At the end of the day, a well-regarded journalist (he reported on the Nellie massacre in Assam nearly 30 years ago) was used by a cynical government. Guess who emerged from this looking diminished….”

“Too many editors in India (mostly the post-superannuation lot) who would never dare publish irreverence because they believe themselves to be part of the ruling class, and that it is their job to steer the country…. [Here] the editor not only values his friendship with the powerful over his devotion to his profession, but never hesitates to make himself the centre of the story.

“Compare men of letters (like Kingsley Amis and Edmund Wilson) with those in India who today have no ideology other than the service of power. Instead of the watchdog of democracy they would rather be the lapdog of crony capitalism.”

Also read: Indian Express ‘C’ report: scoop, rehash or spin?

Indian Express stands by its ‘C’ report

How the media viewed the Indian Express ‘C’ report

Aditya Sinha on the world-view of Delhi journalists

Read the full article: When the watchdog turns lapdog

Shoma Chaudhury in ’150 most powerful’ list

9 March 2011

Shoma Chaudhury, managing editor and one of the promoters of the weekly magazine Tehelka, has been named among the “150 Women Who Shake the World” in the re-launch issue of the American newsweekly, Newsweek.

“Champions women in India’s celebrated newsmagazine Tehelka,” is the seven-word caption for Chaudhury.

Newsweek has been relaunched this week under Tina Brown, former editor of Tatler,  Vanity Fair, New Yorker and Talk, who currently runs the webzine The Daily Beast.

Chaudhury had interviewed Brown during her 2007 India visit and written for The Daily Beast founded by her in 2009. Tehelka editor Tarun J. Tejpal interviewed Tina Brown during the Jaipur literature festival in 2009, was crowned muckraker-in-chief by the webzine earlier this year.

Tina Brown has been quoted as saying that “Tehelka is one of the most exciting news magazines in the world. Its probing in public interest, its vitality, enterprise and tenacity give it influence beyond the subcontinent.”

Also read: Arun Shourie: ‘Intolerant, abusive, dictatorial’

Newsweek: Who, why, when, how, where, what, what the…

Sudip Mazumdar: How a slumdweller became a Newsweek reporter

The grass is always greener on the other side

10 September 2010

Former New Yorker and Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown:

“Young journalists [should] go work in India. There are so many great newspapers in India. I go quite a lot, actually. It has a very vibrant newspaper and magazine culture. There’s a lot of energy in Delhi, a lot of newsmagazines. It’s a very literary culture, it’s great.”

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

Read the full article: Young journalists should go work in India

Also read: ‘Magazines, like mushrooms, should grow in the dark

‘I would redesign the New Yorker

Believe him, this is ‘Experiential Journalism’

4 July 2008

“Experiential journalism” is a word that trips off the tongues of many Indian newspaper managers. Don’t just tell the story, bring alive the event “experientially” by becoming “a protagonist rather than a mere reporter”, they write in their jargon-filled memos to editors.

By this, the manager really means snap a few pictures of some havaldar taking a five-buck note rather than just write about how corrupt traffic constables are. Or get the sleazy conversations of some failed actor trying to taking a starlet to bed instead of just reporting the existence of a casting couch.

How’s “Waterboarding” for experiential journalism?

The aggressive torture technique being used by the United States to break down terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere has been reported ad nauseam by reporters, slammed by rights bodies, condmened by nations, and so on. But how does it really feel to be waterboarded?

Christopher Hitchens decided to find out first-hand. And reports his findings in the August issue of Vanity Fair.

Read the full story: Believe me, it’s torture

‘Which living person do you most admire?’

12 December 2007

The Proust Questionaire is one of the most enjoyable regular features in Vanity Fair magazine.

The questionaire, a standard set of questions asked of celebrities every month, has its origins in a parlour game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

For young journalists, often at sixes and sevens when asked to go and meet celebrities, the questionaire is a nice device to break the ice. The Vanity Fair website has now put up the 36 celebrities who have answered the questions over the last three years, and it has published the 35 questions to play and practice.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
2. What is your greatest fear?
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
5. Which living person do you most admire?
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
7. What is your current state of mind?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
9. On what occasion do you lie?
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
11. Which living person do you most despise?
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
16. When and where were you happiest?
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
21. Where would you most like to live?
22. What is your most treasured possession?
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
24. What is your favorite occupation?
25. What is your most marked characteristic?
26. What do you most value in your friends?
27. Who are your favorite writers?
28. Who is your hero of fiction?
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
31. What are your favorite names?
32. What is it that you most dislike?
33. What is your greatest regret?
34. How would you like to die?
35. What is your motto?

‘Magazines, like mushrooms, should grow in dark’

26 November 2007

It’s raining Tina Brown in New Delhi. Newspapers, magazines, television programmes are all full of the better half of Sir Harold Evans, explaining why she won’t blog, how the famous Demi Moore cover for Vanity Fair came about, how she was expelled from school for describing her teacher’s bosom as an unidentified flying object, and how the Clintons are approaching JFK, Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana in their iconic status.

On NDTV’s Walk the Talk programme, Tina spoke to Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta:

# “I think editing has never been more complex than it is now. I think it is a very hard thing for editors today to keep their focus because they are being assailed from every direction by this ambient news everywhere they go and to keep that focus and to keep yourself aware of what the priorities are.

# “The problem today, with so much media, is that everybody’s famous but nobody’s interesting. We all know too much about everybody. How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd apart from being assassinated?

# “An editor has to find the very best talent that you can… and then listen to what they want to write, but sometimes also guide them to what they don’t want to write. I find that often journalists are great writers but they don’t necessarily have great ideas. The important thing is to notice that gleam in their eyes.

# “Magazines are like mushrooms; they should grow in the dark without being vegetative… one must never forget that magazines are leisure things. If you are going to be serious and edifying, you must find a way to do it in a dramatic, even theatrical, way to make people read it.”

In an interview with Shoma Chaudhury of the newsweekly, Tehelka:

# “The challenge is not to stop doing 12,000 word stories on crop rotation, but to make them sexy to make people read. Find the angle, the headline, the presentation that will compel people to read.

# “Corporatisation is the biggest challenge facing media. The sophistry of the big conglomerate guys is to say there’s never been more plurality of outlet. Sure. We have a thousand and one outlets now, but their circulation is zip. There isn’t a place to have any meaningful public discourse. You’re just talking to yourself. Most publications and networks don’t have the critical mass. And the major networks and newspaper don’t want to do the work.

# “The worst reverberation of saturation journalism is that we actually don’t end up knowing anything about anybody.

# “Magazines have a limited role to play. There’s no use covering basic news, but people still want context, want perspective. These readers need to be nurtured and cultivated. You need committed, visionary managements for that.

# “People keep asking me to blog, but I’m not going to lower my standards, and why should I write for nothing? Haven’t done that since childhood.”

Read the Walk The Talk transcript here: I think people remember Demi Moore more for the Vanity Fair cover than any movie she did

Read the Tehelka interview here: What’s killing us is the dumbocracy of news

***

Illustration: E.P. Unny/ The Indian Express

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