Daily Archives: 5 July 2011

Look, who transcribed the PM’s press meet!

Prime minister Manmohan Singh‘s much-ballyhooed powwow with newspaper editors last week is now so last week.

The interaction barely has any recall today but for the off-the-record boo-boo over Bangladeshis being anti-Indian that went on the record for a hours and became a diplomatic issue for a few hours.

The official transcript was soon corrected, of course, but the public relations damage on the eve of the external affairs minister’s visit to that nation had been done.

But behind every story there is a juicy back story and Business Standard, whose editorial director T.N. Ninan was one of the five editors who met the PM, has put out this delicious Chinese whisper:

“The government has a large department to disseminate information to the media in the Press Information Bureau (PIB). Yet PIB was unable to find anyone to transcribe tapes of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s interview with editors last week. Instead, the transcription was done by Raj Chengappa, editor-in-chief of the Tribune Group of Publications and one of the editors invited for this first of a series of weekly meetings that the prime minister has planned.”

Incidentally, the PM’s off-the-record gaffe wasn’t the first. The last time he met newspaper editors late last year he spoke off the record on China, only to find it dutifully becoming the lead story in the next day’s Times of India.

Postscript: Business Standard has since clarified on its website that Raj Chengappa did not do the transcribing (see screenshot, above).

Also read: Is the PM right about the Indian media?

Never believe anything unless it is officially denied


‘Zee is the only news channel making money’

The mention of TV news in India brings up the usual names among news aficionados—Times Now, NDTV 24×7 and NDTV India, Aaj Tak and Headlines Today, CNN-IBN and IBN Awaaz, et al.

But there is another player in the ring from India’s oldest satellite network. And Zee News, says its CEO Punit Goenka, is the only one among the lot making money.

In an interview in the 1 July 2011 issue of Campaign India, Goenka says:

“The news business is doing phenomenally well for Zee. We are the only news entity in the country that makes money. All other news entitites in this country are losing money as of today. From that perspective, that’s working well.

“We have to expand in the news genre in order to enter into the English language (news sphere). We have so far been focusing on Hindi and other regional markets which have done really well. Now we’ll be rolling out in the next two to three years into the English languages.”

Also read: ‘The end-game is near for both TV18 and NDTV’

Niira Radia, Mukesh Ambani, Prannoy Roy & NDTV

How serious is the trouble at CNBC and CNN-IBN?