The one surprising thing about the entire Bishop Masih vs. Anil Wilson episode was that it brought out the stark insularity of the Mumbai newspapers. The very fact that this incident made the front pages of DNA was surprising, because the papers over here would rather carry stories of rotting carcasses than national news, because there is this extremely weird belief that national news means nothing. Only when I noticed the Stephen's story in ToI Mumbai did I think, "Oh, fuck, this must be damn serious." A house collapses and eleven people die and the papers here blast it all over the first three pages, but a train crashes and kills fifty people down south barely gets a column. I know the papers have to be local, but for gods sake, the grotesque focus on Mumbai/Mumbai/Mumbai is maddening. I want to read the national news, I want to know the machinations inside the BJP on Page 1, not on Page 14. And there are one hell of a lot of readers like me, and this is why I am gradually beginning to like DNA, because national matters there. The nation wanted to know what happened in Mumbai on 26/7, but Mumbai it seems, or rather Mumbai's editors it seems don't give a rats ass about the rest of the country. I know that you can argue that all the major telly news channels have a obscene focus on Delhi and politics and miss out on Mumbai, but I'm not an editor so I can't do jackshit about that, yet, I would really like more national, or even for that matter more news from Maharashtra in the english newspapers in Mumbai. There is actually more international news in all the dailies than national news, and strangely enough the paper with the least developed national news-gathering network is seeming to do a great job.
On the newspaper front, met a couple of media planners last evening and this is what I heard...
ToI - Claims 575k, Actual 525k
DNA - Claims 295k, Actual 180k
HT - Claims 140k, Actual 80k
Mid-Day - Claims 150k, Actual 130k
I don't know the veracity of these numbers, but these guys seemed rather sure, or maybe it was the beer. But really, despite the fact that DNA has some strange by-line policies and their Markets Editor just quit, they are seeming more and more readable every day. And the drone of the women across the corridor will give me a brilliant excuse to quit very soon. Its driving me batty.
I don't know how many of you have noticed The Guardian's redesign, it looks, well, older and classier. Maybe the new, big-bold look (which has overcome many editors in India) didn't work for them, I wonder how India's large tribe of Guardian copycats will react.