Sunday, 31 July 2011

Prof. Abdur Rahim passes away

I received the sad news through Prof Tapati Basu's mail this morning. I had met him in Pune about six/seven years ago and had enjoyed his company. After that I have had no contact with him. Yesterday, I chanced to meet Prof Vasuki Belwadi, Head of the Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad, in Mumbay,  and inquired with him about Prof Abdur Rahim. I requested him to send me his contact details. This was almost around the same time when Prof Rahim was breathing his last.

Former head of the Department of Communication and Journalism, Osmania University, Prof. Abdur Rahim, passed away on Friday morning.
He was 67. He left behind his sorrowing wife, two sons and three daughters.
Prof. Abdur Rahim, who was suffering from paralysis and went into coma a few days ago, died in the Care hospital.
Prof. Rahim, who had completed his MA and MCJ from Osmania University, joined as a lecturer in 1972 in the Department of Communication and Journalism, OU and retired in 2004. He also served as chairman of Bharat Samachar, an Urdu-English News and Features Agency, Chairman of Press Media” English Daily, Hyderabad, Chairman of Andhra News and Features (ANF), vice-president of Commonwealth Association of Education in Communication and Journalism (CAEJAC) Canada, vice-president of AP Small and Medium Newspapers Federation, Hyderabad and so on.
He had vast experience as researcher and presented many papers in several seminars. He contributed articles to many national and international publications. He also published three books. He had participated in several international conferences and presented 18 international papers

Source: Kirti Singh, Media Educators, 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Family Feud: Five quit board over new Hindu editor

CHENNAI: The family feud in Kasturi and Sons Ltd , publishers of The Hindu, deepened on Wednesday, with its joint managing director N Murali , editor of the newspaper N Ravi , executive editor Malini Parthasarathy , joint editor Nirmala Lakshman and another relative Nalini Krishnan resigning in protest over the appointment of Siddharth Varadarajan as editor of the newspaper. The board met and approved the appointment.
Kasturi and Sons, which manages the 133-year-old Chennai-based newspaper The Hindu and its sister publications, is in the throes of a split over governance issues. Those who resigned on Wednesday maintain the current editor-in-chief N Ram , brother of Murali and Ravi, had reneged on his promise to step down from day-to-day functioning after he turned 65. The family members are locked in a legal dispute before the Company Law Board (CLB). A section of family members even moved the Supreme Court.
Ram told TOI, "All resigned on their own. Nobody sought it and I don't expect any setback to the company. In fact, we will take the company forward." On his resignation, Ravi said, "I resigned as I found continuing in the post untenable after the appointment of a new editor."
On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the family feud and asked the CLB to conduct a day-to-day hearing of Ravi's petition against the decision to oust him and appoint Varadarajan as editor.
The apex court ordered the Company Law Board to conduct hearings from August 8. Ravi's complaint was that a faction of the owner-family, to which he belonged, was being sidelined by Ram and he had drafted a non-family member as editor of the newspaper against much qualified family members.
The battle started with the appointment of consulting firm McKinsey in 2010 to suggest measures to infuse professionalism in the organization. The consultant suggested that an outsider be appointed as editor. Based on their suggestions, Murali was stripped of his post as managing director and Varadarajan was appointed as editor.
The Ravi-led faction petitioned the CLB against the board's decision and the CLB ruled that key resolutions approved by the board of directors and the majority shareholders on personnel and structural changes couldn't be implemented. Ram appealed against the CLB decision in the Madras high court, which stayed the CLB order. Ravi appealed against the HC order in the Supreme Court.

Is the News Agency Model of Management Viable Today?

By K G Suresh
A Chief Executive Officer without an MBA? A General Manager with no background in sales, marketing or HRD? State Managers and Regional Managers without any business targets to meet? Welcome to the world of Indian news agencies, where even a simple graduate can aspire to become the head of a transnational wire service employing thousands of people including senior journalists across the world and handling budgets running into crores of rupees.
It may sound totally unbelievable for the practitioners of modern schools of management but the news agency concept was not conceived or implemented by some trade union or Gandhian leaders in the days of yore. These agencies – particularly the big two – Press Trust of India (PTI) and United News of India (UNI) - are owned by none other than owners of leading newspaper chains, who themselves employ highly qualified and foreign educated Managers to preserve and nurture their business.
Unlike news papers, which may or may not have an editorial policy or a political line to toe, news agencies have so far been immune to political bias, except during the Emergency, when the Government took them over and clubbed them together to function as Samachar, a one stop agency to carry censored news.
This objectivity is vital for the agency to maintain its credibility as newspapers and magazines with tilt towards diverse political ideologies and socio-economic interests subscribe to its services. More than anything else, compulsions of the market or market forces, as is popularly described, leave news agencies with little option but to maintain balance in its news coverage and ensure that there is no editorialisation of news.
Moreover, news agencies were never established as purely corporate entities with the objective of making money. The first and foremost objective was to provide a reliable, indigenous service that would disseminate information with an Indian perspective as against a Western one, as was the case prior to Independence. For example, a Western wire service would always describe Jammu and Kashmir as Indian-held or Indian-controlled Kashmir whereas the Indian news agencies would refer to them as Indian territory both in its domestic and external news service. These agencies would also highlight the Indian angle of any international development as also the Indian version or India’s stand at multilateral fora such as the United Nations, WTO, SAARC, NSG etc;
Another key objective behind the establishment of these news agencies was to provide small and medium Indian newspapers credible and affordable news service from across the country and the world. It was but natural, therefore, that the founders of the two news agencies deemed it appropriate to establish Trusts comprising a Board of Trustees with a Chairperson to be elected annually on rotation basis, rather than a corporate set-up.
With dissemination of news rather than earning profits as its primary objective, the founders rightly felt that creation of a separate management cadre to supervise the journalists would only serve to hinder the very objectives with which these organizations were created in the first place.
Hence, it was felt that the journalists themselves would be entrusted with the responsibility of running the organization depending on their seniority and experience.
Thus, after putting in some decades either in the Editorial section or Reporting, the journalists were appointed as Managers, Regional Managers, Assistant General Managers, Deputy General Managers, Joint General Managers and General Managers to look after the administration of these agencies, which over the years have come to acquire prime land and infrastructure in several parts of the country.
Being primarily media organizations, the staff journalists, who later graduated to managerial levels, knew the set up inside out, its strengths and weaknesses. Besides, their equations as journalists with the authorities – political and administrative – helped them resolve many a problem pertaining to infrastructure and amenities. Moreover, the Government too continued to be the major source of income of these agencies with several ministries, Government media and other related institutions such as airports etc constituting majority of subscribers.
As journalists, these Managers were also able to identify and recognize the genuine problems faced by their fellow non-journalist employees and take appropriate remedial measures.
However, with the passage of time, media became more competitive and in the era of faster media such as television and websites, news agency management required a greater amount of managerial ability and competence.
Not aware of principles such as Human Resources Management, internal communication, employee motivation, financial management etc, these organizations suddenly faced large-scale attrition leading to a virtual collapse of their middle order. Unable to invest heavily in high-end technology, these agencies failed miserably in the delivery aspect, which enabled foreign agencies and their Indian affiliates to make deep forays into the Indian information bazaar, cashing in on the television and dotcom boom.
That today the UNI is facing imminent closure and is unable to even regularly pay salary to its employees is an open secret. Some visionary people at the helm of affairs in PTI were able to foresee the danger and took steps such as inducting fresh blood, convincing trade unions to allow lateral inductions, streamlining finances, appointing professionals to manage accounts and entering into mutually beneficial tie-ups with foreign agencies besides drawing substantial income from rentals.
Yet, despite their virtual monopoly of the media for several decades, having an unparalleled network across the country with experienced journalists and being pioneers in television software production, these organizations watched helplessly as bystanders as a television boom swept the country. Instead of taking the lead to launch their own channels or even a video news service, these agencies ended up miserably following up the stories broken by television networks.
Breaking news was once the privilege of news agencies. Today, except in rarest of rare occasions, it is the television channels which take the cake. Television channels subscribe to news agencies only as a back up service so as not to miss any important story, particularly from the far flung and remote areas where they do not have much strength to boast of.
While there cannot be any compromise on editorial independence and the need to maintain the neutrality and credibility of the national news agencies, the perpetuation of the system of journalist managers is an anachronism in today’s era of competition and professionalism. Journalists are not trained to be good managers, their knowledge stems purely from common sense and human experience, which alone are not sufficient to run modern organizations successfully.
Can any Tom, Dick or Harry become a good journalist? No. Then, how can the same logic not apply to managing news agencies? While the Editor or Editor-in-Chief should be the final authority in matters pertaining to news; administration, finance, human resources and marketing are areas better left to trained managers in the larger interests of these organizations. And journalists too can aspire to become managers, provided they equip themselves with the requisite qualifications and experience.
We wish to see our national news agencies as vibrant and successful models of management. Let the journalists provide the inputs and let the managers deliver the output.
(The author is a senior Delhi-based journalist and was Chief Political Correspondent with PTI)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Call for papers for January-June 2012 issue of Media Watch

Changing Scenario of Indian Media and Journalism
All the earlier issues of the journal have endeavoured to cover some of the most significant and important areas of journalism, new media, broadcasting, and information and communication technologies. The journal has now decided to concentrate on specialised and currently relevant media theme(s) on the various branches of journalism and mass communication, beginning from the January-June 2011 issue. Arguably, therefore, the current issue of the journal (July-December 2011) has covered numerous and diverse specialised  topics related to On-line Advertising/Internet Advertising.  
As India will be celebrating 64 years of its independence this year, having initiated a process of economic reform in the early part of the last decade, new strategies of privatisation and globalisation have ushered in exciting changes in India's media and journalism scenario. The prevailing media trends in India are profusely promising and highly potential with immense possibilities. The media researchers all over the world are waiting to know how the globalization policies in India have changed the new and unexplored dimensions of media freedom and growth in the last two-and-half decades or so.
Therefore, on the basis of facts and figures available from government and professional sources on the present day media trends, t
he January-June 2012 issue of Media Watch proposes to focus on following topics pertaining to the ‘Changing Scenario of Indian Journalism’.
We sincerely hope our vast majority of readers would have prodigious interest in all these topics and, we are also fully confident, many researchers would have conducted several serious and high-level researches in some of innovative studies on these subjects or allied areas.
The Editor, Media Watch, invites quality research paper(s) for publication in the January--June 2012 issue of the journal latest by  October 15, 2011.
The list of topics suggested for the forthcoming issue is given below. But the list is actually not restricted to these subjects:
·        Journalism as profession in India
·        Entertainment broadcasting
·        Future of public service news broadcasting
·        Changing face of radio broadcasting
·        Transnational journalism in India
·        Concept and practice of ‘Paid news’
·        Indian journalism in globalised world
·        Revolution in Indian vernacular press
·        Press coverage of development news
·        Press, politics and democratic governance  

Please note: While writing papers, authors are requested to follow the style sheet of the Media Watch journal. The style sheet is available on the on the website of the Media Watch ( It will help for faster processing and error-free editing, if authors follow the recommended style sheet, especially with regard to referencing, citations, and bibliography.
Contributions may please be sent preferably by e-mail. Receipt research   papers / articles will be acknowledged immediately by e-mail or post. All-out efforts would be made to complete early processing of received papers for internal reading and external refereeing. It can take some time for a final decision. As a part the editorial policy, invited papers on specialised and the currently relevant themes would surely receive utmost priority for publication.

For general enquiries and further clarifications, please contact the Editor, Media Watch at
With regards,
(Dr. R.C. Pattnaik)
Editor, Media Watch

Saturday, 16 July 2011

They prefer long stories

I picked the following for this post because it answers the arguments that today’s readers do not have time and inclination to read long stories. Editors of Indian newspapers have long ago started cutting down wordage to not-more-than-400 words.


Website Celebrates Lengthy Stories
posted: 7/15/2011
by: Heidi Kulicke
A modern journalist’s toolbox wouldn’t be complete without Twitter, Google, and a smartphone equipped with an arsenal of apps. With society’s “news now” mentality, is there still room for journalism’s in-depth, thoroughly investigated stories? A handful of websites celebrating long-form stories seem to think so.
Among the list of supporters is, catering to people interested in reading longer stories in digital form, whether it’s by computer, Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
In 2009, Longreads founder Mark Armstrong faced a dilemma during his daily subway commute. He couldn’t access his iPhone apps or Wi-Fi, and as a self-proclaimed “news junkie” he desperately needed a way to occupy his 40-minute commute.  
Once he discovered the offline reading app known as Instapaper, everything changed. Armstrong was now able to use the “read later” button in his browser to collect stories from publications he liked from around the Web. He eventually ran out of material and started a Twitter feed (@longreads) and a hashtag (#longreads) and asked for help.
Two years and countless stories later, nearly 26,000 people follow @longreads on Twitter — many of whom have helped surface stories. was launched in order to archive every story that’s been tweeted, making them searchable by media outlet, author, and topic. Each article is tagged by length, both in words and the approximate reading time. “It’s turned into this wonderful community dedicated to sharing and celebrating great storytelling on the Web, from newspapers, magazines, and online-only publications,” Armstrong said.
In many ways, Twitter’s 140-character restriction has helped save long-form journalism, Armstrong said, making it the perfect forum for spreading the word of great writers and articles that might otherwise get lost in cyberspace. In his mind, the Internet provides an opportunity for long-form journalism to thrive.  
News organizations such as The Washington Post, ProPublica, Village Voice, Mother Jones, and The Awl currently promote their big pieces through Longreads, by either sharing the hashtag #longreads on Twitter or by creating a Longreads page on their own websites. When publishers set apart their longer stories, they can reach an audience searching for those types of stories. And because Longreads is a curator, the site links directly to the original publisher of the stories, helping to drive traffic and attention to the stories on their respective sites, Armstrong said. 
In recent months, panel discussions on long-form journalism have joined together hundreds of people interested in hearing discussions about the intertwined paths of narrative storytelling and technology. Longreads co-hosted an event with Rolling Stone at a meeting in the New York bookstore Housing Works. Panelists included four writers and editors from Rolling Stone: Jeff Goodell, Rob Sheffield, Brian Hiatt, and Will Dana.
“Is journalism going to survive the age of WikiLeaks, in this era where every secret, every fact is out there on the Internet for everyone to see?” asked Dana, Rolling Stone managing editor. “The format’s going to change, whether it’s on paper or a computer screen, aggregated or disaggregated ... [but] in this world of infinite information, it means there’s an even greater need for quality information.”  
The payoff for producing longer pieces is evident in their life span, Armstrong said, because they get retweeted and shared through social networks months after they’ve been published. “Journalism will continue to evolve and take new forms. We’re using technology and social media to argue that there is a growing number of people hungry for thoughtful, in-depth stories.”

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Join Mira Desai's survey on media educators

Prof Dr Mira Desai of SNDT, Mumbai, has undertaken a survey of media educators. Please visit to join the survey.
Kiran Thakur

International Communication Conference at Patiala in October

Dr. Gurmeet Singh Maan has sent in the following announcement about a Three-day International Conference on, "Changing Global Paradigms of Mediascape".
It will be organised from October 21 to 23, 2011. Abstracts in approximately 500 words (latest by September 15, 2011) and full papers (latest by October 10, 2011 following APA formatting guidelines) are required to be sent at; and/or

You may think of the following sub-themes (though not limited to) for your research papers:
*Role and positioning of Hypermedia
*Communication Warfare
*Communication Strategies
*Freedom of Information
*Information and Governance
*Digital Media and Society
*Ethics and Propriety
*Digital Cinema
*New Narrative Patterns
*Social Media
*Communication Revolution
*Changing Patterns of Media Technologies
*Media Ownership Patterns
*Editorial Independence
*Median Aesthetics

Send your contact information along with brief CV and a photograph for inclusion in the souvenir to be released on the occasion. The details of the registration and other aspects will be intimated in near future. Kindly also make it convenient to inform/ forward this invitation to your friends and colleagues who might intend to participate in this conference, first of its kind in the region.

For details,  please contact:
Dr. Gurmeet Singh Maan
Director, Centre for Advanced Media Studies (CAMS)
Punjabi University, Patiala,

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

UGC extends deadline for Major/Minor research projects to July 15, 2011

University Grants Commission has extended the deadline for submission of Major and Minor research project proposals to July 15, 2011.

Please read the circular No.F. 2-3/2011/ Policy/SR May, 2011, at

It is as follows:

The University Grants Commission provides financial support to undertake Major and Minor
Research Projects to University and College Teachers in the areas of Science (Pure and Applied
Science), Engineering and Technology, Medical Science, Pharmacy, Agricultural Science, Humanities
and Social Sciences, Arts, Law, Languages and Allied disciplines under the scheme, i.e., “Research
Projects for Teachers : Major and Minor”. The Research Project may be undertaken by an individual
teacher or a group of teachers besides the Vice Chancellors, Principals, Librarian and Physical Education
Teachers are also eligible to apply under the Scheme. While forwarding the research proposal the
University/College must ensure that adequate research facilities are available in the area of proposal
being forwarded. The following are the eligibility criteria for financial support under the scheme:
1. The University Teachers on permanent roster are eligible to apply for Major and Minor Research
2. The College Teachers on permanent roster are eligible to apply only for Major Research
3. The University Teachers may apply either for Major or Minor Research Projects.
4. The University/College should be covered under section 2(f) and 12 B of UGC Act, 1956.
5. Those teachers from University/Colleges who have availed the funding under the scheme and
submitted the final report of the project but have not completed one year as yet, are not eligible to
apply under the scheme.
The content of this letter may be brought to the notice of all the affiliated colleges and University
departments. The details of the scheme including the format in which the proposal is to be
submitted are available on UGC website (
The last date for submission of research proposal is 15th June, 2011 (extended upto 15th July,2011)
With regards,
Yours sincerely,

(Kanta Batra)

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Call for chapters for two books on Indian Cinema

The following is sent to me by Associate Professor Dr C. S. H. N. Murthy, (Film and Television Studies), Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Tezpur University, Tezpur, Assam:

Call for Chapters for the proposed two books on Indian Cinema (Regional Cinema and Bollywood) by an international publisher from India

I propose to bring out two books which would offer a comprehensive discourse on Indian regional cinema (mostly regional other than what has already been said about Bollywood) in terms of critical, cultural and communicative theories. The books are mainly intended to address both Indian as well as western readership in informing them of the excellence embedded in the regional cinema such as Telugu/Tamil/Malayalam/Kannada/Bengali/Assamese etc. A publishing house of international repute is likely to publish them by the middle of 2012.

The aim of the books is to offer not only critical perspectives of the films of these languages but also delineate the innovation involved both in the variety of genres and mixed genres (like socio-fantasy films like Bhairavadweepam, Ghatotkach, Yamagola etc of Telugu)  developed by the narratives of these language films. The canvas is entire mise-en-scene and is not intended to speak only about identities/gender/representation (the so called west settled NRI scholars try to portray often)  though they too can be considered from an Indian perspective interlacing with the contemporary socio economic and political situation ( like the Aawara critique of Gayatri Chatterjee).

Though Indian Cinema has over 100 years history and has undergone almost all the parallel developments that the World Cinema had undergone from time to time, most of the Western authors have very less knowledge, exposure or understanding of Indian Cinema. Whereas some authors such as David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson (2004) surprisingly did not make any mention of the Indian cinema in their book-Film Art: An Introduction, some authors like Nelmes J (An Introduction to Film Studies, Routledge, 1996) tend to look at Indian Cinema only from the Bollywood point of view and hasten to describe the entire Indian Cinema structure as a fragmented narrative with a tailor made story/a formula type story which had been aptly described  as ‘masala’ films excepting the films of Satyajit Ray’s who had made some fundamental contributions to ‘auteur and parallel cinema’. Nor did any text so far bring out effectively the innovation and exuberance of richness in Indian Cinema not only in its story but also in terms of both production and marketing techniques. Neither the Indian Cinema directors/producers are ‘cool copy cats’ as Anupama Chopra tended to describe in her famous work-First Day First Show (2011, Penguinbooks, New Delhi).

This apart, one must note that Indian Cinema is not just Bollywood/ Murmbai Cinema/North Indian Cinema. A lot of Indian Cinema also thrived in its regional Cinema such as Telugu and Tamil the two largest major film industries in India besides very innovative Malayalam and Kannada. A lot of innovation indeed existed in Telugu/Tamil Cinema industries in terms of their ability to produce a wide range of genres and narratives that had set the standards for the Indian culture later. Especially Telugu cinema set the standard for pan-Indian culture than any other cinema in India.

Further the technological and symbolic elements (as pointed out by Hansen et al 1998) of  mythological cinema or folk cinema involving characters like king (s),prince and princess, the courts and the palaces etc have been unique and have no parallel in the world cinema. Further the works of Marcus Bartley (1917-93) a renowned cinematographer, in the mythological cinemas like Mayabazar (1957), Jagadeka Veeruni Katha  (1961), Missamma (1955), etc have been least understood even now. The lighting (black and white shades) and shooting techniques adopted by Bartley have remained mysterious to many who watch those frames with a sense of awe and surprise even now.

The proposed books endeavor to address the gaping holes or existing deep gaps of knowledge in terms of critical and cultural theories (no exception given for communicability/communication perspectives) in conveying about the native frames of Indian Cinema both from regional and Bollywood Cinema.

I am expecting to include 20 articles in each book covering a broad range of narratives of regional cinema. The authors who intend to submit the Chapters for the above books must send the extended abstracts not exceeding 1500 words delineating the areas and the methodologies they apply for the study clearly on or before Aug 31, 2011. The notification of accepted abstracts after blind review would be by Sept 30, 2011. The complete chapters must be submitted by Nov 30, 2011 which again would be subject to double blind review. The authors whose chapters have been accepted with revisions/modifications as suggested by the reviewers would be sent to the publisher by the end of Dec 31, 2011. Please send all your extended abstracts to mentioning the subject and the regional language it belonged to.

C.S.H.N.Murthy Ph.D
Associate Professor in Film and Television Studies
Department of Mass Communication and Journalism
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Tezpur University, Napaam,
Tezpur Assam 784028 India