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Sight Screen

Friday, October 07, 2005

Off topic...

My personal protest -- I think this has to rate as the most apalling headline for a news story I have seen in all my time. Surely rape is not a platform for 'creativity' of this kind?
I know I know -- why would a post on this forum bother the Times? In fact, on one occasion during the WC'03, when that paper blatantly plagiarised Rediff articles (I remember one in particular, where the xeroxing was done so amateurishly, even a typo we carried in our Rediff copy was verbatim repeated in that paper), I wrote an official note to that paper, from one news organization to another. Till date, I have no indication anyone even read it, let alone get a response.
So, right, no point saying this here -- but wanted to anyways.


  • TOI surprises me how stupid news website it is. It has become worse with each passing year. Back in 96-97, it was ok...but, lateron it is just worse than tabloids. Now, i don't even visit that site....

    By Blogger Rajg, at 11:35  

  • Found this link by accident, and while it doesn't have anything to do with cricket, it is nevertheless a funny (or ironical -- ymmv) commentary on the general accuracy of ToI:
    Inaccuracies Abound as Media Digests Sun and Google Pact

    By Blogger idlivada, at 11:36  

  • Dude Prem..

    You read TOI...on the web!
    50 lashes

    By Blogger Bala, at 11:42  

  • As I said in the past, TOI online edition is worse than trash.

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 11:42  

  • Dude :-)

    Prem, Unless you are checking if your articles are being plagiarised, I cant imagine a sane person like you reading TOI :-)

    By Blogger raj, at 11:46  

  • disgusting....

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 11:51  


    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 11:51  

  • Really and truly disgusting. Previously I have found the Times reporting on incidents of rape highly insensitive,but this is just appalling. PP, bless you for registering your protest. Honestly, there are so few people who think it worth their while to speak up against this kind of thing.

    By Blogger shubha, at 11:56  

  • hi prem,
    right on! I have found most articles on TOI appalling and manufactured just to add masala to their otherwise worthless newspiece. I feel it's like selling cheap stuff in the sideways which lack quality but gets attracted only for the gimmicks performed. It's a disgrace to the reporting world but the free world lets them continue their scrappy work. prem, what do u do when u need to do a piece on a game which u ve not seen. what do u do if ur source is limited to the other reporter's articles??

    By Blogger Ragav, at 12:07  

  • raghav: If you mean game analysis, I don't do it. I have never written copy on a game I did not watch -- that is one of the main reasons why I stopped writing for Rediff when I came to the US. I do, at times, make off the ball points -- which you can, anyways. Say for instance, if I was doing a piece on taking singles -- the breakups are available; any further information I need I can get from the statisticians, so in that sense I can do a purely statistical analysis without having watched the game itself. But game analysis? Nope, can't be done -- or at least, it *can* be done, but what is the value of anything that you say? I'm frankly not that desperate to see my byline in print, there's been enough.

    It's funny -- this damn piece continues to leave a bad taste. I was interviewed, twice, by ToI for jobs; high profile ones both times. On each occasion, we got through the interview process, on each occasion, I pulled out without signing the papers.

    Dad used to be livid. HOW can you turned down the TIMES?, he would go. Mind, in his defense, this was in the early and mid-90s, when that paper hadn't deteriorated to this extent.

    I've since had reason to bless whatever instinct caused me to pull out -- I've made mis-steps in my career, but mercifully, I avoided potentially the biggest one of them all.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:20  

  • hit the nail on the head! It amply shows how a great caesarian(!) phrase can make stupid sense if used inappropriately. If you want to teach a student how one should not put to use a phrase, ask him to read this headline.Bad times continue to huant TOI to make it BTOI.

    By Blogger Krish, at 12:36  

  • Prem - I found this comment on a blog... care to comment??!!!

    By Blogger Tiger, at 12:51  

  • Prem,

    Have you noticed a difference in how a game looks when you are sitting at the ground v/s on TV? I don't know whether it is the low resolution of a TV screen, or the fact that you are at the mercy of the cameraman, but somehow one can see more with the regular old Mark One eyeball. One tends to notice different things, and they colour perceptions to such an extent that often I find that I simply cannot read press reports of games that I've watched. Doesn't matter whether it is cricket or baseball, NBA or Ranji..

    By Blogger idlivada, at 12:57  

  • Prem - You take all the blame.

    I have not been on TOI website since last couple of years.

    Incidently I do read paper at epaper.timesonindia.com and it has far better articles.

    Its hightime they had some coordination between their paper and website.

    By Blogger J, at 14:11  

  • sports and entertainment are something where bullcrap that the TOI right is funny occassionaly and head scrathing on most other times. But this is bullshit!! How do editors let their staff get away with something so insensitive? Does crassness have no limits? To say, its disgusting would be like to give it an Nobvel prize. SUch ppl, editors and the publication should be castrated and never be allowed to publish news of any consequence!! They should stick to tabloid journalism!!

    By Blogger KB, at 14:53  

  • tiger: Sure, I remember someone mailed my CEO and my editor in chief a similar remark at the time. It was my editor, as I recall, who replied -- he pointed to the time on the email (I had written the review here, and sent it to Bombay for upload), and the time of upload of the Times article, and pointed out that unless I had been reading the times reviewer over his shoulder as he wrote, I couldn't have copied from it. Will that response do here, mate?

    idlivada: sure, and for a very valid reason. On the ground, you see the game in broad brushstrokes -- there is all that noise and clamor and in any case you are too far to see the finer points. You watch on TV and, once you've gotten used to the geometry -- what you think is backward point is in fact third man -- you see so much more, you focus so much more, that analysis in the media seems tame, incomplete in comparison with what you saw. It's a tricky line to walk -- you have to start out with the assumption, no, knowledge, that the guys who are watching see as much of the game, or more, as you do. So crap like "Tendulkar and Dravid added 45, and then Dravid got out and Tendulkar played two superb cover drives but was trapped LBW..." just doesn't fly. Leaves you with a choice -- you can either go for a meticulous recap, so that for the reader, it is literally like an action replay, or you can step away a few paces, see the game from a slant, do off the ball analysis. I think the basic problem is, most journos who do these reports don't spend that extra moment reminding themselves that the fans see as much, or more, as they do.

    You know what I really found, though? There is a huge difference between watching cricket, and being a cricket reporter. In the latter role, you are so caught up in the minutae, the little nuances you are busy scribbling down to build into your report, that you lose the whole romance, the magic, the charm of the game. It's kind of like the difference between admiring a rose, and peering at a dissected rose petal under the microscope. :-)

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 15:18  

  • LOL. Reading ToI for news is like reading Playboy for its editorial. One needs to have their brain checked :)

    But I am surprised so many of you mention not perusing the ToI web site. I guess visitors to this site are overwhelmingly anti soft-porn? I haven't seen Blitz for years and there is no more Illustrated Weekly of India with the degenerate Khushwant Singh as editor. ToI online appears the best of the benign desi news outlets for sleaze no?

    By Blogger TFFY, at 16:30  

  • The BCCI should use ToI as their preferred media outlet. Sex and ridiculous cartoons are a highly correlated pairing in the media. Moreover, they share the same credibility and values.

    Truth be told, Prem, rediff is generally poor in the headlines department too. Highlight some phrase used by an interviewee ignoring the context to draw visitors clicks. Your articles are well titled: I hope you are able to inject some sense into your erring colleagues.

    By Blogger TFFY, at 16:39  

  • TV v/s pavillion

    Prem: that's interesting.. if I understand you correctly, you are saying that it is better to see a game on TV rather than at the ground, because you catch more details on TV. My experience has been the reverse. Yes, I miss the action replays and the snickometers and hawkeye and all that, but in a practical sense it doesn't seem to matter -- I feel that it is easier to judge lbws and caught behinds in person .. your brain knows instantly what happened, whereas on TV sometimes even after 15 replays you can still be unsure.

    By Blogger idlivada, at 16:40  

  • tffy: oy!!! I actually *do* read Playboy for -- okay, not the editorial -- the interviews, and the original fiction. In fact, try and get hold of the compilations -- the one of playboy interviews and the one on original fiction, which has every darned author you can think of from mark twain through salinger and beyond, writing exclusive short stories for the magazine that never got published anywhere else.

    about the other, i know. see the thing is, headline writing needs work. you read the piece, home in on the key point, write it out as a sentence, knock off extraneous words, get it down to its essence, then you start freewheeling in your mind, trying to see if you can make connections, play with words and images. Most times, though, the sub editor is in such a darned hurry, he just goes 'Ganguly has tennis elbow'. It's not so much that people don't know how to do it, it is just that they can't be bothered enough.

    Actually, headline writing can be quite fun. In Mid-Day, we used to have this internal thing going, a few of us, each would try and write headlines that would be talked of more than the other guys. Like the feature story on umbrellas we did one monsoon season, with the title 'When it pours, they reign'.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 16:45  

  • idlivada: Oh, I dont mean judging appeals. I mean on TV, for instance, i play the game of say murali is bowling, i try to predict what the ball will be, by watching as he releases it. we used to do a lot of that in rediff, to relieve the tedium of ball by ball -- and after a while, you get to be quite good at it, and it's a kick when you read say the doosra, and the batsman out there is foxed. Point being you get an upclose look at the little things. seam position, angle of backlift, foot movement vis a vis the crease and stumps -- that you can't, really, watching from a distance. Helps when you are reporting, you invariably pick up things you can use to make sure your copy comes to life. And helps, I would think, when you are learning the game

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 16:50  

  • Prem...this reminds me of Saqlain (poor guy in a sorry state, confessing he cannot make a comeback..not now atleast)...did you ever watch him closely during that time?...picked up his doosra??..cos thats one guy who I believe had the most mysterious of all doosras...I remember how they(Sunny etc) used to analyse his doosra on tv...never could spot it!

    By Blogger worma, at 19:05  

  • Hey prem,
    You have made me all nostalgic...

    The amount of time we spent getting those damn headlines and intros...

    Sometimes, we would actually think of headlines before we had the stories... :)

    By Blogger Ashok, at 03:33  

  • Panix, TOI is known for such meaningless headlines which have no connection with story. their main motive is to show the show girls on the front page and gain hit rates. i call it garbage-times of india . more like a tabloid paper. such papers are harmful to the society.

    By Blogger PreHistoric Bird, at 22:58  

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