Monthly Archives: April 2012

KBK: The cartographic pioneer before PhotoShop

An advertisement appearing in The Times of India in Delhi today, in memory of Kul Bhushan Kumar, who set up a pioneering cartographic service for Indian newspapers over 60 years ago.

“KBK”, as his signature read, was a migrant from Peshawar who hopped across the border after Partition, setting up his syndication agency in Bengali Market in the heart of Delhi, supplying newspapers with information distilled into graphics decades before “graphics” became the buzzword.

Following KBK’s demise nine years ago, his son Vijay now runs the show, from the same address.

The editor who said ‘no’ to Ramnath Goenka

The veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar pays tribute to V.K. Narasimhan, the legendary editor of the Indian Express during the Emergency in 1975, in a column in Deccan Herald:

“The day Indira Gandhi was defeated at the polls Narasimhan was ousted to bring in S. Mulgaonkar. Ramnath Goenka explained that this was his obligation because Mulgaonkar had been forced to quit during the Emergency.

“Goenka had a point but what annoyed everyone was the abrupt change made even in the print line without Narasimhan’s knowledge.

“In protest he left the paper.

“Senior staff was at Goenka’s throat for the unceremonious departure of a person who had led them in the fight against the Emergency at a time when editors had compromised with the establishment.

“I was deputed by Goenka to bring back Narasimhan as editor of The Financial Express, his original position, but he refused to return because of the manner in which he was treated by Goenka…. I can never forget the scene when I left his house: Narasimhan and his wife were sitting on the floor of their tiny kitchen and sipping coffee.

“He had no job, no position. Nor did he care because persons like Narasimhan drew strength from their faith in values which today’s journalists generally do not pursue, much less cherish them.”

Narasimhan’s son V.N. Narayanan went on to be editor of The Tribune and Hindustan Times.

Read the full column: A journalist of great courage

Also read: Hindu and HT were worst offenders in 1975

‘Jacket’ ads continue to trouble ‘The Hindu’

In January, a jacket advertisement on the front page of The Hindu, featuring a Tamil Nadu Congress leader who loudly proclaimed his affection for Sonia Gandhi at the beginnig of the new year— “We remain, Madamji, ever at your feet”—caused a bit of buzz.

Then, Siddharth Varadarajan, the paper’s incoming editor, wrote on his Facebook account:

“To all those who messaged me about the atrocious front page ad in The Hindu’s Delhi edition on Jan 1, my view as Editor is that this sort of crass commercialisation compromises the image and reputation of my newspaper. We are putting in place a policy to ensure the front page is not used for this sort of an ad again.”

Now, another jacket ad in the paper’s Tamil Nadu editions prompts a note from the editor of the paper.

Image: courtesy The Hindu

External reading: The Hindu reacts on Sonia Gandhi ad

Press Trust of India strike for Majithia wage board

Press Trust of India (PTI) employees are going on strike tomorrow demanding the implementation of the recommendations of the Majithia wage board.

Below is the full take of the PTI news advisory to subscribers.

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ZCZC
PRI COM ECO ENT GEN NAT SPO
.NEWDEL DEL31
ADVISORY
Attn: All Subscribers

PTI news and photo services are likely to be affected from 2:00 am on April 20, 2012 to 8:00 am on April 21, 2012 due to strike called by the trade union in PTI over the Wage Board issue.

We regret the inconvenience that may be caused to you.

General Manager – Admin
PTI, Delhi
KIM
04191244
NNNN

***

Also read: INS: “We reject wage board recommendations”

Media barons wake up together, sing same song

Why Majithia wage board is good for journalists

9 reasons why wage board is bad for journalism

POLL: Should newspapers implement wage board?

Allow me to point out, Mr Arnab Goswami

How papers are working around Majithia wage board

Eight reasons journalism is the best profession

A recent survey ranking journalism as the fifth worst job to have—alongside dishwashers and oil rig workers—has got journalists all worked up.

Jeff Bercovici lists eight reasons why that’s not true, despite the low salaries,the long and irregular working hours, etc.

# You’re always learning

# You get paid to read a ton

# You get paid to meet interesting people

# You get to meet celebrities

# Maybe you even get to enjoy a little celebrity

# “Stress” is excitement

# Journalists get around

# And then there’s the small matter of self-expression

Read the full article: Forget that survey

Also read: Congratulations, all of you, for a great job

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Photograph: In the hit film Jaane bhi do yaaro, two commercial photographers (played by Naseeruddin Shah and the late Ravi Baswani) pick up freelance assignments for Khabardar, a muckraking publication edited by Shobha Sen (Bhakti Barve) that ostensibly wants to expose the link between an unscrupulous builder (Pankaj Kapoor) and a corrupt municipal commissioner (Satish Shah). The lensmen come up with damning evidence but, well, the editor is “stringing along” with another builder (Om Puri) and strumming a different tune.

‘Praja Vani’ special issue guest-edited by a Dalit

Many Indian newspapers now invite a “Guest Editor” to create some buzz.

Usually the guest is a boldfaced name: a cricketer (Yuvraj Singh), a godman (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar),  a businessman (N.R. Narayana Murthy), a news maker (Amartya Sen) or a celebrity.

Take a bow, Praja Vani.

On the birth anniversary of the father of the Indian Constitution, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, the Kannada newspaper from the Bangalore-based Deccan Herald group has brought out a special issue, guest-edited by the Dalit writer and social activist, Devanur Mahadeva.

Eight broadsheet pages of the 16-page main edition—plus seven out of eight pages in two four-page broadsheet supplements—have pieces commissioned by the guest editor.

In all, there are 37 pieces of text, led by an introduction from the paper’s editor, K.N. Shanth Kumar.

Each of the pages carrying the pieces has a common panel that reads “Swatantra, Samanathe, Sodarathe” (freedom, equality, fraternity) and each article carrying the piece has an icon of Ambedkar.

Among the articles, a business page report on India’s first Dalit bank; a metro section story on why Bollywood ignores Ambedkar; and an edit page piece on the need for social police.

Robin Jeffrey, whose lament on the lack of diversity in Indian (read English) newsrooms, prompted the experiment would be pleasantly surprised at the spunk of a leading regional-language newspaper.

Image: courtesy Praja Vani

Also read: 6 pages for Ambedkar; 393 pages for ‘The Family’

Anybody here Dalit and speaks English?

Is Vijaya Karnataka ready for a Dalit editor?

Journalism lesson #1: No one’s indispensable

Tabish Khair, journalist turned poet, in Open magazine:

You were with The Times of India in Delhi for a little les than five years. How has your life as a journalist shaped your writing?

You lose your fear of deadlines, and learn to keep them. You realise that the world is far wider and weirder than you had imagined. And you discover that you are necessary but not indispensable.