Media Monocle 2
It’s Raining Awards
We all know that Barkha Dutt has flown the coop and set up base for a few months in the land of milk and honey. We also know she’s not holidaying there, but is busy writing a book. Unlike most novice writers though, she’s attending Harvard’s traditional Monday night dinners for the Society of Fellows in her free time. And you can’t really fault her for boasting about breaking bread with Nobel laureates, Amartya Sen and Walter Gilbert “over much red wine” no less. But if you thought it’s all play and no work for Barkha, think again. She just won the 2012 AIB International TV Personality of the Year Award – which are the annual global media excellence awards given by The Association for International Broadcasting in London. Take a look at the list of winners. She seems to have more than earned her Harvard supper.
In the middle of all the coverage on Barack Obama’s re-election, there was a little knuckle-rapping we managed to espy. NitiCentral.com had carried a piece by its editor, Kanchan Gupta stating that “America has erred. Even from the limited perspective of India’s national interest, a hard-nosed Republican as President is a far better option than a sanctimonious Democrat in the White House.” Through the article, each time Gupta referred to Obama – in three instances in the original version – he referred to him with his complete name including his middle name of Hussein.
The eagle-eyed Jonathan Shainin, editor at Caravan, was kind enough to point out to Gupta – on Twitter of course – that, “You know, in America, repeatedly using Obama’s middle name is seen as kind of a racist thing. Word to the wise”. And that, “It is his name, of course. But one usually sees repeated use (2x or 3x per story) from right fringe.” Gupta had responded at the time, that he would change the nomenclature. A tweet that has now been deleted for some reason. He did respond afterwards with a – “OK, you have made your point and regardless of presumptions, it was taken note of.”
The article has now been changed. And carries Obama’s complete name only once. All further mentions have been changed to “the American President” or just “Obama”.
It warms the cockles of the heart to see the sensitivities of the West being taken into consideration. Maybe we’ll soon see a spill-over effect on sensitivities of Indians as well.
Step Aside, There’s A New Press In Town
It seems there’s no need to depend on newspapers or news channels for breaking news. Not only does news first get broken on social media, editorial policy and censorship is also discussed openly.
There’s a new tape which is supposedly going to hit our newspapers and TV screens. This time it’s a “Cabinet Min sabotaging election prospects of Cong!” Not our words. Those are PR guru, Dilip Cherian’s words. Which were then reinforced and validated by Pallavi Ghosh of CNN IBN. What’s worrying isn’t that there’s yet another Congress politician starring in a tape, but that Cherian – who’s not a journalist – knows that the tapes may appear in print on Friday. Nice to see editorial policy is common knowledge and can be predicted nowadays. The Oracle has spoken, time for us to wait and watch if news of the tape does indeed appear in newspapers on Friday.