Daily Archives: 22 August 2007

The first casualty of a scoop interview is grace

Aziz Haniffa‘s rediff.com/India Abroad interview with India’s ambassador to the United States Ronen Sen has been the big story of the week.

The “headless chicken” quote has become canon fodder for the communists and other critics opposing the UPA government’s nuclear deal with America. Parliament has been stalled, apologies have been tendered, statements have been read in Parliament, and there have been cries for the recall of the ambassador.

But guess how many of our media houses have had the good grace to either name the Sri Lanka-born Haniffa—who earlier scooped an interview with George W. Bush—in reporting the aftermath of the Sen interview, or in naming the media organisation he works for?

Asian Age: named rediff.com but not Haniffa

CNN-IBN: did not name Haniff or rediff.com

Deccan Chronicle: named rediff.com but not Haniffa

Deccan Herald: did not name Haniffa or rediff.com

DNA: did not name Haniffa or rediff.com

Hindustan Times: did not name Haniffa or rediff.com

NDTV: did not name Haniffa or rediff.com

The Hindu: named both Haniffa and rediff.com

The Indian Express: named rediff.com but didn’t name Haniffa

The Telegraph: did not name Haniff or rediff.com

The Times of India: did not name Haniffa or rediff.com

(Some newspapers and TV channels carried feeds of Press Trust of India, which too did not name Haniffa or rediff.com. However Indo-Asian News Service, whose earlier avatar Haniffa worked for, named rediff.com)

Are our media houses reluctant to name rivals because they do not wish to give publicity to rival organisations? Do they fail to acknowledge a web portal because they have websites of their own? Is it sour grapes? Is it a fair practice?


‘We, the editors of tabloids, admit…’

How often do editors say, “We are sorry for what we did”? Answer: Not too often. But three former tabloid editors in Britain, not the most remorseful among the tribe, have come close to that by admitting their share of guilt for the road mishap in which the Princess of Wales, Diana, was killed in Paris.

In interviews with the Daily Telegraph, London, the editors of News of the World, The Sun and Daily Mirror have conceded that they had helped create an atmosphere in which the paparazzi, who were chasing Princess Diana when her car crashed in a Paris underpass in 1997, were out of control.

Phil Hall, the then editor of the News of the World: “If the paparazzi hadn’t been following her the car wouldn’t have been speeding and, you know, the accident may never have happened. A big Diana story could add 150,000 sales. So we were all responsible.”

Stuart Higgins, who edited The Sun: “The death of Princess Diana was the most tragic story during my period as editor. I have often questioned my role, the paper’s role and the media’s role generally in her death and the events leading up to it. The tabloids created a frenzy and appetite around Diana. But in the end I believe it was just a terrible accident, caused by a drunken driver and possibly because of the lack of the high level of police and security protection that she had enjoyed previously.”

Piers Morgan, who was the editor of the Daily Mirror: “We in the media were culpable in allowing the paparazzi to become ridiculously over the top. Everyone working on national newspapers, in the first few days after she died, felt a collective sense that the paparazzi were out of control in relation to Diana. She was the biggest celebrity we have ever seen and it got completely out of hand.”

‘Honey, look what they did to the paper!’

Standard question: “Will online newspapers replace hardcopy newspapers?”

Standard answer: “You can never take a computer to the toilet. Or roll it up to swat a fly.”


Here is a YouTube video of a 2.5 x 0.01 inch electronic paper video screen made by Sony. How much longer before they start making computers with screens like these?

Link via cyberjournalist.net

One journalist’s plant is another’s campaign

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI: The political crisis sparked by the communist parties’ stand on India’s nuclear deal with the United States is remarkable for one other reason: the strong pro-deal stances taken by English language newspapers based in New Delhi. Almost to a man, they have backed the deal, and ripped the Left for opposing the deal.

But how much of it is good, hard-nosed journalism, and how much of it is fed by American diplomats, who have a vested interest in seeing the deal through, over chocolate cookies?

K.P. Nayar, the Washington-based correspondent of The Telegraph, Calcutta, has a fine piece in today’s issue of the paper. He ends with the paragraphs below which show how maleable New Delhi’s journalists are or can be, for whatever reason.

“In the end, the nuclear deal with the US is not a disease that is eating into the UPA government. The deal is merely symptomatic of what is wrong with it.

Last year, another aide to US Ambassador David Mulford offered me a story. Actually, it was more of a campaign to change government policy than a single story. I turned it down, but shortly thereafter, the US embassy in New Delhi did manage to change policy in New Delhi by running the campaign in another newspaper.

“That is what happens to a government which is more concerned about opinion in the plush drawing rooms of South Delhi than in the soggy shanties of Bombay’s Dharavi. It is subtle subversion of this kind that Prakash Karat is resisting with his ultimatum, not just the nuclear deal. And there are several members of the UPA cabinet who agree with Karat in principle although they do not endorse his tactics, if only because they may end up losing their jobs”

Read the full article here: Left smarting

‘Because we are all cartoons drawn by God’

In the land of the Indian Institute of Science, the Indian Institute of Management, and the Indian Institute of Information Technology, the nascent Indian Institute of Cartoonists throws open a gallery of cartoons, “to promote the art of cartooning in India.”

View the video here: India’s first cartoon gallery