Monthly Archives: May 2007

Seven reasons why you should start a blog

We have dealt with this earlier, but there is no harm in overstating the point: Every journalist should start a blog. Why? Scott Karp (link via Howard Owens) has a post which tells you why and, more importantly, tells you how to go about it so that you don’t have an excuse not to.

# Creating an independent publishing platform—blogging software makes this easy

# Creating a platform for journalism that isn’t dependent on a corporate entity’s financial fortunes

# Embracing the power and accepting the responsibility of being a publisher

# Learning how to use the technologies that are transforming media

# Putting your career on a growth track by not defining yourself as a print journalist

# Creating an online resume that shows you can do new media

# Becoming a node on the new media network—journalism will be networked

Read the full article here: Every newspaper journalist should start a blog

Also read: Why all journalists must blog

What employers (should) look for in fresh recruits

How to start a blog and influence visitors

No news is good news in the editor’s family?

Should a newspaper editor or owner not publish the achievements or news of his or her family at all costs in his or her publication? Is publishing such news always a sign of “nepotism”?

Should India Today proprietor Aroon Purie‘s publications refrain from mentioning Koel even if her films become blockbusters? Should Anil Dharker not mention his daughter Ayesha‘s name in a review even if she wins the Oscar? Should M.J. Akbar‘s Asian Age not carry the news if his son Prayag tops the London School of Economics?

It’s an interesting topic for debate, and it comes to the fore courtesy Vidya Ram, the daughter of The Hindu‘s N. Ram. Vidya topped the Columbia School of Journalism Class of 2007, and it was a piece of news that was duly noted on the back page of most editions of the newspaper along with a picture of the girl, who bears a remarkable facial similarity to her father.

But, it was on the front page of the Madras edition!

The publication of the news item, which was not on any agency ticker, first got blogosphere all hot and het up. “Nepotism in Chindu,” screamed “The Chindu” which parodies what it calls CB-CNN, aka the “Chennai-based Chinese National Newspaper”.

It now turns out that several readers of The Hindu too were miffed to write to the Readers’ Editor, K. Narayanan, on the issue. “Shocking, blatant nepotism, parochial behaviour, out of character, dynastic politics—these were some of the epithets in the messages I received from readers,” writes Narayanan in his fortnightly column today.

“Would the daughter of an ordinary employee have got the same coverage, asked one reader. She would, and should, for any similar achievement or distinction. The Civil Services examination topper from Tamil Nadu this year (K. Nandakumar, all-India 30th rank and State first) was a lorry driver’s son and his feat received due notice.”

But no other Indian newspaper has reported Vidya’s feat? Is that because they did not receive the news, or is it because it isn’t news?

Read the full article: Sense of propriety in news and design

A short quiz for reporters and sub-editors

The following is a brief quiz on language and style for reporters, sub-editors, and those who are applied for those jobs. Each question carries one mark.

a) What does it mean when a student is said to achieve “negative deficiency”?

b) What happens when you reach a “suboptimal outcome”?

c) What is a “hull loss”?

d) Who is an “access controller” and who is the “director of first impressions”?

e) What is a “thermal therapy unit”?

Write a short note on:

“The move from a structuralist account . . . marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony…”

Answers available from John Leo: Some thoughts on writing well

Additional thoughts on the subject from George Orwell

‘The best experience in life is life experience’

Former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee received the 2007 Columbia Journalism Award last week, and told the graduating students:

“The most important thing for a journalist to have, in my view, is life experience. Your [journalism] degree will do you some good, of course—why else would you have come. But what will do you more good is just getting out there and living.

“Schools can teach you how to edit, how to put stories together, and all of that, but they can’t teach you how to think for yourself, how to care about other people, how to make sense of the world around you in your own unique way. Only life experience can do that for you.

“And so wherever you find yourselves next, I hope you will just keep an open mind—to your experience, to the people around you, to everything. You never know where the path will open or where it’s going to lead, but if you know yourself well enough, you’ll know which one is worth following.”

Read the full transcript of his speech here 

Yes. TV 18 is looking at a business newspaper

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from Delhi: It’s official. After months of speculation, TV18 promoter Raghav Bahl has confirmed that a business newspaper is in the offing, that Home Shopping 18 will be spun off into a separate channel, and that a $100 million fund is on the anvil in London.

In an email sent to the staff of the network on Wednesday, to mark TV18’s 50:50 deal with Viacom, Bahl charts the spectacular growth of the company and adds that a “business newspaper [is] on the drawing board”.

Whether the group will start a paper of its own or acquire an existing brand—the hot money is on Business Standard—Bahl’s email doen’t reveal, but a print foray is a logical trajectory for a group with two business channels (CNBC and Awaaz) in its bouquet.

Wednesday’s email, with the pumped-up subjectline “Your Momentum of Excellence”, pats itself on the back and takes not a few swipes at peers and compatriots.

# With two business channels, two news channels, two music channels, a kids channel, and a general entertainment and a film channel coming up, Bahl says: “Today, the TV18 Network could out-punch even [Rupert Murdoch‘s] Star Network”.

# With five channels in 18 months, he says, Global Broadcast News is bigger and more robust than any of its competitors: “You only have to put GBN’s 5-channel network against NDTV’s 3 channels, Times Now’s 2 channels and TV Today’s 4 channels… We have taken our valuation from one rupee in April 2005 to Rs 2,000 crore.”

# TV18 is the first company among its peers to hit the $one billion market capitalisation. “NDTV is half of TV18’s value, and TV Today is less than a fourth. Why? Once again, because investors like our brands, our execution capabilities, our relentless bottom-line focus, and above all, our business model.”

Also read: Is this man the new media mogul of India?

How to prepare for an interview? Go to the gym

Question number 9 in Guy Kawasaki‘s interview with Penelope Trunk, author of the Brazen Careerist, produces a stellar response, and beer-bellied journalists who take delight/pity in their deskbound lifestyle are warned:

Question: How should I prepare for an interview?

Answer: An interview is a test you can study for. So memorize answers to the fifty most common questions. Most interviewers ask standard variations on standard questions, and there are right answers to these questions.

Whether you are a stripper or a CIA agent, the answer to the question, “What is your weakness?” is a story about how your weakness interfered at work—in a specific situation—and you overcame it.

Most of your other answers should be stories, too. This means you need to make them up before you get to the interview. Stories of your life are memorable. Lists of your life are not. Be memorable if you want to be hired.

Another way to prepare is to go to the gym right before the interview. It doesn’t matter if you never go to the gym—although you should, because people who workout regularly are more successful in their careers.

You should go right before an interview because people judge you first on your appearance, and if do heavy lifting with your back and stomach muscles you will stand up much straighter in the interview. This will make you look more confident, which is half the battle in being judged by appearance.

Read the full interview here: Career guidance for this century

‘I don’t think this is the business of a journalist’

A Mighty Heart, the movie based on the kidnapping and killing of the Wall Street Journal‘s Daniel Pearl, was screened at the Cannes film festival last night, and the initial reviews are all very good, given the grim nature of the subject.

Hollywood Reporter‘s Ray Bennett says Angelina Jolie has delivered “a well-measured and moving performance as the reporter’s wife, Mariane” and that the film’s “even-handed approach to incendiary topics should generate substantial interest.”

Although the film alarmingly implies that torture works when one suspect reveals names under duress, Bennett says A Mighty Heart reflects the dispassionate view espoused by Mariane, who sees that it is misery that breeds terrorism.

TimeOut‘s Dave Calhoun finds the film compelling and Jolie impressive. “A strong theme of the film is the downside of global communication and co-operation as different interests and ideas and prejudices collide in the search for Pearl.”

For a British publication, Calhoun looks at the film through a British prism, saying it is compelling and has a special, sad potency as the disappearance of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston now reaches its tenth week.

Variety‘s Justin Chang finds the material just right for director Michael Winterbottom, the screenplay crisp, the editing rapid, and the film authentic, restrained and altogether unsentimental.

Derek Malcolm of London Evening Standard says the film which could be as confusing as the five-week-long search for Pearl, mirrors Marianne’s generosity of spirit towards Pakistan.

All fun and no work makes Tintin a good boy

Halt, who goes there? Tintin. A sticker of Georges Remi‘s comic boy-reporter, whose exploits will now be captured in three full-length films by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, adorns the window of a high-speed train in Belgium.

Photo: Eric Vidal/ AFP

Photo courtesy:

Read Time’s story: Tintin travels to tinseltown