Monthly Archives: May 2008

Why the typewriter will never ever go away

It’s dark, it’s heavy, it’s messy. You can’t rewrite on it, you can’t hook up to the net, and you can’t play solitaire on it. Yet, thousands still buy the typewriter.

Former foreign correspondent and author of Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth on the enduring legacy of the machine that will not die:

“I have never had an accident where I have pressed a button and accidentally sent seven chapters into cyberspace, never to be seen again. And have you ever tried to hack into my typewriter? It is very secure.”

Read the full story: Why typewriters beat computers

Is India ready for a New Yorker style magazine?

Indian newspapers, television, magazines all seem to have unanimously decided that the attention span of the time-strapped reader and viewer has shrunk so much that stories should end before they begin.

So, is there place for long-form journalism, where every reporter and writer is potentially a short story writer, which Robert Benchley described magnificently in a 1925 New Yorker essay: “Up the dark stairs in a shabby house plodded a bent, weary figure”?

Yes, says Sandipan Deb, the editorial head of the newly launched magazine division of the Rs 14,000 crore RPG group which aims to bring out six magazines by 2010. The first one is due out in October this year, and Deb gives Mint a snapshot of what the flagship is going to look like:

“It’ll be a cross between the Time magazine and The New Yorker. The brief is to bring out a weekly free-thinking magazine. Our target audience is the discerning reader, who is well travelled and well-read, who enjoys reading the best global publications, and has the time and taste for good reading.”

Read the full interview here: ‘There are no second chances in publication’

Photograph: courtesy Mint

Does smrtr and smplr add up to tts and ss?

RAMYA KRISHNAMURTHY writes from Bangalore: Deccan Chronicle, the Hyderabad-based group that is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, has just launched its Bangalore edition. Hoardings like these that greeted Bangaloreans on the first day of publication, 26 May 2008, raise fundamental questions about how a bottomline-driven media (pun unintended) views its role in society and the kind of equations it seeks to build with readers it intends to serve.

Like, are well-sculpted “bare bodies” the only way of getting “young minds” interested in reading newspapers? Like, are male “young minds” so devoid of imagination as our media heads seem to think? Like, is there any proof that “young minds” have a problem with serious, meaningful content? Like, is this just a Bangalore/IT/BPO phenomenon? Like, are “middle-aged minds” and “old minds”—not to speak of “female minds”—totally out of the pale of our newspaper proprietors and managers?

Since the paper is landing at our doorsteps free of cost, maybe we shouldn’t look a gift-ass in the mouth. But, pray, what is this gorgeous young lady doing sitting like that?

ps: “young minds” might like to note, as my husband did, that the bird at the top left-hand corner of the hoarding is a crow.

Photograph: Prashant Krishnamurthy

Also read: The ads say it’s going to be smrtr and smplr. Bttr?

Neena Gopal to edit Deccan Chronicle, Bangalore

Forget invitation price, try a new paper for free!

Cross-posted on churumuri

Forget invitation price, try a new paper for free!

Bangalore has got its latest morning English broadsheet. Deccan Chronicle has been launched along with its sister-paper, Financial Chronicle.

While groups like The Times of India time their launch to coincide with major festivals, DC has chosen the dawn of a new political dawn. And while most groups now go in with an invitation price to shake up the competition, DC is being offered free of cost.

Editor A.T. Jayanti has this introduction:

Very good morning, Bengaluru

What Bengaluru does today, the country does tomorrow. From art, literature, theatre and cinema to the information technology revolution and its unique zest for life, Bengaluru has shown the way. This is the city of ideas, the meeting place of the bright and the boldest.

Monday’s election results is the latest example. The people’s voice is what we at DC will reflect. We come without an axe to grind agaianst anything except the lazy, the corrupt and the clueless. We come to celebrate the spirit of Bengaluru.

It is a tribute to the people of Bengaluru that the blistering pace of change has not diluted its deep traditional and cultural flavour. But the academic and cerebral Bengaluru certainly knows how to unwind and have fun. We believe DC is reflective of Bengaluru. We broke The Hindu‘s strangle hold over Chennai, and others are only now following us into that metro. That success has not come easily. We have developed a mix of news, special reports and features neatly packaged into different sections with you in mind. Our combination of the all-colour broadsheet and tabloid reflects the varied reading habits of our readers across all ages and thinking.

DC comes to Bengaluru with its sister publication, Financial Chronicle. Steered by the best minds in the world of industry, commerce and information technology, FC will translate the news into three simple steps: Buy, sell, spend. We are offering DC free for all readers for a few days from today for this welcoming city to sample our magic mix.

We will push hard to be No.1.

Just like Bengaluru, India’s leader.

Also read: Neena Gopal to edit Deccan Chronicle, Bangalore

‘Buy-sell-spend-save. Live rich. Enjoy.’

All the business news that’s fit to be printed

Existing business papers are launching Hindi editions (Economic Times, Business Standard). Existing English dailies are launching business papers (Finance Chronicle from Deccan Chronicle). Hindi dailies are launching English papers (DNA from Dainik Bhaskar). New papers are selling their business sections as separate papers (DNA Money). Hindi dailies are planning Hindi business dailies (Dainik Jagran with Network 18). Foreign groups are planning Indian editions (Financial Times from Pearson, Forbes, Fortune).

It’s all happening in India. Reasons: the economic boom, growing literacy, a burgeoning market.

“The overall globalization, the growing interest in India, and the sheer size of the India market is driving the foreign media interest in India. This is no different from players from any other industry. What all the global publications are probably looking for is to get an increasing mind share of the large Indian middle class, which is becoming [more and more] global,” Ravi Bapna, a professor and executive director of the Centre for Information Technology and the Networked Economy at the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business, tells Knowledge@Wharton.

Read the full story: Where Print still makes sense

Who is giving how much in the Karnataka polls

All the electronic voting machines have been sealed in the Karnataka Elections—and so are the fates of all the opinion polls, exit polls, pre-poll surveys, post-poll surveys, and table-top surveys. This, then, is how it all looks, as projected by newspapers, magazines and TV stations.

Yes, the market is growing, but best practices?

An article in The Economist, London, juxtaposes the growing disconnect between a flourishing media in India and its heavy dependence on advertisers:

“More than 350 million literate Indians do not yet subscribe to a newspaper, which, coupled with rising literacy, promises a long-term boom. A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that India’s print industry would grow from 149 billion rupees ($3.6 billion) in 2007 to 281 billion rupees in 2012.”

Photograph: courtesy Reuters

Read the full article: Calling the shots

Sucheta Dalal: Forget the news, you can’t trust the ads either

Salil Tripathi: The first casualty of a cosy deal is credibility

Does death not count if it ain’t due to terrorism?

A grand total of 80 people died in the serial blasts in Jaipur last Tuesday. A grand total of 134 people have died (so far) in the hooch tragedy in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the weekend. If you take Bangalore and Kolar together, the toll stands at 75.

How do we react to both, as human beings and as media persons, notwithstanding the fact that the former walked into death and the latter bought it, willy-nilly?

A terror attack sends the nation into a furious spell of breast-beating and finger-pointing. Sketches of the culprits, debates on POTA. Pakistan or Bangladesh? OB vans roll in, correspondents file tear-jerkers. NRIs and other pseudo-patriots break into a sweat over “minority appeasement”. Vasundhara Raje finds the time to Walk the Talk with Shekhar Gupta. Compensation of Rs 5 lakh.

Get ready for a candle-light vigil.

A hooch tragedy is just the bad news before the break at dinner time. The hospitals are only slightly better than the slums the victims live/d in. No stories of kids cruelly orphaned by the killer brew. Politicians and officials play a game they have played before—hide and “speak”—with alacrity. Sonia Gandhi won’t be making a visit. Rs 10,000 in compensation.

Is there a preferred way to die, post-9/11?

Does death not count if it isn’t due to terrorism?

If we can’t stop a homegrown hooch tragedy, you bet we will stop international terrorism.

Photograph: A panoramic shot of pristine D.G. Halli, where most of the victims, hailed from (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: Does not count if it isn’t due to terrorism-Part I?

All terrorism can be traced to injustice, inequality

Old habits die hard for a ‘new’ newspaper?

Sakaal Times, the English newspaper owned by Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar‘s nephew Abhijit Pawar, designed by Mario Garcia with former Times of India editor Dileep Padgaonkar playing a key editorial role, has run into trouble less than a fortnight after its launch in Poona.

The blog Pen Pricks has detected plagiarisation of content in an editorial published yesterday, 19 May 2008 on healthcare. The piece has allegedly lifted a huge chunk (highlighted above) from an article by Leena V. Gangolli, Ravi Duggal and Abhya Shukla published at

Read the full article here: Mottled dawn: Sakaal Times plagiarises editorial

Editorial image: courtesy Pen Pricks

Line, length, swing in the air, nip off the pitch

Writers Shashi Deshpande and Girish Karnad at the inauguration of an exhibition of cartoons of the late Maya Kamath, cartoonist of the Asian Age and Deccan Herald before her demise, at the Indian Cartoon Gallery in Bangalore, on Monday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News