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

Jism 2- India’s 1st Erotic Thriller, trailer released on Twitter

Sunny Leone’s Bollywood debut film Jism 2 trailer has been unveiled on Twitter on Friday as promised by director Pooja Bhatt.

The first look of the trailer featuring the Canadian porn star Sunny Leone takes to the level of titillation which many would find too hot to resist. It is typical Sunny Leone style – sensual and obviously sexy. The film is expected to raise the bar of sensuality in Hindi cinema to a whole new level.

The Censor Board has given “A” certification to the film’s first trailer. Anyhow, Pooja had decided to release all trailers, promos and songs from her film. The director did not make any changes on the schedule of the trailer and release the uncensored song of Jism 2 on Internet.

Sunny will be romancing Saheb Biwi Aur Gangste actor Randeep Hooda and Yeh Saali Zindagi actor Arunoday Singh. The first trailer as soon as it was released got great appreciation from Sunny Leone’s fans.

In the Jism 2, Sunny Leone has depicted the character of a beautiful, hot and shameless seductive porn star who is employed by a confident intelligent officer ‘Arunoday Singh’ to trap a feared assassin ‘Randeep Hooda’. In course of time, she is caught in a strong love triangle with the intelligence officer and the assassin.

Sunny has justified her character in ‘Jism 2′ by extremely using her hot, seducing, sizzling, erotic body, which is considered the best in the industry.

The makers of the movie has also released a new poster of the film, along with its first trailer. The poster on Twitter features Sunny Leone and Randeep Honda.

Directed by Pooja Bhatt and produced by Dino Morea and Pooja Bhatt, the film stars international porn star Sunny Leone, Arunoday Singh and Randeep Hooda. The movie will hit the silver screens on August 3, 2012.

Indian Media has lost their conscience: No talk about Indian Emergency of 1975

On 25 the June 1975  was the unfortunate day when President Fakhrudin Ali Ahmed  declared a state of emergency under article 352 of constitution of India upon the advise of prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Election’s and Civil liberties were suspended and suspension of article 352 effectively bestowed on President to rule by decree. In the history of Indian Independence Indian democracy was derailed for the first time.In 1977 democracy was restored and since then we are fortunate enough that our democracy has evolved and following the right path so that it could evolve.


I am not writing this post to glorify the resistance against government in emergency and they established democracy again in 1977. I am writing this article to convey the current status of one of the most important pillar of Democracy of the present era. This pillar is know as “MEDIA”. After visiting almost all the websites of Major Digital Channel and print newspaper in English and Hindi one point has astonished me no one is talking about Emergency of 1975.

One of my observation about Media is one part of their content strategy depends on what is trending on Twitter. All the English and Hindi website of Print media will write when Google will honor any one through a Google Doodle but their editorial framework don’t think that they should talk about “DARKEST PERIOD OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY” today as a significance to tell the story of history to the current generation. Why Indian Media don’t think that the current generation need to know the importance of the hard earned democracy in which they are living? Media is avoiding looking towards history and asking many question’s which is needed to answer is a dangerous trend for India and Indian democracy.

There is a Saying  when we start avoiding or telling lies about history history never forgives us. We are not telling lies but we are seriously avoiding our history. Since morning Emergency 75 is trending on Twitter India but not a single conventional media has come up with a story. On Twitter all the famous Editor of major digital news channel always present their views but today no one showed up with their enlightening views.

Two important characters of Indian emergency which is Emergency itself and Indira Gandhi were trending on Twitter for a long time. #Emergency75 is still trending on twitter India.

Rajdeep Sardesai who tweeted in defense . This is the sate in which Indian Media has reached when Editor in chief of a national news channel has to defend themselves. I have no right and knowledge to say anything about Rajdeep Sardesai and I prefer to believe what ever he is saying is true. on a personal level I believe people. There is one question I want to personally put in-front of him and all the editor in chief why people perspective towards media is not right.


What I have observed on Twitter is general public of India is surprised as emergency in 1975 didn’t get any importance or coverage from conventional media. I think the main reason behind this issue can be central Government which belongs to Congress didn’t want people to remember emergency which was imposed by Congress Party only. The story ahead you can easily guess. (This post was published by Rai, in http://videathink.com on June 25, 2012)

Indian Media: Why journalists hate trolls

Pagal Patrakar (in his blog – http://blog.fakingnews.com) writes without any screaming and shouting in plain English and without any intellectual nonsense or any stern voice and constipated faces either, about how journalists thinks that it is their duty, as a journalist, to show “mirror to the society” and not let anyone show the the mirror:

..For them(journalists) , a troll is anyone who is not following the rules and decorum of a civilized communication, and who argues without showing much respect to logic.

At this point of time, some of the top journalists leading the crusade against trolls would claim that their objection is only to the abusive and hateful trolls. I have reasons to believe that this is just an excuse.

The thought process (no lateral thinking involved here) behind creating such a list is rooted in a journalist’s arrogated right to frame rules and decorum for a public debate…..However, more than the anarchic nature of Twitter (and much of the virtual world) and a public display of love towards civilized discourse, a journalist’s problem with Twitter arises from the fact that traditional journalism is ill-conceived to allow and incorporate feedback and criticism.

……..I’ve been a (television) journalist myself (in pre-Facebook and pre-Twitter era) and don’t remember a single editorial meeting that was called in to discuss feedback. In fact, there was no mechanism to collect public feedback at all.

The only ‘feedback’ that we were responding to was weekly TRPs. There were weekly meetings to analyze what type of program gathered the highest TRP and how to repeat the “success”. And I guess things haven’t changed much since then.

Most of what is being dismissed as trolling by journalists (not all of them, I must admit; many of them are doing really good on Twitter) are actually instant and angry feedback by their ‘consumers’.

Traditional journalism, as an institution, has always seen itself as ‘giving feedback’ to the society and hasn’t thought it necessary to ‘take feedback’.

I remember Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta’s interview with Star News (now ABP News) after the coup-story controversy where he claimed that a member of Team Anna (most probably Arvind Kejriwal) had asked him whether Indian Express took feedback from the readers on what it publishes (Express had published a string of stories ‘exposing’ Team Anna before).

Shekhar Gupta thought that the suggestion (about taking feedback) was irrelevant as it was his duty, as a journalist, to show “mirror to the society” (his words) and not let anyone show him the mirror (my words).

A bulk of the problems of journalists with Twitter is rooted in this nature of journalism, where feedback is not deemed necessary, in fact, it’s seen as an unpleasant development, something they happily dismiss as trolling.

Read the full post : Why journalists hate trolls

Whistle blower homemaker Vidyut Kale at receiving end of IT Rules

Vidyut, a housewife having little income is at serious risk of being attacked by a team of seasoned lawyers with money to burn for daring expose corrupt practices.

Remember Vidyut Kale, daredevil homemaker-cum-blogger that blogged to draw attention to the Keenan and Reuben murders when mainstream media had reported the story and let it go & due to her efforts led to large-scale media attention that helped the poor families get attention to their case and prevent the killers from going scot-free…??

Now, Vidyut is chased by a batteries of lawyers to delete the contents on her blog aamjanta.com about her expose on history of alleged financial misdoings by Belvedere yacht party fame Lt Col (retd) Gautam Dutta and Anju Datta of Marine Solutions..  She has received a take down notice for her article being defamatory. The IT Rules are so arbitrary that she has no chance to defend herself against the takedown, because no explanation or even verification of the premise of the take down notice being correct is required.

Legal voices on Twitter have pointed out that the legal notice that Vidyut received is stupid, as Vidyut is the author, not an intermediary, and the IT bill applies only to intermediaries. This means, that she does not have to take down her content, but the lawyers can make her ISP block her website if she does not, yes, without a court hearing. In short, the IT bill is evil, but has not legally been used against her yet.

In reporting stories from the RTI documents related to sailing scams she was again covering an area that is not big enough for mainstream media, but an important leak of money as well as integrity for the country. Not to mention the illegal practices around sailing making it a security risk through norms of “looking the other way”.

Anand Philip (Cerebral Salad/Anand Philip Blog) a friend of Vidyut appeals on his blog:

Vidyut, who is a housewife and has little income is at serious risk of being attacked by a team of seasoned lawyers with money to burnfor daring expose corrupt practices. This is a very concerning sign for freedom of speech and whistle blowing in our country. Any media attention highlighting her situation and precarious situation of smaller content producers in India like bloggers, independent artists, cartoonists, etc and the role played by the IT Rules will go a long way in protecting their rights and drawing attention to their victimization. 

SJ’s Oprah Khan earns 30 million per gig!!!

It’s not unusual to hear about stars adopting the alter ego of social crusader. In India, actor/director/ producer Aamir Khan is being applauded for calling attention to some of the country’s longstanding challenges in his new show Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Triumphs).

Khan’s show, which debuted Sunday after a massive promotional campaign, began by tackling one of India’s darkest secrets—the traditionally taboo subject of female foeticide.

He explored how the nation’s longstanding preference for male heirs led to the tragic practice, which still occurs today in remote villages that are poor and hard to govern. During the show, Khan interviewed several young mothers who candidly shared their painfully raw and emotional experiences.

So far, critical reception has been overwhelmingly positive. The Hindustan Times newspaper went as far as to compare him to American talk show queen Oprah Winfrey due to his mixture of social activism and intimate, personal style.

Khan used data graphs and statistics to make his case, before urging the public to support progress and change. Satyamev Jayate ended with a powerful Bollywood-style song meant to maximize emotional impact.

The show immediately became a trending topic on Twitter. Actor and social activist Shabana Azmi tweeted “Aamir Khan’s show can bring a revolution.” She added it “forces us to re-examine ourselves.”

 Actress Preity Zinta told her 1.5-million followers: “I love this effort from him and thank him as a woman!”

Khan will reportedly earn 30 million rupees, about $564,000, for each of the 13 episodes, which will air on Sunday morning—a prime slot typically reserved for soap operas in India.

Such efforts have garnered considerable attention, which can only benefit the cause, but the actor remains humble: “I can only keep the issues in front of everyone,” Khan told reporters after the show. “One person cannot improve or bring solutions to an issue.”

Female foeticide in India has led to a huge gender imbalance. According to the 2011 census data, there are just 914 girls for every 1,000 boys across India – behind the global benchmark of 952.

India’s @Pooja Patel twitter trend: Good Morning!I have been receiving far too many morning kisses frm you ..Flying Kisses to all!

Pooja Patel: @Poojapatel: Good Morning !! I have been receiving far too many morning kisses msgs frm you .. Its crazy stuff !! Flying Kisses to all !!

Tweeted Pooja Patel this (saturday 5 2012) morning to her 21268 follower !!!

In the past few days, Twitter has been abuzz with one name—Pooja Patel. All that the followers of her Twitter handle @Poojapatel, know is that she is a Gujarati girl, and  has set her location as New Delhi/Auckland. Her profile reveals that she has only tweeted 40-odd-times, but has over 21,000 plus,  followers. All thanks to her display picture. #PoojaPatel that is driving everyone on twitter crazy! People are tweeting about this Pooja Patel so much that the topic has already started trending in 7 countries!!!

But if you want to know the REAL story behind #PoojaPatel, read on! Here is the scoop, @PoojaPatel came alive on twitter after not tweeting for nearly 3 years… the trend actually started when @shadez discovered that this @PoojaPatel  hadn’t tweeted, but one tweet and had 20K followers! A couple of his followers took notice, and well… that is how the trend began!

After 3 years of not tweeting, and magically tweeting the day your name begins to trend was quite fishy to some people. People believe @PoojaPatel’s account is hacked, and is being operated by someone else. Whatever it may be… thank you for the Internet entertainment! Almost 24 hours later and #PoojaPatel is still trending…. wow… I am speechless!

The first tweet on her profile is from February 13, 2009, says, “searching for some good friends (sic).”

And it seems she only re-opened her Twitter account on May 2 this year, and her second tweet that comes after almost two-and-a-half years reads, “OMG ! So Many messages… : ) (sic)”

And by then her name was surprisingly trending, which prompted tweets like, “I was wondering why twitter spammed me with emails today.. now i look at this place..(sic)”; and “ppl sending me strange messages that are not even funny..(sic).”

It is anybody’s guess whether her profile is fake or real, but it sure reveals a lot about the wonders of a revealing display picture and how socila media has made it easy for nobody’s to achieve fame overnight.

One of Pooja’s tweets reads, “Who is Pooja Patel ? – A : am a girl on a secret mission, and no i havent been offered a bollywood movies yet… lol ..(sic)” Well, going by her ability to grab eyeballs she could sure land some plump Bollywood projects.