Category Archives: Verbatim

A fast, inswinging toe-crusher from a paceman

“There are a lot of newspapers I take seriously, but Friday Times is not one of them. It’s mind over matter. I don’t mind and they don’t matter.”

—Pakistani cricketer turned politician Imran Khan in an interview with Karan Thapar

‘There’s no place for emotion in an anchor’s life’

The BBC anchor Nik Gowing in an interview with Krishnakumar P. of

You were the one who brought the death of Princess Diana and you were on air for more than seven hours after the 9/11 attacks. Can you describe how you felt when you had to do it?

I have likened it to being a doctor. My job is to get it right on air. My job is not to worry about my emotions. For different reasons, I was very tired at the time Princess Diana’s death came in. But when I had to go on air and make that announcement, there was no emotion. It’s the same thing whether it is Diana or a disaster. You have to be cool and sharp in your observations and analyses.

Read the full interview: ‘The world is not flat’

‘A newspaper isn’t just about news, supplements’

Peter Wright, editor, Mail on Sunday:

“Any editor who believes he can sell his newspaper entirely on news and that magazines, supplements, promotions and yes, CDs and DVDs, are simply embarrassments imposed on them by commercial management is not going to succeed.

“Any editor who wants his paper still to be here in 2020 needs to be constantly thinking about what he can add to his newspaper and what he can put into his polybag (plastic wrap) that will make his newspaper better value to the reader.

“When the history of newspapers is written, it may well be that the greatest innovation of our generation is the humble polybag. Newspapers are no longer mere news services but “cultural packages … put together by a remarkable collection of people with fingers on the pulse.”

Link via Editors’ Weblog

If you’re full of shit but want to make a living…

Matt Taibi, Rolling Stone political reporter:

“If you have no real knowledge or skill set and you’re lazy and full of shit but you want to make a decent wage, then journalism’s not a bad career option.

“The great thing about it is that you don’t need to know anything. I mean this whole notion of journalism school—I can’t believe people actually go to journalism school. You can learn the entire thing in like three days.

“My advice is instead of going to journalism school, go to school for something concrete like medicine or some kind of science or something and then use the knowledge you get in that field as a wedge to get yourself into journalism.

“What journalism really needs is more people who are reporting who actually know something. Instead of having a bunch of liberal arts grads who’ve read Siddhartha 50 times writing about health care, it would be really nice if some of the people who are writing about health care were doctors.”

Read the full interview: The vigilante journalist

The world’s oldest, most fearless journalist

“I tape, therefore I am. I tape, therefore they are. Who are they, these etceteras of history, hardly worth a footnote? Who are they of whom the bards have seldom sung?”

Studs Terkel, blacklisted, wiretapped, censored but still fighting fit.

Read the full story here: What a fearless journalist looks like

‘Chhuncho mere haath gondho korte chaina’

The first target of a military coup is said to be a television station. The first thought of a democratically elected leader is a newspaper. West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, facing mounting criticism of his handling of the Nandigram issue, has come down on the Bengali daily Bartaman for its “provocative reports”.

He has asserted that he was not acting against it because chhuncho mere haath gondho korte chaina (I don’t want to sully my hands by killing a mole)”.

Read The Hoot editorial: Buddha, moles and the press

’21st century media is an amoral being’

Sagarika Ghose in the Hindustan Times

“The blame immediately shifts to the media—both print and electronic. It’s the media that’s responsible. The media do not show floods. The media do not show poverty. The media sensationalise blasts. The media are luring politicians to become trapped into a hall of mirrors where reality doesn’t matter.

“Is this true? Twenty-first century media, like all technology, is an amoral being. Its avalanche of images is anarchic. Floods, parties, police brutality, fashion, riots, food, starvation, murder, justice, cocktails, nuclear debates—media provide the democratic noise of everything Indian, the media cater to all tastes.”

‘We, the abominable dregs of planet earth…’

“The lowest depth to which people can sink before god is defined by the word ‘journalist.’ If I were a father and had a daughter who was seduced I should despair over her; I would hope for her salvation. But if I had a son who became a journalist and continued to be one for five years, I would give him up’.”

Soren Kierkegaard

Link via Greenslade

‘The best experience in life is life experience’

Former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee received the 2007 Columbia Journalism Award last week, and told the graduating students:

“The most important thing for a journalist to have, in my view, is life experience. Your [journalism] degree will do you some good, of course—why else would you have come. But what will do you more good is just getting out there and living.

“Schools can teach you how to edit, how to put stories together, and all of that, but they can’t teach you how to think for yourself, how to care about other people, how to make sense of the world around you in your own unique way. Only life experience can do that for you.

“And so wherever you find yourselves next, I hope you will just keep an open mind—to your experience, to the people around you, to everything. You never know where the path will open or where it’s going to lead, but if you know yourself well enough, you’ll know which one is worth following.”

Read the full transcript of his speech here