Daily Archives: 23 September 2007

Sauce for Al Qaeda ain’t sauce for the President?

Swear words on the front pages are not uncommon, especially in the United States, but they are not usual.

“BASTARDS,” screamed one American newspaper the day after 9/11. In a word the header captured the general response of incensed readers to the act that brought down the World Trade Center towers.

Now, the Rocky Mountain Collegian, a college newspaper in Colorado is testing the limits of free speech, or least the limits of free speech on campus, with a headline for an editorial, which reads ‘Fuck Bush”. But it sure has got everybody talking, which in a way can be argued on the issue is the key point of journalism.

Read the full story: Profane language puts student editor’s job on the line

Letter from the editor in chief


If your signal is weak, call the chief secretary

At the beginning of India’s liberalisation, the question a great many economists and columnists (like Tavleen Singh) asked was: should the State be running bakeries instead of looking at the big things in life? The allusion was to Modern Foods, a state-owned company that made bread. Eventually, the company was sold to Hindustan Lever.

A similar question could now be asked: Should the State be in the television business, i.e., should it have its own television channel and should it have its own cable operators to provide cable and satellite TV connections to the electorate to whom it has already provided free television sets using taxpayers’ money?

That’s the question that should be asked in Tamil Nadu where the war between the ruling political family of M. Karunanidhi (and his sons M.K. Stalin and M.K. Azhagiri) and the media family of Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran has now taken on a new hue.

The Marans, whose Sun TV empire fell out of favour with their grand-uncle and cousins after the demise of their father ‘MurasoliMaran, have now offered monthly Direct-to-Home (DTH) services–75 TV channels and 15 radio stations for just Rs 75 a month—to combat the competition posed by the launch of the state-sponsored “Kalaignar TV” (Kalaignar is the nickname of Karunanidhi).

But the “State” is, if nothing else, unrelenting in its drive, desire, determination and dedication to provide opium to the masses.

The state’s chief secretary L.K. Tripathy says the DMK government is also considering the launch of DTH and IPTV. “But now we are content being a Multi-Service Operator (MSO).

Read the full story: Sun TV, Kalaignar TV battle for eye balls

Also read: All it takes to split a family is an opinion poll

Sun goes on the blink in Madras homes

‘How to get from B to A: Great minds like a think’

CHICAGO: The rise and rise of The Economist in the United States is something media analysts can’t stop speaking about. But the unapologetically elitist tone of its advertising is also a fine lesson in wordplay and branding. This one, on top of a cab near Union Station in Chicago, is a good example of both.

Also read: More reasons to read The Economist

MUST-WATCH: Getting a press pass is very easy

There are others, of course, but journalists should surely rank very high on the totempole of the most grumbling professionals. Grumbling about our bosses, grumbling about our pay, grumbling about the way our organisations are run, we quickly lose sight of what we are here for, and quietly of all our energy.

How can we recharge our batteries? Here’s one way:

Randy Pausch, a 46-year-old top computer-science professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, has been diagnosed with 10 tumours in his liver and has just a few months of good health left. Last week, he said goodbye to his students and the Pittsburgh college with one last lecture called “How to Live Your Childhood Dreams“.

Those dreams range from the sublime (floating in zero gravity, writing an entry in the World Book Encyclopaedia,) to the ridiculous (playing in the national football league, being Captain Kirk, winning big stuffed animals at amusement parks, and being an imagineer at Disney).

But they were his dreams, and as he puts it, “I was there”. Pausch goes on to talk about them with verve, humour and panache. He staves off pity by demonstrating how fit he is. He reveals that he has had a deathbed conversion. And he talks of how easy it is to get a Press pass.

The Wall Street Journal has called it “the lecture of a lifetime”.


# We can’t change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

# It’s all about the fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. Otherwise the fancy stuff won’t work.

# When you are screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you any more, then it means they have given up.

# Life’s a gift. If you wait long enough, other people will show you their good side.

# In the face of adversity, don’t complain, just work harder. Your patience will eventually be rewarded.

# Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

# Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls aren’t there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want things.

Watch the lecture: Dying professor’s lecture of a lifetime

Send him a question: Dear Professor Randy Pausch