Media Milestones – 2012

From Leveson to Newsweek to breaking the Vadra Code - here’s what the media will be remembered for in 2012.

Syria conflict

The world of news and journalism has seen quite a few ups and downs this year. More downs than ups. Here’re a few of the things that the media will be remembered for in 2012.

Newsweek ends its print run – Some would call it the advent of a new era and some would look at it as the death of print. Either way, the 80-year-old Newsweek magazine ends its print run and goes completely online as part of the website The Daily Beast. Its last issue, dated Dec 31, famously has #lastprintissue on its cover with a black and white photograph of the magazine’s New York headquarters in the background. A sign of the digital times to come?

Here’s Tunku Varadrajan, talking to us about the Newsweek-Daily Beast merger –

The Leveson Inquiry – India seems to have an intrinsic relationship with Britain. Both have a royal family, a ceremonial ruler and a press that needs to take a long, hard look at itself. The Leveson inquiry was commissioned by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron in July 2011 after it was reported that the News of the World had hacked the voicemail of Milly Dowler, a murdered British schoolgirl. Celebrities, politicians, victims of crime were interviewed as evidence on their mistreatment by the press. The Leveson Inquiry into press standards was headed by Lord Justice Brian Leveson. And 2012 saw a 2,000 page report being tabled asking for, among other things, a new, independent body to replace the present Press Complaints Commission. Sounds familiar?

Death of a photojournalist Tehelka photojournalist Tarun Sehrawat’s death shocked the media fraternity and readers of news. Partly because nobody expected an employee of a Delhi-based mainstream media publication to die of malaria contracted while on assignment outside Delhi. Sehrawat and Tehelka’s journalist, Tusha Mittal had gone to Abhujmad’s jungle on an assignment where they both contracted cerebral malaria. Sehrawat, who also contracted typhoid and jaundice, succumbed to the illness. His death gave a rare view into the dangers journalists face while reporting from less developed areas, and the responsibilities media houses must take to ensure the safety of their journalists.

Tehelka’s Managing Editor, Shoma Choudhary spoke on Tarun Sehrawat and the learnings from his death.

We also spoke to some other journalists who report from unfriendly terrains:

Marie Colvin’s death – Veteran war journalist Marie Colvin was killed while covering the siege of Homs in Syria. The Sunday Times journalist used to wear an eye-patch after she lost her eye in a bomb blast while covering Sri Lanka’s civil war. In 1999, she helped save lives of 1500 women and children in East Timor after she refused to leave them to the mercy of Indonesian-backed forces in a compound. 22 other journalists left. Her reporting helped gain publicity for them and they were evacuated four days later. This article ( has an account of how the people in that compound repaid her a few years later. Her death again raised questions on the threats of reporting from conflict zones.

Conflict reporter Neville Lazarus wrote about his experiences while reporting from conflict zones.

The Vadra Code – And it was in 2012 that, for a few momentous weeks, the media started writing about Robert Vadra. While journalists went on Twitter to say everyone knew what was being discussed, no one had written about it till date. Thanks to Arvind Kejriwal’s first stone, newspapers got into the act and some even indulged in some investigative news reports. Although, to be fair, the allegations against DLF were first brought out by newspaper months before Kejriwal revealed them at a press conference. Suddenly, nothing was taboo anymore. And reams of news reports and opinion pieces started appearing in the press on Vadra’s business dealings. Of course, like all good things even this soon fizzled out with the next big scandal to hit the media.

Here’s our Dhobi Ghat on why it took an Arvind Kejriwal to do an exposé on Vadra.

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