Sunday, 28 October 2012

Zee blackmail case: Indian media must seize this moment

Zee blackmail case: Indian media must seize this moment

When the Radia tapes scam broke out in Indian journalism towards the end of 2010, NDTV promoter Prannoy Roy had his Barkha Dutt moment as did Hindustan Times in the case of its star editor-columnist, Vir Sanghvi.
There were incriminating voice recordings of Barkha and Vir indicating serious ethical lapses unbecoming of journalists. And the question asked was whether their employers had set an example by respecting the highest standards of ethics in their organisations.
Nearly 18 months later, when the noted Indian-American journalist and author, Fareed Zakaria, was summarily suspended by Time and CNN for plagiarism, many in the Indian media compared this with the soft approach of the Indian news establishments in the Radia Tapes case. The general view was that the two journalists would have been sacked had they been working for an organisation like the BBC.
Indian journalism today stands confronted by the Rs 100 crore Zee News–Jindal extortion case which is unprecedented in its scale and enormity. While no one can prejudge the case—was it an extortion case, as alleged by Jindal, or a case of attempted bribery, as Zee alleges?—it nevertheless brings with it a new dimension to corruption in the Indian media. And it throws challenging questions on how effectively will India deal with this perversion in the media which can rob our democracy of its vitality.
After the unethical practice of paid news became institutionalised in many news establishments across the country, some news organisations chose to go deeper into the gutter. Some resorted to subtle forms of blackmail as a standard practice in desperation for revenue. The Zee-Jindal case thus draws attention to this ugly reality with considerable impact.
In a dramatic press conference on Thursday, Congress MP and businessman Naveen Jindal alleged that two senior journalists of Zee News and Zee Business had tried to extract advertising commitments of Rs 100 crore over five years in exchange for suppressing negative reports about Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.’s (JSPL’s) alleged involvement in the Coalgate scam. The Congress MP, who had already filed a criminal case with the Delhi Police, also released video footage of a sting operation carried out on the Zee journalists.
While Zee TV has accused JSPL of trying to bribe their journalists and doctoring the tapes, the Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) on Thursday suspended Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary after it was convinced of gross ethical misconduct by Chaudhary.
“After having satisfied itself that all possible and credible sources of information had been heard and investigated and all available material on the issue perused, the three-member fact-finding committee unanimously reached the conclusion that Sudhir Choudhary is found to have acted in a manner that is unbecoming of an editor and in a fashion that is prejudicial to the interest and objects of the BEA,” the association said in a statement. Chaudhary in his statement termed his suspension as “unfair”.
How has the Indian media reacted to this episode?
Much to the credit of leading Indian editors and promoters of media houses, there was no suppression or dilution of news relating to a member of their fraternity, as has happened far too often in the past. For example, there was considerable hesitation among editors to name fellow editors involved in the Radia tapes scam, till the story was broken by two magazines. This time around, the Zee-Jindal story was out soon after the FIR was filed and featured promptly and prominently by most news channels after Jindal’s press conference.
Most newspapers carried the story prominently; in Pune, the exceptions were DNA—which belongs to the Zee group—and the leading Marathi daily, Sakal.
Unscrupulous media houses have been known to indulge in blackmail for private gains. Most establishments succumb to such pressures or work out compromises out of fear of the media’s destructive capability. As Jindal said in his press conference, he refused to succumb to the fear factor and instead went on the offensive with a sting on the Zee journalists.
This case will be discussed with passion in media establishments and journalism schools across the country, hopefully with lessons learnt. Exemplary and contrasting unethical practices in the media ought to be discussed by one and all because the strength and purity of our media practices has a strong bearing on the strength and purity of our democracy. Fareed Zakaria was temporarily suspended by Time and CNN because these media houses believe in the gold standard of ethics in  journalism.
This same gold standard was seen in the sentencing of former McKinsey CEO Rajat Gupta when US District Court Judge Jed S Rakoff observed: “…. The world is full of examples of good men who did bad things…. When you get caught you’ll go to jail…. Meaningful punishment is necessary to reaffirm society’s need to see justice triumphant.”
The Zee TV–Jindal case is far too important for us to be allowed a silent burial through a compromise. The guilty must be punished and a worthy example set before society, just as we expect in the various corruption cases plaguing India today.
(Disclosure: This journalist has worked previously for DNA. Firstpost is published by Network18, which runs TV channels that compete with Zee group channels. The views expressed in this article represent those of the author and not those of Network 18 or its promoters)

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Broadcast Editors Association's selective amnestia

The Broadcast Editors Association has acted with alacrity in the Zee Jindal episode. But its silence on ethical lapses of TV editors in the past is noteworthy,says ABHISHEK UPADHYAY
Posted/Updated Tuesday, Oct 23 14:38:55, 2012 
Is it a case of exemplary action taking, or does it smack of selective amnesia, sparked by politics among editors?
New channels could doubtless think of several catchy slugs and sensational  headlines for the story of extortion, blackmailing, and broadcasters’ intervention emerging from Zee-Jindal controversy. But it is not a story they are pursuing.
The  Broadcast Editors Association has taken a rather historic decision in the Zee-Jindal case andn removed its treasurer Sudhir Chaudhary from primary membership of the association. For the record, Sudhir Chaudhary is the editor and business head of Zee News, who is accused by Jindal group of extortion and blackmail for the sum of 100 crore, allegedly in lieu of dropping stories against the power and steel giant in Coalgate scam.
The enquiry committee formed by BEA in this case, took cognizance of evidences (the FIR and sting CD provided by Jindal group) aganst Sudhir Chaudhary and arrived at the decision to expel him from this apex body of editors. The decision is unprecedented. This is the first time the Broadcast Editors’ Association BEA has taken such a decision against a core member.
however it fails to address the core issue associated with this particular move.  The Zee-Jindal fiasco happened only when a formal complaint was lodged by Naveen Jindal, a billionaire Congress MP and owner of Jindal group, against Sudhir Chaudhary, editor and business head Zee News,  and Samir Ahluwalia, editor of Zee Business. But its genesis is in an earlier development which  BEA chose to remain silent on.
This is the decision to appoint the same person to perform two very different functions: that of editor and business head, a trend propagated by the new age media barons in the hope of extracting more revenue by holding an editor directly responsible for the turnover of advertisement revenue. Sudhir Chaudhary wasappointed as editor as well as business head of Zee News. While making the announcement the then CEO of Zee News said, "In line with our aggressive growth stratagem that will be fuelled by a combination of editorial and business inventiveness, Sudhir Chaudhary fits the bill perfectly in the future scheme of things.” He possibly did not forsee the lengths to which such inventiveness could be taken.
For the record, these two positions are very contradictory in nature. As an editor one is responsible for setting the  editorial agenda and as a business head the same person is bound to squeeze that very agenda to ensure maximum ad revenue.   Any sane mind can understand the glaring contradictions inherent in both the positions but BEA took no note of this development.  
In this particular case, assume for a minute, if being an editor Sudhir Chaudhary can plant stories against Jindal, so too being a business head, he can approach Jindal for advertisements. Technically there is no problem as none of the news channel can claim on record that their advertisement marketing teams don’t contact those persons, group or institutions against whom they have run the story or are planning to run a story. In order to avoid this risk and maintain ethics, editors were at least spared from the responsibility of pulling up the revenue graphs of the newspaper or channel. But in Subhash Chandra’s empire the jobs were merged in order to milk the cow to its full capacity.
BEA simply chose to avoid this glaring contradiction and decided to stay silent despite being a body of TV editors and not of TV business heads. The Hoot put this larger question related with Zee-Jindal incident to Mr. NK Singh, General Secretary BEA, who tersely responded in the following terms, “As of now, we are dealing with this particular case; this issue will be discussed later.”  
Now comes the very question of the nature of the stand, BEA has taken in this case. Was this particular stand taken in isolation, or does BEA follows any norm in arriving at such decisions?
Lets look at the record in these matters.  BEA, after taking suo moto cognizance of the incident, instituted a three member fact finding committee on this Zee-Jindal issue on October 10, 2012 which comprised three members including NK Singh (Secretary BEA), Dibang (Ex managing editor NDTV) and Rahul Kanwal (Managing editor, Headlines Today). The enquiry committee was unexpectedly prompt in its deliberations and pronounced its verdict within just eight days of its formation, holding Sudhir Chaudhary guilty of misconduct and removing him from the body’s membership. BEA issued a press release on 18th October, 2012 to the effect.
This alacrity has raised eyebrows as BEA has still not released its enquiry report in the heinous Assam molestation incident in which the editor and reporters of  the Assamese channel NewsLive were accused of provoking molestation of an innocent girl to get some eye grabbing visuals. The Assam molestation incident not only shook the country but badly tarnished the image of the media as a whole.  
The incident took place in July 2012. On 17th July, BEA formed a three member team of senior editors to look in to the matter and even laid out the much hyped “larger issue” for the sake of its jurisdiction. BEA said in a statement that its team would try to find out if any journalist had actually played a part in the commissioning of the crime. It would also deliberate on the larger issue of conduct of journalists. The three member team was headed by NK Singh (General Secretary, BEA) and included Dibang and Ashutosh (Managing Editor IBN7). The team immediately rushed to Assam, met the concerned parties and looked into the evidence. This was well reported in national and regional media with the hope of getting a clear picture about the incident and the code of ethics on the larger issue of journalistic conduct.
But till now no report has been filed by the BEA on this case, though it arrived at a decision in the Zee-Jindal case in record time. Four months have already passed but BEA is nowhere near to filing the report.
 But in the Sudhir Chaudhary case, the promo, trailer and shooting of the film was completed within a week, and the film was even released simultaneously.
There were two common members in both committees (those of the Assam molestation incident and Zee-Jindal incident), NK Singh and Dibang. The Hoot contacted both to understand this riddle. Dibang said that he would not like to comment on the issue as there was a consensus in the BEA that committee members would not  comment publicly on cases. He said he had answers to all such questions but he was bound by the decision of the BEA.
NK Singh, on the other hand, said that the reason for the delay in the Assam incident’s report was because that they have been waiting for CFSL report to judge the veracity of voices, heard during the molestation incident. He suggested that the BEA was relying on the investigation by authorities to form its opinion in this case. Being asked for the reason of two different parameters adopted in two incidents of alleged ethical misconduct, he said, “Culpability is different in both cases. The Zee issue is based on editorial conduct.” He too expressed his unwillingness to elaborate further.
Now the fact is that a CFSL report is awaited in the second case as well. The police is yet to get the laboratory report of the sting CD, submitted by Jindal in the current case.  But that did not stop the body from announcing action against the editor whose conduct was being inquired into.
The fact that the BEA has taken an exceptional stand in this case is also proven by the previous stands of the association in the Radia tapes  case and in the Sahara-Ed controversy issue.  BEA was formed in August 2009 with some high profile objectives like need to evolve healthy norms, promote training of professional journalists at all levels, and ensure dissemination of credible and constructive news content and to protect the right to freedom of expression, whenever threatened.
The  Radia tapes controversy erupted at the end of the year 2010. in which names of several reputed journalists like Barkha Dutt, Prabhu Chawala, and Vir Sanghvi came to fore for being allegedly involved in unethical hobnobbing with a corporate lobbyist.  Interestingly BEA neither instituted any enquiry committee nor released any statement and chose to remain quite immovable on an issue which came to epitomize the rot in the media.
Individually some  BEA members spoke out.  Ashutosh (managing editor, IBN7) of course, gave a very candid and scathing reply to questions raised on Radia issue while participating in Patna book fest. He bluntly said, “Hame sab pata hai ki media ke bheeter kuch patrakar dallagiri karte hain. Transfer aur posting ka kaam karvaate hain. Angrezi main bhale hi isey lobbying kaha jaata ho, lekin aise kaam karne waale ko hum apni bhasha main dalle kahte hain- (English translation-We are well aware that some journalist are involved in liasoning and dealing in the name of media. They do undertake assignments like transfer and posting. No matter, In English, they are called as lobbyist but we call such persons “pimp” in our language”). However candid this outburst was we don’t know if he raised this  issue at the forum of BEA.  Because there is no record of any action following.
BEA has a record of similar inaction in the case of the  Sahara-Enforcement Directorate controversy in which Upendra Rai, news director of Sahara News  was accused of trying to influence and bribe an Enforcement Directorate official at the behest of corporate lobbyist Nira Radia. Even the Supreme Court took cognizance of the issue and asked for an undertaking from the Sahara counsel that the channel would not publish any story against the investigating officer duing the pendency of the matter. On May 3, 2011, the CBI  also registered  a preliminary enquiry in this case and launched formal a investigation at the request of the Enforcement Directorate. The matter didn’t die down here and Supreme Court on May 6, 2011, issued a  contempt notice to the Managing Director of Sahara Group Subrata Roy and two others for allegedly interfering with the investigation into 2G spectrum case and in the administration of justice.But no decision or pronouncement  was forthcoming on this issue from the BEA.
Sudhir Chaudhary in his response to BEA against his expulsion, raises several issues on of which relates to grievances members of the BEA committee might have against him. In his words,  ‘”Sadly, the pronouncement is a result of infancy of systems at BEA/Committee and the association’s inability to manage a handful of eager-beaver agendas, including, but not limited to, those of Editors on the committee who I have removed from appearing on my channel.” He is alleging internal lobbying and interests groups within the BEA.
While discussing the larger issue of ethics and the BEA it is relevant to mention the record of Sudhir Chaudhary whom the BEA put on its executive and has now hastily removed. He was the CEO of Live India, when the channel ran a fake sting against a Delhi school teacher Uma Khurana. It devastated her life and brought indelible shame to media, particularly news channels. The question arises as to why BEA never took note of his past when giving him the position of treasurer of the organization.
BEA never clarified whether it had exonerated him of being guilty of that incident or whether it was suffering from selective amnesia.
But Sudhir Chaudhary’s side of the story, in this saga of inquiry and expulsion, cannot be ignored either. He has accused some of the editors of BEA to conspire against him whom he does not invite on this shows any more.  When The Hoot contacted him he once again referred to a few allegedly aggrieved editors on the  BEA enquiry committee, without taking any names. He also requested this writer to go through the constitution of the BEA which clearly mentions that only serving editors can be members of BEA. Two members of the enquiry committee, Dibang and NK Singh are no longer serving editors.
If sources are to be believed the third name of the alleged conspirator in his list, pertains to Satish K Singh who was earlier the editor of Zee news and was replaced by Sudhir Chaudhry. The Hoot contacted Satish K Singh,  currently editor of Live India news channel, over such allegations and insinuations but he declined to  comment and  added, “I even didn’t utter a single word in the meetings of BEA on the particular issue.” Dibang and NK Singh also chose not to respond to Chaudhary’s  insinuations. 
Apart from the BEA, the role of news channels in this Zee-Jindal episode  is questionable. They  have not investigated this story despite the fact the existence of a police complaint, sting CD (which has been sent for forensic examination) and consequent police enquiry. They just overlooked a very important and far reaching development of their fraternity.
Viewers must wonder which the reporters who aggressive pursue every scrap of information on  Salman Khurshid or Robert Vadra Arvind Kejriwal or A Raja, are conspicuously silent on and do not pursue allegations regarding their own fraternity.
The current incident could become a turning point for the BEA if it chooses to face allegations being leveled against its members and criticism of its own alleged arbitrariness. But one of the early decisions the body took when the Jindal-Zee story broke was that its members would express no public views on the issue, nor participate in any TV discussion on the subject.

Communicating Cultural Diplomacy through the Media.

The following has been forwarded to me:

Dear sir/ madam,
The SEARCH Committee, from the School of Communication, Taylor’s University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is proud to inform you that we would be having our 3rd International SEARCH Conference from 30-31 May 2013 with the theme:  Communicating Cultural Diplomacy through the Media.

We are indeed delighted that two exemplary academics in the area of Communication studies have consented to be our plenary speakers for the conference. They are:

•          Janet Steele, Associate Prof. of Journalism, School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University.
•          Terry Flew, Professor of Media and Communications, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

We have been encouraged by the response that we have received thus far, as abstracts from all over the world have been coming in. We are convinced that the conference will add to the existing knowledge in the field of communication and humanities, with new researched information being presented by authors from all over the globe. If you would like to join us, the abstract submission deadline is by 31 December 2012.

Please refer to the e-mailer information below or please visit our website ( for further paper submission and registration information.
We look forward seeing you at the conference.


Jenny Heng
SEARCH Secretariat
School of Communication
Taylor's University
Taylor's Lakeside Campus
1 Jalan Taylor's,
47500 Subang Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: 603 5629 5275
Fax: 603 5629 5750

Sunday, 21 October 2012

National Conference on “Critical Aspects of Film Appreciation” in Raipur

Dr.Narendra Tripathi has sent in the following announcement:
The department of Electronic Media Kushabhau Thakre Patrakarita Avam Jansanchar Vishwavidyalaya, Raipur,  has organized a two  day National Conference on “Critical Aspects of Film Appreciation” on  7th and 8th November, 2012  at the University Campus on the occasion of the Indian cinema completing 100 years of its glorious existence.
Film industry has witnessed significant growth in the last decade with the advent of more and more production houses. Film appreciation has become a major field of journalism with more and more movies being produced every year. There is also increasing scope in the field of film journalism with growth of electronic media channels and print media. This seminar is an attempt to discuss the critical aspects of film appreciation which would guide the future and present film journalists and provide them with a new approach towards film appreciation.
The Sub –themes of the seminar will be :
Various aspects of Film Journalism, Technical aspects of film appreciation, Changing trends of film production, Reviewing the established trends of film criticism, Dichotomy between commercial and critical acclaim, Film language and Grammar, Brief History of Indian Cinema, Economics of Film Industry, Inter relation between television and cinema, Cinema as a tool of communication, Film and society
Research papers have to be submitted both in soft copy to the email id : , and  in hard copy to the postal address mentioned in the brochure.
Last date of submission of abstract is 30/10/2012.
Last date of submission of complete papers is 05/11/2012.
Participation in this seminar is invited from teachers, research scholars and other interested persons. The details of registration, registration fees, papers submission are mentioned in the brochure attached along with this letter.
Registration fees include food arrangements for 7-8 November 2012 and accommodation only on availability basis. Travelling expenses will have to be borne by the participants.
Since it is the time of Chhattisgarh state festival (Rajyotsava), therefore request for accommodation shall be made in advance.
Yours Sincerely

Dr.Narendra Tripathi
Convener of the Seminar and Head
Department  of  Electronic Media Kushabhau Thakre Patrakarita Avam Jansanchar Vishwavidyalaya
Mob. 09425755699, 09406282760
Office :- 0771-2779207

Newsweek to close its print edition: Its implication in Indian Print Journalism

Newsweek to close its print edition

Newsweek is to axe its print edition after 80 years and move to digital-only from the new year.
Tina Brown, the editor-in-chief of Newsweek and sister digital news site the Daily Beast, told staff in an email that the last print edition will appear on 31 December.
The new digital-only publication, which will be called Newsweek Global, will be a "single worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context".
Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscriptions, with content available for e-readers, tablets and the web, with some content also available on the Daily Beast.
Brown, a former editor of the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, said that the shift to digital will lead to staff cuts and a downsizing of the business internationally.
"The inexorable move to an all-digital Newsweek comes with an unfortunate reality," she said in an email to staff on Thursday. "Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamling of our editorial and business operations both here in the US and internationally."
Brown was quick to point out that the cuts and move to digital was not about saying "goodbye" to Newsweek, but responding to the reality of the costs of maintaining a print publication.
"We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it," she said. "We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism, that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution."
Newsweek, which was saved for closure by the late Sidney Harman when he bought it for $1 from the Washington Post in August 2010, was swiftly merged with Brown's Daily Beast in a 50/50 joint venture later that same year.
Brown launched the Daily Beast – which is named from her favourite novel, Evelyn Waugh's Scoop – in 2008 with the backing of Barry Diller's InterActiveCorp.
"Newsweek is produced by a gifted and tireless team of professionals who have been offering brilliant work consistently throughout a tough period of ownership transition and media disruption," she said.
Earlier this year, Brown batted down reports that the print edition was doomed in an email titled "scaremongering". But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, she confirmed the move had been in the works for some time. She said: "We have been exploring it since June in a very aggressive way, because all the industry trends have told us that it was only a question of when, not if…. It became increasingly important to us to embrace our future rather than just keep talking about it."
Some commentators have been critical of Brown's stewardship of the magazine. "Brown's Newsweek has been a bit of a disaster, really, and it started to truly fall apart last fall, amid reports of internal tumult at the magazine," wrote Tom McGeveran at Capital New York.
But the Gawker founder Nick Denton placed the blame on Diller. You have to go back to Talk to find Tina Brown's last failure. Since then, Diller has acquired a slew of companies and mismanaged them into irrelevance., Ask Jeeves, the list goes on. Now watch him manage the decline of," he wrote.
Felix Salmon, the financial blogger for Reuters, doubted the new digital Newsweek would work. "The chances that Newsweek will succeed as a digital-only subscription-based publication are exactly zero ... There's no demand for a digital Newsweek, and there's no reason, either, to carve off some chunk of the NewsBeast newsroom, call it Newsweek, and put its journalism onto a platform where almost nobody is going to read it."

Implication in Indian Print Journalism

The foretold closing down of the iconic Newsweek weekly news magazine after 80 years, the last two years under the ownership of digital upstart The Daily Beast, holds warning signals and lessons for the future of many Indian magazines and newspapers struggling to survive or just pretending to have a jolly good life with all the scams and original and duplicate Kejriwalas swirling round.
The winding up of Newsweek print, (by 31 December) which even ten years back was seen as a great asset and impregnable fortress of journalism, shows how suddenly things can change. So will Time magazine and Economist be next?
Time magazine is also not in a good shape. The reason, as a senior editor of Time magazine told this reporter three months back, is that since the genre (news and current affairs as weekly print editions) is being over-run by digital, which advertiser would love to put money into that genre in print? That is where the danger lies. No advertiser in the US for instance will be looking to put his product on a news weekly print genre. It is not a magazine which died with Newsweek. It is that unique thing called the capsuling of news founded and perfected by Time magazine founder Henry Luce and the Reader’s Digest founder, Dewitt Wallace which is finished.
So it makes Times survival also in doubt. Time magazine’s role in the last few years has been to try to make the average American readers aware of two things: China and Islam. Covers on Islam and China are the norms now and the US as a land of opportunities set, the staple diet of many magazines is no longer a subject. So in terms of content both Time and Newsweek have been struggling to find a niche. Newsweek’s coverage of Afghanistan has been creditable with some sources in the Taliban too giving them stories of operations. But then there is a limit of how much excitement the bombing of Helmand province can cause in Seattle or how many on New York’s fashion streets will sit down to see pictures of Gadaffi’s last moments on a printed page.
With this Tina Brown, the darling of print journalism in the West has closed down two big print ventures, Talk which she founded and now Newsweek. The new anti-editors are the big thing. Success in the print world now is calculated on how many mags you close down. When you join as editor, you are told to keep the circulation down. The rest is digital.
In Britain, tradition is holding out against technology. How long no one can say. The Guardian too as recent figures show is in trouble.
Certain drastic and unimagined things have happened over the last five years, taking print journalism to the brink.
The high value, on-the–move reader, the target audience of many news magazines, is now getting used to global content. Thanks, of course to technology and the increasing number of on-the-move imbibers of news, the print format makes little sense. He prefers the digital. Tina Brown who did what was expected of her by turning Newsweek into full digital format, said that she was surprised to see how many people worldwide read The Daily Beast, which she also edits, in India and other corners of the world. The Daily Beast, like Huffington Post has been growing by leaps and bounds and there are 70 million unique visitors to the DB site, up from 13 million just two years ago. That is the reader which now Tina Brown in targeting. The American reader of print will have to fend for himself. Welcome the global audience. Globalise the local story.
For Time as for Newsweek, it does not make sense anymore to run a print operation. Both have segued into the digital world and their ipad apps are as good and value added, 38 percent of people in the US access content digitally. Newsweek according to Tina Brown spent 43 million dollars a year in print production and distribution. That will be a huge cost cutting for Brown. Time will also now follow suit in a year or too, since it doesn’t make sense for them to be in print any more after the exit of Newsweek into a future which is a bit dicey but can be handled.
In India, it takes about 10 minutes to download the Time magazine to the ipad. It is free for those who are print subscribers like this writer. So even though I will get the print edition on Tuesday I can download the global or Asian edition on Sunday or Monday for free (not counting internet charges which are minimal.) which is what I did in the case of the Mammohan Singh issue and the Aamir Khan cover. You can also then figure out what the US edition has on the cover and take that instead.
Apps have embedded videos, audio interviews, back issues and special issues all of which a print edition cannot match. Also, the app now replicates the turning of a page, all pages appear at thumbnails on the bottom which you can scroll, the swish sound can be heard as you turn pages fast, and there are audio of live events. A print mag which a TV station can embed clips into, with every story.
No print magazine in India has grown substantially to make print a viable option anymore. Most of the biggies have pulled out of ABC so that circulation drop is not detected and so they survive on lies and half-truths to get advertising. The back cover and double spread ads no longer excite the producer of high end products for whom television offers huge and cheaper opportunities. The Newspaper jacket is the only big advertising gimmick which the printed world now has to offer. The rest is all passé. Just a replaying of habit.
Distribution cost in India is about 40 percent and is a logistic nightmare for many magazine salespeople. All this is solved by going digital. The readership you lose in India is gained elsewhere. Though various magazines have digital versions, they are not pushed for fear of print version collapsing. Also, various cheap editions for one rupee and five rupees can be put on various platforms and even low-end phones. Magzter, the one-stop magazine vendor on the ipad has various Indian magazines already up for sale.
In the near future, India Today, Outlook and Week, will have no option but to scale down print circulation. The problem here in India is that there is substantially less advertising available now for digital versions with a lot of educating still left to do. The revenue of the internet version of a newspaper gets in one year, might in some cases equal the advertising that the print edition gets in two or three days. That though, maybe changing fast with more online version running focused ad teams.
In India though newspaper owners, like the owners of any industry on the decline have a habit of covering their head in the sand, blissfully unaware or defiantly pretending ostrich-like, till it is too late. How many of the 25 daily English newspapers available in Delhi make even marginal profit and how many will survive?
With an intended pun on the famous American weekly, the message is clear: Time to change.
Binoo K John was VP for digital acquisition for e-reader company.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Required Research Assistants/Research Associates for MICA

 Research Assistants/Research Associates

 Qualification and Experience

Media Area

First class postgraduate in Media, Communications or Humanities, having basic understanding of research methodology/methods.Should preferably have one or two year’s experience, either in academics or industry in media. Excellent IT skills are a must.

Job profile

Research Assistant/Research Associate will participate in a mix of academic, research and self-development tasks.

1.    Provide assistance and support to faculty members in teaching and evaluation, development of courses and teaching material, research projects, MDPs etc. and undertake the material development and research work jointly with faculty members.

2.    Assist the faculty in developing methodologies, implementation of research projects, importing data into analysis software, basic data analysis and generation of reports.

3.    Develop process for completing projects and be responsible for producing and maintaining up-to-date documentation of such process.

4.    Assist in grant preparation.

5.    Implement research design such as FGDs, experiments, gathering data, analysing data, keeping accurate records of experimental data and procedures, writing papers, preparing talks and PPTs for meetings and reviewing literature.

6.    Attend seminars or meetings and document proceedings; present the results of research in seminars, posters, manuscripts, or other appropriate formats.

7.    Research assistant/associate will be encouraged to write conference papers and pursue PhD during his/her tenure at the institute.


Research Assistants will be paid a stipend of Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 25, 000 and Research Associates will be paid Rs. 25000 to Rs. 30,000 per month depending on qualification, experience, merit and performance in the interview. Candidates with exceptional experience and with good academic record will be given higher start.


Appointments will be made purely on contract basis for a period of one year initially and renewable annually based on performance.

How to Apply

Please email your applications to careers@micamail.inwithsubject line as “Application forResearch Assistant”. Applications should have (a) covering letter (b) latest updated CV and (c)Copies of papers published/conference presentations.

Applications can also be sent by post to: The Assistant Manager (HR), MICA, Shela, Ahmedabad – 380058.

Last date of receipt of application is October 22, 2012.