Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The 'Athreya' issue

There has been speculation that higher-up's at HT succumbed to political pressure from higher-up's in the same political party to have RN removed after the publication of this article. Knowing the vindictive nature of some of our top politicians in the government, it is impossible to rule out the theory, but that said, I would sincerely hope that this was not the case. As it is, the person who looks after the opinion pieces in Mint is now the Managing Editor. I still believe that Raju Narisetti had made up his mind long ago, and after some other SAJA-imports thankfully spared us their columns, he was also going to go. You don't exactly land a top job overnight, or have one in the bag. I'm sure that I'll land a job if I get the boot, but in less than a week?

Listen, several journalists, and I have worked with one old fogey, like to believe that higher powers had them fired - the Ambani's are a popular target. While I am sure some journalists have been burned by higher powers - both political and business - the number that claim to have been fired is mind-bogglingly large. For some, to claim that you got fired because Mukesh and/or Anil didn't like your article is silly, because the article could still have been held back. And to be fair, while most media owners are beholden to some political force or another (and they do an awful job of disclosures) they don't usually acquiese to heavy handed demands. I still believe the time that bennett and Coleman held to its guns in the murky Tata Finance affair was commendable. Blaming someone else for your own incompetence sounds nice, and in the above mentioned case blaming someone else lends an air of conspiracy. I love conspiracies as much as every other Indian and this country is full of murky conspiracies, but let us not get ahead of outrselves. Some things do have far easier explanations - like a potholed path to profitability.

I'll write another post before India moves into 2009 to recount what a nice year it has been for this blog. And well, a so-so year for me, though it has been a good year as far as travel is concerned.


Anonymous said...

Ask the bosses in HT why they removed CN as RE from their LKO edition! All because he wrote an honest piece about the CM! The bosses at HT have always been more concerned about their sugar business than the business of running a newspaper with at least some sort of integrity!

Anonymous said...

Be that as it may, Raju Narisetti was not fired. If he was, why would he be made Advisory Editorial Director, a useless position, I agree, but still an elevated one, and one that still connects him to the organisation? Chaitanya Kalbag was fired, yes, and after that, he was persona non grata at HT (and HT was the same for him). Journalists thrive on gossip, and take vicarious pleasure on the "downfall" of fellow journalists. The fact is, that, more than not, the truth is pretty much boring. Like, in Raju's case, he wants to go back to the US for various reasons (and I have a hunch, his decision would have been greatly influenced by family dynamics). I think that is a legitimate reason (going back to the US) for quitting Mint. The Athreya issue may or may not have played a part, but why should that be brought up for the sake of bringing it up? I think it is time we let the Raju matter rest as it always was -- a non-issue.

Anonymous said...

Raju was planning to quit for long. All his team members and those regarded as HIS camp followers were quitting one by one citing one pretext or another.

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