Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Mrinal Chatterjee's fourth Odia Novel Kandhei published

I am sure that each of us know Prof Dr Mrinal Chatterjee as journalist-turned media teacher, heading the IIMC campus in Dhenkanal, Odisha. Some may know him as a novelist. I had a vague idea, but now I am delighted to inform you that the fourth novel of Prof Dr Mrinal Chatterjee in Odia, 'Kandhei' (The Doll) has recently been published in Bhubaneswar. 

What is more interesting to know that the novel is being translated in Hindi and English. I read its review which gives a broad idea about the theme. 

Congratulation Dr. Mrinal. The theme is different, and I am waiting for the English version!! 

You will also have a similar feeling when you read the review at

Kandhei (a novella) Author: Mrunal Publisher: Prakashan Timepass, Bhubaneswar 

A cat who writes a secret diary, vows vengeance for all the problems she faces because of her human landlords, and tries to live her dreams. A dog named Rajnikanta who gets scared by monkey kids. A squirrel couple named Branjelina who always leave their audience stunned with their speed and incomparable love. 

There are many such interesting characters in this thought-provoking Odia novella written by Mrunal (pen name of Dr Mrinal Chatterjee). 

Story of Kandhei, the cat, begins with her arrival to an almost cat-hating family. The owner of the house, Nabaghana, has ailurophobia (fear of cats). He believes that cats are bad omen and this is why they are always shown in scary movies. His wife Rangabati and son Luv Kumar have similar fears and anxieties. Only his daughter Lata finds Kandhei cute because of her soft fur, yellow spots on the brown skin and blue eyes. 

The novella is divided into three parts. The first part appears to be lengthy. On a lighter note, the author attributes this to his inability to stop when he starts saying something. However, this phenomenon is not unique and Dr Chatterjee is not the first writer struggling to contain his thoughts. In fact, all creative people face this problem. They create a world of their own, and many other entwined worlds within.  Here also, the author creates many layers in the first part and ends up building the foundation for an interesting story of a cat that follows in the second and third parts.   
As the story progresses, the reader is exposed to the world of Kandhei as she harbours desires, guided by her own urges. Her stay at Nabaghana’s house is marked by resistance from other members, even the animals. But Kandhei lives not only her life but also her dreams despite all odds, aptly summed up in the words of Jim Davis quoted in the second part of the novella, “Way down deep, we're all motivated by same urges. 

Cats have the courage to live by them.” Dr Chatterjee’s cat, or that matter no cat is an ordinary animal. Cat bears the soul of a woman, split in her desires. On the one hand she wants to become free and explore the pain and pleasures of the world on her own, on the other she needs the security provided by domesticity.  

Her split personality is not just limited to the dilemma of choosing between freedom and safety but also in the choice of male partners. She romances two tomcats at the same time.  Both of them are examples of two extremes of male personality. The one gives her love and treats her as a duly wedded wife while the other lusts her, violates her body and yet gives her the pleasure (as she thinks) she does not want to live without.  

Kandhei flirts with her dilemmas and for once steps out of the shackles of the household, only to return when the thoughts of safety of her children fades her own desires. Being an animal is bad. Being a cat is perhaps the worst. People kill some animals for food and leave some to die in want of a safe abode. However, cats are the only one of its kind persecuted everyday because of superstitions.  In this novella, Dr Chatterjee not only breaks many myths about cats but also make the reader see the world from the eyes of a cat.  - See more at: 


Thursday, 26 December 2013

Seminar on New Media and Indian Democracy at Dharwad

Digital technologies and the new media are changing democracy. By informing and empowering the citizens, the new media have made public discourse more dynamic and vibrant. Democratic values have gained a new momentum through the support of cyberspace. The arena of free speech has widened like never before. 

Participation of the audience through the use of citizen journalism and alternative media channels has re-energized democratic values and beliefs. The World Wide Web is in the centre-stage of a great democratic discourse supported by a host of new media gadgets.
Indeed, the new media have opened a new phase to our democratic fabric and we are witnessing its reach and influence.

Keeping these developments in view, a two-day national seminar on “New Media and Indian Democracy” is proposed to be held on 25-26 January 2014.

The seminar aims to debate the impact of the new media in strengthening the democratic fabric of the nation. 

We invite you to participate in the seminar and present your valuable ideas and thoughts in the form of papers and poster presentations. Please circulate this note among your colleagues.

For more details log on to : www.kusanjesamachara1982.blogspot.com

Dr.Sanjaykumar Malagatti                                                 Dr.A. S. Balasubramanya

Seminar Coordinator                                                          Chairman

                                                                                          Mail to: balasubramanya52@gmail.com

Saturday, 21 December 2013

AMIC Conference Announcement

Communicating in an e-Asia: values, technologies and challenges
in partnership with
Chulalongkorn University
Bangkok, Thailand
9th-12th July, 2014
Globally, the last decade has seen exponential growth in the use of mobile technologies and the Internet. From e-mail to e-governance, e-commerce to e-learning, Internet usage has changed the way the world communicates.
At the forefront of the electronic and digital revolution in Asia has been the mobile phone. Recent International Telecommunication Union (ITU) statistics indicate that in the period from 2005 to 2013, mobile (cellular) phone subscriber numbers in the Asia-Pacific region have soared from 833 million to 3,547 million users. The era of an e-Asia has dawned.
The benefits of instant, intranational and trans-border communication have impacted upon almost every aspect of life, with mobile phones and the Internet providing new pathways for inter-personal communication, business and commercial enterprise, community development, educational opportunity, governance and democratic reform. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are an enabling factor in supporting marginalized societies to more beneficially interact with a broader citizenry, while the convergence of computers, media and telecommunications has created new platforms for entrepreneurship, education and political inclusion.
However, in the Asia-Pacific region, where cultural traditions and family values are hugely respected and deeply ingrained, the influences of a new ‘e-Asia literacy’ are impacting on social conventions, etiquette, language and community structures. In a homogenized international ‘knowledge society’ where communication processes transcend national boundaries, the retention of traditional values and ways of life are increasingly challenged.  
Conference streams (including):
  • communication and society
  • cultural impact of ICTs
  • social media and society
  • youth and the Internet
  • e-learning, trends and possibilities
  • media and a free press
  • communication and marginalized communities
  • ICTs and development
  • the ‘knowledge society’
  • future of communication technologies
  • remote/island societies and new technologies
  • media and gender
  • society and new media
  • education and new technologies
  • development communication and social change
  • broadcasting, past and present
  • freedom of expression in transition societies
  • media history
  • communication theory and ethics
  • environment, climate and communication
  • print media, past and present
  • socio-political development and media
  • cross-cultural influences and developments
  • policy and communication
  • media empowerment
Papers will be selected on a competitive basis and all submissions will be screened by an expert panel.
Abstracts due:     4th April, 2014
Full papers due:  1st June, 2014
Abstracts and papers should be submitted via e-mail (conference@amic.org.sg). Please do not send papers to the personal e-mail addresses of conference organizers.
Indicate your proposed “Conference Stream” in the subject line of your e-mail.
E-mail should include the following:
  • paper title
  • author name, position, institution
  • short biography of author (100 words)
  • paper abstract (500 words)
Indicate “Full Paper” and relevant conference stream in the subject line of your e-mail.
  • should be written in English.
  • be of 5,000-8,000 words in length.
  • have citation in APA style.
  • should be Microsoft Word or RTF document. Font should be Times New Roman, 12 pts. Please use plain text and not formatting.
For more information, please contact Ms Sangeetha Madasamy at sangeetha@amic.org.sg or Assoc Prof Martin Hadlow at m.hadlow@amic.org.sg
Note to all authors: By submitting your paper, you agree that if your paper is selected, you will register for the conference and present the paper. All co-authors attending and/or presenting at the conference must register too.
Criteria used to judge abstracts will include (but not be restricted to) the following:
  • topic
  • theoretical orientation
  • research design
  • results
  • quality of writing and organization of the paper
  • indications of potential contributions of the study to communication research in Asia
Full papers
Criteria used to judge full papers will include (but not be restricted to) the following:
  • purpose of the paper
  • organization of the paper
  • literature review
  • research methodology
  • relevance of the paper to the conference
  • subject of the paper representing a significant direction for communication research in Asia
  • quality of writing
  • evidence and conclusions relating to the purpose of the paper

Conference on Commercialization of Media and Public service communication

Department of Mass Communication
Acharya Institute of Graduate Studies
Soladevanahalli, Hesarghatta Road
Achit Nagar Post, Benagaluru- 560 107

Organizing a National conference on 
Commercialization of Media and Public service communication
30th and 31st January 2014

Special Talk by
Director General of AIR, Chief Executives officer-TAM,
Leading Ad Gurus and Film makers.

Your papers are invited

Proposed sessions
Session-01: Radio, Television, News Papers, Theatre, New media. Film and Folk Media
For Details contact: 9886394831, 9731725224, 9740777761 and 8105957469
1. Impact of commercialization on the Primary channels
2. Growth of FM: changing face of Radio
3. Changing revenue model for Radio
4. Is radio still the messiah of public service broadcasting

Session-02: Television
1. Myth and Reality of TAM
2. Are tele-serials still the channel Drivers
3. Booming of Reality shows: Their impact on other genres
4. Should there be legal regulation of contents of Private channels?
5. How Ethical are the news channels?

Session-03:  News Papers
1. Online newspapers and their impact on Readership
2. Citizen journalism in the context of expanding social media networking
3. Shrinking news content in newspapers
4. Impact of 24X7 news channels on News coverage in Print medium
5. Implications of FDI on Print media

Session-04:  THEATRE
1. Growth of commercial Television and its impact on theatre.
2. The current trend on Theatre and their impact on drawing audience.
3. Can TV be a Platform for promoting theatre
4. Is theatre also a prey for commercialization?

Session-05: New media
1. Can New Media be scoop media
2. Social marketing sites and changing life styles
3. Importance of Print Media vis-a-vis social networking sites
4. Emerging technologies in New media and their utility for media

Session-06: Film
1.  Vanishing social concerns in Film-A Critical analysis
2. Whither Parallel cinema
3. Compulsions of Film Making: Are classics on the way out

Session-07 Folk Media
1.        Status of Folk performing arts
2.       Folk music/Genres on Electronic Media
3.       Have folk arts lost the original rural aroma?
Dates to Note
Last date for Abstract submission : December 31st , 2013
Registration Fees:
Rs. 1000 For Faculty and Rs. 300 for Students

For more details contact:
Prof. Chandra Mouli: 9886394831, chandramouli@acharya.ac.in
Shantharaju s: 9731725224, shantharaju@acharya.ac.in
Premavathi: 9740777761, premavathi.aigs@acharya.ac.in
Manasa K: 8105957469, manasa@acharya.ac.in
Mubeen K.Taj:7411720980, mubeen.ziyad@gmail.com

Thursday, 19 December 2013

CALL FOR RESEARCH PAPERS for Journal of Media Watch

Following from Dr. Sony Jalarajan Raj:

Journal of Media Watch
(ISSN: 0976 0911, e-ISSN: 2249 8818)
Invites research papers for its May 2014 issue on the following themes:
  • Theoretical issues in media/communication field (Television, Print, Web, and Film)
  • Journalism and Journalists – Changing concepts and practices
  • Media Management – Trends, Techniques and Dynamics
  • News Media – Politics, Policies and Regulations
  • Communication - Moral issues and ethical concerns
  • Citizen Journalism – Challenges, Prospects and Diversions
  • Technologies – Process and Products
  • Web Journalism- Data journalism to apps
  • Social Media - Networking sites and News opportunities
  • Convergent Media – Access and reach opportunities
  • Film Studies- New wave and new generations
  • Abstract submission: 30th January 2014
  • Full paper submission: 15th March 2014
Submit your manuscript at:

Dr. Sony Jalarajan Raj
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Media Watch
Institute for Communication, Entertainment & Media
St. Thomas University, Florida, USA
Email: sonyjraj@gmail.com
Tel: 001-786-204-1031

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

www.timesofindia.com adjudged 'Best News and Information Website' of the year

Times of India.com (www.timesofindia.com) has been crowned as the 'Best News and Information Website' of the year while Economic times.com (www.economictimes.com), Indiatimes.com (www.indiatimes.com) and ZigWheels.com (www.zigwheels.com) scooped the prizes for the 'Most Popular' websites at the Ascendas Website of the Year (WOTY) awards 2013.

ET was adjudged as the most popular site in 'finance' category, Indiatimes in the 'news and info' whereas Zigwheels clinched the award for 'automotive' category. The brands are key properties of Times Internet -- the largest Indian internet network which is also the digital venture of Times of India Group. 

The seventh edition of Ascendas India best website awards started on October 14, 2013 and received a phenomenal response getting over 1,24,432 votes, making it one of the most voted online award this season. It saw 238 websites getting nominated in 20 categories with majority of voters from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. The nominated websites were evaluated on the parameters of content, navigation, design, engagement and user interface. 

Times of India Online (www.timesofindia.com) won the title 'Best News and Info Website of the Year' with the highest average score on four elements. As one of India's most popular news websites, Timesofindia.com offers a complete and up-to-date coverage on national, international and city-specific happenings related to events in the field of sports, entertainment, lifestyle, business and more. In India, the website caters to over 12 million unique visitors and more than 190 million page views as per ComScore October 2013 report, making it India's most preferred English news site. 

India's no. 1 business and financial news website Economic times.com is the only site in the country which covers business and markets 24X7, and updates 500 stories per day. It clocks 134 million page views every month; is visited by over 6.4 million unique visitors who spend almost half an hour on the site. In addition, 3 million visitors have downloaded ET apps on mobiles and tablets across all platforms. 

ZigWheels.com is India's no. 1 automotive portal & gets over 3 million unique visitors every month. It is the country's most exhaustive auto portal cutting across cars and bikes. The portal carries a range of news and views on motoring like reviews, road tests, exhaustive galleries and specialty content on motorsport, tools & tips and international motoring events. ZigWheels has also emerged as the platform of choice for buyers and sellers as well as automotive enthusiasts and this award is a testimony to that. 

Indiatimes.com is a youth-focused content portal that curates the trending and buzzing stories from entertainment, news, lifestyle, tech, sports and more. With close to 60 million page views a month and 3 million unique visitors. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


Following from Anil Cherukupalli

We are happy to announce the next event in the Wanted Series in Mumbai which will take place on 18 December 2013 at the Max Mueller Bhavan, K. Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda from 6 pm to 9 pm.

The theme of the discussion is WANTED: ETHICS IN PHOTOGRAPHY.

Photography, after the introduction to the ethereal world of electronics has undergone a revolution that has extreme implications on the moral and ethical, as well as the legal and professional dimensions of photography. The digital revolution offers empowerment and opportunity, along with a range of new problems such as digital manipulation, legal status of ownership rights over images, intellectual property rights, reproduction rights, right to freedom, and the right to privacy.

Photographers, journalists, and artists, too encounter ethical challenges in their professional and personal lives. Though not easy, but often, an answer to such challenges may emerge from brainstorming or intense discussions. Do we have a framework of ethics and morals on creating and consuming photography in India? Are ethics and morals the same? Are ethics and laws consistent in India? Should ethics be sacrificed for the higher good of the society? Do professional ethics in one discipline conflict and contradict with ethical conduct of another discipline? Can a voluntary ethical and moral framework be developed for use by photographers in India? The invited speakers will share their experiences, which will be followed by an open discussion with everyone present.

To register for the event please go here: www.wantedseries.com/register

The WANTED SERIES is an interaction conceived and organised by Goa Center for Alternative Photography (Goa-CAP) and Aksgar in collaboration with Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan, where prominent editors, curators and publishers from the art, photography and media world will discuss critical issues on photography in an informal setting. 

This is a discussion series which travels to different cities in India. You can read more about the Wanted Series at www.wantedseries.com
Best wishes,

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Without Fear or Favor

I stumbled upon this interesting piece while searching for the origin of the credo ‘Without Fear or Favor’

Exactly 100 years ago today, Adolph S. Ochs, the founding father of the modern Times, published a declaration of principles in these pages setting forth his goals for the respectable but failing newspaper he had just taken over. The 38-year-old publisher, who had already rescued a dying paper in Chattanooga, Tenn., now found himself pitted in New York against powerful, sensationalistic competitors in the heyday of yellow journalism. His statement envisioned a dignified and responsible alternative that would provide trustworthy news and opinion. One especially elegant and inspirational goal -- ''to give the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved'' -- has held a place of honor at The Times ever since. Ochs's statement, reprinted below, was widely quoted at the time and remains a worthy credo for journalists everywhere, however difficult to fulfill.
To undertake the management of The New-York Times, with its great history for right doing, and to attempt to keep bright the lustre which Henry J. Raymond and George Jones $(the paper's founding publishers$) have given it is an extraordinary task. But if a sincere desire to conduct a high-standard newspaper, clean, dignified, and trustworthy, requires honesty, watchfulness, earnestness, industry, and practical knowledge applied with common sense, I entertain the hope that I can succeed in maintaining the high estimate that thoughtful, pure-minded people have ever had of The New-York Times.
It will be my earnest aim that The New-York Times give the news, all the news, in concise and attractive form, in language that is parliamentary in good society, and give it as early, if not earlier, than it can be learned through any other reliable medium; to give the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved; to make of the columns of The New-York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.
There will be no radical changes in the personnel of the present efficient staff. Mr. Charles R. Miller, who has so ably for many years presided over the editorial pages, will continue to be the editor; nor will there be a departure from the general tone and character and policies pursued with relation to public questions that have distinguished The New-York Times as a non-partisan newspaper -- unless it be, if possible, to intensify its devotion to the cause of sound money and tariff reform, opposition to wastefulness and peculation in administering public affairs, and in its advocacy of the lowest tax consistent with good government, and no more government than is absolutely necessary to protect society, maintain individual and vested rights, and assure the free exercise of a sound conscience. ADOLPH S. OCHS, New-York, Aug. 18, 1896.
Published in The New York Times, August 19, 1996

Saturday, 7 December 2013

When every newspaper becomes a tabloid

What is one to make of the Tarun Tejpal story? Why was it necessary for the media to cover it in this detail? How did it come to dominate the news cycle in the middle of an important election blanking out other stories, including that of a prime ministerial candidate’s reported misuse of his police?

The Times of India reported last Sunday that: “Not only was there barely any live coverage of the Modi rally (on Saturday) despite being held in Delhi but it did not receive detailed mention in news bulletins through the day.”
It continued: “The Tejpal story on the other hand, despite lacking any development through most of the day by way of dramatic visuals or leaked mails, dragged on as the nation waited for a Goa court to decide if he would be arrested or not.” The Times of India is itself not exempt from this and the top story on its website that day was how the Tejpal family chatted noisily and ordered sandwiches on their flight to Goa.
Is the coverage of this story an indicator of something larger? I believe so.
Let’s have a look at media structurally to understand the phenomenon in terms of theory. We can identify and link the media category to the material it is primarily concerned with covering.
At one end of the news spectrum is the report on one individual and one incident. The more famous the person is, the smaller the incident required to qualify it as news (Sachin Tendulkar retires, Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri have a surrogate baby, Tejpal accused of rape). These stories are usually of no concern to the reader and do not affect the world at large.
However, this is a legitimate space for reportage and media that focuses purely on this sort of journalism on one person and one event is what is called “tabloid”.
There is a class bias here. Such news is aimed at and consumed by the lower classes, who are not very educated and interested in popular rather than high culture. It is the blue-collar masses who subscribe to tabloids such as The Sun in London, which are the best exponents of such journalism.
At the other end of the spectrum is the report unrelated to the individual, such as on policy or politics or economics. This is the domain of the broadsheet, like The Guardian or The New York Times, and magazines like our Economic & Political Weekly.
The subject of their coverage usually affects more people. Business journalism occupies the same space by default because of its areas of interest. This is why business journalists and business journalism tends to be better than regular media, especially in places like India.
Even in civilized nations, at times all media converge on the tabloid story: We have the examples of O.J. Simpson, an actor and former American football player, Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern who was at the centre of a political sex scandal, and Britain’s Princess Diana.
But these are episodes. The media in the West holds its formation for most stories.
In India, it is not so. The mass media, all of it, descends to the tabloid end of the news spectrum. The resulting news coverage is high intensity but episodic. Delhi rape/Talwar conviction/Tejpal arrest. It is noise without illumination.
After politicians and policemen, the media understands Indians best because it is plugged into audience response through daily sales. This is especially so for television journalists, who receive story-specific data on consumption.
Television has pushed newspapers further this way, meaning towards popular journalism. Till 15 years ago, the news agenda was determined by the main wire service, the Press Trust of India, which fed newspapers national stories and even instructed them on the day’s “lead” stories. That has changed totally and last night’s television determines the morning’s front page.
Things that would have been ignored or underplayed earlier by the brave or stubborn editor are now irresistible national stories because they are made so by Times Now, CNN-IBN and NDTV in English and their corresponding channels in Hindi.
Newspapers feel they have lost control of the direction of news coverage.
There is a second structural issue in India, which affects the media’s output. What is upmarket in the West—high culture, meaning literature, classical music and art—doesn’t exist in our media. Newspapers have been cleansed of such distractions thoroughly. There are almost no pages dedicated to it.
In India what is actually downmarket in the West—celebrity gossip (“Page 3”)—is called upmarket in the trade. All editors are familiar with the demand from proprietors and advertising sales executives to make their paper “more upmarket”.
It is serious journalism—stories about middle India and its problems—that is called downmarket here.
This inversion, we must accept, comes from audience demand and a lack of audience fragmentation, meaning most Indians are fine with this. That, of course, means things will remain this way.s it necessary for the media to cover the Tarun Tejpal story in this detail?