Monthly Archives: January 2009

How global media covered Obama inauguration

“Over two days, newspapers around the world published 1.2 million articles. Over one 24-hour period, the global radio and television coverage combined added up to 20 million minutes; to watch it all it would have taken a human being 38 years,” reports Richard Gizbert of Al Jazeera English on the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.

“Despite its ancient roots the ceremony provides news networks with a perfect piece of television an historic event, and a central figure whose every move the world will be watching. But did the media get the story right? Does the dominant narrative of change and the start of a new era square with the facts? And what will an Obama administration mean for the media in the United States?”

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Laughter is best medicine if you can swallow it

KPN photo

Indian politicians have a tremendous sense of humour, compared to Indian film, sport, business and other celebrities who believe the media’s job is, well, advertising. They have an under-appreciated ability to take criticism on their chin and laugh it off, although states like Maharashtra have proved an exception in recent times.

But will former Indian prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda like this grim spitting image who released the first issue of the monthly Kannada humour magazine Bari Vaare Kore, edited by cartoonist Prakash Shetty (formerly of The Week) in Bangalore on Friday?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Vir Sanghvi lashes out at Mint “censorship”

It’s all happening at Mint, the business daily launched by the Hindustan Times barely two years ago.

Founder-editor Raju Narisetti left under a cloud of rumours at the turn of the year. And now, star-columnist Vir Sanghvi, a former editor of HT, has ended his column in Lounge, the Saturday magazine of Mint, with a piece on his website that hits out at the fledgling paper and its new editor, Sukumar Ranganathan.

“I will not write for a publication that censors its columnists and denies them the right to free speech while writing long, impassioned pieces about the freedom to criticize others from the Prime Minister downwards. All of us exhibit double standards to some degree. But Mint‘s hypocrisy takes my breath away.”

Sanghvi’s dispute with Mint apparently arose after Lounge did not carry his “Pursuits” column last week on business journalism in the aftermath of the Satyam fraud.

Reason: it took a swipe at Mint for the manner in which it covered the drama surrounding NewsX, a start-up TV channel that Sanghvi headed till he quit before its launch.

“I believe that the ability to carry criticism of yourself is the mark of a competent editor and a confident publication. Sadly, the new editor of Mint—after Raju’s departure—does not appear to share this view. He refused to carry the article,” writes Sanghvi, while showering praise on Priya Ramani, the editor of Lounge.

Sanghvi’s website also carries the original article which Lounge did not carry. It contains these paragraphs on Mint‘s coverage of the NewsX episode, which ironically appeared in Raju Narisetti’s tenure.

“Easily the worst was Mint—-ironic because I am a columnist—-which managed to get basic details wrong, running biased and inaccurate reports and then following them up with a series of wildly speculative (always attributed to “a source close to the situation”) stories which (long after I had left and other NewsX issues were being featured) nearly always demonstrated a total misunderstanding of the situation.

“As Mint is not a newspaper that carries much news and specializes in thoughtful, analytical reports, these lapses were surprising. One theory  is that the paper likes running Stardust-type media-gossip stores which are either of no consequence (the Delhi Press Club elections ) or just wrong (Pradeep Guha to join Big TV), in the hope that people will talk about them. When NewsX was eventually sold, Mint which had identified the wrong suitors, failed again as Exchange4Media scooped the story.

“But at least it proves one thing. When journos get it wrong, we even get media stories wrong!”

Also read: How come media did not spot Satyam fraud?

Pseudonymous author spells finis to Mint editor?

VIR SANGHVI: Does the Indian reader care for integrity?

World Association of Newspapers congress put off

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The annual congress of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), scheduled to be held in recession-hit, scam-hit Hyderabad in March this year, has been put off to the end of the year.

According to one report, the meeting was postponed to due to low registration.

“The economic crisis has had a devastating effect on participation in the events, which are simpldy not viable at this stage,” Timothy Balding of WAN told Juan Antonio Giner, founder-director, Innovation International Media.

A press release from V. Shankaran, officiating secretary general of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), reads thus:

“The 62nd World Newspaper Congress/16th World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo have been postponed and will now be held from 1-3 December 2009 at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad, India.

“The decision to postpone these most prestigious annual events of the print media the world over, which were originally planned for March this year, was due to certain global compulsions.

“World Association of Newspapers (WAN), which represents over 18,000 leading newspaper publications the world over, organizes these annual events of the print media in different parts of the world in collaboration with a host country industry member association.  The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has successfully bid for  hosting these events in India.   In its history of 61 years these events have never been held in South Asia.

“Over 2,000 top cream of world’s most influential owner-publishers, editors and media personalities in the print media are expected to attend these events.  It is a great opportunity to showcase India to the rest of the world.”

Maya Kamath Memorial Awards for Cartoonists

PRESS RELEASE: The Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Cartoonists is inviting applications for the first Maya Kamath memorial awards for cartoonists. There are four prizes on offer: three for the best political cartoons of 2008, and a special prize for the best budding cartoonist.

The contest is open to cartoonists in English and other regional Indian languages. A maximum of three published political cartoons appearing between January 1 and December 31, 2008 can be submitted by each participant. An English translation of the text should accompany if the cartoon has been published in a regional language, including date and name of the publication in which the cartoon had appeared.

Entries should be sent to the Indian Institute of Cartoonists, No.1, Midford House, Midford Garden, off M.G. Road, Bangalore-560 001, on or before February 28, 2009.

The cartoons will be judged by the institute’s four-member jury that includes playwright Girish Karnad, artist S.G.  Vasudev, The Hindu cartoonist Keshav and The Times of India‘s Bangalore editor H.S. Balram. The award ceremony will be organised in March in Bangalore, along with an exhibition of the selected cartoons.

For details, call 080-25595252 or 25559819.

E-mail: info@cartoonistsindia.com

The award has been instituted in the memory of Maya Kamath, one of India’s few women political cartoonists. Her work appeared in The Evening Herald, The Times of India, and The Asian Age.

Why journalists like Barack Hussein Obama

In his last press conference in Baghdad, George W. Bush received a pair of size 10s from a member of the press corps. But why does his successor seem to get a ’10’ from most journos?

“Journalists like Obama because he’s the ultimate America success story, photogenic and has that perfect family. And because he is less likely to wiretap their phones.”

Read the full article: #44 Barack Obama

Also read: ‘A kiss from the orphans and widows of Iraq’

Jack Shafer: Obama changes his press strategy

Also view: Jon Stewart on Bush and Obama

‘Time for the old rules of journalism to change’

“Objectivity” is the mirage that modern journalism chases, although as a wise sage said eons ago: “The point-of-view that you should not have a point-of-view is itself a point-of-view.”

On online journalism review, Robert Niles hits the nail on the head.

Traditional journalism’s ethics and tenets, he says, are due for change in the more competitive online information market. But it could be argued that they are due for change in traditional journalism too.

# The old rule: You can’t cover something in which you are personally involved. The new rule: Tell your readers how you are involved and how that’s shaped your reporting.

# The old rule: You must present all sides of a story, being fair to each. The new rule: Report the truth and debunk the lies.

# The old rule: There must be a wall between advertising and editorial. The new rule: Sell ads into ad space and report news in editorial space. And make sure to show the reader the difference.

Read the full article: As internet changes the market, some conventions must change as well