I subscribe to quite a few odd-and-ends feeds and newsgroups about desi media happenings, but I was surprised to see that a letter from Shekhar Gupta to all Express employees made it out into the internet as fast as it did. Keep in mind, most of these letters usually filter through senior journalists, not on an online newsgroup. Obviously, someone wasn't happy about the announcement and frankly after reading that mail, I felt sorry for the paper. Honestly, the closure of the newspaper's office late last year during the 'sealing drive' in Delhi hit them hard. But, the fact of the matter remains, in times like these when people are willing to pay a bomb to recruit people, so much so, that EchTee recruits people from America (again, I wonder if the management thinks that eventually one transplanted NRI will click?) you can't tell everyone, 'Times are hard, no increments!'
I don't agree with the Indian Express' politics, and the paper vacillates wildly from side to side, but it remains an institution and does have some good people working there. Pity that they have no good people in their marketing department. It is quite obvious that the paper would be in even more trouble had it not been for tenders, but as newspaper space-sellers would tell you, tenders don't make much money, and the Express itself has to share most of their tender money with The New Indian Express down south. At the same time, the group continues to flog a very dead horse, their business paper - FE, which has become a sort of training school for future business journalists.
I personally don't think the 'Express' is over, they've gone through a lot worse, but it does speak volumes that a paper which could have re-invented itself in the media boom, did not do so. Hopefully, they will get their act together soon, because if they don't manage, there won't be too many people left. As it is people are already jumping ship!
On another note, Govindraj Ethiraj, who has joined as the boss of UTV's new business channel has been reaching out to his former colleagues at CNBC and those that left CNBC. There has been a lot of movement in Bombay, and according to sources, this is just the start of another insane round of salary increases. And at the same time there are plans being drawn up for another financial daily/weekly by one or both of the R's (Ronnie and Raghav). Let the offer letter's begin!
PS : INX will call their news channel 'News X', what sort of name is that!