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Showing posts from October, 2014

Dear reader, do you think you deserve better newspapers? Here's how

One may proclaim that factors such as corporate ownership or paid news are the biggest enemies of print media. Bunkum. Its real enemy is, also the unlikeliest: its consumer or the price-conscious reader. The reader, who invariablymakes no distinction between content and price and would not even bat an eyelid before switching to another brand simply if it costs a rupee less. Thanks to him, newspapers dread the prospect of raising their prices, fearing that it may drive him away to their competitors – even if it means facing an existential crisis, day-in, day-out. 

Even a high-school economics student would point out that if the selling price of your product is not even a third of its manufacturing cost, rest assured of a deep hole in the pocket. Be it the stockbroker at Dalal Street, the roadside vegetable seller or the dealer for the latest range of iWhat-nots, margins matter. Even if you are running a Ponzi scheme. Which is what ails Indian newspapers at large.
When the editor of the n…

A wire-tap and its ramifications on Karnataka

Life must have come a full-circle for Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Friday when Bangalore police commissioner M N Reddi announced that the phones of relatives close to Union railway minister D V Sadananda Gowda were wire-tapped for five days. The previous time a similar scandal erupted in the state – wire-tapping of the phones of former Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde, who was to submit his report on illegal mining in the state in 2011 – it was Siddaramaiah, as leader of Congress party-led Opposition, who galvanized public anger against then BJP government. Hence, his abject silence over the latest controversy brewing in the state comes as a shocking surprise.

Questions arise over whether the government went by the rule-book in ordering the eavesdropping. The commissioner defended it by saying Gowda’s son Karthik – who has been accused by a Kannada actress of cheating and raping her – did not turn up even after two police summonses were issued to him. It is difficult to hyp…