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Justice A P Shah To Hold Meeting With Editors Under Aegis of FMP

October 14, 2014

A P Shah, the former Chief Justice of the Delhi Hicgh Court and The chairman of the Law Commission of India has agreed to hold a closed door meeting with editors along with two other commission members on media regulation. The event will likely happen in the second week of November. On Monday (13 October), FMP presented Justice Shah with responses it has collected from editors to the Commission's questionnaire on various aspects of media regulation. This was a voluntary effort. Though FMP has written to many editors and even offered to visit them at their location to note down their responses, most of them were cold to the idea. Justice Shah told FMP that he values Article 19 of the  Constitution (which guarantees freedom of expression) but wants to curb abuses like paid news and doctored opinion polls. When Justice Shah indicates the date and time, FMP will get in touch with editors for the November meeting.

(In the picture, FMP's founder member Aniruddha Bahal presenting a copy of the responses to the Law Commission's questionnarie to Justice Shah).  

The Washington Post Regains Its Verve

October 12, 2014

The New York Times praises The Washington Post for a series of hard-hitting reports. Have you ever seen this happen in India?

 

Indian newspapers are such a cozy club that they refrain from attacking each other, except when it comes to disputes over circulation. Then, the gloves come off and knuckles are bared, as happened recently when the Hindustan Times said on the basis of the Indian Readership Survey that it was No 1 in Delhi and NCR. Conversely, they are not appreciative of each other either. In the quest to maximize revenue they turn predatory when acquiring readers or viewers. High quality journalism is not a consideration. What a delightful contrast then to read high praise for the The Washington Post in The New York Times. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/business/media/the-washington-post-regains-its-place-at-the-table.html?_r=0)

Writing in the NYT, columnist David Carr says The Post has regained its past glory with three major stories. One, a series on security lapses at the Secret Service that resulted in an intruder with a knife not only crossing unchallenged into the White House but also gaining access to the East Room. The story resulted in the resignation of the secret service’s director. The other was about corruption in Virginia (police seizing millions from motorists not charged with crimes) that led to the conviction of its former governor, and a third on the lack of good project management in President Obama’s health care roll-out.

The turnaround is attributed to editor Martin Baron, who took over at the beginning of 2013. He is said to be a well-travelled and a well-thought-of veteran. Tom Rosenstiel, the executive director of the American Press Institute told The Times that Baron ‘is a very good newsman, a no-nonsense, really bright guy who believes in the power of news, and that is highly contagious in a newsroom.’

The acquisition of The Post by Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com has also helped. ‘With Jeff, we have the stability and resources to invest,’ Baron told Carr. ‘I think there are those intangibles in our business that matter enormously. Reporters need to know that they will be supported, that their colleagues aren’t going to disappear and that they can do their job without being worried all the time about losing it. Optimism, like negativity, can be infectious.’

Bezos is not a sugar daddy. In September, The Post announced draconian cuts to pensions, like eliminating medical benefits for retired employees.

Carr says The Post may not have reinvented the math of producing high-quality information in a commodity-priced age. But for now, enabling journalists to break news, chase scoops and light up the web seem like a better path than letting them eat (goodbye) cake.

 

 

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