Goodbye Times of India

A few days ago (25th Sept), the Bangalore edition of Times of India dedicated a big chunk of the front page with “Cheers, Women Bartenders”. An article about women bartenders being allowed to serve liquor in the Bangalore bars. Being served by women in a bar apparantly is more important than The crisis on wall street, The investigation on Bomb blasts, Manmohan Singh’s meeting with Wen jia Bao! To add to insult there was another quarter of the frontpage dedicated to a Nissan ad.

I’ve  been reading The Times of India ever since I started reading newspaper. It’s become an integral part of my waking up routine.And I’ve evolved my pattern of reading the newspaper. Front page first, then a bit of sports business and editorials.

That day there was nothing for me on the  front page, and it was then decided to terminate my life long relationship with TOI.

It’s hard to place when things began to go wrong. The TOI’s readership has been growing rapidly, but that is nothing compared to the rapid decline it’s seen in Editorial quality and journalistic quality.

Any newspaper will find it hard to deliver consistent quality editorials (Hindu, IMHO is an exception) But TOI editorials seem to be waste of newspaper space. My worst bit on the page is the times View Counter View. It picks one recent issue and gives what times believes is it’s view and what is a contrarian view. Most times there is no defense or such flimsy defense that reading it is irrelevant. Take the same day’s topic on Graft, How can anybody defend graft? Yet TOI sees it fit to waste that part of the page on putting in a contrarian view. I almost always skip this part completely. ‘Erratica’ is so out there that i cannot relate it. and Jug suriya’s articles on the other hand are a gamble. They could be self appreciatory and boring at times to very fresh and interesting, Unless you read the first few paragraphs it’s not clear.

TOI ostensibly dedicates 4 pages for sports, excluding ads it’s proably 3 pages of sports. And Times have found an amazing way to ‘sex up‘ the sports page too. Each day there is a picture  of WAG’s wearing flimsy clothes. I know more about the beaches Neredia Gallardo goes to, than Ronaldo’s spoils on the football field.

It’s not like i totally dislike TOI. Swaminomics and Shashi Tharoor’s articles are the ones that I read with interest every Sunday. And the Business times is consistently good.

Till recently i did not know about Private Treaties, it basically means Times of india will buy a small stake in the company if it advertises in Times of India. So much for the seperation of media and business.

I also did not know about it’s practise of selling editorial space without differentiating it (check here and  here).

With such policies it is impossible to draw the line between news, opinion and advertisement. Am i being bombarded by news about ‘Running being healthy‘ to sell more Nike Shoes? This is just pushing the line too far for my liking.

Times of India Goodbye, Hello Hindu.

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2 responses to “Goodbye Times of India

  1. Then you really have no idea about the media net and so on. I agree with what you wrote about TOI and I sincerely hope they change their ways. I really hope the foreign media is allowed soon into India. Then many like these will face real competition. Today we drink Coke and Pepsi and brands like Campa, Dukes, Pallonjis,Rogers,etc disappeared! These people need to grow up. The Indian consumer is not an idiot!

  2. Hi.
    I agree that i do not have perfect information medianet, but from what i gather from blogs and talking to some friends is that it is some form of paid advertising and it seems to be making the liasons between journalists and PR of companies explicit. It is innovative, i have to agree. But it should be know to the reader that certain things have been paid for and certain things are genuine news that made it because it merited to be on the newspaper. I’d love to hear more on how medianet works. I hear it is booming business for TOI

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