Atanu Dey On India's Development

India’s primary concerns

The Slimes Times of India is a widely read English newspaper in India. It perhaps reflects the concerns, the choices, the culture, and the mindset of those whom I refer to as the residents of India (as opposed to the residents of Bharat, the larger non-English speaking rural population). The print edition of the paper lands on my desk every morning.

I read, like many others I suspect, top to bottom and left to right. Therefore the first thing that I see in the newspaper is the top left-hand corner. From the bunch of piled up newspapers, here is what I see on the top left-hand corner of the front page:

  • American beauty: Teens use Botox to beat prom nightmare
  • Split wide open: Cruise and Cruz bury their romance
  • Britney Spears: raunchy show rocks Toronto
  • “Lovesick” Bob Dylan stars with model Adriana Lima in lingerie ad
  • Toxic Britney Spears: Inspiring porn movie, starring a look-alike
  • J-Lo and new beau beat hasty retreat on spotting Affleck

Let me repeat that — it is The Times of India. And it is on the front page top left-hand corner every single day, the place that is reserved for the most important bit of the day.

India is shining? I think it is really poor.

{See also Peddling Pornography.}

  • http://donttrackme.com JockInTheBox

    Jivha’s blog deservedly calls it the “Slimes of India” :)

  • http://www.worldisgreen.com Suhit Anantula

    Yes. This is definately the Slimes of India.

    And apart from this they have a utterly useless supplement everyday “Bombay Times” which carries more of the stuff you have highlighted.

    And the newly announced “Zoom” entertainment channel by the Times group may just be the like “Boom” movie.

    Suhit.

  • http://www.wetware.blogspot.com Reuben

    Atanu,
    There was a time when there used to be a difference between TOI’s main paper and its supplements (Padgaonkar era and earlier). Since then, the branding/marketing folks seem to have taken over, in an attempt to reduce what was once a fine newspaper to the absolute lowest common denominator (not very different from U.S. media, mind you).

    The line dividing advertorials and news seems to have dissapeared, with the TOI stable carrying news on such astonishing developments as the Times group’s decision to launch some co-branded credit card. They do not seem to worry about what this does to their credibility as a news organisation.

    In defence of the marketing folks though, the circulation of the paper has skyrocketed since they took control.

    BTW, if you think the Bombay edition is bad, you need to read TOI Bangalore. There is no pretence even at drawing a line between the main newspaper and the Bangalore Times. Call it dumbing down, I guess.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/saravade/ Nandkumar Saravade

    I was a loyal reader of Times of India, for the last 2-3 decades. Due to the blatant commercialisation of ToI, I had started relying on ‘Indian Express’ for serious news for the last few years, though continuing with ToI though for old times’ sake, if you pardon the pun. Last month, out of disgust at a particularly obnoxious item, I threw in the towel and rang up my vendor to switch to ‘Indian Express’ pronto.
    The worrisome part, however, is that ToI has a large circulation and thus in a position to cause severe damage to the thinking faculties of a large number of young people, who presumably comprise bulk of its readership now. I hope the folks who run ToI realise this and turn the paper around.

  • http://www.wetware.blogspot.com Reuben

    “The worrisome part, however, is that ToI has a large circulation and thus in a position to cause severe damage to the thinking faculties of a large number of young people, who presumably comprise bulk of its readership now. I hope the folks who run ToI realise this and turn the paper around.”

    Nandkumar, the problem is that ToI is a business and like any other business, the bottomline matters. The marketing folks have proved conclusively that catering to the lowest common denominator is a best-seller. So, unless they begin to drastically lose readership, why should they turn the paper around?

    If I am the marketing chap, my brief is to increase sales and revenue, not shape the minds of young India.

  • http://www.worldisgreen.com Suhit Anantula

    Reuben:

    From the Marketing point of view you are right. In Hyderabad Deccan Chronicle has the dubious distinction of the “LCD” brand. TOI did one step better. It lowered the LCD in Hyderabad and now DC and even The Hindu is trying hard to fight it.

    They have succeeded like no one in terms of marketing but in the case of the Media Industry there is also something called responsibility.

    TOI, managers and owners, can shape a generation of Indians on how they think. They have the “social responsibility” part built into their industry. And due to their misplaced emphasis on the “financial bottomline” they are forgetting the “social bottomline”.

    Suhit.

  • praveen Shinde

    The TOI , I think may be using more than 1/3th space for advertisments.
    Many times the international section is largely swallowed by advertisments of sizes of more than half the page.

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  • Vinay

    Has anyone here noticed the completely biased editorials and reportage of the Slimes? It’s editors regularly spew venom on RSS/BJP while never criticizing even the most obvious follies/inaction of the Congress/Left. The Times group led by the Jain family is widely seen as a rather biased, leftist propoganda vehicle rather then a quality news-delivery instrument.

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