Daily Archives: 8 December 2006

Say it again, Madan bhai

The venerable Mathihalli Madan Mohan, long-time Hubli special correspondent of The Hindu, who now writes a weekly column for us, sent us this terse but telling note after Siddaramaiah sneaked through: “Chamundeshwari has proved once again, how unreliable is any calculation based on the caste factors, with which our worthy colleagues in the media are too preoccupied.”


A brief (but not necessarily easy) quiz-I

John Simon said, “A person who misuses the language is as bereft of good taste as someone who picks his nose at a party.”

In that spirit, below are some sentences with common grammar and punctuation problems that trouble many people, least of all reporters and sub-editors.Can you spot the problems?

1) If I was rich, I’d do something about the homeless.

2) Theadministration hopes the faculty will set their own goals.

3) We feel badly that we missed your call.

4) You’ve been here longer than me.

5) Leave the parcel with whomever is in reception.

6) He lived in an old, red brick house.

7) I appreciate you doing this for me.

8) This gift will show someone you care about them.

9) We stayed outdoors like we did when we were young.

10) He is one of those who always wants the last word.


Courtesy: The Book on Writing, the Ultimate Guide to Writing Well, by Paula LaRocque, writing coach of the Dallas Morning News

Should politics be covered like cricket?

We have tried something slightly different today on our front page with our coverage of the Chamundeshwari by-election. Unlike all the other English language papers in Bangalore which have led with the bland announcement of the poll result, we have led with a story on what is happening and what can happen next, now that Siddaramaiah has won.

The logic behind this curious choice is simple. Siddaramaiah’s victory was announced around 12 noon yesterday. Which means, for close to 18 hours, a potential newspaper reader would have been exposed to the news of the victory, primarily through television and mobile phones, and secondarily through word of mouth.

So, does the reader still want to be told about the 257-vote margin? Or does he want to know what was happening in political circles after the 257-vote margin?

This is a question that newspapers will have to increasingly grapple with is, do we give readers in the morning what television, the internet, and the mobile phone had already given them when they went to sleep the previous night? Or do we give them something new, something different, something extra?

There can be no easy answers to these questions, but we have tried in our own way even if we have not quite succeeded in delivering what we had in mind.

Our graph on page one is an indication of this line of thinking. Every English and Kannada newspaper without exception has printed the round-wise fluctuation in vote swings in text form.We are the only ones to display it in graphical form, which truly brings out the closeness of the victory and defeat in telling fashion.

Does it work? You bet. One enlightened reader sent this very heart-warming SMS: “”d idea of a graf is v nice. unique, technical, analytical. elections/results must be treated like cricket.”