Mid-Day Delhi and Mid-Day Bangalore to shut

The front page of the final edition of Mid-Day, Bangalore, on 6 December 2011, with a farewell note by executive editor Sachin Kalbag

The Bombay tabloid Mid-Day has made three attempts to break into Bangalore. The first was in the early 1980s under the redoubtable Khalid A.H. Ansari, and the second in the late 1980s under his sons Tarique and Sharique Ansari, when the Bangalore editions of Sunday Mid-Day rolled out. Both those attempts  came quickly unstuck.

The third entry came in 2006, when the group launched a daily edition, hoping as all groups do to tap into the “high-earning, big-spending IT crowd” that only media managers can spot. The third entry also coincided with the paper’s full entry into Delhi. Now, both editions are being shut down by the news owners, Dainik Jagran, effective tomorrow.

Below is the full text of the email received by employees from group CEO Manajit Ghoshal at 5.13 pm, and it is remarkable for how lightly it treats the lives of dozens of ordinary journalists and other staffers at short notice, while dishing out the boilerplate managerial bullshit about “corporate scenario”.

***

Dear colleagues

It’s with a heavy heart that I have to announce the closure of Mid-Day Delhi and Mid-Day Bangalore editions. Tomorrow’s issue will be the last issue for both the editions. This has been necessitated by the prolonged losses we had to incur on these editions.

The idea behind starting these editions was to establish these brands in these cities and make a difference in the lives of the citizens there. We had begun well and were appreciated for the quality of product we put out. However, in a corporate scenario the books need to be balanced.

Due to the ever increasing competition in the print media space, the funds required for breakeven in these cities kept escalating. Finally, we had to take this call. We will however, continue to maintain a news bureau in Delhi and our sales offices in Bangalore and Delhi.

But, every dark cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining in this is that Mumbai Mid-Day now will have the strength to soar to greater heights. By cutting our losses in Delhi and Bangalore editions, we will be able to bolster our circulation in Mumbai.

Apart from the plan to channel these investments, Jagran group (our parent company) will invest a large sum in boosting Mid-Day’s circulation in Mumbai. This will give our sales guys across the country to pitch Mumbai Mid-Day to clients and agencies in a new light.

We need to now concentrate on building brand Mid-Day in Mumbai and monetizing Mumbai Mid-Day’s large increase in circulation and in this our sales colleagues in Delhi, Bangalore and Pune will have to play a significant part.

Gujrati Mid-Day and Inquilab continue to go from strength to strength. We are increasing the circulation of GMD at a brisk pace and will continue to do so. Inquilab has flourished in the north and we now have 14 editions in all and are far ahead of any competition in the Urdu space.

Mid-Day Pune is an extension of Mid-Day Mumbai just as the Pune city is an extension of Mumbai. Mid-Day Pune will continue to run at an ever increasing pace and we will be monitoring the Pune media market keenly to spot opportunities to improve the circulation of Midday Pune.

We will continue to invest aggressively in our digital properties as we believe that this is a medium whose time has come.

5th December, 2011 is an important day in the history of Mid-Day. Today, we will have to halt and think. Think about many of our colleagues who will have to move on.

It’s a testing time for them as it is for us. Right now it might look dark but I am sure both of us will come out of this with flying colours. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. We also need to think about the added responsibilities for all of us who remain in this great organization and who have to carry its legacy forward. Let’s begin this phase of our journey with renewed vigour and conviction.

In conclusion, I can only say that all dreams may not fructify but that will only encourage us to try harder and bring us closer, marching forward with a vision which only we can realise. We strive for continuity and absolutes but are reminded time and again that change is the only constant.

In this time of great pain and heavy responsibility, I am sure God will give us the tenacity to walk on—and then to break into a run—and once again soar to live our destiny.

Cheers
Manajit Ghoshal

10 Comments

  1. Mackintosh

    Similar to Tehelka’s mail to employees when they decided to call off their Financial World venture after recruiting over 50 employees in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore three months in advance! Journalists are today more devalued as the words they write.

  2. wow. he really rubs it in with the “soaring” bit about the Mumbai edition when he’s taking away the jobs of employees in Delhi and Bangalore. and he signs off with “cheers”!

  3. JThomas

    The closure story comes after your report on how Mid-Day was making its Mumbai and Pune staff sign a wage board waiver😦
    Sad scene.

  4. Mentor

    Unethical!

  5. Promita Mukherjee

    yes, and we were forced to sign that document and now we are being told to put down our ‘resignations’ so that they dont need to pay proper compensation

  6. People have reacted with shock and anger (for obvious reasons!) to the news about Mid Day shutting its Bangalore and Delhi editions, but with due respect to the employees at Mid Day, (especially in Bangalore, some of whom are personally known to me!) I do have a slightly different view about it.

    The editorial policies or at least the decisions made at Mid Day Bangalore (admittedly, I do not know how it really works!) have been a little difficult to fathom off-late, and this I say as a layman and not as a PR professional, based on the coverage of (what in my opinion are) three major international sporting events that were in progress through last week (of which India is/was a part) in the Dec 3 and Dec 5 (what now turns-out to be the penultimate and one before that) edition of Mid Day Bangalore.

    The tournaments I am talking about are one, Champions Challenge Hockey Tournament in South Africa (India played the final on Dec 4); two, South Asian Football Federation Cup that kicked off in Delhi last Friday (Dec 2) and three, IBSF World Snooker Championship that concluded in Bangalore last Saturday (Dec 4). Off these three, the snooker tournament was written about when Pankaj Advani made it to the semis – a single column piece with a file photo of Pankaj that too from a product launch and not from the tournament! The hockey tournament finds a mention in a story about a player and how his not-so-well-to-do family is short listing flats for him to buy on his return from SA (and nothing about the tournament or India’s performance there!). And if Mid Day was the only paper one read, he/she wouldn’t even know that the SAFF Cup is happening in India save for the snippet informing people about the Bhutan vs. India match scheduled for the day!

    Assuming for once that it is a ‘city-specific’ newspaper; I would like to believe that a world championship of any sport happening in the city should be newsworthy! This, while there is a full page syndicated story about the death of Brazilian footballer Socrates and an almost page full of news about European football! Does it still seem as shocking?

  7. Indian

    The management should be brought before the law and asked to pay the right compensation for the staff.

    1. lata Sharma

      I have heard that they are working out decent compensation for the effected individuals.!

      1. JThomas

        Subject to their handing in a resignation in a suggested wording.

  8. Rajat

    Mid-day has been floundering for a while — almost for more than half-a-decade. I worked there for some time.

    During the time I was there, I saw some really bad changes, which had to be corrected in due course of time. And I think it is due the discomfort that owners (read: other stakeholders had/ still have with the ‘tabloid’). Mid-day, under Khalid saab, used to be proud of being a tabloid. But somewhere, and I am sorry to say this, it lost that pride.

    First, from being an out and out tabloid, suddenly, they decided to have one serious story on the front page. Within months, the circulation dipped very sharply. Khalid saab had to step in and restore the original flavour of the paper.

    Then, there was an attempt to launch a morninger — another failure. And then, there was the stake sale, launch of Mumbai Mirror, exodus of staff to Mirror and so on and so forth.

    And I blame it squarely on the management. They forget that till MIrror came, there were market leaders in the tabloid space. Perhaps, on a standalone basis, they still are.

    But the urge to become bigger and better is there with everyone. Heck, they even had an IPO. Still all that money was spent in ventures.

    Mid-day, even without its IPO or new owners, was a stable and good paper. And don’t give some corporate shit about competition and other nonsense. Rediff.com, on the contrary, continues to run a tight ship and focus on its core business.

    Somehow, somewhere, someone lost it in Mid-day.

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