Posts Tagged ‘Sachin Kalbag’

Mid-Day Delhi and Mid-Day Bangalore to shut

5 December 2011

The front page of the final edition of Mid-Day, Bangalore, on 6 December 2011, with a farewell note by executive editor Sachin Kalbag

The Bombay tabloid Mid-Day has made three attempts to break into Bangalore. The first was in the early 1980s under the redoubtable Khalid A.H. Ansari, and the second in the late 1980s under his sons Tarique and Sharique Ansari, when the Bangalore editions of Sunday Mid-Day rolled out. Both those attempts  came quickly unstuck.

The third entry came in 2006, when the group launched a daily edition, hoping as all groups do to tap into the “high-earning, big-spending IT crowd” that only media managers can spot. The third entry also coincided with the paper’s full entry into Delhi. Now, both editions are being shut down by the news owners, Dainik Jagran, effective tomorrow.

Below is the full text of the email received by employees from group CEO Manajit Ghoshal at 5.13 pm, and it is remarkable for how lightly it treats the lives of dozens of ordinary journalists and other staffers at short notice, while dishing out the boilerplate managerial bullshit about “corporate scenario”.

***

Dear colleagues

It’s with a heavy heart that I have to announce the closure of Mid-Day Delhi and Mid-Day Bangalore editions. Tomorrow’s issue will be the last issue for both the editions. This has been necessitated by the prolonged losses we had to incur on these editions.

The idea behind starting these editions was to establish these brands in these cities and make a difference in the lives of the citizens there. We had begun well and were appreciated for the quality of product we put out. However, in a corporate scenario the books need to be balanced.

Due to the ever increasing competition in the print media space, the funds required for breakeven in these cities kept escalating. Finally, we had to take this call. We will however, continue to maintain a news bureau in Delhi and our sales offices in Bangalore and Delhi.

But, every dark cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining in this is that Mumbai Mid-Day now will have the strength to soar to greater heights. By cutting our losses in Delhi and Bangalore editions, we will be able to bolster our circulation in Mumbai.

Apart from the plan to channel these investments, Jagran group (our parent company) will invest a large sum in boosting Mid-Day’s circulation in Mumbai. This will give our sales guys across the country to pitch Mumbai Mid-Day to clients and agencies in a new light.

We need to now concentrate on building brand Mid-Day in Mumbai and monetizing Mumbai Mid-Day’s large increase in circulation and in this our sales colleagues in Delhi, Bangalore and Pune will have to play a significant part.

Gujrati Mid-Day and Inquilab continue to go from strength to strength. We are increasing the circulation of GMD at a brisk pace and will continue to do so. Inquilab has flourished in the north and we now have 14 editions in all and are far ahead of any competition in the Urdu space.

Mid-Day Pune is an extension of Mid-Day Mumbai just as the Pune city is an extension of Mumbai. Mid-Day Pune will continue to run at an ever increasing pace and we will be monitoring the Pune media market keenly to spot opportunities to improve the circulation of Midday Pune.

We will continue to invest aggressively in our digital properties as we believe that this is a medium whose time has come.

5th December, 2011 is an important day in the history of Mid-Day. Today, we will have to halt and think. Think about many of our colleagues who will have to move on.

It’s a testing time for them as it is for us. Right now it might look dark but I am sure both of us will come out of this with flying colours. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. We also need to think about the added responsibilities for all of us who remain in this great organization and who have to carry its legacy forward. Let’s begin this phase of our journey with renewed vigour and conviction.

In conclusion, I can only say that all dreams may not fructify but that will only encourage us to try harder and bring us closer, marching forward with a vision which only we can realise. We strive for continuity and absolutes but are reminded time and again that change is the only constant.

In this time of great pain and heavy responsibility, I am sure God will give us the tenacity to walk on—and then to break into a run—and once again soar to live our destiny.

Cheers
Manajit Ghoshal

J.DEY: “When eagles are silent, parrots jabber”

11 June 2011

sans serif records with regret the demise of Jyotirmoy Dey, investigations editor of the tabloid Mid-Day, in a pointblank shootout in Bombay on Saturday, 11 June 2011.

The killing in broad daylight brings into sharp focus India’s much-vaunted journalistic freedom, positing it directly against Pakistan’s, which has seen over a dozen journalists being bumped off in recent months.

***

J. Dey‘s byline adorned crime stories in India’s commercial capital for nearly a quarter of a century in a number of newspapers, including the Indian Express and Hindustan Times.

According to Mid-Day editor Sachin Kalbag, Dey had exposed the Rs 10,000 crore oil mafia only last month.

Dey’s story on the Bollywood actor Salman Khan boasting of his underworld links in a conversation with Aishwarya Rai was the lead story of the launch issue of Hindustan Times‘ Bombay edition in 2005.

Besides a book on the underworld appropriately titled Khallas, Dey had authored a book on police informers titled Zero Dial in 2010. Zero Dial was released by the controversial Maharashtra politician Chhagan Bhujbal, who today said, “Dey wasn’t blackmailing anybody“.

In a 2009 story in Mid-Day, titled Bhai-cha Dhakka, Dey reported on how the underworld was creeping into the mainstream.

“The underworld today is a clear departure from what it was between the 70s and 90s. From controlling bootlegging, gambling and smuggling, the gangs have now entered businesses like real estate, cinema, sand dredging and waterfront commerce in Mumbai’s ports and even the purchase of vegetables and meat (see box). For the common man this means he unknowingly adds to the coffers of gangs…”

In an opinion piece on the silence of “encounter specialists” last July, Dey wrote:

“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. The eagles —encounter specialists—have been silent for far too long. The parrots, or the criminals, have not only begun jabbering but are also flying without fear.”

Former Mid-Day editor Abhijit Majumder described Dey as a softspoken man in the newsroom.

In New Delhi, the Editors Guild of India president T.N. Ninan and general secretary Coomi Kapoor deplored “the law enforcement agencies’ inability to protect the life of a journalist engaged in carrying out his professional duties at great risk to himself.

Rest in peace.

***

Mid-Day: Official statementSachin KalbagHis best stories, His colleagues,

DNA: Aditya Sinha

Hindustan Times: Samar Halarnkar, Debashish Panigarhi, Abhijit Majumder

Indian Express: Obituary

Deccan Chronicle: S. Hussain Zaidi

Bombay journalist arrested under OSA for scoop

19 May 2011

In the kind of incident that shines a light on the kind of police-state India is fast becoming, a former reporter of the Bombay tabloid Mumbai Mirror has been jailed under the draconian Official Secrets Act (OSA) for an article that exposed the government railway police (GRP).

In June 2010, Tarakant Dwivedi wrote a lead story in the tabloid owned by The Times of India group under his pen name Akela, on how weapons purchased by the GRP after the 26/11 terror attacks were rotting the armoury due to water leakage in the monsoon.

The news report was backed up with two pictures (shot by Raju Shinde) which showed SLR rifles soaked in water lying on the floor of the armoury, and plastic sheets placed on top of a cupboard containing rifles and pistols at the CST armoury to prevent water from seeping in.

In recognition of his efforts that showed the railway police in all their glory, Dwivedi, who has joined MiD-DaY since  his expose, was booked for trespass and arrested under section 3 (1) (a) the OSA.

The relevant section reads:

“Penalties for spying. (1) If any person for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State- (a) approaches, inspects, passes over or is in the vicinity of, or enters, any prohibited place.”

Bombay’s journalists today took out a march to register their protest at the arrest of the scribe under OSA. Akela has been remanded to three days’ police custody.

Mid-Day editor Sachin Kalbag writes:

“This action smacks of vendetta, and no free press in any democracy should bow to this bullying by the police, which is clearly an effort to muzzle the press…. While the courts may eventually throw out the case, the harassment of going through the ordeal will serve as a deterrent for other journalists and publications.”

Read Dwivedi’s story: Leaks in CST armoury put new anti-terror arms under threat

Also read: You can’t muzzle the truth

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