Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Look what I found....

I was searching for Times of India related articles on the web. And look what I found.
See for yourself.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


So PT has decided to diversify themselves into reporting action from the sports arena buy roping in a new guest writer: Mandira Bedi. Ms. Bedi, the mascot of the SET MAX circus leaves no chance to let everyone know about her interest in playing with the boys (no pun intended). But can we expect some worthwhile stuff rather than fashion trends in the Indian cricket team? Not to forget that the article appears on the 3rd page...

Monday, September 20, 2004

Times and TV

As most of us are aware by now that Times would be launching a channel by the name of Zoom, which according to me would be nothing but a TV version of its city supplements. How many people would really be interested in watching the lives of celebrities and all that trash

To announce the same , Times even went ahead and advertised it on its Masthead

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

More about Times

This is an excerpt from Blog of Sumankumar

Times of India: Exotic journalism ;)
A couple of days back I came across a post on The article spoke about how Times publishes adult content on its portal homepage. I was not shocked and I took it all in with a somber resignation. I am not going into the morality (or the lack of it thereof) of posting such content on a space flocked to by thousands; I am merely sighing, 'how low will you stoop?' Why doesn't a Shivsena or a Bajrangdal protest against such blatant misuse of journalistic privilege? Take TOI's city-based supplements. I have read issues of Pune, Bangalore, and Chennai. Not even a single issue contains news. The writers write about some party or the other; or about the Page 3 people. They publish pictures of these people. Yea, I can live with that all right. But the writing! These guys need some help. In the name of style they write nonsense. One of Times' headlines: Sonia queen. King Cong. I mean, hey, who is your chief editor? Is he still in high school? Some of the high-school news papers have better editorial skills than those at Times. I could go on but Jivha saved me the trouble. Take a look at his Times of India chronicles.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

We, Darth Vader

Yeah, some readers may have noticed names of some of the contributors of this blog on the front page of PTOI today (in a completely different context of course). Ironic, to say the least :-). However, pliss to note that we were Page One material, not Page 3. We're still learning :-)

Anyway, our sincerest thanks to the PTOI for graciously printing the article, for the BCQC is dear to us and we appreciate all notice given to it (despite keeping all our clothes on, if I'm permitted a very weak joke!).

It doesn't remove our fundamental objections to the content (nor am I insinuating that that was the purpose anyway).

'tis a very weak parallel, but Donald Knuth had his first article printed in Mad Magazine, and the founders of Google were featured in Pl@yb0y.

A matter of policy

Some of the satirical comments on this blog may be misinterpreted (if they are interpreted at all), so let me spell out my stand (atleast personally, but I think the rest of the gang agrees):

* The comments are not personally directed. They are rants against editorial policy that have no equivalent outlet. No one will print long letters to the editors with this content. I can no longer count the number of TOI papersellers whom we have bored the pants off with these points.

* I know nothing is going to really change - the media's marketing men relentlessly tell us that because of such content, their products sell more and they can thus afford to alienate those readers who may be offended/annoyed/indifferent to such content. I haven't met a member of the so-called large group of people who enjoy the content yet, but I'm willing to concede such a person exists.

* Why I still buy the paper? The supplement comes along with the main paper and the alternatives to the main paper aren't better. I don't like paying (whatever I do) to see skin in brown colour instead of monochrome, but like light year long ads in a film pay channel, I have no choice.

* The pune pages in the main paper of late have been quite good, especially with the coverage of the upcoming elections. But shouldn't these be on the pages entitled "Pune Times"?

* Are the pages actually a representation of "aspirational value"? Aspirational value as in having a glass in your hand and an arm around someone?

In-defense of Page Three

or How I learned to stop worrying and love the pomp

On the 13th of Sept (Mon), PTOI carried a really hilarious article titled Why Pg 3 is numero uno. So hilarious that it's a pity that Blogger doesn't provide animated emoticons like the latest Yahoo! Messenger, or else I could've shown you why I looked like the spitting image of the caricature for ROTFLMAO while reading it.

How else, apart from hilarious, do you characterise statements like the ones quoted in it?

"(It's) my way of keeping in touch with the younger generation" - our Hon. Member of Parliament. "... I'm in touch with them because they can "meet" me through Pg3."

"I stop exercising in the mornings to read Pg 3" - Seema Malhotra (Weikfeld's head)

"Read Pg 3 to know how to live life" - Satish Tandon (Md, Alfa Laval)

"It's nice to see that at this age, they still want me on Pg 3" - Dr. Mujumdar (Chancellor, Symbiosis.

I have tears in my eyes already. A direct hotline to the MP, better than exercise,
a guide to life itself and a faithful servant of the senior citizen - all rolled into one! Stunning! Before I got too carried away in hoary sentimentality, I remembered what the professor's wife told a young Richard Feynman...

The article convinced me like never before. Now I see why all pages are Page Three-ed. There are simply too many celebrities requiring direct interaction with the public.

The article mentions two kinds of people: those who love the articles and those who complain despite reading the articles (mainly because they aren't featured). There's now a new category : cribbers with internet access and blogger accounts and too much time at hand. Recent surveys have shown a sudden spike in the readership levels among readers of the third category. I fight off the dog each morning to grab my copy of PTOI to make my contribution to this blog. Guess that makes me a faithful reader.

I didn't realise how much dark matter there was within me. I could've been a theoretical physicist and Anakin Skywalker.

Monday, September 13, 2004

What a pity

So we have succeeded in getting PT to read the blog. And to think they actually spend some time to justify the Pg. 3!!
Get a load of this: A whole bunch of arguments in favour of the pg. 3. From whom? The common man? No - the pg. 3 people themselves! Now thats what we call a fair debate don't we? ;-)
Its like conducting a survey in the Kapoor family: "Can Kareena act?" and then in pure PT style announce: "Bollywood thinks Kareena CAN act."

Its a pity...

PS: If you're a PT person and reading this, no offense meant: We hate your paper anyways. No amount of justifications or opinions of celebs is going to change our opinion.

Putting our Money where our Mouths Ain't

While watching watching the BBC last night, I came across this interesting tidbit. The Committee on Standards in Public Life, a British NGO, recently concluded a long term research project on public attitudes. According to this survey, while 38% of the British public trusts broadsheet journalists, only 7% of them trust tabloid journalists (even politicians did better, with over 20%). Assuming that all the respondants read tabloids, this means that 93% of the British populace pay money to read trash that they dont believe, and that they trust less than Tony Blair and Geoff Hoon!

So this begs the question, what about us? I dont think too many people really find the Pune Times and it's ilk to be really useful as newspapers, but what do we do about it? We read it anyway! The Pune Times carried an article about people badmouthing page three, and avidly reading it anyway. I think this holds true for the rest of the rag equally. No one really cares about Rakhi Sawant's mental state when she's stipping, or about the stupid mindless opinion polls that PT is prone to regularly print, but what do we do? Do we stop reading it? Do we throw it away? No! We read the silly articles, look at the semi-pornographic images that accompanies them and then curse like hell that its all crap. And meanwhile the ads continue to flow, and the owners of this "newspaper" grow richer than Croesus. I say if you dont like it, dont read it. Or post your grievances on our blog, I hear the editor reads it ;-).

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Face of news down south....

People at the Pune office of TOI, need not feel left out. Their counterparts here in the garden city aren't exactly eligible for receiving a Pulitzer for their efforts with the metaphorical sword.

As I opened my eyes, today morning, I found my roommate Ramesh ogling at one of the PYTs on the last page of Bangalore Times. When it was my turn, I realised that there wasn't much else that Ramesh (or for that matter anyone else) could've done with the newspaper. Here's a detailed "panchnama" of the sad piece of journalism that most of us pay for every morning. Readers may please try and spot the Bangalore connection here.

The first page contained an elaborate write-up on the spirituality of Hollywood celebrities and how much the American film industry has been influenced by the east off lately. It related the success of celebrities, the likes of Uma Thurman, Madonna, et al with the teachings of their Indian mentors. Inset was a box that also glorified the spiritual bent of some Indian celebrities viz Rhea Pillai and her fling with the Art of Living. Last week this place carried an article on another profound subject : "Why do marriages in the Kannada film industry last longer than those in Bollywood?"

Then I there was an audacious article which had a subject that went somewhat like " If you are a good dancer you maybe (must be) good in bed ". It was found (by whom?) that good dancers, who can make their partner look good while dancing, can............well you get my flow, right? It said that one couldn't get better at "it", by learning to dance. Reading further, I found that BT had gone through the painstaking process of polling a few hundred females all over the city and 80% women agreed that good male dancers are better in bed. Does that mean 80% of the females that the newspaper interviewed have been involved in multiple relationships and that too, with enough frequency to have been in a position to answer so confidently? I think I am over-doing it. Anyways, it was a point to ponder upon.

Then came the piece de resistance, the last page. That sheet of paper which has been entirely monopolized by Miss (or is it Mrs?) Sherawat since the past few weeks. Somehow today, the other celebrities had a chance of displacing her from the scene. An article counted how many girlfriends Rod Stewart has been with since his "Do ya think I'm sexy" days! It also mentioned Mick Jagger, who has been responsible for a fair bit of controversy in the females' maamla. A stale news, (obviously a filler) spoke about how CBS will have to pay up because of Janet Jackson's now-famous nipplegate. Then there was an article expressing "concern" on Gwyneth Paltrow having to travel subway train with her kid. Suddenly I felt like I was being pushed far down the economic ladder, having to travel by bus everyday.

Hasn't TOI (Bangalore) found anything in Bangalore, interesting enough to write about? What about the city's public transport, guys? Why isn't there any hue and cry about the crowded buses and the daily traffic jams on Airport road? No say on the ridiculous law passed by Karnataka Govt. regarding delayed releases of non-Kannada films? What about the frequent power cuts?

I must agree with Ramanand. If these supplements don't carry any worthwhile news regarding the city of origin, then why in God's name, do they even call it "XYZ Times"?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Truth, Blessed Truth and Statistics

For some of us, the carping against the Pune Times has occasionally taken on the zeal of a religious crusade. The reason for that is very simple, and successive posts on this blog will demonstrate that very clearly.

My principal opposition is that if a supplement called itself Pune Times, shouldn't it have a significant chunk of news about Pune? That's where PT differs in its interpretation. Here are some numbers to underline this point:

Take today's (Wed, 8 Sept 2004) issue. There are 6 pages in the edition, out of which 1 is devoted to cartoons, upcoming events, TV schedules and the like, which is perfectly fine. There are 25 news items on all the remaining 5. How many of them do you think are about Pune or even have an oblique reference to the city?

Just FOUR. 4 out of 25. Which means that news about Pune forms only 1/5th to 1/6th of the edition. Which for a paper calling itself Pune Times is astoundingly insufficient.

I must, however, commend the one they got right. The standout article today was on the Tekdi project. Outstanding because it is relevant, informative, useful and worth public notice. The same cannot be said about Sandali Sinha's dream role being Simran in DDLJ (I have nothing against Ms. Sinha, but there's no relevance putting her as the leading article on the front page of a city supplement). But in comparison, I'd rather read about Ms. Sinha than the "##Dare## aaye durust aaye" Rakhi Sawant (see Salil's post)

Coming back to numbers, about 16 articles were on film actors, pop stars and social dos.

I don't think I'll be this incensed if the supplement called itself "Entertainment Plus" or something. That'll take the wind out of the sails of this blog. But "Pune Times"? Nope.

Bikers, Rockers and Item Numbers

Lessons learnt today:-

Dhoom has caused ripples in the city! Pedestrians, hawkers and jaywalkers watch out, the latest killers on the road are motorbikes. Whats happening to our safe Pune roads? Our city fathers better wake up and take immediate actions to curb the increase of superbikes (An option is to ban the movie).

Underground rock exists in Pune! And know what? Rock is influencing today's youth into drugs! Whats the world coming to?? And know what? Gutsy PT, after a dense investigation, has revealed the rates of everything from weed and hash to cocaine. Doesn't this remind you of the scoop that the journalists in the 30's achieved after Bhagat Singh & comrades revealed the art of bomb-making? Kudos to them anyway. Lets encourage them in this courageous investigation. And also expect a scoop soon on the sources of manufacture and retail of hash.

And our role model Mallika Sherawat does have a rival! The bold Rakhi Sawant (who just missed a nomination for best supporting actress award for Main Hoon Na) not only accepts bold roles, but also happens to be the only girl to have the guts to do such things. And remember, it isn't cheap 'coz "it has been shot like a Hollywood movie".

Which makes me wonder: Whats the difference between Mallika Sarabhai and Mallika Sherawat?
Mallika Sarabhai can DARE in front of anybody.
Mallika Sherawat can BARE in front of anybody.

Can't wait to find out what exclusives tomorrow's paper will have...

So much newsprint, nothing to report....

What do you get when you put together one of India's oldest names in English journalism and one of India's greatest cultural, educational and economic centres? A really great, froody newspapers? An urbane, intelligent and intellectual periodical? Or a really witty, fun and informative journal?

Well, none of the above, actually. What you do get is six pages of complete and utter nonsense that occaisionally prints some news (or other useful stuff) when there is a drought of parties (for these are the staple fare of our aforementioned publication). You get a paper that no one really reads, or likes (at least no one I know) but that is printed everyday anyway. Just as Microsoft only sells junk like Windows Media Player by bundling it with Windows, Bennet & Coleman ltd. can only sell the Pune Times (for that is the rag I refer to) because you cant buy The Times of India without it (perhaps someone should inform the MRTP).

In this information driven age, the press is an important guardian of freedom, democracy, social values, and so on and so forth and such like. It is a watchdog, a sentinel in a time of falling social and moral values. But as a Roman (Who's name I haven't bothered to Google) said, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?". Hence, this blog. This blog shall play host to the views to all those tortured souls who dont appreciate having to read a testament to mediocrity with their city's name on it every morning. No longer will their personal blogs choke with their righteous indignation at some new outrage in print.
Viva la Revolution!

(Those of you who would like to join this pioneering effort in PT-bashing, mail me (or post a comment here). Those of you who dont want to join, quit the staff of the Pune Times, and mail me.)