Archive for May, 2005

Yes there is a media war on in Mumbai. The grand old lady of Boribunder is under threat and this is as exciting a time as any if you are a journo or in any way connected to the print media.
As one would expect, therefore, there is a major war being waged for eyeball space in the city and the number of hoardings related to newspaper ads are beating the shampoos and the soaps and the cars hollow!
One particular campaign that has caught the fancy of the city (and the media world) is the 'Speak Up' campaign by Zee-Dainik Bhaskar's soon-to-be-launched daily, DNA. Yes, they were ambushed and not just once, but twice (by BCCL and the Indian Express Group) but my point is the hypocritical and the blasphemous nature of their ads.

Here are some of the ads and tag lines:
a) "Maybe women should wear armour to protect themselves" (Sarcastic or are you serious?)
b) "Maybe I could educate the education system" (What have you been doing so far?)
c) "There should be a rate card for bribes" (And maybe a bulk discount?)
d) "Why should I care who's wearing what at Cannes?" (Stop ogling at the TV, then!)
e) "Mr Chidambaram, I am sorry I am succesful" (So am I, but pay your taxes, anyway)
f) "I work in Mumbai but my taxes work for Delhi" (Get out!)
g) "I am a Mumbaikar from Meghalaya, any problems?" (Yes. read on to find out!)
h) "What's the BMC digging for? Gold? Oil? Fun?" (That's 'coz your taxes work for Delhi)
i) "Sourav should play at No. 12" (Okay by me… but is it that important?)
j) "Duh" (You said it?)
k) "Borders have no meaning" (Yash Chopra… and we don't need celebs to endorse, because…)
l) "Mumbai should come out of New York's shadow" (Dolly Thakore of the 'Page 3 sucks' fame)

Attractive as these may have been, I have some fundamental questions:
1. They are questioning everything in the system. So what exactly do they stand for?
2. Are they encouraging the kind of immigration that the guys in ads (f) and (g) say? Why?
3. Are they justifying the immigration and lack of committment or interest in the city's welfare from immigrants?
4. Who are they to say this?
5. Why are they roping in celebs if that's the very thing they say they don't want?
6. What of the people that have joined to work for them? These are mainly from TOI and if changing all they say they want to, aren't they being hypocritical? Aren't these the guys that made these 'ideas' click?
7.So, now why do they think these 'ideas' they introduced are wrong?

I have specific grudges against two ads: (f) and (g).
You are a Mumbaikar from Meghalaya and I have no problem with it so long as you are ready to live here as a Mumbaikar and not as an immigrant who cares two hoots about the city. This city has been ravaged enough and we don't need more people to do that. Mumbai has been prostitutionalised to the extent that anyone who wants to make money comes here, does that and goes away. What did the city get? Nada.
And sir, if you are proud of the fact that you work in Mumbai but your taxes work for Delhi, I take strong objection to that. Why should I, as a taxpayer, pay for your roads and water when you are paying for someone elses? You are yourself at a loss, but my loss is bigger. I will be here forever… you will not.
Are these the thoughts the paper is propogating? Is this 'Mumbai's own newspaper'? I think not.
Given this campaign, I would also like to risk speculating the nature of the paper… If Zee News is anything to go by, and given this campaign, the editorial policies could well be along the same lines—of investigative journalism and sensalitionism.
Yes, TOI is is fence-sitter but do we need undercover journalists? Maybe in some cases… if your policy is to be against everything, how can I survive being with you? I have to live in this system whether you like it or not.
Hindustan Times is on another tangent altogether and are as yet not disclosing any edit policies… TOI is busy telling the world thier paper is full colour now (which it is not) and MId-Day is too tied up promoting some damn quiz. Does IE still have a Mumbai edition? I wonder.
Blasphemy from the media houses. Insipid advertising that is also irresponsible and entirely hypocritical, if you ask me.
God save us—the reader.

Also published here on C***S***F.


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Diana Hayden-Anchor? No Way.She might have been a beauty queen but she ain't no TV host(ess). For one her accent is incomprehensible. Where did she get it? Chembur? Moreover, isn't she from Hyderabad? So why the accent?

Anyway, the TOI is so deeply rooted in her psyche (!)—thanks to Ms India—that she can't control herself! Sample this:
Wednesday (I think), Biography featuring the Nehru-Gandhi family:
"Sonia Gandhi wore a pink saree for her wedding…." do you wanna hear the rest? Never mind. Thank god she didn't dig out the shoe and jewellery designer. Aren't there any better people who might do a better job of this. I think this is a documentary show and there is NO NEED to glamourise it thus.
Ok, so don't keep it drab like someone died but this is downright flaky. Moreover, she has no connection with the actual show and her bits are at best cut-and-pasted into the show. Why, oh why, have they ruined a perfectly good show?
I'm even ready to start a petition on this, but PLEASE TAKE HER OFF AIR.

New Photos…

More new photos have been posted @ Aditya's Photos and Prajakta's site. Check them out.

Action time

This post would probably appeal to no one. But I had to put it down because these are thoughts I might turn back on and do just what I am saying I deplore…

There's plenty of action going on in Mumbai in the media industry. It's not across India, but only in Mumbai where three new newspapers are to be launched in the coming 4 months. Big deal? Yes. The last time something half as big happened was about 12 years ago and the next time could well be another 12 years ago.
The direct result of this is that anyone I know in any publication (marketing or editorial) is in the process of moving to another (not necessarily the new) publication or has already moved. Every evening when I get back home, I hear of another aquaintance having switched loyalties. Yes it's an opportunity but will such mass exodus (esp from the TOI) help any of these guys? Shouldn't you be a little more selective and sceptical? What makes you think you have nowhere to go in your existing job? (To be honest, I thought that in my previous job).
Looking at it pragmatically, if your bosses and top management is moving out (and they are moving faster than you can say where they are going!), there is going to be a vacuum.
Unless you are a fresher, there is a huge opportunity if you stick around.
First there's the brownie points for having stuck around and then, thanks to that, there's the chance to move up. Seriously. How else will the top positions be filled up? The media industry is not like any other where the bottom line is just sales. There is a certain amount of experience and background required if you want to be at the top (or the mid- to top-level).

I realise this post sounds pointless, but I just had to get this off my chest. As of this moment, I am not moving to any of the 'greener' pastures. I like this pasture better…

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Kim Phuc (the girl in the centre) is perhaps one of the more unfortunate symbols of the Vietnam war. But she didn't let that deter her. Even napalm burns and attempts by her own government to deprive her did not hold her back. Read her interview… it's very inspiring.