Category Archives: Blogosphere

T.S. SATYAN Awards for Photojournalists

The winners of the T.S. SATYAN Memorial Awards for Photojournalism 2011: (Left to right) Yagna, K. Gopinathan, Netra Raju, Bhanu Prakash Chandra, Regret Iyer, M.S. Gopal

sans serif is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural T.S. Satyan Memorial Awards for Photojournalism, instituted by India’s first web-based photosyndication agency, Karnataka Photo News, in association with, in memory of the legendary photojournalist who passed away two Decembers ago.

The awards will be presented by the governor of Karnataka, H.R. Bhardwaj, in Bangalore on Sunday.

Lifetime achievement award: Yagna, ex-Hindu, Udayavani, Mangalore

Best newspaper photojournalist: K. Gopinathan, The Hindu, Bangalore

Best professional photojournalist: Netra Raju, The Times of India, Mysore

Best magazine photojournalist: Bhanu Prakash Chandra, The Week, Bangalore

Best freelance photographer: ‘Regret Iyer, Bangalore

Best online photojournalist: M.S. Gopal,

Nominations for the awards came from the Karnataka media academy, press club of Bangalore, Karnataka union for working journalists and the photojournalists association of Bangalore. The lifetime achievement award carries a cash prize of Rs 10,000 and a citation; all other prizes carry a cash prize of Rs 5,000 each and a citation.


Read more about/by the winners

K. GOPINATHAN: Why namma Gopi (almost) cried in January 2008

REGRET IYER: Success is standing up one more time than you fall

M.S. GOPAL: Every pictures tells a story. Babu‘s can fill a tome

M.S. GOPAL: When Chamundi betta relocates to amchi Mumbai


‘The New York Times’ calls Sibal’s Facebook bluff

Indian politicians are long used to happily denying what they said on record (and in front of cameras) without ever having their versions contradicted. Union telecommunications and information technology minister Kapil Sibal is learning the hard way that The New York Times isn’t write-your-pet-hate-newspaper-or-channel-here.

Last Monday, an NYT story which said “Big Brother” Sibal had urged global giants like Google, Facebook to “prescreen” user-content set off an online storm. The Congress party quickly dissociated itself from the minister’s remarks and Sibal was reduced to furiously back-pedalling before chummy TV anchors ever eager to oblige.

On Karan Thapar‘s “Devil’s Advocate” programme on CNN-IBN, Sibal said nobody from his ministry talked to NYT, nor did anybody from NYT talk to his department, and that the piece was based on Congress party sources.

Further, Sibal made heavy weather of a light-hearted comment made by an  NYT reporter at a press conference, even going so far as to suggest that the New York Times somehow wanted to get at him.

New York Times has responded to the charges and said it stands by the original story.

# The article posted on Dec. 5 notes, “Mr. Sibal’s office confirmed that he would meet with Internet service providers Monday but did not provide more information about the content of the meeting.’’ India Ink called three people in his office before posting the article: Mamta Verma and S. Prakash, spokespersons who said they had little information about the issue, and Ranjan Khanna, a secretary who was unavailable.  The article attributes no information to Congress Party personalities.

# The reporter who wrote the article, Heather Timmons, introduced herself to Sibal at a news conference the day after it was published with the phrase “just trying to keep you on your toes.” It was intended as a friendly nod to the fact that he may not have liked the story, but that nothing personal was meant by it.

Image: courtesy Outlook* (disclosures apply)

Read the full article: Our response to Kapil Sibal

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Should Facebook be censored?

Without you, where would we in the media be?

In 2006, Time magazine declared that the person of the year was you, yes, you—a smart way of acknowledging the rise of Wikipedia, YouTube, MySpace and other crowd-sourced media avenues in the internet era.

In 2011,  Web18, the internet arm of Raghav Bahl‘s Network18, which has launched a heavily promoted website called First Post—an assemblage of quirky blogs, edited by R. Jagannathan, the former executive editor of DNA—does ditto.

Why a ‘serious’ Reuters journo reads a tabloid

Although India’s print media market is booming, be it in English or the languages, the truth is that it is still the broadsheets that get bowels moving in the morning.

Despite the best efforts of managers, there is a palpable resistance to smaller sized newspapers, regardless of whether they want to call it a tabloid, Berliner or a compact.

The Daily is dead, Mid-Day is struggling, and Mumbai Mirror still rides piggyback on The Times of India in Bombay while Bangalore Mirror comes free with ToI in Bangalore.

Although the brand-wallahs are in thrall of the 5F formula (food, fun, film, fashion, forecast, fornication), most discerning readers, especially journalists, turn their noses at them.

Only Mail Today and Mint seem to have gained some editorial acceptance but at huge cost.

Robert MacMillan, a journalist who works for Reuters in Bangalore, says most people, who hear that he reads the Bangalore Mirror that comes free with The Times of India in that City, exclaim: “But it’s a tabloid!”

In other words, size instinctively colours perception of news sense, although the broadsheets may be guilty of the same crime as “redtops”, which is to dumb down to the lowest common denominator.

It need not necessarily be the case, writes MacMillan, who hails from Jersey City:

“In the case of the Bangalore Mirror, I find plenty to chew over in the morning. The headlines are a little New York Post/ New York Daily News, but there’s a reason people read those papers. More importantly, they’re jumpy and flashy because they often herald good journalism — the kind of stuff that people want to read. No doubt, they likely contribute to the tired “India! Ancient yet vibrant and modern!” PR campaign that has entranced my U.S. media colleagues.”

Link via K.K.

Read the full blog: Don’t hate mate because I read Bangalore Mirror

Kannada Prabha uses reader-generated headlines

“Interactivity” has been the buzzword in the English media for over a decade now.

Readers have always written letters to the editor in the past, but now they also do film reviews, shoot and caption pictures, draw cartoons, ask and answer questions from other readers, take part in citizen journalist shows, post realtime comments by SMS and Twitter, and so on and so forth.

Much of this interactivity—intended at giving the news consumer a sense of participation in the news production process—is at the front-end.

How about some interactivity in the rear of the shop?

In an era when television, the internet and the mobile phone deliver news realtime, Vishweshwar Bhat, the new editor of Kannada Prabha, the Kannada daily belonging to the New Indian Express group, pulled out a new trick out of his hat in the past week.

Using his blog, Facebook account and Twitter feed, Bhat invited readers of Kannada Prabha to suggest “fresh, crisp, bright, punchy” headlines for the Union budget, railway budget and the State budget for the following day’s paper—and printed them in the paper with due credit.

At 6.30 pm on February 24, Bhat invited suggestions for an 8-column banner headline for the State budget. He received 126 comments by the 9.30 pm deadline he had set.

For the railway budget the following day, there were 96 comments, and for the Union budget on February 28, there were 60 comments by 10 pm.

“I hadn’t expected such a response. None of the contributors were fulltime journalists but their headline writing skills were on a par with that of professional sub-editors,” wrote Bhat.

While the winning headline made it to the front page of Kannada Prabha, tens of other entries with the names of contributors found mention in the sidebars on the inside pages.


Photograph: The March 1 front page of Kannada Prabha, carrying an eight-column banner headline suggested by reader Ravi Sajangadde for the Union budget. The editor’s note at the bottom-right of the page explains the headline and acknowledges the reader’s contribution.


Also read: A blank editorial, a black editorial & a footnote

CNN-IBN in row over “fake” Twitter comments

Every single media implosion in recent months—be it Barkha Dutt‘s response to criticism of her 26/11 coverage or her response to the Niira Radia tapes, or Rajdeep Sardesai‘s defence of Vir Sanghvi and Dutt as president of the editors’ guild—has only underlined how cut off old media is from the new and how it is still groping around for cover from te latter’s constant 24x7x365x60x60 scrutiny.

Now, Sardesai’s channel, CNN-IBN, has slipped into a row in which it has locked horns with the newest kid on the social media block: Twitter.

Last night, on his award-winning show India@9, Sardesai moderated a show on whether lobbying should be legalised in the wake of the Radia scandal.

So far, so good.

But blogosphere is ablaze with rumours and allegations that CNN-IBN generated fake Twitter counts that it ran at the bottom of the screen while the show was on.

“I was appalled to find that these comments were manipulated, i.e. ghost created and run by IBN’s own team, all those dubious comments seem to reflect the sentiments and to show and thrust the fact that people are for ‘LOBBYING’ and they support  ‘LEGALISING LOBBYING’,” wrote one blogger.

“If they are as perceived to be, this is a clear breach of trust and honesty and a clear evidence of media manipulating and directing Public opinion, which is illegal, dishonest and unethical and could be ascam by itself, this is a dangerous trend clearly a propaganda strategy for deception.”

The blogger also posted the screenshots of five Twitter accounts (@t_mayank, @bhumika_14, @maira_t12, @harish_p and @kala_s) that CNN-IBN ran on the show, to show that the handles were indeed blank.

Sardesai, who is CNN-IBN’s editor-in-chief, responded twice on Twitter since the story gained steam.

In one, he said:

The comments were picked up from should have been attributed to the web, not to twitter.”

And in the other, he said:

explanation given, apology given. chill.

But the universe of social media is an incredibly cruel, even anti-social one. And pretty soon, CNN-IBN’s catchline “Whatever it Takes” was soon undergoing an online metamorphosis.

Links courtesy Vishwas Krishna

‘I couldn’t go to the US as my name is Zia Haq’

In October 2009, Siddharth Varadarajan of The Hindu reported that three Muslim journalists who were part of prime minister Manmohan Singh‘s official media delegation to the G-20 summit Pittsburgh were denied US visas.

The passports of all three were returned with yellow slips stating they had been found ineligible to receive a visa and that their applications needed “additional administrative processing”.

Now, in September 2010, Vidya Subrahmaniam reports in the same newspaper that Zia Haq, an assistant editor of Hindustan Times, has found that his application needs similar additional administrative processing.

Part of a seven-member journalist delegation invited to participate in a week-long technology and farm show that began on August 28 at Iowa in the United States, the US embassay suspended processing of Haq’s visa and he had to drop out of the tour at the last minute.

Haq writes on his blog:

“all other journalists in the delegation were promptly granted visas…What prompted this? My religion? My faith? My views? [But] I have never been a consistent, rabid or vocal opponent of America…”

The other journalists who were invited—bearing the names M.J. Prabhu (The Hindu), Sitanshu Swain (Financial Express), Vivek Giridhari (Lokmat), U. Pandey (Dainik Jagran), Sudhakara Reddy (Sakshi) and Uma Sudhir (NDTV)—were able to reach the US for the show.

For the record, Zia Haq’s blog says this about himself in case US embassy officials haven’t noticed:

“Zia Haq, as a five-year-old, refused to take Arabic lessons from a maulvi hired by his mother because the alphabet book wasn’t colourful enough. He revisited the Quran only as an adult, just after 9/11 to be precise, to find out if his faith was inherently violent. The ‘need to know’ soon grew into a ‘need to tell’ — that Islam needs to be understood not feared. Haq reports on minority affairs but likes to believe he’s destined for bigger things, like taking the phobia out of Islamophobia.”

Photograph: courtesy Hindustan Times

Read Zia Haq’s full blog: They call me Muslim