Monthly Archives: July 2008

Give them what they want, even if it’s rubbish?

T.C.A. Srinivasa-Raghavan in Business Standard:

“The media business is the only one where, in the standard demand function comprising price, quality and taste, the last-mentioned plays the dominent role (after price which is, of course, always important).

“If consumer taste is predisposed towards rotten quality, should what constitutes good quality be re-examined? This, I think, is the central problem confronting the Indian media, where consumer preferences point, in the limit, only to the production of rubbish.”

Read the full column: The economics of bad media

‘Investors no longer care who the editor is’

The Washington Post has a new executive editor, former Wall Street Journal managing editor Marcus Brauchli. Newsweek asked John Morton, a newspaper industry analyst, on how Wall Street would view Brauchli’s ascension to the top job:

“I don’t think Wall Street gives a crap about who the editor of anything is anymore. They’re not interested in the journalism. All they care about is the next quarter and if it’s going to get better or worse.”

Read the full interview: The paper chase

Award for reporting on victims of armed violence

The Press Institute of India and the International Committee of the Red Cross have announced the creation of the PII-ICRC awards for reporting on the fate of victims in situations of armed violence.

The article, or a series of articles on a single theme, should have been published in an Indian national or regional newspaper or magazine in any Indian language (with translation) or English.

Entries may be sent to or posted to Editor, Press Institute of India, RIND Premises, Second Main Road, CPT Taramani Campus, Madras – 600 113 on or before August 30. Phone 044-22542344 for further details.

Three cash prizes will be awarded and presented in the last quarter of 2008 in New Delhi.

Believe him, this is ‘Experiential Journalism’

“Experiential journalism” is a word that trips off the tongues of many Indian newspaper managers. Don’t just tell the story, bring alive the event “experientially” by becoming “a protagonist rather than a mere reporter”, they write in their jargon-filled memos to editors.

By this, the manager really means snap a few pictures of some havaldar taking a five-buck note rather than just write about how corrupt traffic constables are. Or get the sleazy conversations of some failed actor trying to taking a starlet to bed instead of just reporting the existence of a casting couch.

How’s “Waterboarding” for experiential journalism?

The aggressive torture technique being used by the United States to break down terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere has been reported ad nauseam by reporters, slammed by rights bodies, condmened by nations, and so on. But how does it really feel to be waterboarded?

Christopher Hitchens decided to find out first-hand. And reports his findings in the August issue of Vanity Fair.

Read the full story: Believe me, it’s torture

‘If a journalist cannot write, then who else will?’

A two-judge vacation bench of the Supreme Court of India has restrained the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat from arresting sociologist Ashis Nandy, for an opinion piece titled ‘Blame the middle class’ he wrote in The Times of India in January this year.

Justice Altamas Kabir: “There is no ground for harassing a journalist. Let him live in peace. You [Gujarat] are prosecuting this man for his article. These are worst (sic) things happening in this country. If a journalist cannot write then who else will? I have read the article and I find nothing is objectionable. They look for a soft target to catch but not even a single politician or small municipal councillors are caught. He [petitioner] is 71 years old and is a soft target for you…. What is the grievance of the complainant? How does it [article] bother him? Is he a staunch nationalist?”

Justice G.S. Singhvi: “People coming from the land of Mahatma Gandhiji have become so intolerant that they can’t even tolerate an article.”

Cartoon: courtesy Surendra/ The Hindu


‘Intimidation won’t help restore Gujarati asmita’

Cross-posted on churumuri