Monthly Archives: July 2007

How blogging cost a Nepali reporter his job

When Krishna Dhungana, a reporter with the Nepali tabloid Naya Patrika began blogging for mysansar.com, he thought he would get on to the platform of personal publishing that has captivated millions around the world. Till…

Till he wrote a piece called “Constituent Assembly and White Wine.”

Dhungana was fired, and a colleague told him that the editor Krishna Jwala Devkota blamed his newfound interest: “He was very good reporter when he joined here. Later, he focused on blog than news. So, he was not been able to contribute front page articles.”

Read the full article: Blogging cost this Nepali his job

Robert Fisk: No wonder bloggers are winning

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Those who can, write. Those who can’t, edit?

“What exactly does an editor do?”

It’s not an easy question to answer. Editors are craftsmen, ghosts, psychiatrists, bullies, sparring partners, experts, enablers, ignoramuses, translators, writers, goalies, friends, foremen, wimps, ditch diggers, mind readers, coaches, bomb throwers, muses and spittoons— sometimes all while working on the same piece.

But, boy, do we need them?

Read the full article: Let us now praise editors

Link via aldaily

India’s first television news reader passes away

Doordarshan, the State-owned television channel in India, is reporting the death of Pratima Puri, the channel’s first news reader, when it went on air in 1959.

Born Vidya Rawat, Puri belonged to a Gorkha family settled at Laal Paani in Simla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, according to a report in The Tribune earlier this year.

She worked at the All India Radio (AIR) station in Simla before being transferred to New Delhi when AIR telecast its first television news bulletin on September 15, 1959, from a makeshift studio in the capital.

“Good-looking and good-voiced (sic) Pratima was selected as an announcer, maybe a newsreader, but was definitely the first face on the small screen in India,” the Tribune report said.

‘Poshto, the Indian media’s priorities is all bull’

“‘Bipasha Basu says her chihuahua is like her son. Poshto, as she calls him, was gifted to her by beau John Abraham. The relationship, as per latest reports, is over and Bipasha is single after ten years. But Poshto surely is keeping her good company.’

“This sort of ‘news’ is so popular that it is now accepted in media circles that without the daily recounting of Bollywood’s love affairs and celebrity parties it would not be possible to increase circulation. So we have a situation in which just the leftovers from Bombay’s parties and weddings could give the children of Aarey Milk Colony four square meals a day, but nobody makes the effort because everyone is too busy reading about last night’s big party to bother.”

Tavleen Singh on the shameful condition of children in India’s richest city, Bombay, and the questionable priorities of the media, which disturbingly only has time for the likes of Poshto—or Shambu, the “sacred” bull.

Read the full story: We simply do not care

Is free-market capitalism good for newspapers?

Time was when newspapers—and newspapermen—were the toast of the town. Feared, quoted, wooed and emulated, plays and movies were made of them. It wasn’t an idyll, of course, but there was a nobility of purpose. They were the eyes and ears of the voiceless, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.

Suddenly, newspapers worldwide seem to have all pressed the self-destruct button at the same time.

Costs are being cut, jobs are being cut, news coverage is being cut. The traditional mandate of public service “by supplying the information the citizenry needs for democracy to work” has been subjugated. As maximising profit for shareholders and promoters becomes the leit motif, dumbing down and trivialisation have taken root.

Russell Baker takes a look the rapidly diminishing role of newspapers in the New York Review of Books. He quotes John S. Caroll, former editor of the Los Angeles Times, who delivered a landmark speech “What will become of newspapers” at the American Society of Newspaper Editors last year.

There is a “breakdown of understanding between owners and working journalists… a loss of common purpose that once united them.”

“Under the old local owners, a newspaper’s capacity for making money was only part of its value. Today, it is everything. Gone is the notion that a newspaper should lead, that it has an obligation to its community, that it is beholden to the public….

“Someday, I suspect, we will wonder how we allowed the public good to be so deeply subordinated to private gain…. What do the current owners want from their newspapers? The answer could not be simpler: Money. That’s it.”

Read the full article: Goodbye to newspapers?

10 fellowships on offer for development journos

PRESS RELEASE: The National Foundation for India (NFI), an autonomous, professionally managed grantmaking organisation, has announced 10 fellowships to facilitate a more informed development policy dialogue, and to encourage publication of well researched articles on development issues.

Eight fellowships are in the print media category and two in the photojournalist category. The fellowships amount to Rs 1 lakh each.

The themes for the fellowship include a wide range of issues of importance to ordinary Indians, their battle for a better life and development related issues including community health, elementary education, livelihood security, local governance, peace and justice, and gender equity.

NFI’s mission is to help create a just and equitable society by enabling marginalised communities to improve the quality of their own lives, and by improving public understanding. NFI’s thematic programme areas are community health, elementary ducation, livelihood security, local governance, peace and justice, citizens and society, and development journalism.

The last date for receipt of applications is August 30 2007. The details of the fellowship programme can be obtained from:

Sentimongla Kechüchar,
Programme Officer,
National Foundation for India
Core 4A, Upper Ground Floor
India Habitat Centre
Lodi Road
New Delhi-110 003

Telephone: 011-24641864/8465/8490/8491/8492,
Fax: 011-24641867
email: sentimong[at]nfi.org.in / info[a]nfi.org.in

The application guidelines can be downloaded from the NFI website: http://www.nfi.org.in/

A pioneering cartoonist passes away. RIP.

Harishchandra Lachke, the first cartoonist to have his work featured on the front page of The Times of India during British rule, has passed away in Poona at the age of 88.

A Press Trust of India obituary says Lachke’s cartoon juxtaposing a pigeon and a nuclear bomb in the wake of the dropping of the first atomic bomb by America on Japan in the Second World War, was published by the Times on August 17, 1945, underlining the need for peace co-existence of nations.

Lachke, who became one of the most popular cartoonists in Marathi, had drawn over 1,000 cartoons for various publications between 1934 and 2000.

“The themes of his cartoons that tickled readers for over five decades, mainly revolved around inconsistencies in political and social life, naughty children, modern fashions, doctor-patient relations, professors suffering from amnesia and clever traders.”