Monthly Archives: January 2010

A columnist more ‘powerful’ than all media pros

There are 12 media professionals—proprietors, promoters, publishers, editors—in the Indian Express list of the 100 most powerful Indians in 2010, but an irregular columnist is listed to be more powerful than all of them.

The quirky list, which makes no mention of the methodology or the jury, has two newcomers from the 2009 list—columnist Arun Shourie and TV anchor Barkha Dutt—and shows the door to three others.

Like last year, the IE list chronicles the kinks of the boldfaced names. And like year, Express has diligently kept editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta‘s name out of the reckoning.

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# No. 38: Arun Shourie, journalist turned politician: “He asks all visitors to his library to take off their shoes before they enter.” (new entry)

# No. 53: Sameer Jain and Vineet Jain, chairman and managing director, Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd: “Sameer’s daughter and son-in-law are being groomed to take leadership positions.”

# No. 70: N.Ram, editor-in-chief, The Hindu: “He is very fond of western classical music.”

# No. 72: Kalanidhi Maran and Dayanidhi Maran, Sun network: “Daya never misses his evening walk; Kalanidhi owns a Lamborghini.”

# No. 73: Raghav Bahl, founder Network 18: “The TV veteran is terribly camera-shy.”

# No. 76: Shobhana Bhartia, Hindustan Times: “Owns one of the finest sari collections among women entrepreneurs.”

# No. 77: M.M. Gupta and Sanjay Gupta, Dainik Jagran: “Sanjay is a fitness freak, uncle sets agenda at work.”

# No. 79: Aveek Sarkar, editor-in-chief, Ananda Bazaar Patrika Group: “He is in the business of news but doesn’t like to speak to the media.”

# No. 82: Barkha Dutt, group editor, NDTV: “A blogger who slammed her 26/11 coverage had to say sorry.” (new entry)

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# Out from the 2009 list: Prannoy Roy, founder, NDTV (No. 61) ; Prabhu Chawla, editor, India Today (No. 71); Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, chairman, Daink Bhaskar (No. 88)

Also read: 26% of India’s most powerful are media barons

The 11 habits of India’s most powerful media pros

Arun Shourie: ‘Intolerant. Abusive. Dictatorial.’

Is a bank not allowed to change its newspaper?

PRESS RELEASE: “T. Venkattram Reddy, president, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), strongly condemns the direction issued vide a circular dated 15 December 2009  by the deputy general manager (P&E) of the Kerala State Co-operative Bank Limited, Kerala, to all senior managers of the bank directing the branch offices of the bank to stop subscription of the Malayalam daily being subscribed and make available Deshabhimani daily, a Malayalam daily published by a major political party, which is in power in Kerala, at their offices.

“This is in gross violation of the spirit of the constitutional provisions and a direct threat to the freedom of the press.   It is clearly a restriction imposed by a government bank to curtail circulation and tantamount to promoting and marketing of a newspaper published by a political party in power.

“Freedom of the press cannot be curtailed by   administrative guidance or instructions, which clearly lack the sanction of law.”

Sports writing, statistically full of shit?

Sports writing has been ranked the No.1 “statistically full-of-shit profession” by Cracked magazine. In other words, the so-called “expertise” of sports writers amounts to little more than a shot in the goddamn dark.

And they have the numbers to back their claim.

“An actual study on sportswriters’ ability to predict college and national football league games discovered their success rate to be 0.476, which you may notice is slightly worse than a coin….

“Even Accuscore, a service that charges for its sports predictions based on complex computer algorithms that crunch stats and predict trends, only claims about 53 to 54 percent accuracy, which is still enough to make its customers money.”

Read the full article: Statistically full of shit professions

Deloitte: micropayment will be all bark, no bite

The global consulting firm Deloitte has released its predictions for the media sector in 2010.

Deloitte India’s media leader Ashesh Jani says, “there will be ongoing challenges for the newspaper and magazine industry, which will continue to threaten to charge readers for online content but that talk is unlikely to be matched by significant action.”

“In 2010, the newspaper and magazine industry will continue to threaten to charge readers for online content, however that talk is unlikely to be matched by action.

“Publishers rumoured to be thinking about pay walls may ultimately decide against it, or are choosing hybrid models where most content is free, while charging only for a limited quantity of premium content.

“Publishers who use pay walls need to maintain and publicise the premium nature of their content. Excessive cost-cutting could devalue the brand.

“Online readers might be willing to become micropayment customers, but only if the content is good enough and worth the effort. For some, acquiring an article for 30 cents online may not justify the time taken to enter credit card details.

“Also, the value of the micropayment strategy to the content provider requires volume: one micropayment per customer every two weeks might result in transaction costs exceeding gross margins.”

Link via K.R. Balasubramanyam

For a copy of the report, mail Deloitte corporate communications manager Mallika Kumar: malkumar@deloitte.com

There are two types of journos in the world…

Robert Thompson, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, in The Australian:

“It is becoming clear that there are two personality types in the world of content: the creators and the reverberators. The latter group is merely an editorial echo chamber: the noise is sometimes interesting, but they are neither composers nor musicians.

“If we make a comparison to tennis, in which the sublime Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer fight out a final on centre court, the reverberators are like ball boys and ball girls. If one stretches the imagination you can almost imagine Arianna Huffington and Eric Schmidt scurrying around the court, part of the event but not why you pay money to attend.”

Read the full article: End of the world as we know it

Link via Nikhil Moro via Facebook

How a newspaper welcomed the new republic

The front page of the Bangalore newspaper Deccan Herald 60 years ago, on 26 January 1950, the day India became a republic.

Launched in 1948, the paper was then edited by the legendary Pothan Joseph, who, besides editing The Dawn when it was started in Delhi by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, also had a role to play in the Hindustan Times, The Mail and The Hindu.