Tag Archives: Manu Joseph

TOI impact? HT restores cryptic crossword!

When The Times of India took the long ladder down in the late 1990s, among the things its brand managers knocked out was the cryptic crossword with barely a squeak from readers, editors (and TOI receptionists!) who had grown up on it.

No such luck with the Hindustan Times.

The paper may have long buried its reputation as “the only English newspaper written in Punjabi”, but its decision to do away with the cryptic crossword that it reprinted from The Times, London, as part of a redesign, was met with a volley of criticism, including from TOI‘s non-resident jughead.

And, presto, about the only activity that (thankfully) can’t be crowd-sourced is back—with a front-page announcement of its return.

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Quiz question: Who was the editor who set the crossword for the now-defunct The Illustrated Weekly of India?

Hint: He is also a cricket buff and a music buff.

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Also read: Why Jug Suraiya doesn’t buy Hindustan Times

Manu Joseph: magazine editor once set crossword puzzles

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When an editor draws a cartoon, it’s news

MJ

Indian print editors have done book reviews (Sham Lal, Times of India), film reviews (Vinod Mehta, Debonair), food reviews (Vir Sanghvi, Hindustan Times), music reviews (Chandan Mitra, TOI, Pioneer, The Sunday Observer; Sanjoy Narayan, Hindustan Times), elephant polo reviews (Suman Dubey, India Today) etc, but few have done cartoons.

When The Telegraph, Calcutta, was launched Pritish Nandy (who later became the editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India) would do a daily, front-page pocket cartoon, with Mukul Sharma (who later became the editor of Science Today) writing the caption, and vice-versa.

Even today, former Statesman and Indian Express editor S. Nihal Singh is a happy doodler.

In the latest issue of Open magazine, its editor Manu Joseph (who has set crossword puzzles at his previous port of calling, Outlook) puts his signature on a cartoon. Let the record show that “Pope” Joseph‘s handwriting bears a close similarity with Dr Hemant Morporia, the radiologist who draws cartoons.

Also read: If The Economist looks at Tamil News, it’s news

When a stringer beats up a reporter, it’s news

When the gang of four meets at IIC, it’s news

When a politician weds a journalist, it’s news

When a magazine editor marries a starlet, it’s news

When dog bites dog, it’s news—I

When dog bites dog, it’s news—II

Indian journalist ‘applies’ to be the next Pope

In the latest issue of Open magazine, its editor Manu Joseph sends in an application to be the 112th Pope, now that the 111th has put in his papers.

To

The Roman Curia, The Holy See, Rome

Reverends,

In the aftermath of the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI due to his advanced age and fear of delirium, which is reasonable taking into account the fact that when he was believed to be mentally fit he had said that condoms spread AIDS, as you seek a Supreme Pontiff of sound mind from an eminent pool of sixty-to-seventy-year-old virgins, kindly consider this application for the job of Pope from me, Manu Joseph I, a member of the laity.

I am aware that you do not seek applications, but I apply because the Church is in a precarious state and it has to consider extraordinary solutions.

My CV, which is enclosed, may appear unremarkable at first glance, even pointless when the marital status is noted, but if observed carefully the applicant has merit.

For instance, the Church is surely wise enough to know that men in long faithful tropical marriages are indeed somewhat acquainted with celibacy. Also, I am a young male, though not so young that I will lead cardinals to sin; and, once on Indian national television I was accused of misogyny; and, through my writings and one Facebook post, I believe I have relentlessly advertised the Son of God though in the form of an endearing sub-culture, actually to be honest, in the form of a liquor found in Kerala, which is named Jesus Christ because after you drink it, you will rise only on the third day. But more important than all this is that I am a novelist, which none of the former Popes have been, even though Christianity has emerged from the Great Story.

If his application is accepted, Pope Manohar could be the last to oversee the exercise of the Petrine ministry.

The 12th century clairvoyant St Malachy said there would be only 112 Popes and that during the tenure of the 112th, Rome—and the Church—would be wiped out.

In St Malachy’s own words:

“The City of Seven Hills shall be destroyed and the dreadful Judge shall judge the people.”

Read the full application: I am the man

Was Anna Hazare a creation of the media?

With the MMRDA grounds in Bombay not quite turning out to be the Ram Lila grounds of Delhi, and with the Lok Pal bill floundering in Parliament, it is time for introspection in the media of the media’s role in the Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption movement.

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Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief of CNN-IBN, at First Post:

“At the 2011 CNN IBN Indian of  the Year awards, Anna Hazare candidly admitted that it was the media which was responsible for his rise from a regional figure in  Maharashtra to a national icon. ‘If your cameras ‘had not followed me everywhere, who would know me?’ was the activist’s honest response.

“There is little doubt that over the last nine months, Hazare’s advisers used the media quite brilliantly. Prime-time press conferences, made-for-TV spectacles, social networking campaigns: Anna Hazare did benefit from saturation media coverage.

“Yes, some of  it was high-pitched,  and, yes, some journalists did become Anna cheerleaders. But to see Anna as purely a media phenomenon would be a misreading of  the mood on the street. Crowds were attracted to Anna not because the TV cameras were there, but because he appeared the antithesis of  a morally bankrupt political leadership beset with a series of  scams….

“In the end, both the state and Team Anna mistook the medium for the message. Team Anna saw the frenzied coverage as its main weapon, forgetting that democratic politics is not a repetitive television serial, but a tortuous process of  negotiation and conciliation. The state, on the other hand, failed to recognise that cacophony will be part of  a media environment in which there are more than 350 news channels and several hundred OB vans across India.

“The media will be a loudspeaker of  grievances, not just of Team Anna, but of  many other protest movements in the future. Strong leaders will not be swayed by the noise, a wise civil society will seek legitimacy beyond the camera lens.”

Manu Joseph, editor of Open magazine, in the International Herald Tribune:

“The Indian news media generate public interest through two distinct kinds of stories — the reporter’s story and the editor’s story. In 2005, when Parliament passed the Right to Information Act, it was the result of a long and difficult process of influencing public opinion by reformers and persistent reporters.

“The anti-corruption movement, on the other hand, was an editor’s story from the very beginning, from the moment Anna Hazare arrived in New Delhi in April, sat on a wayside with his supporters and threatened to starve to death if the government did not create the Lokpal.

“Television news quickly converted Hazare into a saint who had arrived from his village to fight the corrupt authorities in New Delhi. On the first day of his fast, there were no more than 300 people around him, but the cameras framed the fast in such a way that it gave the impression that something big was going on.

“The television news media, which are largely headquartered in New Delhi, had very little understanding of Hazare, who is from Maharashtra. Until last April, his influence was confined to rural parts of Maharashtra. By the time the anchors asked the important question — “Who exactly is Anna Hazare?” — it was too late. They had already proclaimed him a modern saint, and he had amassed millions of supporters in a matter of days. As it turned out, Hazare is not a man the urban middle class would normally call a saint.”

Also read: Anna Hazare: 17 interviews in 11 hours

How The Times of India pumped up Team Anna

The ex-Zee News journalist behind Anna Hazare show

Ex-Star News, ToI journos behind ‘Arnab Spring’

Is the media manufacturing middle-class dissent?

Should media corruption come under Lok Pal?

When Manu Joseph met Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Manu Joseph, editor of Open magazine, in The New York Times:

“Nine years ago, I was invited by the Art of Living Foundation to interview Mr Shankar.

“Mr Shankar was in the house of a wealthy businessman in South Mumbai.

“In the living room he sat on a large, embellished, thronelike chair as about 50 of Mumbai’s rich and famous sat on the floor, among them the film actor Vinod Khanna and the actress Nagma.

“At Mr Shankar’s feet sat a newspaper reporter, taking down notes as he spoke.

“All the interviews that evening were supposed to be conducted in this manner, with the reporter on the floor, at his feet, and he on the throne.

“When it was my turn, an absolute silence filled the room as I dragged a chair toward him. When I sat down, there was an audible moan from his followers. The interview did not go well. Most of his answers were snubs that elicited loud guffaws from his audience.”

Read the full article: Indian spiritualism made for the new age

Why we didn’t air Niira Radia tapes: 2 examples

 

The publication of the transcripts of the Niira Radia tapes—in which the fixer of the Tatas and Ambanis talks to journalists Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt (among others)—by Open magazine, Outlook* and Mail Today has sent the media world into a tizzy.

Only a brave few have been able to avoid the temptation of using the tapes, which indicate how a cabal of politicians, fixers, lobbyists and journalists ganged up to insert disgraced telecom minister A. Raja into Manmohan Singh‘s cabinet in 2009, even when the stench of scam was hitting the ceiling.

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Exhibit A: Why India Today magazine didn’t run the tapes, according to Aditya Sinha, editor-in-chief of the New Indian Express.

Exhibit B: Why the business daily Mint didn’t run the tapes, according to editor Ranganathan Sukumar :

“The reason we didn’t act on them was because we couldn’t authenticate them….. The mere submission of a more detailed set of transcripts in the court doesn’t, at least to my mind, make the documents any better as “source” for a newspaper article. They could be authentic, but there’s a chance that they could be forged.

“My reporters and editors had no way of finding out, which (and believe me, we tried) I think is the responsibility of an honest newspaper to do.”

* Disclosures apply

Also read: NDTV response on Barkha Dutt

Vir Sanghvi‘s response to the Radia tapes