9 lessons in Journalism from Tweets

Peter Griffin is Editor, Special Features, at Forbes India and ForbesLife India. He always considers himself as a student. He also handle social media for both publications. Last week the magazine carried a cover story on Flipkart and created a “HO HO” !! Based on the last week’s brouhaha on the cover story and that Peter being a late convert from advertising into journalism, he has listed nine lessons he learnt about Journalism practiced today. He writes in his column in Forbes India magazine :

Being a late convert from advertising, I’m probably the least experienced journalist in the Forbes India team aside from our interns. So I’m always grateful for the lessons the world can teach me.

• It is possible to pronounce judgement on an article based purely on a headline and/or tweets about it.

• A critical cover story must be a marketing gimmick by the subject of the article in collusion with its “critics,” because, after all, as Mr Barnum said, bad publicity is still publicity.

Read the full piece by Peter in Forbes 10 lessons on #journalism from Twitter

Note from Jeetu Shah: Yesterday the full text of the post was published here, but the author objected to that terming it as unethical and directed me to just include part of it and give the link to read the remaining post, which I did. However, I think how grave the crime was it, if the full piece was posted? So, I wrote back to Peter and tried getting some education from him.  ” Lesson # 10 in Journalism”.

Below is, what I wrote back to an Editor, Special Features of a globally acclaimed publication:

Peter, It depends on how we interpret ethics in a certain profession. However, since you are the author and I have committed a sin of letting know the readers of my blog about the 10 lessons you learnt, I shall honor your wish.
I still do not understand though, what difference will it make if I go back to the post, edit it, just include a short excerpt and a link and tax the readers to click the link and visit your whole post? If blogging was my profession (money making) it would be 100 % unethical to earn my livelihood on somebody labour (here writings). And is it really unethical that on a non-money making blog even after I have extended all due credits (authors name/fame, picture, magazine’s name, its link, etc) to the related post, even tendering an unconditional apology, for the “sin” I have committed, instead of just taking it lightly, you are so insistent on making me edit the post and update it again? What will one achieve out of it? Can’t we, as a fellow journalists, just be cool about it? Forbes & you are now globally acclaimed identity and people already know you and admire your work.
Even though you are an Editor, you are so down-to-earth & modest to write that you are ‘always a student’, I was inspired to include the full text of your post (instead of making the readers travel on the net), so that people who know & do not know you, can also admire you (especially after the brouhaha about your Flipkart cover story). In many of my other postings, I normally do what you ordered me to do with your post. But this was a relatively small piece, so I thought an honorable journalist of your stature won’t mind.
But, now I know it’s not you, the designation after your name who is hurt. Thanks for teaching me lesson # 10th.
But, my dear friend remember, it’s always good to get respect by one name and work, as the “belt”(designation) doesn’t remain permanent. Though, I am also a journalist (25+ years), I am also from the trader community being a Gujarati. We usually have a signboard in our shop which says,” These days will also Pass” (whether good or bad). I wish you well, Peter. ~ Jeetu

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21 political cartoons will be deleted from Indian school text books, new cartoons to be ‘tested’ first on students

Most cartoons used in political science textbooks now have been borrowed from R K Laxman and Shankar’s work in newspapers.

The Thorat committee that reviewed NCERT textbooks has not only recommended the deletion of 21 cartoons but also laid out criteria for what kind of cartoons the textbooks should have. It has suggested among various things that the cartoons should largely stick to conveying a positive message to students, focus on themes rather than personalities, and be first “tested” on students for their reactions to ensure they are not insensitive.

The committee has said that instead of borrowing cartoons from newspapers and other secondary sources, original ones must be created strictly for educational purposes. Most cartoons used in political science textbooks now have been borrowed from R K Laxman and Shankar’s work in newspapers.

Anubhuti Vishnoi  writes in a special story in The Indian Express:

Stressing the need for a positive message, the panel has recommended that if a cartoon with a negative implication has to be necessarily used, it must be balanced with a positive-message cartoon on the same subject.

The recommendation against focus on personalities follows the offence taken by MPs at cartoons on Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and a range of other political leaders from A B Vajpayee to Lal Bahadur Shastri and B R Ambedkar. The committee has recommended that the cartoons instead look at broad themes and issues.

Sources in the NCERT said the report suggests cartoons in textbooks must first be “tested” on students and their reactions assessed to ensure that there are no “unintended consequences”. Sensitivities must especially be kept in mind as responses to cartoons may differ depending on a student’s profile, his background, religion, class, caste and habitation, it has said. The committee has also advised against “overuse” of cartoons.

Read the full report in Indian Express : ‘Unfit’ cartoons out, here’s what is ‘fit’

India’s first Newspaper Collector Shashanka Dash

Shashanka Shekhar Dash, who have collected 1,577 newspapers, has already been placed in the Indian Book of Records.

Newspaper collector Shashanka Shekhar Dash says his recent collection is an Afghani paper brought out by a 14-year-old boy.

Browsing through a newspaper while sipping a cup of tea is a morning ritual in almost every household. But not too many would think of collecting newspapers found across the world. Shashanka Shekhar Dash, who claims to have collected 1,577 newspapers, has already been placed in the Indian Book of Records. This 33-year-old from Arangabad village in Odisha, is now aiming to set up a paper museum soon.

Ask him how he developed this habit and Dash says, “I started collecting newspapers in 2001 when I was associated with a media in Rourkela. Right now, I have 1,577 newspapers from 37 countries in 33 languages. I have 150 newspapers from abroad, 391 single day Indian dailies and one handwritten newspaper called Din Dalit that is published from Dumka in Jharkhand. I also have 13 newspapers with Orissa in the title, 12 newspapers with Odisha in the masthead and 14 newspapers with the name Utkala.”

Though Dash has never been abroad, he has still managed to collect publications from abroad. “Sometimes my friends have got the papers for me. On other cases, I’ve written directly to the newspaper offices. Most of them have obliged. It was most difficult to source a newspaper called Voice of the Children that is published from Afghanistan by 14-year-boy Hamid,” he says.

Isn’t preservation a problem? “I keep all the newspapers in separate polythene bags. I am also a keen collector of souvenirs, books and magazines. My dream is to set up a newspaper library and museum in my village. This, I’m sure, will be of great help to the researchers and scholars,” he signs off.

Declaration of Internet Freedom!

The recent past has seen a spate of internet legislation across several different countries – sometimes attempted and foiled, sometimes successful – which have raised a number of issues which have unfortunately been discussed very minimally. I believe the SOPA and PIPA bills received the largest amount of publicitywhen several large websites and internet activists vigourously protested against it. More locally, the multiple website blocking Ashok Kumar (John Doe) orders garnered much attention as well, before it was clarified that whole websites were not to be blocked under it. Amlan also wrote a post ‘directed’ at Mr Sibal highlighting some important internet issues. Click here to see other posts we have written on this area. It seems as though, regardless of how much protests most of these bills receive, at the most, they disappear for some time only to come back in another form shortly after. This seems to have pushed a large group of net advocates, entrepreneurs, academics and others, led by Josh Levy of Free Press, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and others including Yochai Benkler, professor at Yale Law School to come together and draw up a Declaration for a Free and Open Internet.
The principles themselves are quite simple and straightforward.
  1.  Expression: Don’t censor the Internet
  2. Access: Promote Universal access to fast and affordable networks
  3. Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.
  4. Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions.
  5. Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.
Given the lack of understanding of digital issues, coupled with greed for power and control amongst policy makers, I hope that this declaration catches on and reaches more concrete positions of authority.
Individuals interested in signing this declaration can do so here. At the time I signed it, there were already 17,000 + signatures and it hasn’t even been one day since it was released. Here’s to hoping that this gains enough momentum to reach some kind of tipping point.
The Verge as put together a good write up of the movement here.

(courtesy: Swaraj Paul Barooah)

New Editor takes charge of The Herald, oldest English Catholic weekly in India

 C.M. Paul, KOLKATA

Fr Julian Das

The archbishop of Calcutta, Rev Thomas D’Souza has appointed the director of Chitrabani Jesuit Communication centre in Kolkata, Fr Julian Das as editor of The Herald from 1st July 2012. Besides continuing his present office, Fr Das will also edit the oldest English language Catholic weekly in India established in 1839.

“I am soon planning to send soft copies of The Herald in PDF file version soon, so that you do not need to wait so long for the post version. Besides I am starting this week The Herald Blog to post important articles and reports. The blog link is: http://calcuttaherald.wordpress.com. I am yet to populate the blog. Will do it tomorrow (3rd July) the solemnity of St Thomas the apostle, patron of India.

Fr Das succeeds Fr. B. L. Mathai, a priest of the archdiocese of Calcutta who proceeds for higher studies in media at the National Institute of Social Communication, Research and Training in the National Capital Region, Delhi. NISCORT is a national venture of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India.

The Herald is owned by the archdiocese of Calcutta and is a published under the banner of Catholic Publications West Bengal. (courtesy: NewsGrab & C M Paul)

Write a letter to any Editor in the world

 

WRITE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR OF YOUR CHOICE. PUBLISH IT HERE AS WELL. FREE.

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Often you have opinions on articles or editorials that you read in newspapers and magazines and want to write to the editors to express them. Perhaps you do not know where to send those letters. Maybe you know how to send them to the editors but are discouraged knowing that the majority of letters aren’t published; so you do nothing!

This is where PublishaLetter  come in. Your letters to the editors are just as important and as interesting as the articles and editorials that inspired them. This site provide you the platform to pick the publication, compose the letter on-line and send it to the editor exactly as you have written it (without inserting the name of this site anywhere). They also provide you the platform to publish your letter on their site, almost immediately or after a time delay (in case you want to wait to see if it gets printed in the paper first). You want to comment on someone’s letter? You can do it there. You want to comment on someone’s comment? Why not do that too? You want to email your letter to your friends and family? PublishaLetter make that easy too.

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Nothing ever like it on Indian TV : Arnab Goswami’s veritable ‘Devil’s Dance’

Additional Secretary (retired), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India B. Raman writes in Sri Lanka Guardian about TIMES NOW Editor Arnab Goswami‘s theatrics while anchoring the prime times news at 9 on the Times Of India’s news channel:

 

Even if there is no exciting news, Arnab manages to produce excitement out of what is available.And when exciting news is available, Arnab keeps his viewers enthralled.

I understand Arnab Goswami of the Times Now news channel is an increasingly viewed news anchor of India today.

I am not surprised.
Ever since he started his 9 PM daily news programme, people no longer have to go to night clubs and bars for their evening excitement.

They get it in ample measure by watching his daily debates on the important news of the day.

It may not be appropriate to call them debates.
What he serves the viewers is a veritable Devil’s Dance— with no histrionics barred.
The more hysterical you are, the more valued you are by Arnab.
It is immaterial whether you know the subject, whether you have insights and whether you analyse lucidly.
What is important is your ability to add to the colour and excitement of his Devil’s Dance.
Things like Netiquette, politeness, courtesy, patience to let others speak, decorum, gravitas are not important.
It is not a debate, it is an exciting performance.
You can do anything so long as you attract viewers.
You can scream.
You can shout.
You can pull your hair and that of others.
You can try to monopolise the show by not letting others speak.
Not much is intelligible because everybody speaks and shouts at the same time.
As in some Greek shows where the author also joins the play as an active participant, Arnab is not just an anchor.
He also joins others in their histrionics.
There is never a dull moment in Arnab’s Devil’s Dance.
Even if there is no exciting news, Arnab manages to produce excitement out of what is available.
And when exciting news is available, Arnab keeps his viewers enthralled.
For the last three days, Indian TV news channels, which were going through the summer silly season, have found something exciting to show and talk about following the arrest of Abu Jundal, a co-conspirator of the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, by the Saudi authorities and his transfer to Indian custody.
You can depend on Arnab to make the best out of the excitement.
His Devil’s Dance, full of anti-Pakistan histrionics, has acquired a new excitement, a new rhythm and new drum-beats.
Many retired spooks are happily joining the Devil’s Dance every day.
You can save money on going to bars and night clubs and instead watch Arnab’s show at 9 PM every night.
Nothing like it seen on Indian TV before.