Daily Archives: 17 January 2012

An ad? An edit? Advertorial? Edvertisement?

The front page of The Sunday Times of India on January 15, with the anchor story at the bottom headlined”Get 110% out of your body with Functional Manual Therapy”.

Credited to “TNN” (Times News Network) and printed in the same body font as the rest of the paper, the article touts an “effective evaluation and treatment system that promotes optimum human performance by enhancing body mobility.”

It also mentinos where the therapy is available. At VARDAN, a wellness center in New Delhi, which is “an initiative of The Times Group in collaboration with The Institute of Physical Art (IPA), USA.”

An identical front-page article in The Economic Times on Monday, has led to a Wall Street Journal article. The article quotes Times CEO Ravi Dhariwal as saying that the VARDAN articl…

“is a news report, not an advt/advertorial. No money has been charged for it. We do cover our in-house activities/events/launches in a similar manner.”

Image: courtesy The Sunday Times of India

Read the full article: Is this a news story or an ad?


Shekhar Gupta slams conflict of interest charge

Shekhar Gupta, the editor-in-chief of The Indian Express, has responded to a press release from a nine bunch of activists led by the Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan that the sponsorship of the Ramnath Goenka awards for excellence in journalism this year was tainted by allegations of conflict of interest.

Bhushan & Co had linked coverage of some environmental issues in the Indian Express with the lead sponsor of the Express awards, Jaypee Group and associate sponsor Mahyco Monsanto.

A news report in today’s Express carrying news of the awards’ fete quotes Gupta as saying:

“Their implication is that these companies paid us back as sponsors of this event. Such insinuations aren’t new for The Indian Express…. Be it governments, corporates, political parties, all tend to attribute motives to what we report whenever they disagree with it…. Now there’s another group that’s joined these ranks.

“Activists, a section of civil society, individuals who push and prod governments and institutions and play a vital role in our democracy. We hold them in respect as we do everyone we cover and the only professional way to cover them is through good journalism, by sifting their noise from their news. And by remaining committed to what is virtually inscribed in our DNA: the code under which the wall between editorial and advertising in The Indian Express has always been and will always be impregnable.”

Photograph: courtesy Neeraj Priyadarshi/ The Indian Express

Read the full article: Vibrant journalism watchdog… not sunshine journalism

Also read: Conflict of interest in Indian Express journalism awards?

Indian Express, Bhushans and the scoop that wasn’t

Express, NDTV, Hindustan Times and the Bhushans

‘India’s cricket reporters too soft on cricketers’

India Drown Under. Surrender Down Under. Wallopped! Tigers at home, lambs abroad.

The adjectives are tripping off TV screens and sports pages, following the precipitous fall in Team India’s performance in Australia, where the 0-3 scoreline looks less from a cricket series, more from a tennis match.

The blame, as usual, is being laid at the door of the IPL and the surfeit of Twenty20 cricket. The cricket board is being slammed for ignoring domestic cricket, for short sighted selection, etc.

But how much of the blame does the media carry?

Calcutta-born Andy O’ Brien, a former journalist with Sportsworld magazine, now happily settled in Australia, on the debacle of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his World Cup winning boys, in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“If one was to compile international media clippings of this tour, mention of Sachin Tendulkar‘s milestone would probably outnumber 10:1 any analysis of the outcome of a Test match or the shortcomings of the Indian team….

“Are Indian cricket fans more interested in Sachin getting his century of centuries or in winning a Test series? Or is the truth that this almost cosmetic overemphasis on the peripheral is a coincidental cover-up of the fact that, by and large, Indian cricket reporters tend to be too soft on their cricketers?

“Not many are willing to bite the proverbial bullet and risk their “contacts” with the team or the hierarchy. If always seemed to me, even when I was a part of this wonderful hardworking group of people, that the business is not so much about writing or cricket, but what contacts you have and can tap, to produce a “cosmetic/glamour” story with banner headlines.

“That trend has grown and as a result many reports now deal with either the mundane or the inconsequential part of the game.”

Photograph: Australian captain Michael Clarke tosses the coin at the start of the third Test match against India in Perth, as captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni looks on, with match referee Ranjan Madugalle (right) and Channel 9 host, Mark Nicholas.

Read the full article: Let go of that cockiness and arrogance

Also read: ‘Today’s cricket journos are chamchas of cricketers’