World of India!: EditorsEdit : The Times of India Vs The Indian Express e

World of India!

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EditorsEdit : The Times of India Vs The Indian Express

A friend of mine and myself have often been accused of 'eating the Indian Express' for breakfast, in a teasing manner, by the former Director of my B-school. We, in turn, pounce on him for being loyal to the Times of India. This has been going no for almost five years now and surprisingly the argument is still relevant. The only difference being that the Times readers have increasingly got nothing to argue about when one starts talking about some of the requirements for being a decent National News paper - viz : connectedness to the ground reality of that country, superior journalistic talent, ability to stir up debate which pushes a nation to reflect and act on its problems.

About 10 years ago, people had started noticing the fact that the Times had increasingly started adding a’ Lifestyle', 'Aspirational' angle to its entire content. Some high profile journo talent actually quit the Times in protest. It was and always will be a city elite paper, but things went on to a level, where even this became passé'. The Times (or more precisely, Sameer Jain, the proprietor, who is credited for both the fall in the Times’ journalistic standards and also its incredible rise in commercial success) realized that the city elite' would like to read about the Global elite', after globalization in the early 90’sand the resultant free flow of information and opening up of possibilities for the national elite' to become a part of the global elite', themselves. So the Times cleverly started writing about parties in Davos, night clubs in London and New York, Caviar and Wine- not in a once in a while kind of way- but as a matter of routine. The Banner interview (Sunday supplement dtd Aug 6’06)and quote of Bipasha Basu (read article below), where she casually explains that the only reason why she bought a Porsche, is for the parking convenience of her Driver, is a perfect example of the kind of stuff that typifies what passes as journalism in the Times, today.

Make no mistake, commercially its all happening for the Times. Having shifted to being more of a magazine and a tabloid, the wannabes are still reading the Times with vigor and they love all that is being dished out. And since we have become a nation of wannabes as a whole (naturally a story which the Indian Express analyzed and wrote brilliantly, in their Sunday supplement on the same day, Aug 6, on which the Bipasha pearls of wisdom appeared in the Times) , the Times is raking it in. No quarrel against this. The Times has a right to decide its editorial stance and it is exercising it, and a particular (growing) class of readers seem to be loving it. So why are we carping?

We are not. Our only submission is that given the requirements for being a national newspaper, as spelled above, the Time is no more than a glorified tabloid, which also HAPPENS to report on politics and general news items.

The Indian express on the other hand, has decidedly turned over a new leaf. The Express always has been a class apart in term of its Journalistic courage. It is, in many ways, India's most credible opposition. Remember Bofors when the Express virtually single handedly fought the Govt. in exposing the scandal? Or remember its relentless attacks on the perpetrators of Godhra in Gujarat? I can go on listing hundreds of incidents and pieces where the Express has had a courage of conviction and fought for it, tooth and nail. The Times on the other hand is a wimp. It believes in collaborating with the Govt. of the day and has consistently avoided jeopardizing its commercial interests, at all costs.

Despite all this, it is the Times which is winning at the cash register. Its circulation is up, ad revenues are sky rocketing and the bubbly flows on. Sameer Jain’s marketing and distribution prowess is still on its roll.

There was a time , when we had feared the Express would just buckle under and demise, until Shekhar Gupta arrived at the head of its helm. The Express has now plugged the gaps in its arsenal. You can almost feel the spring in the steps of the paper. It has added features pertaining to lifestyle, fashion, food, travel and has remained relevant to the demands of the city slickers, while at the same time not compromising its 'connectedness' to Indian realities and content that reflects these.

We are shamelessly rooting for the Express. We hope one day it nets more money than the Times does. But more importantly, we hope it continues to write and report in the manner it does today, while making that money. After all, we read a newspaper to be educated and informed. If we want to read about celebrity gossip and the High Life, we can always read ‘Savvy’ or ‘Society’.

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August 08, 2006 4:01 AM

I agree about "Times". It's more of a Tabloid.
Incidentally, I rely on Kolkata's Telegraph for the news, which I believe is one of the best in the country.

It's also very presentable. No ugly popups and ads.    

August 08, 2006 9:03 PM

well i haven't read the Telegraph at all, yet. But having lived in Chennai i have read the Hindu a lot and can say with complete comfidence that for sheer research and reporting integrity, NOBODY, incl the Express can beat The Hindu. Albeit, it can be a bit too staid and boring. It needs to lighten up without compromising on the quality of its articles.    

June 13, 2013 9:11 PM

Indian express is way better...Times only gives Bolliwood shit news...    

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