Tag Archives: New Indian Express

A new paper in India’s most crowded market

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With the South-based New Indian Express group of Manoj Kumar Sonthalia entering the Delhi market with the Sunday Standard, the North-based Indian Express group of Viveck Goenka has returned the favour by entering the Bangalore market with the National Standard.

The 20-page daily, priced at Rs 4, has been launched on Independence Day with a near identical pagination as the main paper in Delhi, but with a strong component of national news, a key blank in the existing newspapers in Bangalore.

Writes Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta in the launch issue of National Standard:

“We will work to translate the news—and noise—of New Delhi to help you understand how it affects life in the city…. As a newspaper, National Standard will strive to be as complete as Bangalore’s bisi bele baath, that delicious mix of rice, lentils and vegetables.”

After the split in the Indian Express group following Ramnath Goenka‘s demise in the mid-1990s, his adopted son Viveck Goenka got the Express editions in the North, West and East, and Financial Express, which had no geographical boundaries.

The southern editions went to Manoj Sonthalia, who relaunched the publications in the South and Orissa as The New Indian Express. (Manoj Sonthalia’s mother and Viveck Goenka’s mother are sisters.)

(Ramnath Goenka’s daughter-in-law Saroj Goenka (Goenka’s biological son B.D. Goenka had predeceased him), got the lion’s share of the group’s real estate, including the Express building on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and Express estate in Madras, on a portion of which she has built that city’s biggest mall, Express Avenue.)

The Manoj Sonthalia and Viveck Goenka groups had an agreement not to step on each other’s turfs, which was broken with the launch of Sunday Standard under Prabhu Chawla. The northern group took the matter to court but in vain.

For the record, The Times of India is the market leader in India’s most crowded English newspaper market, Bangalore, with a circulation said to be at least two times more than no.2 placed Deccan Herald .

The New Indian Express, The Hindu, Deccan Chronicle, DNA, are all also-rans. The National Standard is printed at the DNA‘s press in Bangalore.

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Editor declares assets, liabilities on live TV

Even as a question mark hangs over the heads of many editors and journalists, H.R. Ranganath, the chairman and managing director of the newly launched Kannada news channel, Public TV, has declared his assets and liabilities on live television, with his tax consultant sitting alongside him and reading out the list.

Ranganath—former editor of the New Indian Express owned daily Kannada Prabha and the Rajeev Chandrasekhar owned news channel Suvarna News—says he provided the list of his assets and liabilities to his proprietors at his previous ports of call each year, but was only now putting it in the public domain.

Any piece of property over and above those listed by him can be auctioned and the proceeds used for public use, declares Ranganath.

The editor’s assets, as read out by his tax consultant of 15 years, Vijay Rajesh:

# A gift from his mother of four guntas of land in Arkalgud, Hassan

# 1991-92: Partnership in a plot of 13,980 square feet in Mysore

# 2002-03: A house constructed on a 30×40 site in Bangalore

# 2005: A Hyundai Accent car bought on loan

# 2009: A Honda Activa scooter

# 2011: A second-hand 1975 jeep bought last year

# 11,000 shares in Mindtree, 12 shares in Reliance Industries, 15 shares in Kairon

# 250 grams of gold belonging to his wife, 100 grams gifted at the time of marriage, the rest bought over the last 20 years.

Also read: Income, outgo, assets, liabilities, profit, loss

Aditya Nigam‘Editors and senior journalists must declare assets’

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Is there room for another Kannada news channel?

This is your chief minister and here is the news

‘Kannada Prabha’ is now Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s

Kannada Prabha, the Kannada daily established by Ramnath Goenka, has a new owner from today, 1 July 2011: mobile phone baron turned businessman and member of Parliament, Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

Chandrasekhar’s Jupiter Media & Entertainment Ventures  began the creeping acquisition of Kannada Prabha, valued at Rs 250 crore, through a “strategic business alliance” with Kannada Prabha Publications in March 2010.

The stake transfer is now complete, according to sources in the know, although neither side has issued a formal communication yet on the extent or completion of the acquistion.

The purchase of the paper means Chandrasekhar now has a Kannada newspaper and a Kannada news channel in his armoury in Bangalore. No other Kannada paper or channel has cross-media ownership.

Former Vijaya Karnataka editor, Vishweshwar Bhat, who was appointed editor-in-chief of Kannada Prabha in February, is slated to take simultaneous control of the Suvarna News 24×7 channel, as group editor.

Kannada Prabha, which has occupied the landmark Express building on Queen’s Road in Bangalore, will move to a new premises in October which it will share with Suvarna News.

File photograph: Make-up men work on Kannada Prabha editor Vishweshwar Bhat for a television commercial for Suvarna News in April.

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.

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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.

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

It’s official: Prabhu Chawla out of India Today

Former India Today editor Prabhu Chawla‘s mysterious mass email to all contacts in his addressbook without announcing his next port of call:

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HI,

This is to inform you that after 14 years in India Today, I am moving on. Next month, I will be joining an established multi-languages and multi-editions media organization.

I will be based in Delhi and my responsibilities include overseeing the group’s expansion into the multi-media segment.

My email for the moment is chawla.prabhu@gmail.com

Thank you for all the support and cooperation you have extended me in the past and I do hope to benefit from the same in future too.

Please keep in touch!

Prabhu Chawla

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Listen: Prabhu Chawla in conversation with Niira Radia—I

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Also read: Should Prabhu Chawla edit the New Indian Express?

Prabhu Chawla‘s son named in media bribery case

“Accused” Ankur Chawla is now “investigator” Chawla

In the New Indian Express, old hands get the sack

Vir Sanghvi “suspends” Hindustan Times column

Vir Sanghvi‘s weekly Hindustan Times column Counterpoint will not appear from next Sunday, after tapes of his alleged conversations with the lobbyist Niira Radia surfaced in Outlook* and Open magazines last week.

The column which will appear tomorrow, 28 November 2010, will be his last, although Sanghvi claims on his website, a) that he is merely taking a break and will be back soon, and b) that his other work for HT will appear as usual.

“The whole episode has left me feeling battered. Perhaps it will drag on. Perhaps more muck will fly around. I have no desire to subject Counterpoint to this filth. It deserves better. So, Counterpoint will be taking a break. When life returns to normal, so will Counterpoint.

“As for me, I must say in all humility, that I will use the break to do some thinking. Of course, I’ll still be around, both here at the HT and in Brunch and in all the other places your normally find me (TV, books, live events, etc.). Counterpoint has taken a break before (six months in 2000). It returned rested and refreshed. This time around, perhaps a rest will lead to renewal.”

The rumour is that the New Indian Express which, too, runs an exclusive column by Sanghvi has decided to drop him after the tapes’ scandal.

Sanghvi, who happily drops the names of Congress bigwigs Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in his conversations, suffers further public opprobrium in the letters column of Outlook* magazine, where a “clarification” reads thus:

“After Outlook’s disclosure of the 2G scam tapes, sources close to the Congress leadership have said journalist Vir Sanghvi’s references to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in his conversation with Niira Radia were a figment of his imagination. He was neither consulted during the cabinet formation post-2009 election nor given the opportunity to speak to the Congress leadership on the allocation of portfolios.”

Oxford-educated Sanghvi was editor of Bombay magazine of the India Today group, Sunday of Ananda Bazaar Patrika group, and Hindustan Times before being named “advisory editorial director of HT“.

One of the few print journalists to graduate to television with ease, Sanghvi has hosted shows on a number of networks Star and Discovery Travel & Living, and writes a popular food column.

Counterpoint has appeared for over two decades in both Sunday and HT.

* Disclosures apply

Update: An earlier headline for this piece suggested that Hindustan Times had “suspended” the column.

Read the full column: Setting the record straight

External reading: The Niira Radia tapes and transcripts

Who really named All India Radio as Akashvani?

PALINI R. SWAMY writes: Mysore’s preminent position in the setting up and christening of All India Radio as “Akashvani” has gone uncontested for well over half a century. Now, in the 75th year of AIR, an unlikely challenger has emerged from 300 km away.

A 70-year-old woman has stood up in Udupi to assert that it was her late father, Hosbet Rama Rao, a former district education officer in Mangalore, was the man who first used—and thus gave the nation—the unquestionably evocative brand-name, “Akashvani“, for the radio.

In other words, the claim busts the belief widely held by Mysoreans that it was their townsman M.V. Gopalaswamy (in picture, above) who coined the word after setting up the nation’s first private radio station in his residence “Vittal Vihar” (in picture, below), about 200 yards from AIR’s current location.

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Anuradhagiri Rao says her father, while serving as a teacher at the government college in Mangalore, anonymously published a booklet titled ‘”Akashvani” in 1932 on the phenomenon of the radio set. She says he drew inspiration from mythology in Kamsa‘s case when an ‘ashariravani‘ (voice without body) predicts his death.

Thus, voice from the akasha (sky) was ‘Akashvani‘, meaning celestial voice,” she has been quoted as saying in the New Indian Express. Her father, she adds, did not reveal his name fearing victimisation from the then British government, as he was then beginning to establish himself as a writer.

To bolster her claim, Anuradhagiri Rao adds her father’s book with the “Akashvani” title was acknowledged and adopted as a non-detailed text book for high school students by the text book committee of the Madras presidency. The book was printed twice in 1941 and 1945.

She also says an Indian Express editorial in February 1987 had doffed its hat to “an article from an unknown writer” for naming “Akashvani“. That unknown writer doubtless was her father.

Needless to say, she wants his name to the immortalised.

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There are two problems with the claim. First, Anuradhagiri Rao bases her claims on an anonymous booklet published in 1932.  Although radio had been around for a while, sound broadcasting began in India in 1927 but All India Radio formally began operations only in 1936, according to AIR’s official website.

Second, there is the small matter of official history.

Akashvani Mysore has just brought out a 406-page souvenir to mark the platinum jubilee of the station.

In her editorial, Dr M.S. Vijaya Haran, station director, AIR Mysore, writes:

“Dr M.V. Gopalaswamy is the father of Mysore Akashvani. He served as the professor of psychology and the principal of the Maharaja’s college. The radio station that he started in 1935 in Mysore is his great contribution to the field of culture. This was the first private radio station in the whole of India and it speaks volumes of a person’s interest, passion, hard work and the instinct to do good to his fellow human beings….

“For six long years Dr Gopalaswamy ran AIR single-handedly spending money from his own pocket. Owing to financial constraint he handed over the administration to the Mysroe city municipality. Later from 1 January 1942, the provincial government of the Maharaja assumed the responsbility of running the organisation.

“Even then Dr M.V. Gopalaswamy continued to be director (till 2 August 1943). After that his colleague, Prof N. Kasturi was appointed full-time chief executive with the designation ‘assistant station superintendent.’ The radio station continued to function under the care of Kasturi, who was a thorough gentleman and a well-known humourist….

It was during that [Kasturi] period that All India Radio was baptised as ‘Akashvani‘ , a name that has been an appropriate metaphor for this wonderful organisation. The radio station flaunted with aplomb the title ‘Akashvani Mysore’ before its facade. It wafted on the waves and reached the hearts of listeners lending them undimmed pleasure. Later on, when All India Radio came under the administrative fold of the Indian government, the radio stations continued to use the name ‘Akashvani‘. The credit of lending this beautiful name ‘Akashvani‘ to all the radio stations of the country belongs to Mysore Akashvani.

Vijaya Haran’s editorial does not, of course,  say Gopalaswamy christened Akashvani, merely that he set it up.

So,while the parentage of Akashvani is not in question, it is Prof Gopalaswamy’s role in naming it that is clearly under question. Did he call it “Akashvani Broadcasting Station” when he started broadcasting as a hobby in 1935, as an earlier souvenir published in 1950 (and included in the platinum jubilee souvenir) avers?

If the name Akashvani evolved under N. Kasturi’s helmsmanship, did Kasturi himself think up the name? Did Prof Gopalaswamy, who was no longer its chief, have any role in it christening or, as a college principal himself, did Gopalaswamy draw his inspiration from an academic 300 km away?

Gouri Satya, the Business Standard journalist who is a walking encyclopaedia on Mysore, wrote recently that “a few sat together and hit upon the name Akashvani for the toy broadcasting station“. Was Hosbet Rama Rao among the few?

In the evening newspaper, Star of Mysore, reader K. Radha Chengappa writes:

“The truth is revealed by late N. Kasturi in his book Loving God, page 76 (early 1920), where he refers to his colleague Dr. M.V. Gopalaswamy of Maharaja’s College, Psychology Department.

“He writes that Dr. MVG had bought a mini Philips transmitter and desired to use it to broadcast educational programmes for the common man an hour everyday. After some years, he managed to secure permission to use short wave transmission programmes.

“For this project, he had roped in Kasturi and when he wanted an Indian word for the broadcasting station, Kasturi’s choice was Akashvani and this word stuck for AIR (All India Radio).”

Or was it Rabindranath Tagore who is supposed to have done so “in the 1930s”?

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Photographs: courtesy Akashavani Mysore platinum jubilee souvenir