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Sight Screen

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What's the odds?

G Rajaraman recaps the story thus far, in re the latest betting scandal doing the rounds.
The more you read about it, the more the Tarannum case appears to resemble the infamous ISRO spy scandal.
I remember being sent there at the height of the 'scandal' -- when an enraged public, whipped up by some of the most sensationalist reportage, was stoning the buses carrying kids of ISRO officials, and the prevailing impression was the security of the nation was in imminent danger of being compromised. But when you actually began digging around, surprise, surprise -- the situation negated the physical law that smoke cannot exist without fire; in this instance, it was all smoke, and mirrors, with no fire to account for any of it.
On that occasion, the fuel for the conspiracy was a tremendous circulation war between two leading Keralite dailies -- the national press then picked up that story, and went plain nuts.
I wonder -- the other day, I got a packet from our Mumbai office, containing a week's worth of editions of the new papers cropping up in Mumbai (DNA, Daily Mirror, HT...). Five major papers plus Mid-Day, all competing for a finite slice of readership and advertising pie -- makes you wonder just how much this has to do with the 'scandal'.


  • prem,
    i wanted to discuss a similar topic with you. Its about cooking up stories in Journalism. There have been quite a few cases since Stephen Glass(pardon my ignorence. cud ve been lots be4). As a editor i think it would be a ardous task for u to fact check the veracity of your writer's stories. Do u recall any blatant cooked up article in Indian media. And one more question. And when a writer brings stories about RAW, etc. which would endanger the running of the company what do u do? have u faced any be4?

    By Blogger Ragav, at 14:55  

  • raghav: In my personal experience, the ISRO case was the single most blatant example of cooked up stories -- I mean, it was so damn blatant, it took only 3 days on the ground for me to find out what was actually going on, and the series I did for Sunday Observer, which at the time had the editors of the Kerala newspapers writing to my editor in protest, was actually vindicated some years later when the court case was concluded.

    You cannot as an editor fact check every single line by every single writer -- for instance, in course of five days I have to edit and send for production matter for 8 community pages, 20 news pages, 12 magazine pages, four business pages, etc, and damned if I can also do the entire back checks.

    What mostly gets done is you over a period of time build a team you trust; you make very clear to them that lifting stuff, or making it up, is a zero tolerance zone.

    And lots you take on faith; if a story is not independently verifiable you send it back seeking clarifications/verifications from at least one other source; if a story fails to pass the logic test, or seems too pie in the sky, or has the smell of a plant, you spike it.

    At least, that is how we do it; I guess other papers have their own methods

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 15:07  

  • Can you paste the articles? Am not a paid customer for Outlook :(

    By Blogger BornDevil, at 15:24  

  • Prem,
    Is there an official website for BCCI? I can not find one on google

    By Blogger Dementor, at 15:44  

  • borndevil,
    You don't have to be a paid customer of outlook. Just go to www.outlookindia.com and click the menu item 'Sports'

    By Blogger Dementor, at 15:45  

  • Borndevil u just register for FREE on www.outlookindia.com and you have access to everything for FREE.

    Hope Prem's India Abroad gets the message, so we can read more of PREM stuff.

    Dementor BCCI with the likes of JD at its helm and the Nair's as its secretary will never have a website, and if the ever do I will pay the best hacker around to hijack the site and drive them nuts, as they have done to all us cricket mad indian fans.

    By Blogger Bedoon_Esam, at 15:55  

  • BTW, what is the dig on Nehra and Harbhajan holidaying in Lahore? Have never heard of Lahore as a vacation destination. Unless they have family ties that is ...(overcame the urge to put family in quotres :))

    By Blogger BornDevil, at 15:57  

  • Does any body here have insights into what happens in typical team meetings (say before a test match, before a final) Who participates (as speakers), what kind of analysis? Have journos been allowed in a such a meeting in the past? Is there a difference when the match is in India (do selectors sit in or ask to be invitred)?

    By Blogger BornDevil, at 16:05  

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