Friday, January 04, 2008

India Today, yesterday and tomorrow

As a small child, around my first-second standards I guess, I used to eagerly watch out for the Amarchitrakatha-Mahabharata .... I would know exactly the day it would come out, and as my Father or Mother gets back from work ( I used to get back first from school and wait for them) would be looking into their hands from a distance, if they were indeed carrying the precious possession that I am looking for .....

By the time I was in 5th or 6th and of course by highschool, I could ask for money and buy whatever I wanted .. and by then, what I would look for is "India Today" ! I believe the magazine started becoming popular when they started the regional editions including Malayalam .. and inspite of being an voracious newspaper reader, I would look fwd to the biweekly ( if I remember correctly, at that time biweekly and later it became weekly) magazine

So what was it that may have caught my attention so much ? First may be the magazine had a much more National perspective than any other print media available in Malayalam at that time ( and no, up until my highschool I hardly read English newspapers or not even many childrens books, comics etc) . Secondly, the magazine always had a very "graphic" oriented reporting style... Their pictures, their maps, charts,....... had a quick impression. And finally the reporting style ... it always had an undercurrent of excitement ( I am not calling it sensationalism as I did not feel it was the "cheap" variety ) .. and unlike many media even at that time, I believe not have that much of an anti-right bias

During my undergrad at IIT Chennai, the hostel commonroom would get the English edition, along with many other newspapers and magazines including its rival - The Outlook ( I felt that it was more or less a Congress party mouthpiece from the very first issue that I ever saw ). Somwhere along the line, especially after it was made weekly, and thinner ( but with may be the same amount of ads) , I felt it was perhaps slipping in its quality, but continued to be my favourite among weekly magazines. The Mallu-Christian-Manorama-Congress run "The Week" , the commie run "Frontline" , "Outlook" , where the other major ones thand at I used to browse through
Once in US, I started looking for the online editions, and to my dismay all but India Today were free. Initially I could get around, as I tried some random 4 digit code, and it worked !! I could read India Today online, but not for too long... and slowly, reluctantly, I started reading Outlook more often, or sometimes even frontline !
Looks like the long wait is finally over :-) ... ( I donno from when on it is online, but I saw this only recently) . Now,I am not quite sure in the past 3-4 years how their political bias has changed, if any. Except for "Daily Pioneer" all English Language Media ( E L M) can more or less be classified as pro-left / pro- Congress .... ( see my post on Modi, below) but I am guessing ( or is it just a hope) , atleast not so much "India Today" .. A friend of mine used to say "Smart journalism is if you can write about some one whom you like, in such a way that on the surface it appears a citicism, but is actually a either a positive criticism or even a positive aspect given a negative spin" ... and a BJP supporter that he was, used to say that he used to actually get thrilled reading some of the magazines "criticism" of the party !!
really ? Something like saying "The biggest problem with the show was that it was overbooked and people could not get tickets " ?
Well, may be you can look at the issue before the Gujarat election (dec 17, 2007) on Modi, and decide for yourself
For now, I am just happy catching up with an old friend of mine :-)

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