Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In crazy town, they publish BS

There’s something strange happening in the world of newspapers. People are not taking responsibility for their actions and are instead printing trite notes in their front page asking that the reader, who has already forgotten yesterday’s news, please forgive their oversight.

Now, I have a problem with this. As I do with a lot of things in newspapers considering that I was employed by one in the past.

Yesterday, the print edition of The Hindu published a jacket advertisement. Meaning their front page was not full of headlines, but a one-page spreadtouting the joys and auspiciousness of Akshaya Tritiya, that great gold lobby “festival” that the general public is taking way too seriously. This morning, for reasons that are best known to the new editor on board – Siddharth Varadarajan – The Hindu pubished a note to its readers regarding the advertisement placed in the paper.

Here’s what bothers me about that “note” – the editor thinks people are idiots, the editor thinks the readers of the paper are non-journos, the editor thinks his readers don’t know how money works in the world today.

If running a jacket advertisement disguised as a Hindu-backed news item smacks of insubordination of the newspaper’s editorial policy then I do believe that the company has not informed its employees of this hallowed policy. Unlike other organisations, The Hindu is one company whose employees know company policy and adhere to it or so is the inference one is to make on reading the editor’s note. What amazes me is the tone of authority, superiority and self-righteousness that comes across. It’s the kind of tone that sets  the stage for that perfect tight slap.

"Internal steps are being taken", says the editor – well Mr.Editor, I have a few questions:-

-    Is there no one in the marketing team, an employee who knows editorial policy perhaps, who could have alerted you about this content going to print?
-    Why the fuck weren’t you aware of the contents of the advertisement going to print? Aren’t you, as editor, expected to keep an eye on what I read?
-    Are you getting paid, as a company, to run that ad? [If Yes, then STFU. You’ve lose the right to be morally upright about journalism. If their money plays a part in your salary coming to you, then once again, STFU.]
-    Is this sudden assertion of power a result of the boardroom drama that was behind your election to this position? [If yes, then again, stop being indignant, you’re no different from the people who you’re publically picking a fight with.]
-    Do you think, publically outing the marketing and advertising desk is the correct way to do this? Why do I, as a reader, need to concern myself with your company’s internal issues? Don’t you think you are losing credibility as a serious publication by being so pedestrian about your internal conflicts of interest? Or do you think that informing a reader about these things makes you transparent?
-    What you are exhibiting is your position of power and how to misuse it. Yes, you are the editor, does that mean you will take up prime newspaper real estate just because you want to pick a fight? Wow. Classy.

I could go on, but I don’t think I want to. I’m pissed that a newspaper I respect is behaving like an immature child. Grow up and go to a conference room and sort your shit out! It’s far better than subjecting me to your company’s issues.

[The Hindu]


  1. Sad to notice that The Hindu did something like this, people will consider it as a case of good journalism, does not glorify their status but it does question their motive behind such a move ... that too for Akshaya Tritiya - of all things !!!

  2. the way I see it - newspapers are telling some of us indirectly that they can any kiss the a$$ of any client :) that is what the festival n all other festivals is about :D If employees or us complain - marketing folks would say, "hey this crap feeds you and pays ur bills, so shut up" .. asking sense from them is like Oliver-Fagin situation !!