Category Archives: News and Events

Entries invited for Best Article Competition 2010

PRESS RELEASE: The Press Institute of India (PII), in association with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is inviting entries for the “3rd PII-ICRC Best Article Competition 2010”.

“If you think you have written and published an interesting article on humanitarian issues linked to a situation of armed violence, please do send a copy with complete details to or mail it to Press Institute of India, RIND premises, second main road, Taramani CPT campus, Madras 600113,” reads a press release.

The first prize is Rs 50,000, second prize Rs 30,000, third prize Rs 20,000.

Entries, published in Indian national or regional newspaper magazine between January 2009 and April 2010, should sent before 15 July 2010. Only one entry per journalist is allowed.

The 2009 winnes were Debabrata Mohanty (The Indian Express), Kavitha Muralidharan (The Week), M.M. Rehman (Jana Sakshi) , and the 2008 winners were Mohammed Wajihuddin (The Times of India), Raghu Karnad (Tehelka), T. Ageesh (Malayala Manorama),

For enquiries call: 044-22542344

9-month Express programme in journalism

Express Institute of Media Studies, the journalism school of The Indian Express, is inviting applications for its 9-month programme. The last date to apply is July 3.

Visit the website: Express Institute of Media Studies

Also read: India’s ten best communications schools

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach?

Times School of Journalism seeking applications

Times school of journalism seeking applications

The Times of India‘s school of journalism is inviting applications from graduates under 27 years of age for its business journalism course. The last date to apply is June 10.

Visit the website: Times School of Journalism

Also read: India’s ten best communications schools

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach?

Behind every news story, there is a back story

Lobbyists, who in another age would have been called brokers, fixers, middle men, etc, are the flavour of the month this summer in Delhi with the (official) tapping of phones of top lobbyist Neera Radia aka Niira Radia allegedly revealing the names of two prominent media personalities.

Ergo: a panel discussion.

Also read: The TV anchor, the ex-editor and TV personality

Background reading: Outlook: Favourite hobby horses

Tehelka: Forked tongues and artful nudges

And who’s afraid of the face-to-face powwow?

Manmohan Singh, prime minister of the world’s largest democracy, completes six years in office on May 22 without once being subjected to hard-nosed questioning by an Indian journalist—print, television, radio or internet—in a face-to-face, one-on-one, on-the-record interview.

He will, however, seek the safety of the crowd once again when he addresses the media at a conference on Monday next, May 24, his second interaction in 2,160 days.

India Today editor Prabhu Chawla goes on a short trip down memory lane in his weekly Mail Today column as Manmohan Singh’s media advisor Harish Khare prepares the talking points.

Facsimile: courtesy Mail Today

Also read: Doesn’t the Prime Minister trust the Indian media?

‘If a headline asks a question, the answer is no’

Foundation for Media Professionals (FMP) seminar: Can the intelligence bureau and the research and analysis wing be accountable?

Thursday, February 18

5.30pm-8 pm

Venue: Nehru memorial museum and library, Teen Murti house, New Delhi.

Also read: Andrew Marr: How to read a newspaper

Express Institute of Media Studies, 2010 program

The Express Institute of Media Studies, set up by the Indian Express group, is inviting applications for its 2010 programme. The last date for submission of application forms is 31 January 2010.

Click on the image for a larger frame to view details.

Also read: Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach?

The book, the event, the review, the excerpt

Sentinel House, the book  on the newspaper business by the Bangalore journalist Allen J. Mendonca, who passed away suddenly in late September, is being posthumously published by Raintree, the media company Allen co-founded with his wife, Sandhya.

The book, priced at Rs 225, will be released by Arundhati Nag at the Ranga Shankara in Bangalore on December 16, and by Pratibha Prahlad at the Ambience Mall in Gurgaon on December 19.

Below is a review of the book by S.R. Ramakrishna, resident editor of MiD-DaY, Bangalore, followed by a brief excerpt.



Anyone who knew Allen Mendonca also knew he enjoyed his journalism. Which is why they won’t be surprised at the earnestness and energy in Sentinel House, his novel about the newspaper business.

Allen goes about challenging readers, fellow journalists particularly, to identify real-life media people hiding behind his fictional characters. He is a satirist this moment, and a practitioner of pulp fiction the next, but there isn’t a moment he isn’t having a go at the media world. For that reason, it is likely that journalists will grasp the novel’s nuances better than those with no access to newsroom gossip.

Sentinel House narrates the saga of Harivanshrai aka Harry, a media baron driven as much by his hormones as by the opportunities afforded by the new Indian economy. In a hurry to expand his empire, he transforms his newspaper from institution to product, obscures the once-inviolable line between editorial and marketing, and elevates advertiser over reader.

Many will read Sentinel House as a dramatised chronicle of what Allen saw in the newsrooms of the past two decades. The book also seethes with media-boardroom news and gossip that never made it to print. If journalists sit around at bars and coffee shops with a copy of Sentinel House, smirking, taunting, hooting, or even getting into brawls, you know why.

And unexpectedly, running through all the masala and the action is Allen’s faith in Hindu karma and Christian compassion. When Harry’s crippled son Sid finally finds love, fulfilment, wealth and power, Allen suggests it is all because of his essential goodness. Sentinel House describes crimes provoked by lust and greed, but it is also an optimistic tribute to innocence.

But for all that, Allen’s book is vulnerable, and can be ripped apart easily by any critical book lover. Its sex scenes are inspired by Harold Robbins. Its characters are predictable in what they do when faced with a crisis. (The media czar sleeps around, his wife parties and hits the bottle, their son seeks meaning in art, and older people seek solace in religion). Sentinel House is clearly inclined towards populist fiction and Page 3 reportage.

With this novel, Allen joins the ranks of Bangalorean journalists-turned-novelists Narendar Pani and C.K. Meena, but they take stylistic routes different from his.

If anyone could write this novel, it was Allen. In the decades he spent in journalism, he changed from intrepid reporter to Page 3 heartthrob to independent entrepreneur. He knew this story from the inside. He did many diverse things, including playing the guitar. Allen died of a heart attack late in September, and it is sad that his first novel will also be his last.

I read an advance copy of the book, and don’t know if Allen would have liked to revise it before sending it out to the press, but Sentinel House, even in its present form, can deliver a satisfyingly nasty punch.


Here is an extract from the book, published with the permission of the publishers.



The Rip Van Winkle of Malabar Hill has woken up.

Hip, hip, hurray!

Harivanshrai Kumar a.k.a Harry, the stormy petrel of the Indian media, has given the old man from another century a brand new look.

Imagine The Indian Sentinel in the avatar of good ol’ Rip, emerging all dishevelled and confused from H. G. WellsTime Machine.

He steps out the door into Harry’s state-of-the-art office. He looks around and shouts, “Jeez, I need a makeover.” Harry’s attractive and superefficient secretary (Where does he hire them from?) takes charge. She guides him to the bathroom, crops his hair, gives him a shave, orders him to bathe and throws away his tattered robes.

“Excellent. Now give him one of my suits tailored in Bond Street. And don’t forget the underclothes,” says Harry as he lights up a Cuban.

She gives him a withering look. “As if I’ll ever forget!”

Rip takes on the very personality of Harry.

Harry = The Indian Sentinel.


Analyze it?

It means there is no more room for the conventional, intellectual editor in Harry’s grand scheme.

As far as he’s concerned, the editor is just a high-ranking employee who strings the news together and helms the production of the newspaper. It is the managing editor who dictates policy and content.

In short, professional managers have taken over The Indian Sentinel in every sphere of its existence.

It is limbo for the editors, for they are neither here nor there.

A degree from an IIM, better still, a doctorate in management from some fancy American University, that’s the ticket for a career in The Sentinel.

Goodbye, liberal arts.

Goodbye, Mr. Editor.

Harry’s on record: “The old order had to change and who better than I to herald it?”

Harry’s been harping about television fast replacing the print media as the most popular and quickest purveyor of news.

Five years from now there will be a dozen television stations beaming news and entertainment. We have to reinvent ourselves. Otherwise, newspapers will be relegated to the status of a poor cousin. We have already lost 23 per cent of our ad revenue to television. Our profit margins have begun to drop and will keep plummeting.

Sure, Harry has a case.

Sure, television is seducing our readers. Should we get worried? Is there a need for radical change? Should we change our editorial and management modules?

Should we look at alternative revenue streams to compensate for the drop in business?

Yes and No.

Packaging is only one aspect of presentation. Readers expect news and views. The written word is a habit. You can’t carry your television to the park. Or into the crowded bus or train.

Harry is young and in too much of a hurry.

He doesn’t understand what a newspaper is all about.

He’s a Young Turk who has been handed over a venerable institution on a platter.

Here’s wishing he won’t trip on his own predictions. For in his mad rush to be ahead of the times, he just might lose all touch with the present.

And stumble!

Also read: Allen J. Mendonca: Here’s looking at you, kid

Largest crowd in 40 years for a journalist’s funeral

Sanskriti Awards for Teresa Rehman, Bahar Dutt

Teresa Rehman Bahar Dutt

Two young journalists, Teresa Rehman (left) of Tehelka and Bahar Dutt of CNN-IBN, are among five winners of the Sanskriti Awards for 2009.

Now in its 30th year, the Sanskriti Awards are given to young talents between 25 and 35 years of age, and will be presented in New Delhi on Novemebr 20, according to a press release. Each award carries Rs 50,000 in cash and a citation.

# An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Teresa Rehman is Tehelka‘s principal correspondent in the Northeast. Her photo-story on an alleged fake encounter in Manipur in June 2009, won global acclaim and was picked up by newspapers and magazines worldwide.

# Bahar Dutt, a trained wildlife conservationist, has worked for the last ten years on key wildlife issues in India and abroad. She played a key role in working with and rehabilitating the Bahelias, a community of snake charmers in Rajasthan and Haryana.

Photographs: courtesy Sanskriti Pratishtan