Tag Archives: Juan Antonio Giner

Selling the soul? Or sustaining the business?


PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: Let it be said upfront: Indian newspapers have sold their front pages to advertisers before, and The Times of India is not the first.

In 1948, India’s self-proclaimed “national newspaper”, The Hindu, reported the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on its back page, because, back then, the “Mount Road Mahavishnu” used to run ads on the front page.

In the mid-1990s, when the “Old Lady of Boribunder” ran ear panel advertisements on either side of its title, it sold both slots to a (chocolate?) advertiser who created the words “LET” and “WAIT” in the same font as the paper’s mashtead.

Result, when readers received the paper, the masthead that greeted them was “LET THE TIMES OF INDIA WAIT”.

More recently, using the front page for advertising, often by flanking the actual front page with a wraparound, has gained currency among a variety of advertisers and newspapers, including The Hindu.

And there are those who believe this is a good thing because the most important piece of real estate in a paper can draw top dollar, which can sustain newsrooms in a tight advertising market. After all, the New York Times has just started taking front page ads.

Selling the front page for advertising is one thing, but selling a newspaper’s masthead?

That’s precisely what the Delhi edition of The Times of India has done today (see image, above).

The Times often uses the masthead to create Google-style doodles, to wish readers on festivals and to create a splash  on important news days. For journalists and readers of the old school, even that may not be OK, but at least that doesn’t amount to signalling to the world that the soul of the paper is safe.

But in a step that suggests that there is nothing in the paper that cannot be bought for a price, The Times today sells its masthead to a mobile phone company, whose ad, with various arms of it creeping all over the news space, appears below on the bottom-half of the front page.

It can be argued that there is nothing wrong with monetising the masthead. Regular readers rarely look at it with a close eye and in the case of the The Times of India, readers who are used to their paper’s masthead being played around with, may not even notice.

On the other hand, sure, business is bad, but this bad?


Also read: Pyramid Saimira, Tatva & Times Private Treaties

Times Private Treaties gets a very public airing

SUCHETA DALAL: Forget the news, you can’t believe the ads either

SALIL TRIPATHI: The first casualty of a cosy deal is credibility

PAUL BECKETT: Indian media holding Indian democracy ransom

PRATAP BHANU MEHTA: ‘Indian media in deeply murky ethical territory’

The scoreline: Different strokes for different folks

Does he who pays the piper call the tune?


Who, why, when, how, where, what, what the…

screen-bill.mao-newsweek newsweek copertina newsweek

The new, redesigned Newsweek has had plenty of what can only be mildly termed “negative fan following”.

The designer Juan Antonio Giner wrote recently that it was time to “forget Newsweek“.

“It’s irrelevant. Awful design. Cheap opinions. No reporting. No news. No quality. No necessary content. And… a newsroom of hundreds. For what? Fat newsroom for a dying magazine.”

Vir Sanghvi, the former editor of the now-defunct Sunday, Bombay and Imprint magazines, called it “uninfluential, unreadable and unprofitable“:

“The desire to emulate The Economist has made the new Newsweek less dependent on correspondents and more focused on columnists. That may not be a bad idea in itself but the problem is that the columns are dull and are so poorly laid out that you never want to read them. My guess is that either Newsweek will rethink this format or it will finally close down.”

The Economist bug is reflected in the desire to explain everything that happens in the world.

Who, why, what, where, when, which, how, what next, what the….. may be the fundamentals of journalism, but when done week after boring week from the ramparts of the desktop, it can get very predictable, resulting in an “analysis paralysis”.

Below are 45 headlines, straplines and introductions from just the last eight issues of the international edition of Newsweek (dated July 13 to September 14) edited by the Indian-born policy wonk Fareed Zakaria, and they present to the reader the scary spectacle of a bunch of smug know-it-alls, who have cracked every problem on earth.

Every problem except how to make their own magazine*.

1) How Russian and US interests align

2) What we don’t know can hurt us

3) How China’s consumer society is built by the state

4) Helping Africa save itself

5) Why ‘steady’ lost

6) How Obama looked at the Kremlin

7) Why the economic crisis is hitting the rich hardest

8) Why the crisis is good for some powers that be

9) How the crisis only makes Washington stronger

10) How the mighty have fallen

11) Why the GOP is falling out of love with gun-toting, churchgoing, working-class whites

12) Why France needs Turkey in the EU

13) How India will define its grand strategy

14) Why Japan isn’t rising

15) What lurks beneath

16) Why polaroid is the new black

17) Why the US will emerge from the crisis on top

18) How Tony Blair came to be Europe’s choice

19) Why good web sites shouldn’t be free

20) Why it’s even worse than we feared

21) Why fears of a Muslim takeover are all wrong

22) Why the United States will come out of the crisis on top

23) How crisis will kill off the empire

24) Why space junk is a nuclear threat

25) How do we move forward, not back?

26) How come Goldman is making billions and I’m still broke?

27) How crisis will make the EU stronger

28) How we filled the skies with junk

29) Why bad times could make America’s top schools even stronger

30) How to solve the education crisis—and why more money alone isn’t the answer

31) How Koizumi killed Japan’s ruling party

32) Why IBM is profiting despite the crisis

33) Why goofy glasses are in your future

34) What’s good for IBM is as good as it gets for America

35) Why Japan’s new rulers will only solidify into the second rank

36) What you need to know: alient exist, settlements aren’t the problem, elections aren’t the answer, and more

37) How Ted confounded the Kennedy myth

38) How Russia sees the world

39) How football went East

40) What Teddy can’t teach us

41) Why, years after the Cold War, the Kremlin’s still obsessed with getting respect

42) How nuclear weapons may make the world a safer place

43) How do you break the internet?

44) Why Japan’s new leaders aren’t so scary

45) What to do if jobs don’t come back

* Disclosures apply

Also read: Fareed Zakaria: Will this man be the next US Secretary of State?

Tina Brown: Magazines, like mushrooms, should grow in the dark

How to wish ‘Happy Birthday’ without a script

On his 48th birthday, US President Barack Obama wishes the grande dame of the White House press corps, Helen Thomas, on her 89th.

Let history record that the Wisher-in-Chief did not use a teleprompter when he wished her Happy Birthday.

Link via Juan Antonio Giner/ Innovation in Newspapers

Also read: The fastest 100 days in 72 days

Seminar on managing newsrooms in crisis times

How to manage a news organisation in a recession? How to make the best use of depleted resources and revenues?

How to find new revenue streams in online and mobile digital platforms? How to design and integrate newsrooms for the multimedia era?

Those are some of the big questions facing global media today, and Innovation Media Consulting Group is coming to India to hold a series of one-day seminars.

The aims: to challenge management and editorial teams to rethink the business, to push through reforms, and to inject some positive thinking into the leadership of news organisations.

Interested? Write to Juan Antonio Giner of Innovation.

Email: giner@innovation-mediaconsulting.com

World Association of Newspapers congress put off


The annual congress of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), scheduled to be held in recession-hit, scam-hit Hyderabad in March this year, has been put off to the end of the year.

According to one report, the meeting was postponed to due to low registration.

“The economic crisis has had a devastating effect on participation in the events, which are simpldy not viable at this stage,” Timothy Balding of WAN told Juan Antonio Giner, founder-director, Innovation International Media.

A press release from V. Shankaran, officiating secretary general of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), reads thus:

“The 62nd World Newspaper Congress/16th World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo have been postponed and will now be held from 1-3 December 2009 at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad, India.

“The decision to postpone these most prestigious annual events of the print media the world over, which were originally planned for March this year, was due to certain global compulsions.

“World Association of Newspapers (WAN), which represents over 18,000 leading newspaper publications the world over, organizes these annual events of the print media in different parts of the world in collaboration with a host country industry member association.  The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has successfully bid for  hosting these events in India.   In its history of 61 years these events have never been held in South Asia.

“Over 2,000 top cream of world’s most influential owner-publishers, editors and media personalities in the print media are expected to attend these events.  It is a great opportunity to showcase India to the rest of the world.”

Sure, size matters, but does only size matter?

How much smaller can a newspaper sheet get before it becomes a newspaper chit?

From 60-inch web presses (the old Wall Street Journal or The Hindu) which generated very wide 15-inch by 22¾ front pages, we have come down to acceptable 54-48 inch web presses which generate 12½ to 13½ inch front pages (New York Times).

Broadsheets (like The Times, London) which didn’t want the label of tabloid went for a “compact” format, while others like The Guardian, went for an in-between “Berliner” size.

Publishers have passed off each new size in the name of good design, ease of use, diminishing attention span, doing less better, etc, although the most compelling reason—the rising cost of newsprint and the need to cut costs—was the most decisive factor, but rarely revealed to the reading public.

But can we cut the newspaper size even further?

Juan Antonio Giner of Innovation Media believes so. His company, in collaboration with with Bermer and Company, has unveiled what it claims is a “new format” for newspapers, at the 2008 World Association of Newspapers meet.

Called 3030, Giner says it’s not a concept for the newspaper of the future, but the newspaper for today.

How much longer before somebody cuts 3030 into half, and how much of a “new format” would that be?

And how much longer will publishers and designers dance to the tune of accountants and auditors without tackling the core reason for the diminishing returns, which is content?

In the end, there was nothing?

3030 Photograph: Bermer/ INNOVATION

Showcase photograph: Wikipedia

GUARANTEED: 20 ways to kill a newspaper

At the World Association of Newspaper summit, Juan Antonio Giner, vice-president of Innovation, has unveiled a surefire recipe to kill a newspaper.

1. be dull and boring
2. change slowly
3. print yesterday’s news
4. don’t take risks
5. expect different results by doing things the same way
6. insult your readers
7. lie to advertisers
8. please politicians
9. cover buildings not people
10. don’t interact with audience
11. print badly
12. print poor colour
13. write long
14. don’t care about design
15. don’t care about talent
16. don’t sack bad managers
17. pay badly
18. don’t innovate
19. milk the cash cow
20. expect miracles