Monthly Archives: October 2007

The world’s “best sexiest advertisements”


Anyone can make sexy ads, but it takes a certain amount of focus, greed, and sheer insensitivity to make the sexiest ones, says Media Circus.

View the entire set of 12 ads here: The best sexiest ads in the world


What it takes for a woman to be a journo in Iraq

New York: The International Women’s Media Foundation awarded its “courage in journalism awards” on Tuesday to women who risk their lives covering the news.

One award was given to six Iraqi women who work in the McClatchy Newspapers bureau in Baghdad, a job so dangerous that they cannot take the chance of being photographed, not even in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue. The women are Shatha al Awsy, Zaineb Obeid, Huda Ahmed, Ban Adil Sarhan, Alaa Majeed, and Sahar Issa.

Speaking for the six, Issa had a powerful message. An ambitious reporter, Issa’s eldest son was caught in a crossfire in late 2005; he was shot and killed instantly. Issa has also faced going to the morgue to claim the body of a nephew who was killed in a market bombing. She found his body in two pieces. Issa continues to report from McClatchy’s Baghdad bureau.

“To be a journalist in violence-ridden Iraq today, ladies and gentlemen, is not a matter lightly undertaken. Every path is strewn with danger, every checkpoint, every question a direct threat.

“Every interview we conduct may be our last. So much is happening in Iraq. So much that is questionable. So much that we, as journalists, try to fathom and portray to the people who care to know.

“In every society there is good and bad. Laws regulate the conduct of the society. My country is now lawless. Innocent blood is shed every day, seemingly without purpose. Hundreds of thousands have been killed for seemingly no reason. It is our responsibility to do our utmost to acquire the answers, to dig them up with our bare hands if we must.

“But that knowledge comes at a dear price, for since the war started, four and half years ago, an average of about one reporter and media assistant killed every week is something we have to live with.

“We live double lives. None of our friends or relatives know what we do. My children must lie about my profession. They cannot under any circumstance boast of my accomplishments, and neither can I. Every morning, as I leave my home, I look back with a heavy heart, for I may not see it again — today may be the day that the eyes of an enemy will see me for what I am, a journalist, rather than the appropriately bewildered elderly lady who goes to look after ailing parents, across the river every day. Not for a moment can I let down my guard.

“I smile as I give my children hugs and send them off to school; it’s only after they turn their backs to me that my eyes fill to overflowing with the knowledge that they are just as much at risk as I am.

“So why continue? Why not put down my proverbial pen and sit back? It’s because I’m tired of being branded a terrorist: tired that a human life lost in my county is no loss at all. This is not the future I envision for my children. They are not terrorists, and their lives are not valueless. I have pledged my life — and much, much more, in an effort to open a window through which the good people in the international community may look in and see us for what we are, ordinary human beings with ordinary aspirations, and not what we have been portrayed to be.

“Allow me, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to reach out. Help us to build bridges of understanding and acceptance. Even though the war has cast a dark shadow upon your nation and mine — it is never too late.”

Text courtesy: The New York Times

An Afghan journalist needs help. Your help.

SUNIL K. POOLANI writes: A friend of mine, Kamran Mir Hazar, an Afghani poet, journalist and writer who used to a very successful website, has been a daring and vociferous voice of freedom of expression in Afghanistan from the pre-Taliban days.

Once the Taliban took over, he had to flee to Iran; when the USA ‘liberated’ Afghanistan, this poor chap came back thinking everything is safe. Hardly. He was being targetted by the invisible evils called the Taliban all over the place. So he had to flee to India, taking a three-month visiting visa, along with his wife.

He is in Delhi at present, and he told me today that the Indian government is not extending his visa for his stay here. So he will have to go back to Afghanistan and you know what to expect there, for him and his wife.

What he is looking for is a job opportunity or a reason to stay for some more time in a ‘neutral’ country like India, and then get political asylum in any European country. He needs help.

Please see if you can do something that can save a man’s and his wife’s lives and also contribute to the cause of freedom of speech, with whatever contact you have. His email ID is:

Never say ‘cheese’ to a herd of elephants

From The Hindu:

SRIKAKULAM: The herd of wild elephants that are on the rampage in the forest areas of Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts claimed yet another victim, this time a reporter working for a Telugu daily, on Friday.

K. Nagaraju of Andhra Prabha was suspected to have been trampled to death while three other reporters narrowly escaped the wrath of the nine pachyderms which have been playing havoc in several villages.

Disregarding the advice of forest officials, the four scribes had gone to take photographs of the herd in the Hussainapuram reserve forest area, near Veeraghatam in the early hours.

According to one of the reporters, they suddenly came almost face to face with the elephant herd. One journalist triggered a flash on his camera which proved to be a red rag for the pachyderms.

With a deafening roar, they immediately charged at the fear-stricken journalists who ran helter-skelter. Only three managed to escape.

Photos taken from a distance revealed a highly mutilated body, suspected to be that of Nagaraju.

JOHN CURLEY: The road ahead for newspapers

STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania: The threat to newspapers may be from online sources, but the battle has to be fought with good content, backed by solid in-paper promotion of editorial and advertising content.

So says John Curley, the first editor of USA Today, and the man who succeeded Al Neuharth as president, chairman and CEO of Gannett Corporation.

Now a professor and distinguished professional in residence at Penn State University, and co-director of PSU’s Center for Sports Journalism, Curley says it’s time newspapers, instead of moaning and groaning about falling numbers, went back to doing more “enterprise reporting” that they used to do and many still do. Because, he avers, those are the stories nobody else can do, and will bring readers to newspapers and hold circulations at levels that are satisfactory.

“I think it’s a misnomer to believe that circulation has gone down sharply. It’s gone down at the rate of about one or one-and-a-half per cent a year. If it settles in at that, then a lot of the advertising will stay where it is.

“A lot of times the press will, rightly, focus on the good and the bad. Sometimes it looks like things are worse than they are. That’s been the case with some of the reporting (about the media) in the last couple of years. Realistically there are a lot of good things going on.”

Curley, who teaches a course issues for newsroom managers, says the newspaper industry should look at news ways of promoting classified advertising as a reading habit.

“There been some slippage (in revenue from classifieds) due to interest rates and other things in automotive and real estate. Not so much in employment. The fact is that a lot of people have not put in in-paper promotion to convince readers to look at the classifieds that they are carrying. We ought to try some interesting manoeuvres on the front pages of the classifieds section to draw people in.

“Research has shown that classifieds have a lot of appeal to people under 25 because they are starting out, looking for apartments, moving around a bit more. Maybe we ought to capitalise on the web and in print.”

Is it an idol (sic)? Is it a statue? Is it a mannequin?

Political photography, like all photography, is about timing. But good photography is no longer easy on the chaotic Indian political landscape where hundreds of (“still”) photographers and (“video”) cameramen now jostle and slug each other out for a slice of the pie.

This picture by Manjunath M.S. of Karnataka Photo News is a very fine exception.

The man jumping the chair at a protest in front of the Governor’s office is B.S. Yediyurappa, former deputy chief minister of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The man behind him, to his left, with a hand on the chair is Ananth Kumar, a party colleague who is generally assumed to be happy at scuttling Yediyurappa’s career advancement despite his benign public posture. And the man in the white shirt behind Yediyurappa is M.P. Renukacharya, an MLA at the centre of a sexual harassment case, involving a former nurse called Jayalakshmi.

In one frame, as it were, the picture captures everything about Indian politics: the ambition of its leaders, the betrayal by partners, the sniping, backstabbing and backbiting, and of course, the colour, chaos and sleaze.

View a bigger frame at