Monthly Archives: June 2011

Roasted almonds, biscuits & tea for gang of five

The prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, with the five newspaper editors he met for an interaction in New Delhi yesterday. Seated from left, clockwise, are the national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Divya Marathi editor Kumar Ketkar, Nayi Duniya editor Alok Mehta, the PM’s media advisor Harish Khare, The Tribune editor Raj Chengappa, PTI editor M.K. Razdan, Business Standard director and the president of the editors guild of India, T.N. Ninan, and PM’s secretary T.K.A. Nair.

Photographs: courtesy Press Trust of India

Also read: The preliminary transcript; The PM’s opening remarks

POLL: Is the PM right about the Indian media?

Advertisements

Is the prime minister right about Indian media?

Like a bad host, who abuses his guests after calling them home, the prime minister of India launched into the media today after calling a bunch of five editors for a much-delayed interaction. It took Manmohan Singh just 25 words in his 1,884-word opening remarks to stick it into the editors.

“An atmosphere has been created in the country—and I say this with all humility—the role of the media in many cases has become that of the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge… . We take decisions in a world of uncertainty and that’s the perspective I think Parliament, our CAG and our media must adopt if this nation is to move forward,” Singh said.

As if the media was responsible for the 2G, CWG or KG basin scams that has seen his ministers resign or prepare to. As if the media was responsible for the thuggish behaviour of his ministers (like Kapil Sibal) in undermining “civil society”, in other words the people of India. As if the media was responsible for runaway prices or inflation.

Or, as if the media was responsible for hurling a question mark over his tenure. Etcetera.

So, what do you think? Has the media overstepped its brief? Has it become accuser, prosecutor and judge? Has the media done its job in unravelling scams and keeping the pressuer on the government? Is the media wrong in clamouring for a cleaner, less corrupt system?

Or is Manmohan Singh barking up the wrong tree by shooting the messenger?

The five editors with prime minister Manmohan Singh: from left, T.N. Ninan of Business Standard, Raj Chengappa of The Tribune, M.K. Razdan of Press Trust of India, Alok Mehta of Nayi Duniya, and Kumar Ketkar of Divya Marathi

***

Also read: Why the PM is hopelessly wrong about the media

How well is the PM’s media advisor advising him?

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—I

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—II

Never believe anything until it’s officially denied

‘Allow me to point out, Mr Goswami…’

In the season of the Majithia wage board for newspaper employees, the Congress’ garrulous spokesman bats for television employees by sticking it into their proprietors.

Image: courtesy Indian Express

Also read: Why doesn’t INS oppose ‘no-poaching’ pacts?

Should papers implement Majithia wage board?

Why Majithia wage board is good for journalists

9 reasons why wage board is bad for journalism

Media barons wake up together, sing same song

INS: “We reject wage board recommendations”

Barkha Dutt gets a letter from her sister Bahar

In August 2010, Femina featured  NDTV‘s star-presenter and group editor Barkha Dutt on its cover in a smashing new avatar. That profile has made it to a bumper special issue featuring the 50 best faces that the women’s magazine has showcased over the past four decades.

In a piece accompanying Barkha’s story in the June 2011 issue, Dutt’s sister Bahar Dutt, a trained wildlife conservationist who works at CNN-IBN, pens a note from the heart to her more famous, more visible sibling.

‘Yeh thi khabrein Aaj Tak. Intzaar kijiye kal tak’

Fourteen years ago today, Surendra Pratap Singh aka S.P. Singh, the founder-anchor of Aaj Tak, the 30-minute Hindi news bulletin that became a 24×7 news channel, breathed his last after a fortnight-long battle for life.

“SP” was one of the first print journalists to successfully graduate to television—he had edited the Hindi  daily Navbharat Times and the weekly Ravivar—and his daily bulletin “expanded the limits of television journalism in a never-before fashion with its common man’s eye view style“.

Singh passed away at age 49 just before Aaj Tak could turn into a full-fledged news channel after the government decided not to renew its contract with Doordarshan. But by then he had inspired a whole new crop of television stars: Dibang, Sanjay Pugalia and Ashutosh to give just three examples.

Today, on Twitter, a few of his friends and colleagues have been remembering a mentor and a pioneer:

***

DIBANG: June 27, 1997: We lost the most credible face of Indian TV news, founder of Aaj Tak, Surendra Pratap Singh! These days, I deeply miss SP!

NARAYANAN MADHAVAN: S.P. Singh. Father of credible Hindi news journalism, founder of Brand Aaj Tak (not the one you see today)

MILIND KHANDEKAR: No words can explain the loss…

DIBANG: With all that’s happening to media and in media, SP would have been the best guide/mentor! Media would have been different.

PRAGYA MOHANTY: He was the first person reading news who smiled. Like really.:)

DIBANG: Agree with you and what an assuring smile. Was great education just hanging around him. Miss him deeply.

PRAGYA MOHANTY: The way SP began treating news, even viewers learnt to discern. He made news watching engaging. Gosh! Such nostalgia.

DIBANG: So true! He had a great ability to discern what is news. He never touched what’s past and what’s yet to be!

DIBANG: He knew what is news, he had that ‘pakad‘, and when he read news it was reflected in his expressions, his voice, his body language.

PRAGYA MOHANTY: Pakad is the word. (Prannoy Roy‘s) The World This Week was more like a theory class and watching SP was like attending the practicals.

DIBANG: Yeh thi khabrein aaj tak, Intzaar kijiye kal tak. Was always in studio with him when he read the news.

DIBANG: When he fell in the bathroom. He called out his wife Shikha (Trivedy) and told her: Dibang ko jaldi bulao. Those are his last words.

DIBANG: It was a Monday when we took SP to hospital. He wasn’t conscious, never returned. Was with him whole of that sunday. I remember all the conversation i had with him that Sunday. For us its like he is still there with us.

Gopinath Muthukad didn’t predict this headline

Kerala magician Gopinath Muthukad—who has become only the second Indian after P.C. Sorcar Jr to bag the Merlin award handed out by the international magicians society—can emerge unscathed from fires with his hands cuffed, withstand electricity passed through water, make watches rematerialise.

He can also, it seems, make editors and sub-editors obsolete.

The Chetan Bhagat-ification of Indian newspapers

Business Standard books’ reviewer Nilanjana S. Roy—and CNN-IBN anchor Sagarika Ghose (who has a column in Hindustan Times)—provide the latest update on the state of Indian newspapers.