Saturday, 19 July 2008

OF COLD FEET AND FROST BYTES: THE STORY OF THE GT INTERVIEW THAT WASN'T PUBLISHED

Hi guys... the silence of the Goan media on Nazi-gate really does not shock us. These guys have always behaved like ostriches, who are only keen on hiding both, their eggs and their balls (for those who have an issue with the word 'balls', you could interpret it as a set of dummy eggs). So we were pleasantly surprised when GT features contacted us for an email interview. This was way back on July 4, when GT correspondent Arti Das wrote to us...

Hi Mr Penpricks (I got to know your gender through Orkut! J),
First of all, let me introduce myself to you. I am Arti Das, a reporter with Gomantak Times.
I'm writing regarding the latest sting that is making waves -- wherein you took the media fraternity for a merry ride by creating aheadline-grabbing fake news item about the arrest of an 88-year-old Johann Bach an absconding high-ranking Waffen SS (Schutzstaffel)colonel in the Germany's former Nazi party in the Khanapur jungle of Karnataka.
There are some questions, which have cropped up in all our minds and I would like to ask you some questions in connection with the same. Hoping that you will be kind enough to answer my queries, which are as follows:

She sent us a set of 14 questions, which we responded to on July 6. When there was no sign of the interview till July 14, we asked her whether Gomantak Times was carrying the interview at all... On July 15 GT wrote back to us saying they would publish the interview ASAP and sent us two additional questions (the ones right at the bottom). On July 18 we got Arti again on the chat. This is the conversation that transpired...

me: ma'am sorry to badger you like this, but any sign of the interview date?
arati05: not yet
2:28 PM
me: then ma'am i suggest you drop it
arati05: why??????????????
me: no issues two weeks after an event makes for no news
arati05: hmm ok will c
me: and I will run it on the blog
2:29 PM
arati05: when?
me: tomorrow maybe
2:30 PM
arati05: wait i will let u know dont put it on blog
me: gimme a time then
arati05: i cant tell u until my editor tells me when to take
2:31 PM
me: ok cool
arati05: c i am just a reporter
me: sure then its my request pls withdraw it i am running it on the blog tks
arati05: why u want to put it on the blog?
2:32 PM
me: cause its taking too long doesnt make sense
arati05: ok will ask my editor
2:33 PM
me: sure unless i get something concrete I am posting it on d blog tomorrow ma'am thanks again
arati05: ok
2:34 PM
me: see ya
arati05: please wait 4 my confirmation please, before putting it me: will wait till tomorow morn
2:35 PM
arati05: ok will let u know by today eveningh
me: sure
arati05: ok then
me: bye
arati05: bye

Now we have absolutely no idea, what has gone wrong... Suddenly GT appears to have developed cold feet... We have no cure for that. But we have this interview which you guys could read up. We waited as promised till the morning of July 19 and there has been no response from GT yet. Why no one knows. If you guys bump into someone from GT, pls do ask em...

1) What was the purpose behind a fake story of this sort?
1) Fake story? We only followed the 'to catch a thief, set a thief' principle. Very often the media (region, medium, language, irrespective) converts gossip, slag, unconfirmed and unverified reports into gospel. We wanted to bring this to the fore. And what better way to do it, than by paying them back in the language they understand best. The purpose of this story was to establish it as a fact that a large section of the media in Goa and India does not bother verify news that is packaged in an attractive, neatly written manner. There are no fact-checking mechanisms in place. Neither in newsrooms in Goa, nor in most media houses across the country.
2) Why did you think of this particular topic? Is it because it is a rather vague topic and most of us are totally clueless about it?
2) Arti, you call Jew genocide-WWII-Nuremberg trials- a vague topic. Then we regretfully say it reflects badly on you. A journalist is expected to know these things. If he/she doesn't, they are expected to ask, verify. Almost every newspaper office has an internet connection now? How far are you from information nowadays? And about the cluelessness bit, whatever happened to the WWW&H principle. That's the ABCD of journalism.
3) Were you expecting this sort of response? Are you surprised by the manner in which the national media covered it?

3) We expected the national media to cover it. They are only as dumb or as smart as the media in Goa. Perhaps they are only a bit more bloated. But what we were surprised by the amazing response which the story received, once we made it known that it was a hoax. We are also not surprised by the fact that not too many newspapers have apologised for feeding their readers unverified news.
4) Is this one incident enough to prove the 'credibility' of the press?
4) We do not know about the credibility bit. But yes, this one incident is enough to prove how 'in'credible our press actually is. (Not a joke)
5) Do you think this 'blind coverage' is the outcome of the cutthroat competition among newspapers in Goa?

5) Come on girl, don't blame it on competition alone. Ignorance or 'cluelessness ' (as you put it) is a major factor. Journalists in Goa simply do not read anything other than newspapers. This refusal to verify information, also stems from a kind of pomposity which journalists today are suffering from. Also like we said earlier, there is no stress on fact-checking in our news-producing systems.
6) Do you think that this competition is killing real journalism, which is dying a slow death?

6) You got it wrong here. Journalism is dead. It's as dead as a haunch of fresh mutton you see on a butchers hook. But there are still a few muscles trembling now and then. Most journalism now is glorified 'churnalism', a blog rightly puts it. But those small media outfits, individuals, who are still slugging it out some against all odds, deserve a pat.
7) What is your frank opinion about the local media and the national media as a whole?

7) I think the last answer should cover the national media as a whole. But the woes of the Goan media stem from the fact there are not too many pioneers in the profession you can look up to. These so-called pioneers were all beautiful people, with beautiful faces, fancy names, long side-locks, twirling moustaches, melodious speech, with a string of awards stacked in their cabinets. But they were mostly bad journalists who wore pants which had unusually bulging pockets, must have been the style of the times. While speaking about Sonia Gandhi, when Churchill Alemao once made that 'pallbearer of democracy' faux pas, he may have actually thinking about the state of journalism in the Goa.
8) Why now? Did you plan to do it at this point in time, or was there no particular reason for the choice of timing?

8) We'd felt the outrage after reading/watching the media's posthumus rape of Aarushi Talwar and Scarlett Keeling in the manner they covered the two stories. The coverage was spurious. We only waited till the outrage really welled up, I guess.
9) How long did it take you to whip up this joke of a news item?
9) Precisely 25 hours.
10) Did you have any apprehensions while planning this prank?

10) We were a bit nervous, but that's alright, isn't it?
11) Obviously you were trying to prove a point. Do you feel there is a solution to the problem? If so what is it?

11) Read. Stop hiring dumb stenographers as journalists. Get fact-checking systems in place. And do not lie to your readers.
12) Why do you feel the media has reached the current state?

12) It's a very, very long story. And its question number 12. A bit too late in the day.
13) Have you done something like this before?

13) You must read the blog more often then. There were several stories that we've broken on the blog, which includes a Cash-for-Editorials scam in the Herald, a Goan English Daily. We debunked (with documents) a CNN-IBN special investigative story on the Russian 'invasion' of Goa. One of the other more entertaining, but necessary story was one posted on National Press Day. It's called 'How to take a Goan Editor to bed'. That was widely read too.
14) What are your plans for the future? Any more pranks that we should watch out for?

14) If the story works out, perhaps next month we'll break another big story. It's likely to expose a rather suave editor. We are investigating the story right now, so we would not like to disclose more. But trust me, it's not a prank.
(second batch of questions)

1) Why Penpricks chose to be anonymous? Is there any specific reason?
1) There is a specific reason. We have acid scars on our faces... Come on.. thats a dumb question. The media here cannot stand scrutiny. If they know who it is, that's picking these holes, they'd blast a bazooka through our bellies.
2) Don't you think that by being anonymous you are portraying a picture of power without accountability?
2) Just because newspapers carry a printline, does it make them accountable? How many newspapers have apologised to their readers for feeding them the fake Nazi story, without any verification? As far as we know only the Herald has published a clarification on this issue. Has the Gomantak Times apologised yet? So where is the accountability on your end?

29 Comments:

Blogger Joao Sebastiao Manuel Honorato Menezes said...

Oops!!. Is that Arti Das on the train to oblivion?

Thi story continues to knock down a few more heads along the way!!! 'What is next?'

19 July 2008 at 19:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gomantak Times did a right thing by not publishing it. The interview should be dumped in the dust bin.

19 July 2008 at 23:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penpricks, you can be caught by tracing your IP address.

20 July 2008 at 08:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys Papa Rajan Narayan is very upset and has called You a bunch of whores in his Stray Thoughts. ("Stray" as in a pariah dog?) Bow! wow! Rajan is a southie dog who sneaked into Goa just like Preetu Nair or that Vasco NGO Arun Pandey of hers did. or for that purpose even King Maker Sujoy Gupta did. What Arti (another stray) prove that your blog should appear in some form for people to read. Wonder how you guys must be feeling working in the same papers alongside guys whose asses you kick. Not exactly a great workspace, eh ;-)

20 July 2008 at 11:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penpricks, you must grant it to GT. At least they had the guts to take the bull by its horns and interview 'THEIR EXCELLENCY PENPRICKS'(since nobody knows your gender). This alone speaks volumes of Goan media. Instead of congratulating GT on a 'JOB' well done, you have taken it to task. YEH THIK NAHIN, not fair yaar.

20 July 2008 at 14:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penpricks, this is not fair, Aarati is a budding journo. And it is unbecoming of a veteran like Penpricks to tear apart a young journo like this.
The whole issue should have been handled in a more 'DIGNIFIED WAY'.

20 July 2008 at 14:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many interviews of journos do not see the light of the day. This is just one of those instances and you should have let it pass.
GT has been one of the pioneers in Investigative Journalism. I feel it was a sincere effort by Team GT to interview 'Penpricks', bereft of any malice whatsoever.
And just see what you people have done.

20 July 2008 at 14:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penpricks if you criticise GT, then which paper in Goa do you subscribe to? Please answer this question.

20 July 2008 at 14:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penpricks, jis thaali me khaate ho usme chched mat karo
(Don't cut the branch of the tree on which you are sitting)

20 July 2008 at 14:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this some kind of a Joke. Maya you were the best buddy of Rico Derrick and Ashley. Why with the TOI offer you are also abandoning the Gt canoe.

20 July 2008 at 17:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heard that Arun Sinha is moving the Editors Guild to sue you! lmaooooo

21 July 2008 at 11:12  
Blogger Winnie the poohi said...

hey too good!

I am gonna keep an aye on your blog!

Hope you dont mind me blog rolling you!

21 July 2008 at 15:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One fails to understand why Penpricks was in such a tearing hurry to get the interview published. And why did Penpricks make an issue out of it?

21 July 2008 at 15:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The interview is nothing but a storm in a teacup. Why was Penpricks insistent on getting it published?

21 July 2008 at 15:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penpricks, why don't you concentrate on the vernacular media instead of targetting the English media all the time?

21 July 2008 at 15:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you guys at Penpricks suffering from an inferiority complex just because your interview was not published by GT?

21 July 2008 at 15:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PENPRICKS IS RUNNING OUT OF STORY IDEAS?
ELSE WHY HAS NOT THIS SITE BEING UPDATED REGULARLY? AND ONLY HAS ATTACKS ON HERALD, NT AND NOW GT'S ARTI WHO WAS ASKED TO DO AN ASSIGNMENT BY HER GURU, DERRICK A GOOD PAL OF PP OR IS IT A CAMPOUFLAGE TO THROW THE REGULAR PP READERS OFFTRACK AS THE GT EDITOR'S BUDDIES ARE BEHIND THE PENPRICKS BLOG?
OR ELSE WHY DOES PP NOT TRY TO EXPOSE THE ROLE OF THE GT DY NEWS EDITOR WHO IS BUSY PLAYING POLITICS IN THIS NEW ORGANISATION INSTEAD OF GIVING A FOCUS TO IMPROVING ITS CONTENT AND TARGETTING SOME OF HIS COLLEAGUES TO SETTLE PERSONAL SCORES?????
NEED FURTHER INFO ASK ANY SENIOR GT STAFFER???
OR WILL PP PRETEND TO BE BLIND AND DEAF AND NOT PRNIT THIS POST YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE!!!

21 July 2008 at 22:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi PenPricks,

I did not see a contact form on your blog so I am posting this article mentioning NaziGate from the Telegraph in this comment thread.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080722/jsp/opinion/story_9579909.jsp

Nowhere does the article mention the Telegraph's laziness and gullibility.

22 July 2008 at 04:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh and Rajan called you a whore....

22 July 2008 at 07:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Maya,
I know it is you, who is also called as Bhushan who is behind this blog with the help of your old pals from the good ol Herald days.
Remember I have already openly stated this in the GT editorial section on Friday 10 July at around 10.30 pm.
a journo who was once praised by you,
GARY.
P.S. Do not try to deny this fact as I still have the recording of your voice when you called me before you started this blog (asking for dope on GT that I refused to share). Do remember that I had warned you that if anyone tries to cross me, I will settle score without fearing the cost. Hence, you were the main guy I hold responsible for hijacking an important story of mine without the editor's knowledge

22 July 2008 at 10:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arti..mmmm (.....) So arti….you tried to show how audacious you are….. do not play with vultures my friend…. You will always be hurt… oops I know how you feel….

And for pen prick….for what ever you do you will have to pay someday… remember babus’s life story… don’t do bad to other my friend……every one is working for their stomach… take this advise….. or else one day like you are laughing now others will laugh at you…… god bless

friends of goa

(comment edited -- PP)

22 July 2008 at 11:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penpricks. Can I ask you few questions? Have you worked in any of the newspapers in Goa?
If yes, name it and for how many years?

25 July 2008 at 13:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penpricks are you sleeping???
A lot of things are happening on the Goan journo circuit. Here is something for you to probably comment on in your next post.
It's yet another slap in TOI's Raju Na(..)yak's face. Preetu Nair has quit TOI and is expected to join Indian Express as its bureau chief in Goa very shortly.
Journalistic grapevine has it that she took her GURU Sujay Gupta's help to switch over to the Express group.
Well done Preetu, Raju Na(..)yak deserves it. Now, the Na(..)yak is bitching about Preetu to some journos about her performance in TOI. Hello Na(..)yak, is it befitting your much acclaimed(sic) "SARASWAT CULTURE" to bitch about a lady?
What a pity, the Na(..)yak now wants to command respect despite not being able to pen copies in English.
There is more on the rumour plate in TOI. It is learnt that the Na(..)yak also had a tiff with their legal corespondent(an advocate working on a part time basis with TOI on the legal beat). But this advocate proved too hot for the Na(..)yak who threatened the Na(..)yak with resignation and approached Rajib Borah with this problem. It seems Rajibbabu has now asked the advocate to directly report to him thereby effectively bypassing the Na(..)yak. Shame Shame Raju Na(..)yak.
It seems Ahva D'Souzaaaaaaa.....is also facing problems and is currently continuing with TOI due to TINA factor.
Also,what a pity to see that amiable gentleman Paul Fernandes cover briefings on the entertainment beat, a privilege reserved for Goa Times.
There's more in TOI. An exhausted Gauri Malkarnekar covering education beat took leave to escape TOI's daily grind.
Penpricks, surely you are not oblivious to all these happenings in TOI. People subscribing to this blog's principles have high expectations from you. Please do not let us down.
Miguel(MOG ASUNDI) Braganza, this post and your fans reading it baldy need you. Please write something, where are you FRIEND??
(comment edited -- PP)

26 July 2008 at 16:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO ANONYMOUS 26TH JULY 2008 16:04

Don't blame Raju Na..yak for what is happening in The Times of India. Please find out how Preetu Nair was working in Gomantak Times. There were complaints from Ashley that she was filing wrong stories and working from home.For Ahva D'Souzaaaaaaa--- TINA factor is definitely there. But Penpricks please try to look at her CV microscopically. Journalistic grapevine says that she never adhered to time factor in Gomantak Times and always worked according to her own schedule, thanks to editor Derrick Almeida and Abhay Thapar. Paul, please offer no comments. Let him work at his own pace.

27 July 2008 at 14:09  
Anonymous Sanjay said...

Shame....shame...my comments are not published...
sanjay

7 August 2008 at 00:02  
Anonymous Sanjay said...

Dear Pen Pricks,

last time i wrote a comment and it was not published. It was about Derrick, Ashley, Hegde and Thapa. This shows your authenticity. I am suprised with the credibility you claim about yourself. Yes I have sent the second comment saying shame shame and that you published. The main thing you did not publish. This shows your credibility. I know that you will publish this to show your authencity. Let me tell you a story. One day a man said, "I want to clean the dirt in my house." He used his bare hands to clean the dirt, but while cleaning his hands got dirty. Now there was no difference between the dirt in his house and the dirt on his hands. The moral of the story. Its very hard to say. Its an inner wake up call. Don't let others point fingers in your name. Don't make others to wash dirty linen in public in your name. Others will do a lot of things in your name. But you cannot be invisible as what you are doing is cyber crime and is know as stalking and this is acording to the cyber laws, which i am quoting. "In online stalking the stalker can make third party to harass the victim.", which fortunately, unfortunately happens to be you my friend. further adding, " The fact that cyberstalking does not involve physical contact may create the misperception that it is more benign than physical stalking. This is not necessarily true. As the Internet becomes an ever more integral part of our personal and professional lives, stalkers can take advantage of the ease of communications as well as increased access to personal information. In addition, the ease of use and non-confrontational, impersonal, and sometimes anonymous nature of Internet communications may remove disincentives to cyberstalking. Put another way, whereas a potential stalker may be unwilling or unable to confront a victim in person or on the telephone, he or she may have little hesitation sending harassing or threatening electronic communications to a victim. Finally, as with physical stalking, online harassment and threats may be a prelude to more serious behavior, including physical violence." Please note I am directly quoting the cyber laws to you. I do hope you have a good afternoon coz keeping a track of you its always the afternoon time that you log on and begin publishing people's comments on others.

7 August 2008 at 14:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great job sanjay

7 August 2008 at 16:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shut up sanjay or ill cyber u ( i meant cyber stalk)

7 August 2008 at 23:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Guys
This one Suhasini Prabhugaonkar has confessed to winning seven awards in two years of journalism. Would appreciate how she does it this incredibly good.
At least I don't know of any decent story she has ever done.
Anon

8 December 2008 at 14:37  

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