Monday, July 23, 2007

Some more points

A few notes on the last post - the EchTee news is correct, but SG has not been made an offer by EchTee and for all practical purposes, Mrs Bhartia is taking over as the boss. Well, she always was the boss, but now there won't be any convoluted structures - the Managing Editor and the Resident Editor's of both main editions (in Delhi and Mumbai) report to her. This change still hasn't yet been reflected on the company's website incidentally! While I have had maintained that American (or any) imports into the world of journalism cannot work very well if you put them in charge, unless they already have a concept of how news works in this country. Will this require a change in the way that Rajiv Verma, CEO, HT Media works, and particularly recruits senior people? I don't know, but the Jain's and their CEO's - Ravi Dhariwal right now, have never been that 'interfering' with the way their editors function (of late), and ironically the Times has has in-house leadership across its publications.
While Mrs Bhartia's take-over at EchTee is a great thing, the company needs a bootstrap editor, someone to go into the newsroom and confront the malaise of different 'planetary systems' that exists in the place. I'm not being critical, but the Hindustan Times is not an example of how a paper should be run, the place has way too much deadwood and inflated designations. However, the latter is a problem across most media organisations. Make no mistakes, it is a great paper, but I also know that ToI Editors are befuddled at how rapidly their competition is whittling away - too many 'Me' columns. Those are better dealt by blogging than having frankly boring columns.
No media company can ever steer clear of their ownership structure or owners in India. This post for example on another blog highlights how IBNLive was showcasing a frankly irrelevant piece of news on its home page. Now, those in the know about the media and how MTV India and IBN are all tied to raghav Behl's TV18 would know the connection, but nowhere is it mentioned that GBN and Viacom-18 have the same parent and this is essentially cross-promotion - "MTV Networks India is owned by Viacom-18, a joint-venture between TV18 and Viacom. TV18 also owns a controlling stake in Web18, operators of this website." Simple, ain't it? Not quite.
Will you ever read a disclaimer in a Times' article about Kishore Biyani or M Thiagrajan where they clarify that Bennett-Coleman actually has a stake in those companies? Only now have some companies started writing that 'Said Journalist was in whatever location at the invitation of
random company'. My opinions about Junkets can be another post altogether - but essentially, junkets are sometimes are fairly important - heck, you get caught out when your peers in trade magazines, who often learn less than half of what you do are far more well-traveled than you and know far more than you do because their editors don't have to grapple with moral dilemmas. The NYT has started doing something called 'paid-for' junkets whereby the paper covers airfare and hotel costs out of their own pockets for the trip - something some financial news agencies have been doing in India for a while.
Anyway, back to work, but lets see how EchTee progresses over the next few months. Hopefully, it should be able to pick itself up. As long as it stops bleeding personnel from the middle ranks!

3 comments:

abhi 2.0 said...

Actually k, Viacom-18 is a JV of GBN and Viacom. GBN (the listed company that own CNN-IBN and IBN7) is a TV18 group company (the other being TV18 itself, holding company Network 18, Web 18, HomeShop 18, Studio 18) and thus the papers all thought it was a TV18-viacom JV when indeed its a TV18 Group - Viacom Int'l JV.

Just a technicality - the essence of the post is bang-on

Anonymous said...

Hi K. Just wanna know whats happening with vir sanghvi and INX . Is anything happening at all.

Renovatio said...

Abhi, I once referred to ibn as 'work' :p
That's about as nontechnical as you can get. I still think it's a great place to start out. I may want to go back there when I finish grad school. It's freelance projects for me until then.