Monday, September 22, 2008

Credibility of a newspaper is like the virginity of a woman: Vinod Mehta

Vinod Mehta, Editor-in-Chief, Outlook Group, said that lately journalism seems like it’s a part of the entertainment industry. The intense competition has threatened professional ethics and the credibility of news, he said.

Mehta was speaking at the Indian Magazine Congress 2008 in Mumbai on Monday, where eminent journalist Vir Sanghvi anchored a discussion on whether viewers should dictate what content is good and do they really know what they want.
Mehta said, “The credibility of a newspaper is like the virginity of a woman; you can lose it only once.”

Mehta added it is improper to lay editorial decisions in the hands of brand managers, reports Sapna Nair in afaqs . “Brand managers are incapable of understanding journalism and cannot deduce what a reader or viewer wants,” he asserted.

Aroon Purie, Founder and Editor- in-Chief, India Today Group, said that one must not forget social responsibility even when running a business. There is no harm in listening to what the readers want, but the final decision should be the editor's. "The reader may not know what he wants until we provide it to him," he said.

About brand managers influencing editorial decisions, Purie said that the big wall that existed between the editorial section and business has diminished. "Now, there are discussions and we share data, but the final decision is taken by the editor," he said.

To this, Mehta said, "The editor and marketing manager should walk side by side, but the editor should always be a few steps ahead."

Sanghvi posed a question about paid journalism and how advertorials have gradually given way to paid articles – something that was unfathomable years ago. Mehta said that one could either make money through advertisements or prostitute oneself for ads.

"My message to the advertisers is that you have a vested interest to fulfil, but don't undermine the sensitivity and credibility of the newspaper," Purie said. He expressed disappointment at the state of affairs. "It's horrific and immoral. It's sad that it doesn't make a difference to the reader and the newspapers in question," he said.

The panel concluded that while it was right to listen to the reader, one must not be led by the reader; rather, one should lead him.


Blogger drivenwide said...

The Association of Indian Magazines has been launched to support and defend the freedom of the press and promote the cause of magazines. The effort is to consolidate the industry as a group. AIM will represent the magazine publishers'interests in the country and will help revitalise the magazine industry editorially and economically.


Post a Comment

<< Home