On Saturday Vir Sanghvi railed (once again) against Medianet, that insidious division of Times Group which takes money to feature social nobody's and high-class call girls on Page 3. But really, my problem is not with goes on inside the supplements, all supplements, either in the Times or HT are effectively paid for - have anyone even bothered to take a look at the Education supplements? Those things are filled with shady operators - and by shady I mean people who make 'The Ponytail' look half-decent - promoting unrecognised institutes by the dozen - I read of one called the Indian Institute of Human Rights where you get a diploma in Human Rights. WTF is that???
Heck, selling space on Page 3 is better than individuals whacking clothes, having free lunches or dinners, and even of photographers and reporters trying to get some action to get the tartiest women on those pages. Now those tarts and steroid-pumped muttoncakes (we can't have beefcakes in India, can we?) can 'pay' to get some publicity and no harm in paying your way through - just look at Rakhi Sawant - all that money spent has paid off! I would really like to see how 'ethically' and 'morally upright' Inky Media will be, I can hazard a guess, but the answer won't flatter anyone. But at the end of the day, to quote a senior editor - It is a supplement and no-one really cares - so what if it ends up promoting plastic breasts and steroid abuse - hey, the more men with shrivelled up balls there are, the better it is for me!
What I have a problem with is this - which was the anchor piece in The Economic Times today.
This is a piece on the front page of what might qualify as one of the top three English language dailies in India and this is an unabashed plug. This piece is what is not an article, it is an advertorial. I doubt the writer was hiding his/her disgust (though if ET had balls, they should have made the article a signed article - after all free bylines have gone for worse) you can make that out in the language. I know ET does some stories once in a while which test the boundaries of credibility and common-sense, but that happens to every newspaper. Fair enough, you can understand people using their own media vehicles to cross-promote other media assets, but in such a blatant and pretty tasteless manner, I doubt it.
EDIT : I hear from friends in Bombay that Gautam Adhikari has put in his papers as editor of DNA. Please refer to this post I made last month, I understand that the Aggarwal's of the Dainik Bhaskar group expected much more from DNA and while the paper hasn't done too badly, maybe the Bhaskar group expected more. This is the second high-level editorial vacancy there is in the country right now, the first being at the India Today Group's new morning paper. From all indications, within the next couple of months there will be a third. All said and done about the Times Group, things do seem a bittle more stable there at the higher echelons, middle-level editorial though is a different kettle of fish altogether. Inky Media has recruited heavily from HT and some people at CNN-IBN are also jumping ship to the new place.