Monthly Archives: June 2013

Subhash Chandra: 7 rules for media success

In the seventh anniversary issue of Outlook Business*, Zee TV bossman Subhash Chandra offers seven rules for success in the media:

1) Don’t take your position for granted: Even if you’ve been No.1 for a long while, always remember to guard your turf

2) Don’t ignore the rural market: Through its direct-to-home business, Zee reached out to a market that had no access to television

3) Look for opportunities in allied businesses: Over the years, along with television broadcasting, Zee has entered online lotteries, cricket, cable TV and DTH

4) Be ready to constantly improvise your convergence strategy: Over the years, Zee has stepped up the cable distribution game and it has paid off for the group

5) Ensure your programming is always cost-effective

6) Make sure one revenue stream is always robust: Steady growth in subscription revenue will reduce the dependence on advertising

7) There is always an opportunity in sports

* Disclosures apply

Photograph: courtesy Forbes

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Also read: Ramachandra Guha‘s 12 and a half steps for journalists

Vinod Mehta‘s seven rules for young journalists

V.S. Naipaul‘s seven rules for writers

Garrison Keillor‘s seven rules for reading the newspaper

William Safire‘s 18 steps to better writing

Prashant Panjiar‘s eight steps to better photography

Raghu Rai‘s five tips for photographers

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Steve Forbes named in Forbes India legal notice

ig_dk_charles_shishir1

Top row: Indrajit Gupta (L), Dinesh Krishnan
Bottom row: Shishir Prasad (L), Charles Assisi

Three of the four Forbes India editors, who were forced out of the fortnightly business magazine allegedly for demanding that the promoters fulfill their contractual commitments on employee stock options (ESOPs), have shot off legal notices to Network 18 and Forbes Media, demanding immediate reinstatement and settlement of dues and damages for loss of livelihood, reputation and mental harassment.

Steve Forbes, the chairman and CEO of Forbes Media, and William Adamopoulos, CEO Asia of Forbes Media, have been named among the eight respondents, since Forbes India is a title licensed by the American parent organisation, Forbes.

The others named in the legal notice are Network 18 chief operating officer Ajay Chacko, editor-in-chief web and publishing R. Jagannathan, group HR director Shampa Kochhar, group general counsel Kshipra Jatana, and group CEO B. Sai Kumar.

Interestingly, neither Raghav Bahl, the controlling shareholder and managing director of Network 18, nor Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani, whose name was drawn into the controversy by the Bombay Press Club, have been named in the June 18 legal notice.

(Update: The managing director of Digital 18 Media is the chief recipient of the legal notice, which at this current time happens to be Raghav Bahl.)

The “termination” of services of Forbes India editor Indrajit Gupta, the “resignation” of managing editor Charles Assisi, director photography Dinesh Krishnan, and executive editor Shishir Prasad, was slammed by the Editors Guild of India as a move that cuts at the “very root of editorial independence”.

While the first three have sent the legal notices, the fourth has chosen not to contest the case.

The notices are seen as the first step before a full-blown court case which would test human resource practices at one of India’s largest media organisations.

The silence of the Press Council of India, created to preserve the freedom of the press and to maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in the country, has been defeaning, given the demonstrated propensity of its chairman Justice Markandey Katju to intervene in public debates.

Also read: How the Forbes India editors were forced out

Bombay Press Club blasts Forbes India purge

Forbes purge is a freedom issue: Editors’ Guild

External reading: Forbes will stick to its DNA: R. Jagannathan

Is BBC playing around with Mandela’s stature?

As Nelson Mandela, the icon of South Africa, gasps for life in a Johannesburg hospital, M.S. Prabhakara, the veteran Hindu correspondent in Guwahati who served as the newspaper’s first correspondent  in South Africa, has a letter to the editor:

“It is disgusting, but not surprising, that the BBC in its online world news bulletin should consistently describe Nelson Mandela, lying critically ill in a Pretoria hospital, as “South Africa’s first black president” instead of more accurately, and more relevantly in political terms, as South Africa’s first democratically elected President. This link is the latest of such descriptions that has appeared since June 24.”

M.S. Prabhakara

Kolara

Also read: Why shouldn’t old men be mad at Bangalore?

India, Pakistan and the foreign correspondents

From Delhi Confidential, the gossip column in The Indian Express:

“There is never a dull moment in India-Pakistan relations. Just when it seemed that a positive environment was on the horizon, comes the news that there might not be any Indian journalist based in Pakistan after this month.

“The only two journalists that are allowed, from PTI [Rezaul Laskar] and The Hindu [Anita Joshua], have ended their tenure, but their successors have not been given visas by Islamabad till now.

“The delay in processing of visas of the Indian journalists, for posting in Islamabad, has given rise to speculation that the new Pakistan establishment under Nawaz Sharif might be hardening its stand towards New Delhi.”

Also read: How Pakistan helped The Hindu save $800

I couldn’t go to the US, and my name’s Zia Haq

How (free) India treats foreign correspondents

Dicky Rutnagur, an ekdum first-class dikra: RIP

SHARANYA KANVILKAR writes from Bombay: After three days of parsimonious one-paragraph obituaries, the tributes have started coming in for Dicky Rutnagar, the Bombay-born cricket and squash correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, London, who passed away on Friday, 20 June 2013, at the age of 82.

Rutnagur, who covered 300 Test matches before he retired in 2005, belonged to the “old school” of cricket writers who believed in reporting what took place on the field.

Nicknamed “Kores” for the number of carbon copies he took of his reports to file for various newspapers Rutnagur’s favourite two words were “bloody” and “bastard”.

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In The Hindu, where Rutnagur’s pieces often appeared, the veteran cricket and music writer Raju Bharatan of the now-defunct The Illustrated Weekly of India, calls Rutnagar the Zubin Mehta of cricket writing.

“Dicky’s breakthrough in journalism came as the illustrious Hindustan Times editor, S. Mulgaonkar, handpicked him to report Test cricket, at home and abroad, replacing Berry Sarbadhikary….

“His roaming spirit made him the exemplary freelance. No one enlivened the pressbox more with his puckish presence. As one Palsule from a vernacular paper kept importuning Dicky for return of a sum, his response was vintage Rutnagur: “If you ask for your money one more time, I will never borrow from you again!”

In The Telegraph, Calcutta, Amit Roy writes of how Rutnagur made the jump to the British press.

“In 1966, Dicky arrived in England with an agreement to work every day during the summer covering county games for The Daily Telegraph and then disappear abroad for the winter for Test matches.”

As if to live to up to C.L.R. James‘ famous line “What do they know of cricket who only cricket know,” Rutnagur, like his compatriot K.N. Prabhu of The Times of India, had an ear for classical music.

“I would say that cricket has been almost – almost – all consuming. But I am very fond of classical music – and jazz. Mozart and Rachmaninov, Tsaichovsky, and latterly in the last few weeks I have been listening to a lot of Beethoven.”

Like a good Parsi, Rutnagur believed in telling it like it is, sans political correctness. He said cricket writing had come a long way: From Cardus to Kotnis.

In Mid-Day, the former Hindu cricket writer, R. Mohan, reminisced:

“Walking into the Indian dressing room with him on the morning of the first ever Test match in Ahmedabad, Dicky came up with the best joke on the Indian team I had heard in a long time.

“Looking at all the Sardars sitting around – Sidhu, Sandhu, Maninder, Gursharan – Dicky came up with – Sorry, I thought this was the Indian dressing room, not the Motibagh taxi stand.’”

Amit Roy writes that Rutnagur believed the authorities at Lord’s were right to apply a strict dress code – tie and jacket for men; no jeans or trainers; and for women, no cleavage on display.

“We” – meaning men – “take the trouble to dress properly,” he said. “The least women could do was adopt the same code.”

Rutnagur wrote two books, Test Commentary (India v England, 1976-77) and Khans Unlimited (a history of squash in Pakistan).

Photograph: courtesy Mid-Day

Read a Dicky Rutnagur report: Silencing the Calypso

Former TOI group vice-chairman no more

RCcooper

sans serif records the demise of Rustom Cowasjee Cooper, a former non-executive chairman of The Times of India group, in London on Tuesday, 18 June 2013. He was 91.

Mr Cooper, an accountant by training, won the bank nationalisation case in 1971 and was a general secretary of the Swatantra Party, C. Rajagopalachari‘s party that was opposed to Nehruvian socialism.

Hat tip: Law and other things

Also read: TOI reports first Indian sub’s death after 22 days

Poems on news anchors: this week, Barkha Dutt

In Open magazine this week, Madhavankutty Pillai continues his occasional series of poems on news anchors. This week, the face of NDTV 24×7: Barkha Dutt, the host of We the People and The Buck Stops Here.

Ye destitute widow, acid attack victim

Forgotten spy, despairing cripple

Who was once trapped in rubble

And ye burnt in a stock-market bubble

This comforting hand I lay on your shoulder

Time to the pan of the camera’s girdle

Give me your grief just for a moment

Let us spread it before We The People.

 

Some would say why I would say

Some would say for what I say

But know me You The People

Not by my late tribulations

But by my fine emulations

A career of honed expressions

My hysterics have drowned howitzers

My voice can be louder than bombs

I have a naughty glint to start

The motors of the Bollywood mouth

A furrowed brow for the minister

For every novelist two paras by heart.

 

I am the tallest poppy

Mistress of every beat

Battler of troll and twit

Editor, intellectual, analyst

Anchor, correspondent, critic

And and and and and

Some would say that’s a lot of me

But all ye upstarts

Why don’t you just let me be

Photograph: courtesy Verve

Also read: A poem for Karan Thapar

A poem for Sagarika Ghose