Thursday, July 31, 2008
I don't know about you, but this is slightly disturbing. I wouldn't want anybody to regulate this sort of thing, but 19-11 is deecent, why are the channels pushing it. I mean, for far from the time you start seeing product placements on air, beyond the laptops. CNBC anchors selling teeth-whitener and Aaj-Tak anchorette's selling the cheap foundation they use. The Archana crowd (you know which network) selling condoms. Hey, these are 'respectable' and 'recognised' faces, so how far are we from this scenario? Even Uncle M would find such things a bit much.
Well, if you watch IBN7 which is currently obsessed with aliens, there is no news unless it is other worldly. Yesterday, it was going on about how images from space show the faces of Hindu gods and Mahatma Gandhi, things I would associate due to gamma correction errors in the image processing or bad monitor calibration. A few days ago it carried on about Area 51, as if it was something new. OK, so maybe I'm being snobbish, more getting a possibly illiterate audience inton a funk with alien talk is ridiculous and bad journalism. Rajdeep, are you reading this blog. If you aren't, you're not missing much, but for God's sake do something about your Hindi channel. Please!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
- Uncle M will launch an Indian edition of the Asian WSJ
This is a rather strong rumour, remember Uncle M bought the WSJ after the WSJ-HT Media deal for Mint. But, I really do like Mint and I think that it is a nice product (even if it is a bit thin on news per se), so I wouldn't want this to happen, but you know Uncle M... he wants control. Therefore, there is also a possibility according to one rumour that HT Media will spin off Mint into a JV with Uncle M. Hmmm....
- Uncle M wants to launch a facsimilie edition of the London Times (aka 'The Times' - you know the real deal)
Erm, very likely but while JC and AA Gill are regular columnists in the paper, which I like, would you buy it? I mean facsimilie editions telling you how white yobs are beating and stabbing people across the UK?
- Uncle M wants to bring 'The Sun' brand to India
If the Daily Mail can come in why can't The Sun. I say don't bring it without the Page 3 girls. No really, Murdoch invented Page 3 and his Page 3 is a lot frikkin nicer than the paid-for spots in Indian papers. Do note that, the link while work safe initially, does get a bit steamy if you click through.
- Murdoch will buy the Indian Express.
Unlikely, because why would someone want to buy the Express. They don't even own much of their land anymore.
- And the big one, will Uncle M dump Aveek Sarkar?
The fact that the ABP Group is in trouble is as open a secret as Business Standard's problems. BusinessWorld had around 50 edit pages in its last issue, The Telegraph is a small regional daily and ToI is gradually eating into its readership, and BCCL is already eating up the adverts, thanks to their sales staff. Small localised Bengla papers are killing the motherbrand as well. Star News wants to grow, Uday Shankar has done a great job, they want to get into more news ventures - English and Business news is what we have heard.
This rumour is strengthened by the fact that Aveek Sarkar happens to be far from India while Uncle M and his hot wife visit the country. But, if not ABP than whom? The man whose airline is on the verge of collapsing while Carlsberg steals away the market and his F1 Team strengthen their hold at the bottom of the grid? Nope. Even VJM won't try to enter into a relationship with the 'Real' Uncle. So whom... Read on...
- Here is the super-duper wild one - Uncle M will tie-up with BCCL...
You know, it really is too wild...
I have not been smoking and you know, ten years ago if you told me that I could fit eight gigs of memory into something the size of my fingernail in a decade I would have thought that you were on some really strong LSD. This is highly unlikely, given how BCCL has fought FDI tooth and nail. But who else gives you the reach? The presence? The marketing muscle? The management bandwidth? The journalists? Nobody else. And as we have said, Uncle M is the most powerful man in the world, so raising money should not be a problem, because BCCL will cost a bomb, but I would never say never.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Yes, sadly this blogger has also not been invited. It would have been interesting to discover the ways in which a 70-year old can score a hot new wife. Well, I guess part of it is being the most powerful man in the world, but there must be something else... Pots of money maybe?
And the second is the absolutely mind-blowing 2007 six-part BBC series called 'The Story of India'. I'm surprised no-one has picked this up in India so far, but I have been fascinated watching Michael Wood travel across the world telling his story.
I know that torrents are illegal and all, and the excuse that I live in a country starved for content (despite having 427 TV channels according to LV Krishnan of TAM, whom I met recently), but my god you can find some fascinating things there. I'm currently downloading a five-part series on the Wehrmacht.
The question that many reporters, and more usually the 'star' reporters in organisations are asking, "What is in it for me?" And that is frankly a question that editors and management will have to grapple with, web stories can't be transcribed TV reports or held back till the edition is printed. Convincing people to file 10 50-word blog posts in a month is nigh-high impossible, imagine telling people to blog daily, even short snappy posts with a link.
So in addition to yesterday's post, it isn't just about systems and technology it is also about the people who fill in the content. If you believe some speakers at a recent internet seminar I participated in, it is all about the content and technology really doesn't matter.
And Sakaal Times is letting people go by the dozen. Quite sad, since quite a few people had joined up at that paper and they had a very comprehensive launch program covering Maharashtra, which might still happen, but a Delhi-headquartered paper was always dicey.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Interesting weekend to be away from a television beaming in news, I was depending pretty much exclusively on the mobile news sites of various news organisations - HT, ToI, NDTV and CNN-IBN, as well as the agencies and I must admit they were all fairly good though you did end up reading the same PTI copy in quite a few places (much like the web then). But when I did manage to watch some news on Sunday night, I realised that no major news organisation, possibly with the sole exception of CNN-IBN has managed to 'integrate' its regular newsroom with its web/mobile newsroom, and CNN-IBN hasn't quite perfected it either.
While I appreciated the availibility of XHTML sites on my mobile, particularly since I was rather far from a computer as well (hence no posts) there is still quite a difference between the news I see on most online sites and the news you read or view online or on your mobile. I know that networks are a major limiting factor for mobiles today, but with the government desperate to raise cash (and now firmly in the saddle, though I'm not so sure about the telecom minister keeping his post), I assume 3G auctions will happen rather shortly and that we should see the first 3G network deployments by sometime next year. I also know that the telecom companies will all say that 3G will primarily be used to 'enhance' voice, but the massive amounts of bandwidth available of HSDPA networks will allow for hardcore data-streaming. I seriously doubt that networks would implement a data-intensive mobile-TV platform, but YouTube clips on the go, or maybe more salicious stuff might become more popular. It will also mean that larger numbers of Indians will start seriously consuming media on the small screen.
And that is a huge opportunity for media companies. In fact, Indian media companies are not blind to the net. Most of them have decent websites. But the lack of integrated newsrooms leads to all sorts of issues. On TimesGroup sites for example it sometimes is impossible to find a link to an article, even if it was the flyer for the day - either on ToI or ET. Now, ET wants to build an integrated TV and print newsroom with rahul Joshi firmly in charge. Somehow, according to several ET print veterans, he is powerless about the web.Which might be the case, but I still feel ET can do so much better online. I mean, it is a leading brand, and it is very frustrating that sometimes when I read a story on the paper and want to send a link to a friend, I can't find it, forcing me to check out the 'epaper', find the edition and relevant page and then email the story. Five minutes instead of 30 seconds. And it is the same case with ToI. Oh yes, and then there are the page layouts online, but that is something several other sites are guilty of as well.
I must admit that for a fairly simple site and despite the often bewildering results a site search shows up, HT's basic site is rather simple and fairly easy. OK, so you have to increase the font size, but then I'm quibbling over minute things. It isn't a paragon of simple design such as the Guardian Online or The Economist online, which allow you to get pretty much zip-zap-zoom to a story.
Now, the problem according to some people on the technology front is not the lack of technology or that of money, but the desire of journalists working the newsroom. Almost everybody wants to be on the 'big' news team, not the step-sisterly 'web' team. But other than some people to maybe format the stories and sometimes enter links, a sort of 'web desk' why should there be two separate teams? The future is coming fast guys, and I don't get why so many of you don't want to accept that reality. I've thought very often of killing K off, because he is increasingly becoming a liability rather than an asset, but K gives me some sort of a pulse of what is going on on the interweb, I've learnt a lot from K. I've made friends, and more than my fair share of enemies and to some of them, I'm not against any media group in particular and big deal if my political opinions piss you off, this is a democracy right? That said, I seriously hope that V.K Malhotra stands from the new Central Delhi constituency, because leanings aside, it is very difficult to vote for the man if he was to stand from my 'new' constituency.
About the BRT story, it is the headline I had an issue with. I live near the BRT and I commute, or rather used to commute down that stretch everyday, now I route myself around it. Human blood vessels also route themselves around a benign tumour. I do not disagree in principle with public transport, because I've used buses and had the BRT been made when I was in college, I would have been a big votary for A/C buses, but the implementation of certain public projects. On NH-1 near the border, there are public works projects delayed for years, but the government wanted to force a BRT down our throat. If planned properly, which included the banning of all commercial vehicles on that stretch - that road is particularly dangerous and narrow at night when trucks laden with bits of the Aravali's are racing down - including all three-wheeled commercial vehicles, a slight widening of roads, better planning basically it could have so much smoother. I don't see why anybody should wait for 10 minutes to take a right turn at Chirag Dilli flyover. It is hot, petrol is expensive, and tempers will fray. And by the way, the AC buses don't take right turns at the flyover. I'm no city planning expert, but I can see the BRT every day and if you think that is a success, man you're smoking much better shit than I am.
Anyway, going through the last few days papers it seems that political adverts are getting whackier and whackier. Seriously, those guys should hire copywriters!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Some of you are more aware than me, and others just find Rahul Gandhi 'cute'. I find the unstoppable fawning over Rahul Gandhi disgusting. Sure the boy could well be future Prime Minister of this country but stop treating him like Prince William, he is not an annointed ruler of India. He will still have to win an election, and I have my doubts that the UPA will pull off 2009. Anyways, I digress...
The last year has seen a proliferation of technology news sites in India, there are quite a few of them and I am friendly with some of the folks who run these sites. But, this is still a sector that is trying to come to terms with news. Which is why the comments on this post are particularly interesting. Stolen stories, stolen credits, this is rather fascinating.
As for V.K Malhotra, people foget that he did defeat Manmohan Singh in South Delhi a couple of elections ago, and Delhi MP's don't really have to do much. Despite my right-wing leanings if Malhotra stands from my constituency again (now South-West Delhi according to the redrawn seats) I will vote against him since he let Shiela build that accursed BRT system, which for some reason HT has plugged today. Little wonder the paper needs help. However, I have a feeling that the INC will field Manmohan Singh for the Lok Sabha this time out from a Delhi constituency.
P.S: Weirdly enough, I believe the best thing possible for both the people of J&K and the country as a whole would be a 'grand coalition' in the northern state. It will never happen, but it would be a great thing.
Yes, I admit the BJP missed several tricks yesterday, they made a clown of a man called Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who is incidentally my Member of Parliament speak instead of letting Navjot Singh Sidhu speak, who would have been far better. Anyway, the first bunch of elections are due this winter, there is no way Shiela will win after the BRT fiasco among others, Vasundhara will romp home, and Chauhan should win with a reduced majority. What voice of the people is everybody on about? Will the Congress be able to keep mayawati at bay? Bullshit, they will, they don't even understand Mayawati's core constituency.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I have said before that some of the coverage on the case was disgusting to say the least and made in extremely bad taste. Before the UP Police could malign the poor girl's character, some of the channels had already done their bit. You can't turn back time, but I hope this case will serve as a lesson to everybody.
So how incriminating is the tape, according to one person who has seen it, it is very incriminating and the storming of the well is just the tip of the iceberg. It remains to be seen what the Speaker does with the tape.
I don't know why the world has taken off on Rahul Gandhi. RG's was a well-written speech, but it wasn't very well delivered. In fact other than his father, Rajiv Gandhi, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty hasn't had great orators. Nehru wrote great speeches as did Indira Gandhi, but not the best orators - Rajiv Gandhi spoke well in English. His brother believed in actions rather than words, so well...
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Can anyone actually make sense of what Laloo is saying, I understand Hindi, but there seems to be nothing of any substance in his speech and Somnath is guffawing! So much for our elected leaders!
I still think the government will win, maybe around 275-280 votes in their favour. The Congress are past masters at this, and I think that the NDA is feeling the absense of PramodMahajan acutely today, because Pramod was an 'operator' beyond even Amar Singh. Arun Jaitley can run electoral machines with unflinching dedication, but AJ won't stay up for 24 hours running deals.
But all said and done, the reason the West wants the deal with India is because I guess they're still paranoid that we'll send Islamabad to oblivion. Even though the more I hear barack Obama, I have a feeling he will do that for us, little wonder that Barack is becoming the Indian right-wing's candidate of choice. And Mayawati speaking on foreign policy? What is the world coming to?
As fopr channel coverage of the Trust Vote, I've toggled between CNN-IBN, NDTV 24x7 and Times Now and somehow they all seem the same, though NDTV did gush over Rahul-baba a bit too much for comfort. And they still are as we speak.
Monday, July 21, 2008
And returning to the takeover at HT, the point someone just made to me was that Business Today is providing HT Media their top editorial team - both at HT and Mint (Sanjoy was Editor of BT for nine years, Samar is also ex-BT and Sukumar at Mint was Sanjoy's #2 at BT for several years). Good things happen to good people!
Oh, and for the government, I personally think that the government will not fall, and in the Somnath-Babu crisis, everybody forgot the simple fact that he is a man without a seat in the next election. And as for Mayawati becoming PM, won't happen for a while yet - maybe 2014's LS elections, but not in 2009.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
We hear that Abhijit Pawar is coming here on Monday to sort out the issue, because several young Sakaal insiders tell us that the paper is doomed without Sandeep and Amitava. I have my doubts about the product which I saw in Pune last weekend and was extremely disappointed in the quality of the paper. I know this is a strange thing to say about a publication, but the truth is that the quality of the paper gives one a sort of sonfidence in the product. Anyway, this might also stem from the fact that newsprint is bloody expensive nowadays (I believe that Times' newsprint costs are in the Rs 1,200 crore region) and even several large media organisations are using B-grade, recycled newsprint for upcountry editions.
Back to the point, if the nephew cannot sort out issues at the organisation, their plans for a August launch of their Mumbai edition might be put on hold. The paper was planning an extensive launch program through the second half of the year across the western part of the country and even a Delhi edition. But it appears that the paper might die even before it took off. Pity!
Friday, July 18, 2008
Ironic isn't it, the two biggest newspapers in the country are being run by people who cut their teeth at the ABP group. That group cultivated a lot of careers, but just look at their state today.
In other news, there are stories from Bombay talking about some senior-level resignations at 18-Land. Anyone have a clue?
Thursday, July 17, 2008
And hey, thanks for the emails, as GW would say, 'ppreciate it!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Here is the video is question.
Now, we also know the story about newsprint costs going through the roof, which is affecting everyone in print, page-counts are down and ad-edit ratios are changing. But the guys who advertise are also hurting, and ad-rtes which have soared over the past two years, and that have been responsible for the mad salary increases are now starting to hurt. One editor, recently pointed out that survival will now depend on government and political adverts.
This of course leads to the question, will the bunch of private treaties guys now start buying stakes in political parties in excahnge for adverts. Imagine the PT guys offering Mayawati free ads for a 5 per cent stake in the BSP, and if Mayawati was to hand out dividends, they'll make their money back in no time. Of course, no negative stories could be done either. Personally, I don't think the Private Treaties guys are beyond anything.
Expect some high-profile launches to be postponed in this scenario and say good-bye to the era of hefty-raises. How well did you make out in this period?
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
And for god's sake, doesn't someone realise this over there?
On another note, it seems that the Stephanian media is finally ganging up against Frank's madcap decisions. However, I'm coming to a different conclusion, if the college is so adamant about making the place a Christian Mission, after all it is 'Mission College', then they can have the lot. Full reservation, all seats and all teaching posts. Non-Christian teachers should all resign - and that includes those with direct access to the Prime Minister and old students can wallow in their pain for a while, but when they see things going down the drain, they won't really care.
Reservations in teaching positions is poisonous, whether it be on the basis of religion or caste. You need the best teachers, guys who want to teach despite their qualifications. Many of us still love college, but if someone wants to overdose on viagra you can't really do much. The problem the college authorities don't realise is that sooner or later there might be a backlash - maybe when the powers that be and the Centre change - it could find a form in the stripping of UGC funding, or worse. And there won't be a single murmur of protest from anyone.
Doesn't the desi press love speculation.
Yes, and to answer, a lot of journo kids get into this because this is what we know best. And honestly, while all indications in school were that I would eventually end up here, I was so adamant that I didn't want to be a journo in one talk to class, my teacher told me not to mind if I didn't make the Yearbook committee. This is a happy accident, journalism. When you grow up around news, and your parents and their friends talk about meeting top political and business leaders, it gives some of us at least, maybe a natural touch, flair even. I don't know... but it is unfair to paint all journo kids in the profession with the same brush.
And if you don't think I'm good, don't read this blog. Your loss, not mine.
Some Idiotic Readers
Listen, I'm sick and tired of this 'Daddy' bullshit, I've faced it for eight years and if someone mentions it again I'll probably kill him or her. Do some research into my family history and my angst with my father before you post something like this again. Yes, my father has helped me, that's what they are there to do. But my father has not made me a good or a bad journalist, I've never worked for him, though I have contributed to his institutions. I do call him and meet him occasionally, but I do not have any interest in his businesses, none whatsoever. As for the award, niether of my parents, and as far as journalists go, I think my step-father is a lot more influential than my father, knew I had applied until I told them to land up for the ceremony.
For better or for worse, he is my father. You can't help where you're born and if some of you are jealous about that, I will not explain this again. If you have the balls, please say this in front of me, don't hide behind anonymous comments, because it isn't rocket science to figure who anyone is. I don't want to be modest, but I'm a far better journalist than most. If you know who I am and can't deal with that, don't read the blog. And chill with the threats of 'outing' me, I'll know who did it.
Anyway, all I would request you to do is grow up, you're free to disagree with what I write here, but I don't want any more silly comments about how my father helped me in my career.
Monday, July 14, 2008
If you don't want to read on, your call.
Despite the fact that I do not agree with her politics, Barkha Dutt is a proud college student and her column in HT Saturday about college is wonderfully well written. It is difficult not to feel a tinge of regret about St.Stephen's today. The 'mafia of bishops' as Barkha call it have ruined college with a heady cocktail of puritanism and insanity. College is not a great 'educational' institution, it might have been but the quality of education imparted at least in the late nineties was patchy to say the least. My biggest learning in third year was that Bill Bryson is a great author - he wasn't on the course by the way, but a teacher used to read passages from 'A Walk in the Woods' out in class. College was always about everybody else, smoking pot and discussing the plausibility and contradictions of time travel with my berst friend who was in Philo Hons. on the rear balcony of Muk East before APD screamed at us for making a racket at two in the morning. Getting plastered on Grad Dinner afternoon with god knows what.
The rot started in 1999-2000, after 2001 things started to go down the drain when a puritanical regime came into place in Residence. This isn't about tank-tops and baniyans, this was about everything. Forget cheap Mall Road pot, when MS Frank took over as Block Tutor in Muk West, he cracked down on non-block students staying there. I was in my friend Thakur's room in W-Block at around 10.30 at night just yakking about some shit, when Frank came and tried to chase me out. But I didn't go, and the man threatened to suspend me. For talking. At night!
His actions today should not be seen as out of character. The man is so mad, that after he suspended Nana ('No Dogs or Franks allowed' was written on his door), a couple of other folks (manyDosco's among them - many of whom are high-level i-bankers today) sent him a gift pack of shit. Other one was the plastering of Muk West's walls with hardcore porn pictures because the man once confiscated 'wanking' material - this was a boy's block full of 17-20 year olds what did you expectMost block tutors were nice guys, guys you could have a drink with, but Frank was an idiot. I didn't realise that he wanted to deliver the body blow to college.
Please reserve seats for members of your community, but do not do this at the cost of the institution, which is what is happening today. There are some of those who want to build a brand new institution standing for excellence in education. These grads include several successful entreprenuers, bureaucrats, journalists and bankers. I'm fairly close to some of these people and I thought that they were mad initially, but when it comes to the madness stakes, the 'mafia' is truly miles ahead today.
And really people, those of you who think I know nothing about this or that - write your blogs and pontificate there, don't threaten me because those threats are irritating if nothing else. Irritating with a capital 'I'. Really! My blog, I'll put the aerlion pics up, and I know your IP address, so thanks!
Of course, then there are the conspiracy theories - the first is that there was never a fight and that this is all a charade for attention to raise scrip prices. The second, more sinister one is that both are trying to kill each other. Don't ask me anything, I really don't care. Well, I care enough to write a blog post, but not much more.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
But are we giving up our sovereign rights by allowing 'outsiders' to check on our nuclear plants? At a level, I think we are, but then again the world is still paranoid that India and Pakistan are likely to blow each other to kingdom come, and India wants to show that that it won't. I still have some misgivings about this and I believe that the text of the IAEA draft should be ratified or at least discussed in Parliament. We are the world's largest democracy after all. But I have a bad feeling that with all the rabid talk by characters across the political spectrum, if Parliament is convened soon, it will be a session worth watching for the fights if nothing else, because I have a feeling that it won't stop at verbal abuse.
Then again, what if Behenji pulls off an SP split? So much confusion - let's just watch Rakhi Sawant's chat show - I think the Congress is missing a trick here - they should make Manmohan appear as a guest on the show to defend the deal. Trust me, it'll work better than an address to the nation that will put people to sleep.
EDIT: It seems that Sallu was a temporary blip, and we are back to regular programming with Prakash Karat and Suresh Prabhu both frothing at the mouth against the deal. Other channels are reminding themselves that India exists beyond the deal (giving users a five minute break before analysing every single word on the deal). What was surprising that even the insane vapid Hindi channels started out on the Nuke deal, then they realised that they don'tunderstand anything and went back to reporting on crazy sadhu's and abnormal incidents from the cowbelt.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Anybody have any details on Pradeep Guha's new operation?
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Now you know.
I wanted to use this post to highlight just how fortunate most journalists sitting in Delhi really are today. You can afford to be lazy, call and email your contacts and sit in the luxury of an air-conditioned office or travel in air-conditioned cars all the time. The media is relatively free, yes some might argue that we are beholden to corporate interests and would bend over backwards for our advertisers - even if they are lying twats like the Ponytail. But there are parts of this country - Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh come to mind where the media is caught in the crossfire of political interests. I'm no fan of Naxalism, but some of the means used by the government to combat the 'Red Terror' would make the Chinese seem humane.
But, from all that I have been reading, and I don't read anything about this in India's remarkably international-blind media (yesterday's Afghan attack aside) that reports on the madness that is taking place in Sri Lanka. Other than The Hindu, whose international focus is at the other extreme (an interview with Bashar Al-Assad on the front page a few weeks ago?) Indian papers and TV channels, even the mainstream ones have an extremely blinkered international opinion (the Hindi channel's India stops at the end of the cowbelt with Bombay being a distant enclave). The Indian government supports (and always has supported) some rather unpleasant regimes - Myanmar and Zimbabwe among them in its self interest - we want a permanent seat on the Security Council after all (the BCCI was loathe to lose a vote in the form of Zimbabwe, so...).
Anyway, coming to the point, the media has been under severe duress in Sri Lanka. There is not much someone can do sitting 2000kms away in New Delhi, but I can hyperlink. Visit the site, show your support, and if your publication or TV channel does look at the international scene beyond the PM's Hokkaido visit where he generally gets ignored and is told to reduce carbon emissions (lets shut off the generators that power the call centres - that would reduce our carbon profile who cares if the Americans crib) write about this sometime.
Anyway, yesterday in his column in Mail Today, Prabhu Chawla wonders in an aside why so many Indian politicians and businessmen end up in Dubai. And that is quite a valid question. It is quite strange that Dubai has become the hub of wheeling and dealing for India, and Emirates becoming the largest carrier to operate out of India is a direct result of this. And Dubai has replaced Bangkok as the easiest source of you know what for the high and mighty.
However, I wonder why no-one is writing about what happened in Denver, because from what I hear, a lot happened in Colorado of all ther places in the world. Why stuff happened in the American moutain state no-one knows, but maybe it is a bit more discreet than Dubai now.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Well, the I&B minister would have loved us to be a niche magazine. Thanks to a Bengali connection, the I&B Minister recently went to Cabinet proposing that Business magazines get classified as 'niche' and while not getting them under the 100 per cent FDI that is allowed for 'non-news' magazines - which allows Conde Nast to operate with 100 per cent ownership of Vogue, the Bengali connection wanted 'Business' publications to be allowed 49 per cent, higher than the allowed 26 per cent FDI for news publications. The reasonsing behind this is simple, the costs that have to absorbed launching a publication in a downturn are significant, and the publishing house in question is tight for funds.
The problem is that th country's largest publishing house heard of these plans and their operatives got to work. It turned out to be damn easy, since a Cabinet Minister quickly realised that despite what the Bongs claimed, buiness is rather difficuklt to classify as niche or 'non-news'. As a result the expected launch of at least one magazine has been deffered. The other launches are still hanging in the air, but that business house does not have a lack of funds.
In other news, according to one senior political reporter, the price for the Nuclear Deal was Rs 60,000 crore. That is absurd, since when have politicians started prostituting themselves for money. No wait...
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Oh and expect a story on this on some English TV news channel or another. Maybe even on the one that thinks cellphones are dangerous! The Hindi news channels will probably go nuts on the man who gave birth to a baby girl.
Friday, July 04, 2008
So the story that the SP wants the faces of inflation have to go is at the end of the day a load of crock. Much like the other load of crock about the Left, who are being pummelled in Bengal (though the thought of Mamta taking over is scary) and might find themselves in a bind in Kerala. I do not believe that the Communists are finished and dead in the water. the 2004 elections might be their best result, but I still think that this edit is missing the point. The Communists will always be a relevant force in Indian politics. Though, I believe that next week's trip to Tokyo for Manmohan Singh might be a wash-out for India, which really does need to make her voice heard, which is why I also believe the Indian right is being politically opportunistic when it comes to the Nuclear Deal, even though they well might be in the government which benefits from its implementation much like the UPA benefited from NDA policies.
Oh, and the BBC should eally change their Indian Business Correspondent, whose knowledge seems disasterously off the mark, making issues of non-issues and vice-versa.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
I'm pretty sure this isn't the end of the story, but then again as the 'Akon Fraud' case teaches us, lies and hype can pretty much befall anyone. What is all the more stranger is that Google exists, a well targeted search (instead of just big, bad search terms) which includes going through cached stories and information can be really useful. Nobody is asking you to go to the British Council and research the mating habits of Gnats or something like that.
To answer the comment that I'm soft on UndieTV, I will answer that I'm not soft, I just can't bother to watch the channel since it has become extremely boring - even when people with little or no understanding demand 'blogs' should be banned. However, I was tremendously angry, as a technology reporter to see FUD on mobile phones (though I will admit that DG's powering cell towers are polluting - but that is due to a total failure of governance to provide adequate electricity) being spoken as fact. If you have 20-year olds doing your research, hire smart ones. And I have never agreed with NDTV's politics since I find it extremely hipocritical.
Plus, today's ToI lead by Diwakar has led to ruffles in the FinMin, but I don't think the FM will be fired just yet. But, it might be that Chiddu will be made a scapegoat for the price rise sooner or later.
I'm not saying this because I might have right-wing sympathies, several parts of the Sangh are frankly unpalatable, run by illiterate idiots. The last government did not smell of roses, but I think the entire country would agree they did a better job than this bunch of twats.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Technically are sports channels allowed to broadcast 'news'? I mean with the 26 per cent rule and all? FM Radio still can't broadcast any sort of news. Then again, with news channels essentially being General Entertainment Channels, who knows what is what?
Mail Today carried the story on the masthead, but here are the contents of a mail - no, not libellous!
Penpricks, a blog run by an anonymous journalist, supposedly from Goa has taken major newspapers in the country for a ride. Though the blog penpricks.blogspot.com has been promising to break the story soon, a Reuters blog has snatched its scoop!
Click on the links to see how major newspapers like The Times of India, Indian Express, Deccan Herald and The Telegraph fell for the hoax.
Obviously, the new sub-editors are the television generation born in the mid to late-1980s so you cannot expect them to have heard of the composer Johann Bach. Actually, one sub-editor at a news organization I worked for in the past had not heard of Dawood Ibrahim!
Erm, there could have been calls made to either the German or Israeli Embassies (some reporters did). Secondly, the Times story does express doubts (the reporter did fairly good homework, to 'claim they fell for it' is silly), and while this claims 'to expose' the soft underbelly of poor fact-checking in some newspapers, and this in an age of Google! A person who killed 12,000 people during the Holocaust would be rather well known and a search of the supposed 'concentration camp' would have helped as would a search of the 'Agency' involved.
Doesn't help when you realise that the English language media is almost as clueless as the Hindi Tv channels. My maid who fills me in with details every evening tells me incredulous stories - 'Asmaan Mein Pari' (A girl skydives and that is a story!) 'Chamatkaar' (the Sadhu to can sleep while floating - whats the big deal). I mean, what would the Hindi channels do now that the folks at 18-land want to make a no-holds barred desi version of Fear Factor on Colors! You know, incredible stunts and insect eating - and what would happen to the barely literate people who run such channels if they ever accidentally saw AXN's crazier shows!
But, I also want to know which was the 'agency' which filed the story first?