Monthly Archives: July 2007

This magazine’s newsroom is a real brothel

On paper, prostitution is illegal in India. But Red Light Despatch, a monthly magazine for prostitutes, is capturing on paper the trials and tribulations, the torture and harassment, and the feelings and emotions of India’s two million sex workers.

First-person accounts of girls sold off to the flesh trade, poems and essays by prostitutes, book and film reviews, advocacy articles… they are all there in the Despatch, whose editorial mix is decided each month by the sex workers in conjunction with health workers.

“We choose the best stories for publishing,” said Rupa Metgudd, a news coordinator and daughter of a former prostitute, sifting through reports for the latest edition. “The magazine is not a mere publication. For us it is journalism of purpose.”

Read the full story here: New magazine targets prostitutes

Sex workers chronicle life in brothels

Link via Boing Boing


Can bloggers be considered as reporters? Yes.

Who is a reporter? Are only those who work for a newspaper, magazine, TV or radio station, have an ID card, and draw a monthly cheque reporters? Can bloggers, sitting at home in their shorts with their modem by their side, be considered as reporters?

Yes, says Howard Owens.

“To me, a reporter means a person who obtains facts either through research, interviews or observation and reports back to another group of people. The report is generally organized and may or may not contain a point of view (or opinion). But it always has meaning and is informative to its intended audience.

“It seems to me absurd to suggest that any person who finds stuff out and tells other people about it isn’t a reporter.

“I’ve always considered the best bloggers reporters. Good bloggers gather a bunch of different links, do a little related research and then suffuse their blog posts (reports) with knowledge and experience. That’s reporting to me.”

Read the full story here: Good reporting is about being a good conversationalist

It’s a mag, mag, mag world in India i.e. Bharat

The Indian edition of Vogue is due for launch this September. And Conde Nast is readying to unleash a slew of fashion, retail and niche magazines like Glamour, GQ, Condé Nast Traveller, Vanity Fair and Wired, according to Alex Kuruvilla, managing director of Conde Nast India.

Read the full story here: Conde Nast to expand in India

Related story: Who still reads magazines? Just about everybody

Links via I want media

A face we saw often on BBC World is gone: RIP

Richard Stott, twice editor of the Daily Mirror, twice editor of The People, once editor of Today, and a regular on the BBC’s Dateline London programme, has passed away at age of 63.

“Perhaps the story that sums up his charactor and dedication the most was that he was working to the last editing Alistair Campbell‘s diaries from his hospital bed.”

Also read: Roy Greenslade on the original reporter who broke the other matchfixing scandal.

“He liked proper stories, understood how to run campaigns and was only too delighted to take on the high and mighty. Indeed, he was never happier than when he was cutting a hypocrite down to size.”

Link via Thoughts of Nigel

How the Indian media went completely bonkers

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: All is not too well in the immense country of Australia. Or so it seems.

A country that is known as much for venom spewing, bad mouthing cricketers who always try their best to stamp their supremacy on the cricket field, also has some grossly inefficient investigators and law enforcers. Or so it seems.

L’affaire Haneef has done to media headlines and television sound bytes in our country what even the tectonic shifting of Mount Everest probably cannot do. Or perhaps ten dozen tsunamis pounding the coasts of the world in one go!

One man gets detained in the wake of a terror attack. He cries out that he is innocent and obviously, so do his lawyers. A few weeks later, after the world, and mainly India, has been fed by the media, even the minutest twists and turns to the case, and the complete unabridged utterances of the dramatis personae, he is a free man.

The very basis of the practice of jurisprudence, anywhere in the world for that matter, obviously, unequivocally, states that no innocent man or woman or child should ever be punished. And seemingly, justice for Dr Mohammed Haneef came soon enough; his ‘thumbs up’ sign as he emplaned for Bangalore, saying it all.

Amidst the high drama the Australian authorities opened the curtain to; amidst the Indian media’s 24×7 kind of interest in the case; amidst the ‘vigil’ kept up by a brigade of reporters at the Bangalore residence of Haneef, which enabled us all to read the reports of who went in and who didn’t come out for how long—with the reporters just merely barely falling short of telling us the colour of the milk coupon for the day that was exchanged at the gate; amidst Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s inability to sleep well at night because one Indian was wrongly confined in a foreign prison; amidst the Indian government’s request to Australia to treat Haneef in total fairness; I simply cannot push an extraordinarily overpowering thought that has rendered me sleepless in Mysore for quite a long period indeed.

The thought of the media’s obsession with one case of wrongful detention, which without a shade of doubt shouldn’t have been ignored or condoned, but nevertheless definitely didn’t warrant an almost maniacal, quite ridiculously high powered focus, almost by the minute; so much so, that every single newspaper and television channel, made it look like highlighting the Haneef case was their very reason to exist as organisational entities.

To put it mildly, too is not innocent of the charge.

Who on this great earth should be telling the media that there are more Indians that one cannot perhaps even take count of, in various jails, ranging from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, from Tihar to Bihar to Kolar, just to name a few, who have been incarcerated in the most inhuman and devastatingly shocking conditions without even a remote possibility of a trial?

Who should be informing the media that among these sad, unfortunate set of human beings, a large percentage of them are completely innocent and mostly wrongly framed, either because of their misfortune which gave them a poverty ridden womb to take births in or as it happens so often in India, because of their so-called lower caste?

Who is there to tell the media that even these wretched men and women have families—mothers and brothers and sisters and fathers—who pine for their return and shed silent tears of angst and helplessness and frustration somewhere in the dingy confines of their ill lit huts? In some forsaken part of our country. Abandoned by god and law alike. With no hope of deliverance or release or liberation?

Where are all the members of civil liberties groups, and human rights activists; the kind of men and women who almost lost their voices in their quest to shout for justice for one man, Haneef; who do not deem it their duty to do the same for tens of thousands of others who have met the same fate as the doctor from Bangalore? In the jails of our land as also a few jails outside of our land?

Does the media have a conscience at all or is it just a question of taking back to the office some juicy, sensational paragraphs to write or video grabs to be aired for the world to revel in for the day?

The attention to the Haneef case bordered on a sort of pathological obsession, a kind of uncontrollable desire to beat the same tune from the same drum, while the sepulchral strains of a funereal dirge could be distantly heard from the cells of prisons around the country or elsewhere, where surely lie huddled, more than a bunch of men and women, all as much Indians as Haneef, miserable and lost, and plainly alive in body but shattered in soul. Withered and wasted.

Good night, Mr. Prime Minister.

Cross-posted on churumuri

‘Get up and do it… even if you hate it!’

Cosmopolitan may be a magazine for the PYTs (pretty young things). But its editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown, who “liberated women’s magazines with her spunk and sexual brashness”, is a saintly 85, who has lorded over all the 59 editions of the magazine for the last 32 years.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Editing Cosmopolitan successfully so Hearst didn’t have to close it down in 1965, when it was losing tons of money.

What is your motto?

“Get up and do it if it needs to be done, even if you hate it!”

Read the full interview: Helen Gurley Brown

Photograph by John Bottega/ News Telegram