Some of you thought that my last post on Papermint! was sucking up to a certain person there because it wasn't negative enough. First clarification, I've got no intention to jump ship right now so I doubt I need to suck up to anyone, but as I pointed out judging what will be a daily product on what is churned out on Day 1 will be a bit unfair. However, I will admit that Papermint! has been the #1 topic in office and at home over the last couple of days and the next few lines will not make for pleasant reading for Papermint! addicts, even though I doubt there are any as yet. The first, and this is why I thought of the name Papermint! was a colleague calling it chewing gum. But what disappoints me is the almost total lack of news sense in story selection.
I'm sure many of the senior people have tons of experience working in New York and London, but the second lead today is not a weekday story. And Tata-Corus reportage is godawful for lack of another word, today for example they picked up HT's coverage and even mis-spelled the reporters name. Too much international coverage in prime real-estate and sadly for their advertising line, little clarity. I'm pretty sure the boffins over at Times House are now wondering why on earth they got worked up into a state of hysteria over this, but I really hope that ET doesn't revert back into its bad-old ways, because story-quality in that paper had improved of late (the supplements however could do with a pick-me-up!). Both on Day 1 and Day 2, I've not any news in Papermint! that I didn't know of earlier. I know that the paper's philosophy (as espoused on day 1) is not too carry too much news and concentrate on analysis - but after two days I doubt that will cut much ice. A newspaper is a newspaper and not a magazine.
And while their design is very neat and clean (helped tremendously by the format), the paper which is setting the standards in story selection and layout for the last few days - and I really like the front page layout in the Delhi edition yesterday - is the Times of India. But that is another story.
I still believe that I think Papermint! has hope yet, and I will not write it off, not because of any perverse loyalty, but because I'm sure someone in HT's HR department will realise that fancy resumes from abroad don't cut ice with readers. Because, I've met and had angry emails and comments from quite a few readers who aren't particularly happy with the product. The Pravasi hiring policy at the top will need to change, or is it too late? God knows. Anyway, a part of me still thinks the paper was rushed into production a few weeks too soon. Lets see how they pick up by the end of the month, closer to budget time.
Anyway, next week will see the launch of Delhi's second new paper in as many weeks - Metro Now - Delhi's version of the Mumbai Mirror and being launched to kill off an expected foray into the morning daily territory by the Living Media Group. More fun!