Monthly Archives: January 2007

All hail the cheap justices of the low court

The so-called crime serials on television, especially in Kannada, have become the byword in cheap, sensational, titillatory, voyeuristic yellow-journalism.

Privacies are invaded, reputations are shreded, insinuations are hurled, blood and gore spilt with such stunning lack of taste and sensitivity that it boggles the mind.

As the humourist Pranesh alias Gangavati Beechi puts it, “Naavu henge aagogiddivi andre, naalakku hena beelade iddare, nammige nidre ne barolla (we have become such we can’t grab five winks if we do not see four corpses).”

Working firmly on the simple logic that you should never let facts come in the way of a good story, the loud hosts of the two programmes have made their nightly incursions into necrophilia the first court of public resort.

How lovely, then, that one of the two “Cheap Justices of the Low Court of Karnataka”—Balakrishna Kakatkar of “Crime Story” on Udaya—should himself get embroiled in a blazing controversy that he would have been hollering about in high decibels otherwise.

For those not following the case, Kakatkar’s wife was found dead in mysterious circumstances along with a relative last week. The police version is that wife and hubby were separated for a long time, that the lady had run into business losses which prompted the alleged suicide, etc.

But, as the Mahatma could have but didn’t say it, those who live by third-rate journalism will die by it.

Vijaya Karnataka—a publication where the other host Ravi Belagere of “Crime Diary” has a column—has reported the presence of a “suicide note” which allegedly throws light on Kakatkar’s wife-beating and drinking.

That may not exactly be enough to implicate Kakatkar, but sauce for the victims is sauce for the victimiser, and some affected souls have mounted an SMS and blog campaign , alleging a cover-up and urging the National Human Rights Commission andLok Ayukta for an investigation.

Go to

Cross-posted on churumuri


Oldest blogger is a little girl who grew up

The internet is such a magnificent thing that every week somebody or the other upstages somebody else as the world’s oldest blogger. A couple of weeks ago, it was Allan Loof@94. Now, it is Maria Amelia@95.

In an interview with the world’s oldest citizen journalism Eric Shackle on the pioneering citjo site, Maria, who was given a blog as a birthday gift by her grandson, shows that that the fears of the old being left behind by technology is just that: fears

The older are smarter than we think or we are willing to give them credit for.

“I think it’s great that you can find everything on the Net. You can read the news and about people’s lives. It’s the best discovery that I’ve made in my life.

“It all surprises me. It seems like a dream, like witchcraft. If my grandparents arose they would hallucinate (when they first listened to a gramophone, they thought there was someone inside it).”

Read the full interview here: World’s oldest blogger tells all

‘Hi, I’m Art Buchwald and I just died’


Art Buchwald, the renowned American humourist, who passed away on Thursday, wrote a final column that he asked not be distributed until after he died. The piece was written on February 8 last year shortly after Buchwald decided to check into a hospice. He eventually left the hospice, of course, and resumed his syndicated column.

Here’s the full text of his final column here: Buchwald’s Farewell Column, Written to Be Released at Death

Buchwald also announced his own death in a New York Times video obituary posted on the New York Times site. “Hi, I’m Art Buchwald, and I just died,” the late columnist tells Tim Weiner, the interviewer.

Watch Art Buchwald’s video obituary here

Jeff Jarvis says the idea of a video obit, getting people to talk first person about no longer being around, is an “absolutely wonderful idea“: “The final indignity could be having one’s obit edited. So maybe a video obit is the best idea.”

Quite a transformation from the age when Sumanta Sen, then with Reuters, went upto Satyajit Ray and asked him to vet his own obit for the new agency’s morgue!

‘If you want peace, prepare for war’

At a time when political correctnesses rages in our campuses, and everybody seems to smoke the collective peace pipe, Nobel laureate Professor Robert J Aumann‘s invocation of the Game Theory to explain why we need war is worth recounting again.

“If you want peace, you have to increase the cost of going to war for the other side. Lower the threshold by talking peace all the time, and you encourage the other side to go to war.

“What prevented the Cold War from getting hot, cracks Aumann, was the presence of bombers with nuclear bombs patrolling the skies!�”

“He invokes Winston Churchill who said, “If you want peace, prepare for war� It may sound facetious, but the fact that there’s been no world war in the last six decades should count for something.”

Read the full article here: War is peace

Seminar on news agency journalism

KANCHAN KAUR writes: The Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media is organising a seminar on news agency journalism titled “Guarding the LoC around the World” on Monday, January 22, in Bangalore. LoC here standing not for Line of Control but line of credibility.

The day-long seminar will be held at the Rotary House of Friendship on Lavelle Road from 9.30 am to 4 pm, and the keynote speakers are Phil Smith, South Asia editor of Reuters, and Margaret Hicks, group production editor of Press Association.

The morning session from 10 am to 12.30 pm will involve a presentation on how news agency journalism works, what’s distinct about it, the evolution and challenges. The afternoon session from 1.30 pm to close will focus on diversification in operations and new career opportunities.

What J-schools and students should do

Long time web journalist Howard Owens, director of digital publishing at Gatehouse Media Inc, has interesting advice for journalism schools and journalism students.

“Students and faculty should just assume their future is online, and design curriculum and publication efforts accordingly—be even more dismissive of print than mainstream publications are right now.”

Asked by the Innovations in College Media blog as to what journalism students and student journalists should do, Owens has a two-piece advice: blog, shoot and edit video, but mainly blog:

Every student journalist should spend at least six months totally immersed in blogging. Start a blog and try to draw an audience. Do the things that bloggers need to do, read other blogs, create a blog roll, link to other blogs, post frequently on topics relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach (and read those blogs in that category), comment on other blogs. Learn to be a participant. That’s my advice to professional journalists, too: if you want to learn this culture, become a participant in it. It will totally change the way you think about media and online publishing.

Read the full article here: Howard Owens