Tag Archives: Roy Greenslade

How Pakistan helped ‘The Hindu’ save $800!

A giant pack of 61 journalists—each told to carry at least $800 in foreign currency for their hotel stay—is accompanying Indian minister of external affairs, S.M. Krishna, on his much-ballyhooed visit of Pakistan.

But Praveen Swami, the deputy chief of bureau of The Hindu in Delhi—who did a brief stint as diplomatic editor of The Daily Telegraph, London, and who has repeatedly punched holes in the Pakistani narrative of terror with its army and government officials on television—will not be one of them.

For the record, The Hindu is one of the few Indian media houses with a correspondent (Anita Joshua) stationed in Islamabad.

The Times of India reports that Times Now journalist Nikunj Garg too was denied a Pakistani visa for a trip of then home minister, P. Chidambaram:

Praveen Swami told TOI that he was called by the High Commission early this week for a meeting with Press Attache Manzoor Ali Memon that lasted for over an hour after two Pakistani officials, who did not share their visiting cards with him, dropped in.

“I was asked no questions but instead handed out sermons by the two on how Indian and Pakistani media could join hands to counter American conspiracies,” Swami said.

The journalist gave them a patient audience and told them that he was ignorant about the revelations they had made about “American plots” and he “would love to catch up on the wikileaks evidence against America they were referring to.”

At the end of the meeting, Swami was gifted a book of poetry by Ahmad Faraz and non-fiction ‘Pakistan from mountain to sea‘ by Mohamed Amin, Duncan Willetts and Brendan Farrow.

Images: courtesy The Indian Express & The Daily Telegraph

Also read: I couldn’t go to the US, my name’s Zia Haq

How (free) India treats foreign correspondents

External reading: Muslim journos left out of PM’s trip


Who wins, who loses when it’s Gandhi vs Gandhi

When the Mail Today juxtaposes the Congress scion Rahul Gandhi with the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, who should feel more offended, Gandhi junior or Gandhi senior?

The Guardian‘s media critic, Roy Greenslade, sees the promo in conjunction with Mont Blanc trying to sell pens in the name of Gandhi and Telecom Italia trying to sell phones in the name of Gandhi.

The Congress party sees it the other way round, according to a gossip item in the Indian Express.

Image: courtesy The Indian Express

Also read: Gandhi for the goose ain’t Gandhi for the gander?

Cursor on screen is edging out ink on paper

Philip Meyer says the last newspaper will be printed, packed, sold, (and hopefully) bought, read, crumpled and thrown in the first quarter of the year of the lord 2043. That’s 35 years from now, but The Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin, has acted before that eventuality could take place.

The six-days-a-week newspaper has ceased ink-and-paper publication and become a 24x7x365 fullfledged 21st century internet operation since Monday, writes Roy Greenslade.

“That’s the spirit. That’s the future. That’s how it is going to be. Not everywhere at once. Not right away in every American city. Not next week in any British city. And, looking at the situation here in Australia, not in the next decade here. It’s all about the realisation that the screen is edging aside ink-on-paper journalism.”

Photograph: Staffers hold aloft the last edition of the paper (courtesy Capital Times)

Read the full article: Wisconsin ‘paper’ shows the way

Also read: Will paper tigers last longer than real ones?

Can people like us cover people like them?

Of all the reasons proffered for the current state and priorities of the media, Indian and otherwise, one of the most obvious ones has got the least amount of attention: the changing demographic profile.

To some of the key charges—celebrity-obsessed, headline-driven, trivial, titillatory, hit-and-run—the media has no option but to plead guilty. The “real problems” battling our societies gets little or no attention. Fashion shows and film releases have more journalists covering them than farmers’ suicides.

But besides all the pressures of a competitive market, could part of the problem also lie in the kind of people who get to be journalists these days? Could it be that with the media becoming a glitzy, glamourous profession that is beginning to attract the cream of the cream of society?

That the rooted, connected, working class types are not even getting a look in?

It’s an old thought that Pete Hamill, the former New York editor, once articulated. And it gets raised again in The Guardian, London, courtesy Peter Wilby. Wilby writes that what was once a class-less and meritocratic domain has become a graduate-entry profession bursting with people with the “homogenous public-school accent”.

In other words, society’s socio-economic and religious-ethnic base is not reflected in journalism. Ergo:  journalism’s priorties have changed, its focus-areas have shifted, because those who now sit at the desks and go out into the field, have no contacts, no inside information beyond their own little ken.

Maybe, this is just a romantic, nostalgic vision of the past, like saying yesterday’s newspapers or writers were better. Maybe, but it’s a thought, especially in India, where a journalism diploma costs as much as a good management degree at a top business school.

Read the full article: A job for the wealthy and well-connected

Also read: Roy Greenslade

If print is dying, why did they have to build this?

It is the size of 23 football pitches. It is built with enough steel to build the Eiffel Tower twice over. Its 12 presses can roll out 86,000 copies every hour. It will eat up 330,000 tonnes of newsprint every year.

Rupert Murdoch calls it a “printing cathedral”. Roy Greenslade calls it the most amazing newspaper publishing factory he has since since he got into the business 45 years ago.

“Superlatives fail. It is the biggest, most efficient, least labour-intensive press plant in the world. It’s also unusually clean, eerily quiet – except, of course, inside press hall itself – and spookily devoid of human beings…. There were moments when I thought I had stepped into a science fiction movie set, especially when we were shown unmanned laser-guided vehicles that are designed for tasks once carried our by gangs of men.”

Stephen Glover asks in The Independent:

“Newspapers are dead or dying, we are told. Why, then, is Rupert Murdoch, the most successful media proprietor in the world, investing £650m in state-of-the-art presses to print the Sunday Times, Sun, Times and News of the World?

Enter Broxbourne here: Murdoch’s print heaven

Photograph: courtesy Roy Greenslade/ News International

New, improved news: 80 per cent fact-free

The traditional media love to paint themselves as journals of record, with institutional checks and balances to check facts, separate the wheat from the chaff and print only the news fit to print because the truth involves us all, because the truth shall prevail, etc. But how much of that claim is real and how much is pure advertising?


Flat Earth News, a new book by Nick Davies, is attracting plenty of attention in Britain for its frontal assault on newspapers carrying dodgy stories. Davies, Professor Justin Lewis and researchers at Cardiff University surveyed 2,000 stories from the big papers in Britain. Their findings?

“First, when they tried to trace the origins of their ‘facts’, they discovered that only 12% of the stories were wholly composed of material researched by reporters. With 8% of the stories, they just couldn’t be sure. The remaining 80%, they found, were wholly, mainly or partially constructed from second-hand material, provided by news agencies and by the public relations industry. “Second, when they looked for evidence that these ‘facts’ had been thoroughly checked, they found this was happening in only 12% of the stories.”

Read the full story here: The difference between journalism and churnalism

Have you signed the petition to Save Pervez?

Pervez Kambaksh, a 23-year-old Afghan journalist is facing execution after a religious court in that country found him guilty of downloading material from the internet which is said to question the role of women in Islam. The Independent, London, has launched a campaign to save Pervez, and Roy Greenslade says every journalist must sign the petition.

“Every journalist should sign, not simply because Kambaksh is “one of us”, not even because his conviction is a denial of press freedom, but because it is barbaric to put anyone to death for standing up for people’s human rights.”

Sign the petition here