The Times of India group's takeover of the Vijaya Karnataka group will take its second formal step tomorrow when Chinnen Das, TOI's newly appointed CEO for Vijayanand Printers Limited, walks into the offices of the three papers in Chamarajpet at 11 am.
Das, who is largely a stranger to the staffers of the three papers although he has spent the better part of the last 15 years in Bangalore, will be introduced to the top editors and managers of Vijaya Karnataka, Vijay Times and Usha Kirana at tomorrow's meeting.
Both VK and UK have their editors in place (Vishweshwar Bhat and Venkata Narayana) and Das is expected to zero in on the name of the new editor of Vijay Times in the next few hours, if he hasn't already. However, it is unclear if the new editor of VT will be part of tomorrow's summit meeting.
It is also unclear if the foot soliders of the three papers—the reporters, the sub-editors, the photographers and artists—will be introduced to the new CEO tomorrow.
Das, as already reported by churumuri, has already had his briefing of the VPL power and editorial matrix from an old VPL source.
Anand Sankeshwar, the son of Vijay Sankeshwar, who is expected to remain as a permanent director on the recast VPL board, is believed to have met him yesterday in the run-up to tomorrow's meeting.
Three new vice-presidents are expected to be announced by Das in the coming few days to head the marketing, circulation and administration side of TOI's latest acquisition albeit with different nomenclatures as is the Times norm.
Das, who is a director on the board of Bennett, Coleman & Co besides being the brand manager for the Times Group in the South, is expected to divide his time between M.G. Road and Chamarajpet in the initial few months.
The hunt for an editor for VT is indication that TOI intends to retain the paper (at least for the present) to fight sundry battles in Bangalore and to retain its hold in the English market in the rest of the State, where VT is, at least on paper, No. 1 in 24 of the 26 districts.
However, Times insiders say Das is less certain of Usha Kirana's future. Having failed in all its primary objectives, Das is reportedly in a dilemma on whether to retain UK, change its format into, say, a weekly newspaper, or to kill it.
Moreover, Das who was initially reluctant to accept the VPL posting, is reportedly not so keen to be saddled with a losing proposition from day one at VPL, although the true test and challenge of a good manager in many people's books may be to turn around a losing proposition.
For once,I am really sad by a takeover.
I hope VT et al dont become Page3-ized a la TOI.
I am not a subscriber of Vijaya Karnataka any more. As good as the team of writers such as Bhat, Belagere, Pratap simha are there, I don’t want my money to go to TOI’s pocket.
Desi, good point. Even though I like some of the columnists in VK (Dundiraj, Kannan, Simha et al), I think I will also ask my paperwallah to start delivering Prajavani from tomorrow.
yaako tamma, VK mailige aagoytaa? Byaado sumkiru.
It is not fair to discard VK, just because it has been taken over by TOI. Those who talk ill against TOI, read it first. That is the irony.
This is not correct. VK is our paper. It will remain Kannadigas paper. The journos are Kannadigas. Why do you worry?
Any way your decision to opt for one more Kannada paper is rather welcoming..Kannadigas should read more and more Kannada newspapers.
Whether TOI takes over or London Times takes over, I do not mind reading VK as long as Vishweshwar Bhat and his band of writers remain in VK.
obviously, TOI has its own editorial policy and it would be interesting to know what transformation will take palce. One thing is certain that in VT the era of long letters to the editor will cease to exist. I even hazzrd that the letter to the editor column would be drastically reduced by and by and there will be very strict monitoring in line with TOI. Any letter critical of the Congress will be subject to severe censorship.
Do you keep track of headlines and photos on the front page of TOI? It’s all about western culture, some brazilian model, Brad Pitt divorce stories. In Bangalore Times, it’s all about rich and the famous partying in Brigade street. Of course, they are catering to the demands of advertisers and their agenda of seeing ‘anything good in desi culture’ evil. What do you expect from an owner who has more commercial interests than some journalism? And do you want your kids to read TOI group newspaper?
The irony would be to read Bhat, Pratap Simha, Belagere, Kannan and their takes and views which are more for the masses and care for the local culture, on a paper run by a management whose motto is do promote west, partying etc.
By the way, please read Ravi Belagere’s take on this sale of VK to TOI on thatskannada.com
I am not happy that VK is with TOI, but your following comments was hard to digest.
“The irony would be to read Bhat, Pratap Simha, Belagere, Kannan and their takes and views which are more for the masses and care for the local culture, on a paper run by a management whose motto is do promote west, partying etc”
So many of us intend to work for MNC’s whose managements are from west, do not take care of masses. From now on Bhat and co will work for the boss who is west oriented. Whats big difference.
Did we ever raise hue & cry when people leave DRDO, BEL, NAL to join Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm?
I don’t think any of those MNCs you mentioned promote any western culure per say. I have worked in US long enough to know that these companies are professional enough not to indulge in messing with one’s culture. In fact, they respect and promote diversity.
But the case with TOI is clearly a contrast one. They have an agenda. Read TOI for two weeks and you’ll realize their priorities. What makes us to believe VK will be different from their other publications. In my opinion, articles by Pratap Simha, Bhat and others wouldn’t be as sharp as they have been. Another irony would be to read ‘nudi pooje’ on page-6, where Mr. Kannan emphasises on Kannada and our rich culture, and on bengalooru vijaya , you’ll have typical bangalore times contents.
In my view, your comparision of people leaving DRDO and joining MNCs to Bhat and Co working for TOI is comparing apples and oranges. Appropiate one would be handing over ISRO or a DRDO lab to an MNC and still expect them to keep working for national interests.
There is subtle difference between TOI buying VK and people leaving DRDO, BEL, NAL to join Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm. There is no comparison between the two issues.
Individual employees, wherever they are working, as the rightful citizens of India, can choose their employers. With a similar arguement Companies Indian (or Foreign, with certain regulations) can buy another Indian Company. Such things are legal and acceptable.
When an individual employee leaves an organisation and joins another, the structure of the original company hardly gets changed. Even if a CEO (or an Editor for that matter) leaves one company and joins another, the originality remains to certain extent. This applies to DRDO, BEL, NAL when their people leaving to join Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm and even Infosys.
The buying of VK by TOI can be compared only with buying of DRDO, BEL, NAL by Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm and not individuals leave DRDO, BEL, NAL to join Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm.
It hurts most when DRDO, BEL, NAL are totally bought over by Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm. Or Mysore Sandal Brand is bought over by Lever Or Mysore Silk is taken over by Pantaloons Or our Parijata flower is patented by an American Company. It equally hurts when TOI buys VK, not when some sub-editors/reporters leave VK/VT and join TOI (something similar to ‘people leave DRDO, BEL, NAL to join Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm’).
You got the point, Mr.Girish?
Why only point a finger at TOI? If TOI is No.1, because people like you and me buy it. It is market forces that drive products (both desi and videsi included). No one compels any one of us to buy TOI. We are free to choose The Hindu, Deccan Herald, (till now) Vijay Times or Indian Express.
On a hypothetical case, if VK gets TOIised, we can dump it. Still Prajavani, Kannadaprabha, Samyukta Karnataka and Udayavani are available.
We can still hope Vish Bhat continues at VK and maintains the same standard (uninfluenced by the TOI culture) and all the veteran columnists would continue to write to VK.
No need for great speculations, isn’t it, Mr.Desi?
I fully agree with Anil and Arvind.
Do you know what’s happening in VK today? Post it if you know something.
So it’s okay to Commoditize a newspaper and still call it a journalism?? I’d call it a bulletin addressed to a group (unfortunately TOI buyers out number others, and are seemed to be okay with its contents) that tries to give what the group wants. Journalism is not about that – It’s not like “people like a particular soap – so I’ll produce it”.
If that mentality of succumbing to business/political interests is okay, then I think we might be heading towards monopoly and the “jee huzoor” regime might be in place in all fronts.
thanks for your views. Are journos super humans?
Will bhat’s write-up remains same if he is writing for a US weekly.
If he is made the editor for RSS newspapers, do you think he will have different opinions as an editor? No. his skills remain same whether he is in TOI mgmt or VRL mgmt.
Why do you think MNC’s are better than TOI? Is it because TOI is known devil?
Agreed that its a different phenomenon of job hopping vs M&A. but I dont see much difference if management of VK changes. Reader is a buyer here and will choose the paper as he is the autority about which paper to read. dont have too much pain if management changes.
VRL has got good deal and TOI the good set of team. its a win-win situation for both, leave them aside
You should have been a journo or a politician, Mr.Girish…
You know how to evade straight answers! Your genuine concern about “people leave DRDO, BEL, NAL to join Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm” was rightly countered by Mr. Desi and me.
Whether Bhat changes his butt from a VRL seat to a TOI seat, it should not be of a great concern. I understand journos are not super human beings. At the same if Bhat were to work for a communist management either he would leave the paper or force the management to accept his news and views. On a hypothetical situation if Bhat is completely bought over, sensible people like you and me can dump the paper. I agree with you.
But the pain is if Infosys is bought over by HP, the people who had close association with Infy as an investor, employee or a contractor would feel bad. The same feeling would never be there if some Girish, Ramesh, Suresh, Sateesh leave Infy and join HP.