Tuesday, 29 May 2007


See even national dailies aren't too different from us.
If in Goa, The Navhind Times would have the gall to publish and go gaga over a picture of Baba Dempo planting a sapling in a village, where mining silt would have devastated all sorts of vegetation, recently the Hypocritic 'HINDU' newspaper published a huge spread story on Jyoti Basu went for a root canal. Some days back Hindu editor-in-chief N Ram's daughter featured on the front page for having topped her batch at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Here's a lame response from the newspaper's readers' editor to some flak the story received.
This is being reproduced courtesy a reader, who sent it to us.

I've been writing for nearly a quarter century now. An Indian student topping a class at a prestigious university for journalism is not, by any stretch, a front page story. It is a story on the media or education page, yes. But not for the front page. That's the first mistake the Hindu editors made, even if she were not the daughter of N Ram. Her getting applauded as she collected her prize, too, was not worthy of a page 1 story. This is not to undermine Vidya. I hope she will delight us over the years with fantastic journalism. But this sounds jingoistic, like Times of India's www.indiaposed.com campaign.

Have they placed other Indian achievements abroad similarly, such as, for instance, Sree getting the student deanship, or being voted as the most popular professor at Columbia? Have they placed Prof Govindarajan's many achievements at Tuck at Dartmoth, the oldest B-school in the world, and the top-ranking one for the past few years? British universities, too, have
Indian achievers. Have they got page 1 treatment?

Now, to the lame response from the ombudsman:

>For a professional newsman — I have been one for over
>half a century now — an Indian woman topping the class
>in a prestigious journalism school, and bagging a
>fellowship to boot, was really hard news.

Really? Hard news? More so than a student getting the top rank at a medical school, or an engineering school? Isn't it being terribly parochial, to see journalism as a profession that important?

>She topped this highly
>competitive school's 2007 class of 250+ M.S. programme
>students — it is extremely rare for a foreign student
>to do this — and received a Pulitzer fellowship for

Can we have statistics, as to how many foreign students have secured it, and why is it so rare?

Many foreign students who study in the US get prestigious travel grants upon graduation. Does the Hindu cover each one? In that case, they missed one in 1985. Let them do some digging, and they will find out what I mean.

>The inclusion of this news in the main paper,
>"not tucked away in a corner of MetroPlus," as one
>reader suggested, was a question of judgment. In
>heading, display and positioning, the element of
>subjectivism also comes into play. As with any
>judgment, there will be dissent, sometimes strong and
>loud. This was neither local nor provincial news to be
>called parochial.

These are very lame explanations.

>As for "dynastic politics", The
>Hindu is a 100 per cent family-owned newspaper and the
>family has been in control. Vidya and her cousins will
>be the fifth generation of the family working in the
>newspaper, should they decide to join it (so far, it
>appears, nobody has). "Dynasty" and "family" have
>acquired an unsavoury connotation in recent times, but
>that need not extend to all cases.

That explains nothing. I have no problem with Vidya Ram working at the Hindu
- may she become a fine editor there, and she probably will be a fine editor
- but the Hindu is not the house journal of the family.

>Would the daughter of an ordinary employee have got
>the same coverage, asked one reader. She would, and
>should, for any similar achievement or distinction.
>The Civil Services examination topper from Tamil Nadu
>this year (K. Nandakumar, all-India 30th rank and
>State first) was a lorry driver's son and his feat
>received due notice. Eight school students from India
>participated in the Intel International Science and
>Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), Albuquerque [New
>Mexico, U.S.] a few days ago. The Hindu wrote on their
>participation and work.

Was it page 1?

I repeat: Ms Ram's achievement deserves to be on the media page, or the education page. It is not by any stretch a story worthy of front page. There are many good things that dinstinguish the Hindu from the Times of India. Here, the Rams behaved like the Jains.


Blogger Some like it hot..... said...

Well said, sir, you do definitely have a point.There used to be a time where I looked upto Hindu for qualitative information around, but guess not anymore.

9 July 2008 at 06:24  

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