Thursday, June 11, 2009


I had lunch today with the top marketer of a Bangalore-based company. In case you were wondering, I was surprised at the salad spread at The Imperial, seems to have slipped a bit, the sushi seemed anemic and the wasabi tasted no different than the green maida paste that Moets, Defence Colony, hands out (I have no idea why my friends like going to Moets for food). The dessert selection was, as always, impeccable. But, I’m not discussing five-star lunches, even though I could write quite a bit of prose on lunches. The small pleasures in life, and then I wonder how I never end up losing weight.

Anyway, long story short. Somewhere during lunch we started discussing the state of the media and me as usual started moaning about our plight and silently thanking my lucky stars that the marketing buffon who destroyed our finances and couldn’t pimp a Hollywood Actress in Dubai if you asked him to, works for our rivals now. Again, I digress – that is the problem with stream of consciousness writing – its comes out as an incomprehensible babble.

So, I mentioned layoffs and how they had been rather severe at Archana Complex among other places. Suddenly, my host piped up, “Are things really bad there?” she asked and continued to tell me a rather bizarre tale involving the channel that operates out of a movie hall. It seems that a reporter pitched a story to them, and they seemed agreeable and asked when she wanted to come down. And prompt came the reply that whenever they would fly her down.

Now, all of us travel on other companies expense. Heck, I just went outside the country. But never in a way where I ‘pitch’ the story and then insist on being flown down and wined and dined. So, my host called up the channel boss to figure out why this was so and it seems that this is now accepted policy at this particular organisation. Which made me swallow my ice-cream.

Guys have done bizarre things, and I know costs are pinching but this seems a bit too much. I can understand that the reporter did not want to hand the story over to her local colleague, some reporters, actually all reporters are extremely possessive of stories, well, I’m not but I’m a sort of ‘fire and forget’ sort of reporter and if someone else can do the story, big deal. At least now. I guess that is because a level of pragmatism has filtered into my life.

That said, if the story is good enough I am sure getting travel approvals passed can’t be that difficult. Now if you insist on travelling with a cavalcade (camerapersons) then, well. See, I have some opinions on the future of news gathering and distribution, but this much is for certain, multiple people doing one story is going to become a thing of the past for run of the mill stories – I shoot pictures and do it decently well and am figuring out lights right now. Concept photography and Live TV will still need camerapersons and photographers but not armies of them. Heck, with next-generation networks I suppose we will have live-streaming through services like Qik, I played with the Nokia N97 yesterday and that is what reporters will be expected to do, sooner than you think.

But more about all of that later. This was a surprising piece of news, and coming from an extremely large company, I believe it – they’re more credible than the news channel. And after this piece of news, I wonder how much credibility is left. Then again, isn't that what this blog is all about?


simran said...

rather liked the spread at the imperial. could be because my stay there was sponsored :)

GBO said...

Most wasabi paste, and not only in India, is actually hors-radish with essence. You knew that. If you travel JAL or Korean, you get some decent stuff in tubes, can take a few more from the galley.

However, there is a speciality mirchi wallee in Dilli Haat and going further, a trip to Khari Baoli is called for - especially from the perspective of a Business journalist wanting to run a "there is no recession here" kind of report.

Anonymous said...

The thing with the guys ar Archana is this. For years, hey set the tone when it came to media best practices and employee friendly behaviour. But for some reason, the recent firings, salary cuts et al have been so traumatic that they have decided to accept pretty much everything their accountants and other cost cutting experts suggest. Losing perspective completely here.

Anonymous said...

This thing about Archana is all bullshit. They are still not letting reporters go on junkets beacuse of ethics et all. Only entertainment people are allowed. Actually the PMO is pissed with them because they did not send reporters for last two trips. I would rather believe the folks at Archana than a freeloader who is getting fatter by the day.