Daily Archives: 6 May 2008

Pinch yourself: ‘foreign hand’ is on the other foot

In pre-liberalisation socialist India, in the licence-quota-permit raj of Indira Gandhi, the “foreign hand” —shorthand for the United States—was always blamed for every ill on our soil.

Look, who’s complaining about whom now.

George W. Bush and Condoleeza Rice are blaming growing prosperity in India and China for the global food crisis. And the White House spokesman Scott Stanzel has blamed growing prosperity in India and China for the global oil crisis.

And, look, newspaper analysts are blaming the media boom in India and China for the global newsprint crisis!

Read the full story: Is it any surprise newsprint prices have soared?


Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

That’s French for the more things change the more they remain. We think we are going through an amazing boom, but Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was saying the same in 1957. We think it is only now that the need to attract younger readers has become imperative, but the Daily Mirror was issuing television commercials aimed at the young in the 1960s.

Ditto, the competition between newspapers and television, as this news item reproduced from The Hindu of May 6 demonstrates, May 6 of 1958 that is:

“A struggle between newspapers and television was forecast by the editor of The Times, Sir William Haley, in London on May 1. He said some newspapers pretend they will not be affected by it. To meet the challenge of television, newspapers would have to “rethink our production, advertising, finances, staff policy and regain our purpose, fighting for anything we believe in, namely the written word.” Newspapers would have to become accurate when competing with television. Sir William said. “You will no longer be able to have 16 different descriptions in the Press of what somebody wore because the whole country will have seen it.”

Vinod Mehta: Seven rules for young journalists

Vinod Mehta, editor-in-chief of Outlook magazine, delivered the convocation address at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM) in Bangalore on 3 May 2008, and laid out the ground rules for the graduating Class of 2008.

1) Be a professional journalist: Have a sense of mission and be proud to say your a journo.

2) Don’t be an intellectual eunuch: don’t be biased but don’t be afraid of holding a point of view.

3) Learn to exercise control over your writing whether you are a print journalist or a television journalist.

4) Be a sceptic, not a cynic: Do not be afraid to question, but do not try to doubt everything.

5) Stay away from corruption: Refuse blandishments for money, for access, for sources.

6) Avoid politicians: Know them but don’t be friendly. Don’t become buddies with them.

7) Avoid PR and ad men: Meet them, intereact with them but don’t be at their beck and call.