Hyderabad’s 1st afternoon daily introduces E-paper from Sunday

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Scribble Media & Entertainment Pvt Ltd (Scribble Media)’s postnoon, first compact afternoon newspaper of Hyderabad, which is the first-of-its-kind afternoon English daily in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad introduced its e-paper from Sunday May 27, 2012.

With 32 colour pages of hyper-local, national and international, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, health, fashion and business news;postnoon offers a succinct mix of national, international news interspersed with local information. The compact daily is designed to appeal to teens / college students, corporate executives, homemakers, business and retired persons. The articles are concise and precise so that the reader can take in all the key facts quickly, and news is chosen for its relevance to the lives of its target audience and for its ability to stimulate the readers.

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‘Nawabi’ Marathas flourish in Hyderabad

Maharashtrians have had their presence in the City for at least 300 years.

For Marathis, Hyderabad is not home away from home but an extended home. This community has given much to the City of pearls and has imbibed many cultural strains.

Maharashtrians have had their presence in the City for at least 300 years. Marathi organisations say the Maharashtrians living in Andhra Pradesh could be between 10-12 lakhs while the number of them living in Hyderabad could be around 3.5 lakh to 4 lakh. They are concentrated in Shalibanda, Gowliguda, Dhoolpet, Sultan Bazar, Kachiguda and Nallakunta. Many of them are doctors, educationists or lawyers. There are more than 25 Marathi organisations in the City .

Marathwada was part of the former Hyderabad state until May 1, 1960, when it was transferred to Bombay. “As Hyderabad was the capital of the Nizam’s Hyderabad since 1724, people from Marathwada came here for opportunities,” says DP Joshi, president of Marathi Sahitya Parishad. Old timers note that Maharashtrians were appointed in the Nizam’s army or revenue service. They were called Nawabi Marathas.

Pratik Manohar Bhosale had never heard of Hyderabad but was told by his friends in Kanerwadi, a small village in Osmanabad, that it was a land of opportunities. “He says that his life changed after coming here. He spent his entire life here despite not having any relatives here,” says Saroj Bhosale, Pratik’s daughter. There are many like Bhosale who came in search of livelihood.

For some like Malini Rajurkar (singer), Dr Pandit (CCMB scientist), Vilas Afzalpurkar (chief justice of High Court) life changed after shifting here.

Taking about festivals, Dr Vishwanath Gogate, a member of AP Chitpawan Sangha, a Maharashtrian association said, “On Gudi Padwa, we make the traditional Puranpoli at home.”

“We speak Marathi and Telugu and are fluent in Urdu. We don’t feel like outsiders,” says theatre personality Bhaskar Shewalkar.

When Satish Surve came to the City, he never knew it would become his home. After 48 years, he cannot think of living anywhere else. “I initially stayed on because of my work and my son’s education. But the City is so peaceful and people are accommodating. I cannot think of shifting base now,” he says.

Like many others from his community Satish Surve feels insecure because of the treatment being meted out to North Indians in Mumbai.“If Maharashtrians can ask people from other places to leave then why not the locals here?” Dr Vishwanath Gogate says the community has no problems. Some pinpricks, but nothing serious.

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Changing Face of Indian Media: And here we have the fourth estate sans toilets !!

The many challenges for the Indian media. India needs a journalism curriculum and professional norms suited to India’s unique power context. 

Attending the seminar last week on the “Changing Face of Indian Media: What needs to be done?” at the Centre for Economic and Social Studies in Hyderabad gave me many insights. In many ways the issues and problems in this area are reflective of the issues and problems across areas in India.

Bella Mody of the University of Colorado argued that India needs a journalism curriculum and professional norms suited to India’s unique power context and the need for research to arrive at what needs to be done locally and that domestic authors need to step up to the plate and write textbooks for ourselves.

Apparently 1960s US textbooks are being used to teach journalism in India. The publishers of these outdated books are happy to have developing countries print these on the cheap and sell them. Cut-copy-paste culture sadly exists in this area too.

Journalism is a different ball game post internet. As it is, having a journalism degree pre-internet is like having a degree in under water basket weaving. While the ethics are constant, it’s just a different world now and it seems criminal to use these outdated textbooks. Indian journalism students deserve better.

It was mentioned that journalists were trained on the job in India in the old days by sitting on the bench at a newspaper while getting hands on training. Now, this training has been converted into a business. Most media houses have now set up their own media schools. This kind of profit driven training is along the lines of the grab money and push them out model that is the trend with most training programs today. With no uniform curriculum this method too fails the Indian journalism student.

Ethical issues came up in many ways. Most starkly in the English versus local language media. It appears that more masala in news is encouraged in the local language media. Infotainmentitus plagues the local language media more than the English media. Very few working journalists in local language media appear to have formal university-type training. There are many stringers whose sole qualification is location. Many also serve as advertising agents for the publication. Salary disparities exist between the English and local language media staff. Advertising revenue, too, is higher for English papers as opposed to local language papers despite greater readership.

All this highlights the greater issue of English elitism and the associated prestige at the cost of our local languages and the many who speak them.

Gender issues surfaced too in a number of ways. A hilarious point was made by Volga, the pseudonym of P. Lalitha Kumari, a highly regarded Telugu writer who introduced a feminist perspective into literary and political discourse in Andhra Pradesh and who is executive chairperson of Asmita Resource Centre for Women, an NGO in Hyderabad. In response to the fact that some TV serials have female characters playing “strong” roles like those of mafia dons. She said that this is no big triumph for feminism and that it is merely because TV can’t afford heroes and the graphics to fight villains. Men are expensive, women are not being the take home point here.

And finally, it was said that many daily newspapers do not have separate toilets for women. Toilets have been making the news lately in all the wrong ways. And here we have the fourth estate sans toilets.

As I said, the problems discussed at the seminar reflect the problems of today’s India.