PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: Every employee loves getting an award, especially if it is in recognition of outstanding work or meritorious contributions to the organisation. And if the award happens to be a “Chairman’s Award”, the importance of the recognition is worth its weight in gold.
But in The New Indian Express, which touts itself as the “fastest growing company” despite circulation numbers, advertising revenues, and staff attrition rates suggesting the opposite story, one thing that employees dread is, yes, the “Chairman’s Award” that comes from the office of Manoj Kumar Sonthalia.
Reason: those who have received the award have either been asked to unceremoniously leave or have wisely left on their own, all within a year after receiving the award.
The roll-call of recent winners includes editors like P.S. Sundaram, Kamlendra Kanwar, Madhavan Kutty and R. Shankar; senior journalists like K.R. Balasubramanyam and P. Venugopal; news editors like Ashok Behra; chief sub-editors like Bharti Nath; and many non-journalists like general manager (product marketing) Venugopal and assistant GM (space marketing) Joshua Rajaratnam.
Look at the pay-roll today, and not one of these chairman’s awardees is with the Express.
The latest award-winner to leave the citadel is P.Venugopal, an old-hand who had served the group since the days of Ramnath Goenka; for 29 years to be precise. Venugopal, who was chief of the Kerala bureau for many years and even once held a non-journalistic job as manager of a centre when it was in crisis, moved to the Bangalore edition of the Express as assistant editor, two years ago.
Like Shankar and Kutty and Balu, Venu ignored attractive offers from rival newspaper groups at the peak of his career, seeing Express, not as an employer, but as a cause.
One evening, last month, he was told that he had to resign and move over to Madras. But, in a sign of the new culture that has gripped most media houses, the transfer call did not come from the captain of the ship, the editor, but from the general manager of the Bangalore centre, who has successfully evaded his boss’s award, presumably acting on instruction.
Instead of acceding, Venugopal decided to quit. But, before that, he wrote a letter to group’s editor-in-chief Aditya Sinha, with a copy to the chairman. It is a telling account of how light after light is being switched off in the illustrious Express Group. Read on for a glimpse of how a great institution that was once the first destination for every aspiring journalist, is coming apart as the suits and smart-alecks run amuck.
When you transferred me to Madras by a one-line email message to GM, Bangalore, on January 22, without ever mentioning or discussing the proposal with me, it was quite clear to me that your intention was to get rid of me. Still, I was initially inclined to oblige as I felt that I was, after all, serving an organisation, not an individual. But on second thoughts, I felt that my moving to Madras would be a blunder, given the attractive opportunities beckoning me in Bangalore.
Ever since you took over as editor-in-chief, you have been unceremoniously driving out many experienced, and once indispensable, hands in a similar fashion, by misusing the provisions in the contract appointment rules.
In the process, you have brought immense disgrace to the Express which used to cherish certain human values. By sacking and shabbily treating people who have given their life to the organisation, you have done incalculable damage to the institutional image, to the extent that only monkeys, and none with professional self-esteem or calibre, would ever like to work for the Express (you will realise it in full measure in the coming months).
It goes to your (dis)credit that you are the first editor to inject into the Express blood linguistic prejudices. You have been systematically targeting Malayalees in Bangalore, contemptuously calling them “Mallus” at their face. (My culture and breeding don’t allow me to tell you by what epithet people from the most criminalized state in India are known outside.)
You have set many families in turmoil by throwing out their sole bread-winners in the most critical phase of their lives, for no fault of theirs. Remember, they were the people who kept the Express afloat in times of serious crises, at great personal sacrifice. It doesn’t need an astrologer to foretell that the mighty curse you have earned from such people will recoil on you and your family, with devastating results.
I can understand if your intolerance towards the old hands in the Express has brought about any qualitative improvement in the paper. Except increasing the graphic elements on page 1 of the Madras edition (that too grossly out of proportion at times), in what way has the Express improved in the past one year under your stewardship? (Is one year too short a period to test the readers’ patience in these competitive times?)
On the contrary, it has lost many of its traditional strengths. The edit page has lost its edge and readability. It was left to Jayalalithaa to describe your editorials as “most irresponsible, immature and mischievous”. The quality of coverage has plummeted. Has any southern centre produced a single story that stands out in the past one year? City Express has lost its lustre and at best pampers only the sensuous instincts. In sum, Express is reduced to being the most unreadable stuff among its peers.
Less said the better about the plight in which you have landed the Bangalore centre. The initial impression given by the man hand-picked by you to lead Bangalore is that he is a perfect match for you in your march towards ruining the institution. Having to sit in a “smoke chamber” for the evening editorial meeting, with the DRE doing more smoking than talking, with his AC on and a window open, was a new experience for me. Going by the recent dangerous drift in the affairs of the organisation, I get the feeling that destiny has brought you to preside over the liquidation of the Express.
As you steer the ship that harboured me for 29 years, into the abyss, I can but pray: God save the Express.
Also read: The inside story of the Deccan Herald coup
Under N. Ram, The Hindu becomes an apology of a paper
How The Times of India murdered Vijay Times
Cross-posted on sans serif
Palini Swamy has done well to analyse the plight of Bangalore edition of The New Indian Express. My friends tell me Tamil Nadu centres too are in a major crisis. Palini may investigate that too, so that youngsters do not fall into the trap.
They will soon re lauch ” Yet Another NEW Indian Express”
Ind Express is on a suicide mission with Aditya Sinha at the helm of affairs. With an Editor like him does Exp needs competition ? TOI, Hindu and others must be grateful to Sinha and his screw ups.
we all had a prenomination of whats coming when we saw how he treated Shankar, who had spent his sweat and blood for the company for more than 22 years. Palini is right. It will surely boomrang on Aditya. watch out.
Express insiders say that Manoj Sonthalia is dancing to the tunes of Aditya Sinha because the latter’s father-in-law, who runs a paper in Assam, has invested a huge sum of money in the sinking ship called TNIE anchored in Ambattur. Aditya has been called in only to preside over the last rites of Express. And give credit to him, he is doing just that with high degree of efficency. Market sources say that Sunday Express editor has also quit and Aditya’s wife may step in. Just look at what will happen on Feb 25 when he re-launches the flagship paper. Goenka will turn in his grave because his serious paper will look like a filmi version and the circulation will NOT come down because it is already at rock bottom.
Palani Swamy has missed two more editors who quit recently — T Banu and Vasuki Rao — respectable names in the field of financial journalism.
Well, the latest is that Susheela Raveendranath, the former editor of The New Sunday Express, resigned. This was after the Managing Editor send out a mail saying Sinha would be the editor of Sunday Express from now on.
This is the reason, why the 4,000 and odd subscribers of The Hindu, in Mysore, still stick to it.
The Hindu, though heavily biased still manages to churn out some readable news while Deccan Herald acts like a local paper of Bangalore city!
We want better newspapers!
Nothing counts any more in life. Any way, I can see that the Mallu combine has been busted! Sinha being a Bihari is doing what people from that State do best: political maneuvering.
Ramnath Goenka’s roots also were in bihar. Let us be at least different from Raj Thackeray and not show out parochial approach.
What is more important is that young journalists should be aware of the happenings in TNIE and not join there, even at hefty salaries, which even otherwise the Express is not capable of paying. It pays salaries to employees not from the profits but rents of its establishments.
Unfortunately the journalists are not as united as Chartered Accountants are. If a CA is ill-treated by its employer the ICAI takes it up and no one joins that organization.
Lets circulate the news through word of mouth in the larger interest of the journalistic community.
Here is some more stuff to what Palani Swamy has reported. What is the difference between The New Indian Express and other newspapers as an employer? Most of the newspapers have gone for contract employment, and so did Express. But while all other newspapers pay PF, the Express has avoided paying a penny towards the PF and the PF officials in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram et all have closed their eyes to the plight of employees. Not a single journalist (so are others) in Express is covered under PF or gratuity. This clearly goes against the law. But the management cares less. The newspaper is happy reporting about chota follies of the government. No matter how big its own PF mess-up is.
As an ex-express hand and who knows a bit about Mr.Venu, am amused at his outrage, a little more of course by his English.
He has been a party to all the perversions systematically perpetrated over the years. and when he too is thrown away now protests, he’s crying foul.
Remember the Bard’s words – He’ll use you, squeeze you like a sponge until you’re dry.
Having said let me hasten to clarify I’m trying to gloat over Mr.Venu’s plight. Far from it. anyone victimized by any management, deserves all our support.
As for the Express, it has been one relentless downward journey. I am sure the cousins are determined to wreck whatever edifice was built by the GOM.
As for Sinha, he has meant some difference to the paper, but nothing great. Whether curses ruin him or not, seeing Modi’s return to power, I dont think such things work (!), hes unlikely to go far. Anyway his hubris will do what it always has done.
Except Susheela Raveendran, all other characters you mentioned in this scoop were in the trash Q including the great Shankar and Baloo. These award winning fellows were given a full chance to improve the Express for 3 complete years. If the Express is in distress, it is because of these incapable fellows who did nothing worthwhile to turn around the paper. They blamed each other for all the failures.
Venugopal was talking rubbish about Shankar all the while he was in Express and has joined hands with Shankar now. Respectable Vasuki Rao? …can anyone recall one great story he did in his life time? P.S. Sundaram, Kamlendra Kanwar, Madhavan Kutty, Bhanu were dead-woods and nothing more. This was the same Shankar and Venugopal who overjoyed when fantastic-four were sent out one-by-one. And then Baloo, Ask anyone in Express, he was always busy teaching unmarried-female-journalists than ‘doing any useful journalism’ (the way Baloo says it). Awards to Ashok Behra and Bharathi Nath?… Manoj Sonthalia always goes by the editor’s choice! The Express has sent useless Joshuva Rajanatham out as a useful Vinod was to be accommodated there. After Vinod has taken over the revenues of the Express have gone up.
Hey just wait… there are more characters to be thrown out of The Express. Do you know what the Chairman had warned before giving away his awards in last year’s corporate meet? – Perform or Perish! Now the people who have not performed are perishing one-by-one.
I remember fighting (with famiglia) to get my hands on the IE every morning as a teen in an another lifetime in small town Karnataka. The IE made mincemeat of all pretenders with it’s investigative journalism. It was the way a newspaper ought to be: one that makes every politician shit his/her pants.The power of the pen hath not shined any brighter.
Fast forward into India 2007. Of the few familiar things left was the newspaper of my adolescence. But, unfortunately, the content of the paper( let us not talk about the layout/appearance) made me want to puke. From reporters, of whom few could barely string a sentence together, to sorry ass editorials , it was sad to see the decline of an once great newspaper.
The IE empire should never have split. When will Indian business barons learn not to bequeath their empires to ill equipped off springs? There is no substitute to a professionally run organization, be it one that builds fighter jets or important institutions such as newspapers.
let me get this right… what do we have here? a Mallu complaining about linguistic prejudices? complaining about mallus being discriminated against in bengaluru?! he makes it sound like bengaluru was part of the lungidom of kerala! what do we have next? a konga whining about the same thing? and to think we have churumuri vishwamanavas calling KRV and raj thackerey parochial! gimme a break!
The fall of the IE started from the day the empire was divided after the fall of the titan Goenka.
The paper as produced today is an apology for the path blazing traditions established by Goenka.
It has turned out to be nothing but a broad sheet and nobody would shed any tears for the fall and we must give the credit to Aditya Sinha for the quiet burial of the paper.
Media today is less of a mission, more about profitability, bottomline. Its managed as a business, run by professions from IIMs. Many of them are listed companies, stocks traded.
Its not in the case of the New Indian Express alone, even more true for regional media who are now new power house. No point in cribbing. Lets accept this as reality.
When even a Vir Sanghvi can be fired by a channel yet to be launched, sorry to say it can happen to others as well. Sanghvi is one of India’s most successful editor.
I dont expect much from Bangalore’s new editor Samrat who prefers to hide himself in the air-conditioned comfort of his chambers, than the rough and tumble of being in the midst of editorial or reporting section. Evidently, he is running away from realities.
The present condition in Express will not do any good for the paper. With its circulation touching the ground, Express will not suffer much.
The great Aditya was gone mad with the fact that Express was a Mallu hub. You know Mr, Aditya, Mallu are everywhere in the world. You can sack a few, but what about the innumerable Malayalees spread across the globe? Better you try for editorship of the entire world.
I can relate this sacking to a wonderful parable. When a huge ship sinks, lifeboats are lowered to save the life of ‘worth living’ people. Aditya is doing the same thing, he’s in fact saving the career and life of mallus from the sinking ship of Express. And an imminent tragedy awaits is that Bhavana Umarani, whose editing is worst than a sub editor, is given the charge of page 1, only because her husband (Ravi Hegde) is Executive Editor of sister concern Kannada Prabha and the KP editor Ranga is a huge fan of Ravi. She was given Rs 10000 hike within a month.
Even the God can’t save Express.
No point cribbing about the down spiral of Express. People can’t be smart always. So is the case with Express. Lets find the newspaper that can take its place. Lets associate with smart people of the day.
As someone who has observed our ‘great editor-in-chief’ in action, I lost all respect for Mr.Sinha, the day I was aware of his double game- pitting one against another and asking employees what they thought of their co-workers in secrecy. Is this what you expect from a titan in the field of journalism? Shameful! If this were done in school or college, the person would have been branded – backbiter, cheat and needy for approval. Now, what do I call you boss?
It’s really sad to see an institution like the Express which produced so many good journalists going down. The last seriously good editor it had was TJS George.
It was expected that “shunted” mallus were ganging up. And the Palani Swamy alias KR Baloo was writing about it. Being worked with him for a full ten years, Palani never helped anyone other than a mallu or a brahmin. Being a half tamilian and mallu, he claims to be a kannadiga. Always encouraging unscruplous fellows. One need not have to say how he grewup in the Express by clinging to a boss in the corner.
TNIE is better off without group mentioned by Palani. There is still lot of poision left in TNIE that need to be cleansed.
Why do most resignations happen and strong outpourings come out after there is an inconvenient transfer / passed over for promotion / junior given a better posting etc?
balu has been an exceptional journalist. One of the few who revelled in anti establishment stories. He took on the powerful lobby of bureaucrats and politicians. His sincerity cannot be questioned. Nine out of ten who join express are female candidates, so Balu cannot be blamed for coaching or mentoring them. People should respect coomitment and honesty and he has both these attributes in plenty.
I met Mr Aditya few months ago, he offered me an Assistant Editor post, I have 8 years of experience, worked in Hindu and was an ex-express person also. I never wanted an assistant editor post firstly, went there for a job, probably for a chief sub post. On the contrary, i was offered this. When people came to know about what he offered me they were fuming, a big revolt happened saying if she joins we will quit but the funnest thing is they anway are quitting to join Times of India.
Now, fine I don’t have a job there but Mr Aditya is seriously into people analysis. He has been asking my friends in express about my personal side. Any need, one should be more bothered about one’s professional skills rather gossiping about what people are!
If he is so busy gossiping and make unwanted people important, how on earth will people stick. As it is there is an exodus because of TOI, what is left is nothing. I may not be a veteran in the field still I feel he is too much into gossip. So MEN CAN ALSO GOSSIP HUH!! Example Aditya Sinha
It is nice to see my old paper is in news for wrong reasons. I worked in the Indian Express, which later became the New Indian Express between 1996-2006. I was denied a re-entry into organisation.
In Express, the journalists do not enjoy `Freedom’, because they will be anarchists. The brutal freedom makes them different. As the age progress, laxity creeps in and that is what has happened to all the old hands.
One should realise that awards will be given at the age of retirement and not when you are still growing. With award, youngsters tend to become complacent.
When the young blood is infused into a system, resistence is natural. If the disgruntled souls derive sadistic pleasure, let them be.
Loving all my old colleagues
Perform or perish. If that was the chairman’s mantra, Aditya will soon go. Look at the circulation in Tiruchi, Coimbatore, Madurai (where the paper started) and Chennai. All on a deep downward slope after Aditya took over. There are only school copies remaining. And pray what stories have Aditya broken? He is nowhere near Shekar Gupta. Express, its chairman and editor are either too old or have run out of ideas to perform. So gentlemen, what is left in the mantra? That will happen when ToI comes to Chennai.
Editors were not allowed to perform because the chairman believed in astrology, not efficiency. Some, ofcourse, are efficient. They have built mansions worth a few crores.
Hi guys! Washing dirty linen in public is so much fun, isn’t it?
But let’s look at things objectively. If the Express circulation has nosedived, you cannot blame Mr Aditya Sinha because he joined the company barely months ago. People who presided over the decline of its readership are the ones you are mourning — Sundaram, Kanwar, Madhavankutty, Shankar. These four gentlemen were at the helm in their respective states (read kingdoms) for several years. But what did they do to prevent the paper from hurtling towards downfall?
I must say the New Indian Express has become immensely readable after Aditya Sinha joined — a fact that has been noted by media bigwigs outside chennai who have been keeping track of the Express’s progress.
And keeping track they have been doing, else why would the Times of India – which can get anybody it wants by the sheer power of its brand – try to steal Sinha and make him their own resident editor in Chennai, which they tried very desperately to do so.
The Express has reached this pathetic state over the years — the very time during which the abovementioned stalwarts ruled the paper, and during which time they apparently did nothing to try to stop its downward spiral, and in fact contributed towards it.
And now that Sinha is making an effort – the outcome of which is not for us to decide or ponder over – these same people are trying to put a spanner in the works by bringing him down. If you’re so loyal to the Express as you state yourselves to be, you would wish him well, and not the opposite (cursing his family, is by the way, pathetic and only shows what kind of lowlife people come from).
Lastly, let me remind you, Sinha is no rookie. He has a formidable reputation both as a journalist — he has risen from the ranks, from crime reporter in Times of India to his last job as editor, Sunday Hindustan Times, where he did a superb job — and as an erudite person.
If he has a fault, it’s his impatience to see people put in hundred per cent, which he himself does.
The Karnataka terror story was broken by The New Indian Express, Bangalore, and is perhaps a major story? All papers and TV channels seem to think so since all have followed it up. Times Now even claimed it as their exclusive one week after it appeared in TNIE and are doing so even now!
Someone above has mentioned that the owner sonthalia dances to the tunes of editor aditya.
If that is the case, here is a different story. you must read:
Hmmm…. Interesting stuff. However, being an ex-Express sub-editor,
I think it is time to fill in the blanks.
To say that Express thrives on mediocrity would be an understatement because for many of its employees, it’s a survival mechanism. Or else, how
would dumbheads like Shankar survive for so long? His thoughts and ideas were as cheap as he looked. All that he did was let in young, gullible girls into his cabin and flirt for hours on end. He hired only girls and gave them the positions they asked for. The fairer, the better. One sweet talk over telephone would have ensured the girls coveted posts. The results were sweeter if the talk took place at ungodly hours. All they needed to do was to strut their stuff around and this man would jump up and down his chair and even write/rewrite stories for them (the less the better about his language). Those who refused to fall in his line were efficiently silenced. Such was his sacrifice! “Sweat and blood” included.
His thoughts could gel with his lackeys like the great chief reporter who is sticking around because he can’t and will never find even a reporter’s job elsewhere. He and many others lapped up plum posts because other good minds bid a goodbye.
Enter Aditya Sinha and the paper plunges further. He thinks only nude women’s photos are enough to increase the circulation. Whatever happened to the great masculine pride?
God bless the present staff!
Express has always had a reputation of mistreating its old hands. Venugopal had a unceremonious exit from Kerala, where he was serving as Chief of News Bureaus. When Manoj K Das, who was much junior to Venugopal was serving as a Bureau Chief of Kochi, was made the Deputy Resident Editor, unmindful of the seniority of Venugopal, the latter protested and offered to quit. Then he was given a post (an ornamental one) in Bangalore. As regards this Manoj K Das, he had done his bit to oust a senior like Venugopal, having all played all kinds of dirty games to get into the post of DRE. A stooge of Aditya Sinha, Manoj K Das is a miniature form of the Editor-in-Chief set out to destroy such a great paper like Experss. He has created his own coterie and sycophants in the Kerala circle of Express and is making all earnest efforts to destroy Express by his puerile and knee-kerk actions marked by incompetence and lack of professionalism. He is adept at only one thing: terrorising those subordinates who are out of his coterie circle.
Why so het up about great minds of Express like Shankar, Baloo etc. When in power, they simply misused their positions and rearranged problems instead of solving them. As someone has rightly said, Baloo did nothing but ‘encourage’ the minds of young brahmin girls and Shankar flirted with them. in his long career, shankar never stood up for any hapless victim but cried when the same was meted out to him by his higerups. everyone in express knows how he was on his toes to meet PR girls at the cost of regular meetings. The only thing good about shankar was he never hid his imbecility.
Getting sacked happens in all the organisations. But whoever is getting the ‘award’ now should be grateful since at least for the next 3/4 years which is left for their retirement, they can do quality journalism, if so inclined. The coverage in the paper is going from bad to worse everyday. Could be the sack is for survival of the paper. CITY EXPRESS now a days is not even worth glancing. Earlier I used to at least see the headlines an go through city express but now a days, I don’t even bother to see. The best thing they can do to all young journalists is sell the paper lock stock and barrel to a more capable person.
It was Mr Suresh Menon who launched The New Sunday Express. I was a reporter with the IE Chennai then. Mr Menon had a wonderful team, with senior journalists like Shiv Kumar and Raghunath. And the NSE suddenly got good response from readers all over south because it was different. But the so called RE bugs (the ‘great’ Resident Editors like Sundaram, Madhavan Kutty, and RMT Sambandham (though Mr Sambadan was the editor of Dinamani, he was asked to be in-charge of chennai edition of the Express since there was no RE for the centre) inside the Express started biting Suresh. Being a gentleman, he quit. he never liked playing dirty politics. (The only Resident Ediotor who had cooperated with NSE was Shanthanu Dutta of Bangalore.)
Mr shiv kumar tried to run the show for quite some time. But he quit and joined another paper. And Ms Sushila Ravindranath joined NSE as Editor. She was very good in handling the “REs” and other ‘useless’ characters in the company. She was a master in man-management.
only time can decide whether The Indian Express, TNIE will survive this world of new age. Express (both) never lived with such characters like Kutty, Aditya and or Venu and will let live such characters. I truly and courageously believe that Express will surive. Satymeva Jayathee
Let’s get it right first. who is/was bothered about professionalism in Express? incompetence leaks through every single pore in that building. only parasitic pests have stuck around there because they won’t survive for a day in any other newspaper. they have mastered the art of smothering dissent and know very well how to get their voice heard. efficiency is the last concern. anyone who does a good job will pay the price in one way or the other. this is the only place where empty heads make most of the noise and those who claim to have made great contributions to journalism sit in a corner and enjoy the benefits without lifting a finger at the crimes committed around. Express not just betrays ugly incompetence, it embodies it. No one will save it because no efforts were ever made for the same.
Express is the worst paper I have ever seen. The way it treats its employees is just unpardonable. Hire and fire and no perks..Perhaps the only newspaper organisation in the whole country (perhaps world) that don’t pay PF to its employees. As long as Sontalia gets people to work for peanuts, Express will survive. But it will not last long. You cannot cheat all the people all the time. It may also be a only one paper in the world that follows superstitious beliefs in everything it does. From hiring staff to the selection of office building. As Venugopal put in his letter, curse is on the management.
As none other than Aditya Sinha rightly put in his latest column it is a perfect learning ground for freshers to learn the job.. An internship breeding ground indeed!! It’s like an open bus stand. You can enter from any side and leave from any side whenever you wish.
well a great thread for still-sore-in-the-ass-ex-expressites-kicked-out–driven out (whatever)-taking-a -detour-only -to-try-n-get-back-for -a promotion-or raise…..see you at the relaunch and unlike this party, with a glass of bubbly in hand ;)
man u can almost feel the heat in here…..what suckers for neo journalism of courage.
What Mr Venu has rightly pointed out is just the `tip of the iceberg.’ One should really need to check on what basis the hikes and tranfers are given in the Bangalore edition. There is no point in discussing about the paper which running in it’s last few years. Long live Venu.
I hope comments on this post never cease! I am having a good time reading about different views here. Thanks.
THE SHOW HAS JUST BEGUN
The Express is going to die very soon not because old hands have been made to quit but no fitting replacements are found. Whatever is said about their weaknesses, the old hands had immense expertise. in fact, the clash of egos made them pull each other’s leg and all of them are now out.
The new lot depend on secondary knoweldge about affairs of the state and here lies the problem.
pray for express.
Bangalore edition of Express is in a mess. the City Express supplement which used to contain a lot of local news has been reduced to an imitation of Bangalore (titillation) Times with pin-up girls photos and trash and the main edition a hotchpotch where u do not know what to expect in which page. the morale of the staff is at the lowest. Special correspondent Balasubramanyam (Balu) was called a few months ago and just asked to resign – no explanation, no complaint, no notice, no hint even a day earlier. No reason either — he was doing very well. He was so honest that wherever he tried for a job later, he mentioned that he was suddenly asked to go; this resulted in his not getting a job for some months. Luckily he got a job recently.
Venugopal, however, is wrong in one thing. This is nothing new in Express. Some years ago, Sarita Rai. the only Special then, was suddenly told by George to report at Bhubaneshwat and she took the hint and resigned. She writes for New York Times now. A few months later Govindarajan, who was with the paper for decades, was similarly asked to go to Bhubaneshwar and similarly chose to quit. So, using transfer as a stick to beat the staff with arbitrarily and visciously has been the culture of Indian Express. Prefixing the ‘New” to the title meant only finding more and newer ways of doing this. Now the entire staff is on contract – the last to resign and go on contract were Virat Singh and R.K.Mattoo, in that order. When Mattoo was introduced to him, Sinha reportedly told him on his face, “I hate Kashmiri Pandits”
I remember how, some years ago, an advertisement representative was called from home one night by the manager, who had very good relations with him, and told that the chairman wanted his accounts settled that very night so that he does not evnter the office from the next day. Conspiracies, scheming, carrying tales, intrigues, palace coups, caste and lingustic groupism and the threat of being sacked hanging eternally over every employee’s head has been a part of the Express scene for decades – perhaps since inception. No one who is not a sycophant anf has any self-respect can work for long in Express happily.
It is tragic that even with an excellent, hihgly professional journalist like TJS George as ‘Advisor’, the culture has not changed. It only worsened.
I read churmuri for news and diverse views about events which often get limited coverage in the press.
We are called intellectuals, fourth estate, conscience-keeper in a democracy etc etc.But the way in which some of us have put their figment of imagination and gave colourful narration of the Express staffers’ personal life is shameful.
Please spend the time used here in doing a good story, improving your language or doing good rather than passing loose comments. Such is our courage that we’re doing it under fictitious names.
It is sad that people like Shankar had to leave Express this way. I have had the opportunity to work with many mentioned in the artcle…and believe me Shankar was the most approachable person..cool headed to the core. from trainees to bureau chiefs, he treated everyone equally. and was a task master and a trouble shooter. It’s only out of jealousy that people find fault with him. Ask any Express employee who has worked with him in Hyderabad or Bangalore and you will know that I am right. I remember that he got many opportunities outside Express, but stuck on due to principles. i am sure he is bound to excel wherever he goes.
My sincere request to all journalists !! Avoid such mud slinging activities and concentrate in the core of area of journalism.
It happens all the time in all the organisations. If you conspire against anyone, there is always someone else to do for you. Everyone in media circle know what happened to Bharti Nath a few months back. However it is a fact that quality of coverage and standard has been deteriorating in indian express for quite some time now. Earlier, City Express has some good articles but now i guess they are trying to compete with Bangalore Times.
No wonder every one comes to IE for taking the training and then they go out to spread the wings. If any one sticks for more than two years, then they are fools.
why can’t the existing Express staff support Mr Aditya Sinha in his attempt to revamp the paper? this will be the last chance. if it doesnt work now, it will never. Mr Sinha seems to be a nice man. and he means business. what’s wrong in that?
If only all these were published in the papers maybe circulations would go up!
The late YNK told me this story a few days before his sad death. Chairman Manoj Kumar Sonthalia used to send all recommendations sent by editors to astrologer SK Jain for approval! Whoever Jain liked used to get jobs.
Express is a great experience for every journalists. Believe me, it gives you the depth in journalism. No where in the world you will find a place like this where you enjoy work, may be for that reason it was always misinterpreted for incompetence and lack of professionalism.
Most, who have left a comment on this blog, were the employees of this great organisation. Shame on you journalists behaving cowardly and writing something anonymously. Put your name instead of these meaningless nicknames.
And keep the dignity of the journalists. Whether you are part of Express now or not, try not to play the blame game using ugly words. We were part of Express, why give a bad name to our old company? It’s going to give a bad impression that you once belonged to this company. Those who are part of Express, build a new organisation using your potentials. And those who work elsewhere, serve your present organisation.
How does it feel to get your salary well after a month, seeing your cheque bounce or accept a cut in wages and continue to work, pretending as if everything is all right? The present team of editors cannot explain this, but the senior employees, some of whom are out, can. When ToI relaunched its brand and sold copies for Re 1 or gave away free in 1997, the Indian Express did little by way of response except carrying an editorial and cutting the perks of its employess. The Times offered better salaries and hired many reporters, sub-editors but it is also true some express employees did not go. They may have their own reaons. But some also thought they should remain with Express to be part of the epic war against ToI. In the following few years, many opportunities including dotcom arose, but this core Express team stayed put. Some comments have run down the senior journalists who have left Express without realising they, for some time, worked putting up with delayed pay cheques. Some have predicted that with these people gone, the newspaper will prosper. If Express had declined, it was not because of these local editors as much as Times’ ascent was not due to the efforts of just an individual or two.
It is not correct to blame the editor alone if the newspaper fails. It is easy for the present well-paid editors to talk through their hat. Did the men and women who are no longer with Express get even one third of the pay the Delhi team is getting today? Even this day, there is a huge difference in the salaries of editors. The newly recruited editors earn twice as much as the earlier recruited editors. This should not mean the new editors fell from the skies. They got huge pay because they job-hopped quickly, bargained better hikes and landed in the Express group. A better offer from some other company may not prevent them from leaving their present jobs. But there are still some passionate old timers who will never go. They are the hope for Express.
The Indian Express epitomises the rot that has set in. Sad that all newspapers are caught in a time warp and thrive on hypocrisy, petty politics and caste affiliations. Most journalists are small minded, never read and stop evolving beyond a point. For heaven’s sake, lets stop talking about the great traditions and histories of these newspapers. That was a different era and newspapers symbilozed a cause. All you jerks out there who fancy yourselves as insightful original thinkers… shut up for sometime and introspect. Just do some plain thinking, for a change….
TNIE still enjoys a respected & decent following unmindful of internal or external impediments because of the minimum threshold quality.
What’s happening at EPML on the people front is neither new nor is it going to stop , for whatsover reasons
There’s still so much of goodwill & excellent people & it is sad that most of the old hands were chopped rather brutally.
Typically a transfer or sack is dealt with the same aggressive approach as a sale closure…matters that need a bovine approach & a feline approach are dealt in the same manner…pure bad man-mngt skills….come to papa for a free demo
Had a brief , decent enjoyable stint in circulation & left at the right time
good luck to epml & its employees ….for fugs sake, just learn & improve
I fully agree with the previous commentators, Anisha and Govind Rao (when he says “Most journalists are small minded, never read and stop evolving beyond a point.”)
A journalist is a professional, and should never get married to the paper he/she is working for. You work for a paper that recognises your talent the best, and then, after a point if you don’t find your work challenging enough, you move on.
Journalists who are wedded to a certain paper and who ‘resist’ offers in the name of loyalty are usually the ones who are aware of their limitations: they fear they might not be able to perform in the new circumstances and might get booted out.
The good ones move on when the time is ripe, and thus evolve. They are judged by their skills and talent, and not loyalty, considering that loyalty is nothing but an excuse for incompetence and laziness.
Express is a great paper. People might come and go, but papers like it will remain. The removal of deadwood — including the ‘great’ names that are being mourned here — is good for the paper. Had they done their job efficiently while they were still with the paper, the situation that they are whining about today would not have arisen.
And I can see why Aditya is being hated: he is a professional editor who is determined to set the place right; so people who are suddenly stirred out of their comfort zones of incompetence are crying foul.
The bottomline: if you are good at your work, you WILL get due recognition — no matter which paper or which editor.
Cheers! Wash more dirty linen — that’s so much fun to read.
P.S. A commentator named Vijaya: “How does it feel to get your salary well after a month, seeing your cheque bounce or accept a cut in wages and continue to work, pretending as if everything is all right?”
My advice to him/her: Please leave! Who is stopping you? Go find papers that pay on time.
By the way I hear of similar handling of a P.K. Surendran, who was rewriting copy. A reporter who joined DH tells her friend that he was an excellent hand but was shown the door after just 10 months. If it’s true, what sin has he committed to get this treatment?
All discussions about what is happening to express is meaningless because only one person-Sonthalia- is responsible for the mess. He got it undeserving. He is not knowing ABC of media.
Fully agree with Spoilsport. Venugopal, insiders know, had tried his best to lick the boots of Aditya, even to the extent of backbiting Shanker. but all his machinations failed. He became a rebel when he was shown the door. He is an assistant editor who correct spellings! Never wrote one edit or a good article, and his english is horrible. Sure the letter he gave was ghost written…
Sports Editor Hari Hara Nandanan who has served the Group for more than 15 years and is one of the few who can authoritatively write on chess and comment on other games has apparently put in his papers. He is the sixth editor to quit the Group in the last one year after Madhavan Kutty, Kamlendra Kanwar, T.Bhanu, Vasuki Rao and R Shankar.
Ironically Hari is also a Chairman’s awardee for his outstanding contribution to the newspaper.:-) Also unconfirmed rumours that Susheela Ravindranth has put in her papers, and may be joining Times or Chronicle…
Hari Hara Nandanan is joining Times and his departure has nothing to do with ‘internal politics’ in Express. :) As for Susheela Ravindran, she is neither joining Times or Chronicle, but is staying put in Express.
I hope this thread lives on forever! Please post samples of ‘Mallu’ English. Thanks!
First of all let God bless Aditya for his ruthless act against all dead wood (especially Mallus). In NIE Bangalore office all coveted posts are being hold by Keralalites. From office boys, drivers, administrative staffs, resident editor, editorial advisor all are Mallus. When top positions are in the grip of Mallus it is wrong if any body expects they should recruit non mulls too.
In Bangalore express office even electricians, sweepers, security guards also imported from Kerala. Kannadigas are only in canteen that to cleaning tables.
Of the total 38 editorial staff ( as on January 31) in Bangalore office, 22 are Mallus and eight are Kanadigas. Even for internship in NIE Bangalore, students are imported for Kottayam or Kozikod Universities and not from either Bangalore or Mysore. This is crystal clear fact.
When it comes to salary hike and promotion benefits only limited to Malayalees or cronies of these mallus. The great people mentioned by Palani Swamy, all are mallus and their only duty to fill their men in key posts.
Kudos Aditya, you should act faster to clean left out junks. There are many sub-editors still don’t know who is Governor of Karnataka. But there is urgent need to show the doors to all coteries of “great” people and set the things right.
And most important tips to Aditya is please change the editorial advisor and close his corner room.
Though I am still working in NIE Bangalore, I don’t have regret for sacking those deadwoods. Venu, Shankar, Perl Surendra, Krishna Kumar and Vasuki Rao used to come to office at 5pm and leave at 8pm doing nothing. It is national waste keeping them and giving hefty pay packet. Thanks Aditya. We are with you all the best.
Surprising. Surprising. Both The Express and Thirdeye have got NSE editor’s name and spelling wrong. She is Sushila Ravindranath, not Susheela Ravindran. If the editor’s name itself is misrepresented, God save facts in Express.
When you look at Mallu dominence, why limit yourself to just Express editorial. Just look at the administration. It is Mallus who hold top positions in every section. The branch head Jay Menon is an out and out Mallu. He prefers Keralities for all important posts. In the Space Marketing department, Manjunath Chavan is the seniormost and very competent employee. But he has been sidelined because he is a Kannadiga. The executive reporting to him all these years, `useful Vinod’ was brought over him and made head of the department because he is a Keralite. Jay Menon has selectively identified Mallus in the Space Marketing of other newspapers and offering them jobs in Express promising hefty pay. He has muzzled the voice of Kannadigas in all the sections under him, and wherever possible transferred them. Manjunath seems to be his next target. Another Mallu will replace Manjunath.
You are right, Dinga Dinga Ding, she is Sushila Ravindranath and not Susheela Ravindran. And this Venugopal. I have seen him in action for two years in Bangalore and I can assure you that the letter he wrote to Aditya was ghost-written. The department heads of Express are/were dumbheads, and I am glad Aditya is getting rid of them. More power to his arm.
Thank you, Porki. I would like to anoint Mr. Aditya Sinha as a honorary Kannadiga!
Here is a mail written to all editors by the new business editor, hailed as the man who would take the business pages in line with wall street journal, about a business reporter. Watch the language.
This is the serious issue that, how she can tell that ‘some knowledge of
business would know how important.. in her mail’ we know better then
SM’s business knowledge, that which is the important story to
go in business page.
We have a good future story in pending, for business page. In this issue
we taken important coverage of RPL and Anil Ambani Story. so we kept hold
for next issue to use SM story.
SM story is not important to compare RPL and Anil Ambani Story in
business page which we taken in business future page.
We need some solution from SM, every time she have some problem
and every time she involves our work.
She is crossing the limits.
And again how she is written ‘guideline does not seem to be followed
I don’t understand what is the problem….
It is true that we have give the words count to all, All are not filing
the future story regularly. 2 or 3 correspondent are filing the future
articals regularly. Also so we have to check the major event on sunday.
if there is any important events, we have to carry, so we keep some story
to hold for next issue.
This is our 5th mail…. about SM, she is crossing the limits,
non of the correspondent are sending the mail why you are not taken our
articals except SM.
It is a Future kind of a story, we can use for next issue.
The action should be taken as soon as possible.
All you media guys, please spare a thought for Kannadigas in IT companies. They suffer day in and day out at the hands of Mallus and North Indians.
Express has been trying to be different of late by bring about changes in its page design, layout, content presentation etc perhaps. Its a long drawn out process and miracles cannot be achieved overnight by push button technology.
In many of its centres the reporting looks weak, partly because many of their reporters are from language papers who are not having good english language skills needed for spot or feature reporting. Secondly, the editorial hands are reduced to paginators! Under deadline pressure, the desk hands have no time even to check the reporters’ copy or heads. As a result one comes across many errors in reports- grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, syntax violations, wrong use of expresions, headline mistakes, shabby editing and poor photos and captions.
Quality has become a casuality. Many freshers, including some with many years of experience, have no knowledge about basics of reporting (as there is no training) or the desk subs knowlege of subbing. In different sections, one comes across HoDs whose knowledge and skills are from edifying. Incompetent heads is another weak point. Low pay and late pay is another distressing factor.
If these structural deficiencies can be overcome, the newspaper may regain its past glory. Qualified, well informed and competent hands, not mediocre hands, can bring about the desired change, I feel.
Quality in TNIE news reports and editing declined since a long time. In many of its centres the reporting and editorial staff, barring a few qualified and committed journalists, woefully lack basic skills in reporting and copy editing. There are many cases of editorial and reporting staff being elevated by default if not by calibre. At the entry level, based on qulns, appointments can be made after a screening test or some eligibility test. But for posts demanding significant domain expertise at the middle or higher levels like editor, chief of news bureau etc, merit is inevitable. If people without merit get promoted due to extraneous reasons, it would result in quality deterioration. There is one instance of a chief sub level desk hand who wrote a piece mentioning `Mahatma Gandhi was a simpleton.’ He was pronmoted to the next higher post of deputy news editor and subsequently as news editor! That the gentleman is at a much higher level now is a different matter.
There are many reporters/editorial staff who cannot distinguish between loose and lose, effect and affect, site and sight and so on. It is here training is needed. In the absence of continuous training programmes and refresher modules, they keep on committing mistakes. This is the bad luck or misfortune of express reporting/editorial staff at many places.
Those who know editing are not good at page design/making, those good at the latter do not know editing. Another wrong step was appointing former proof readers as district correspondents at one stage. They are not cut for spot news coverage or special reporting.
With so many inhouse drawbacks, it is not easy to bring a quality edition or even maintain the existing market position. It requires a Herculean effort to revamp radically and to retain as a flagship media house. A highly proactive and committed management can do it.
I think Porki is living in a fool’s paradise. Dont try to categorise people, dear Porki.
Is Susheela Ravindranath staying back? I heard the entire NSE staff joined TOI. is it true?
Porki speaks the truth. It is you who is the resident of Fools Paradise!
I have my doubts on Palani Swamy for writing this column. The Mallu editors must realize that they had it ‘good’ for a long time. Thank you Aditya for cleaning the ‘Kerala’ stables.
It is a known fact if you put one Mallu as Head of Dept the whole department is filled with Machar (sorry Mallus). When Times of India was started as
TIMES PUBLISHING HOUSE, the applications were screened and qualification or not, no Mallus were called for interview. I do not know how it is today but it is time to get rid of all non performers, whether they are Mallus or Kannadigas or North Indians. This is what the Management has to achieve if they want to save the paper/quality of reporting.
Dear Vidushi, it’s high time you got your English right.
Pot calling the kettle black?
Such is the misfortune Express has been saddled with. Those who comment on others’ mistakes let go of their own blunders without thinking twice. Maybe it comes from the fact that journalists have seized that formidable “officially intellectual” tag for themselves without justification and flaunt it around with such impudence. They think they can go on fooling readers forever. That there can be some discerning readers is one idea that never seems to penetrate their empty heads. It gets so sickening to see reporters bragging about their own stories and “heroic” deeds. A meeting with some important, influential man/woman outside, and there you go… they start behaving like bumbling baboons. Though their functional vocabulary cannot cross 200 words, self-effacement is one thing they hardly think of.
When such is their exaggerated sense of self-importance, how can one expect even a smidgen of brilliance in what they write?
Get it right babe! What we are comes out in our writing eventually. Be it intelligence or imbecility, neither can remain hidden for long. Now stop being a brag-bag and get back to basics.
KA Shaji of Tehelka forwarded this letter to me.
Keep it up.
According to Palani swamy TNIE lost great hands. I want to know where these “great” journalists are joined. Must be managements of New York Times or BBC are budy to interview them to place them in proper place. Why all great people maintaining stoic silence about these comments. Please replay “great journalists” or else this year Media Academy award will be awarded to you.
Your observations are correct.
10 February 2008 at 2:27 pm
All you media guys, please spare a thought for Kannadigas in IT companies. They suffer day in and day out at the hands of Mallus and North Indians.
Kishore, gives us a few concrete examples. We will take care of them:)
Thanks for the memo sample! It is hilarious! On this evidence alone we must dispatch all the Mallus to Gods Own Country!:)
Doddi Buddi, a piece of advice: Think big. If u feel that Kannadigas are suffering then it must be bcs of their lack of professionalism. NOthing to do with Mallus or north Indians. There is no mallu or kannadiga or north indians when it comes to work. Perform or perish, that’s the rule in today’s highly competitive world.
By the strength of your post, you must perish! :)
You see Mallus are rarely competent and clannishness can only take you out of Ernakulam and Kochi railway stations. Then you guys are on 24/7 brown nosing.
I was once on the rolls of WIrappan It PROducts(WIPRO) in its VLSI division. A mallu suddenly usurped the chair of the VP for this division and suddenly mallus started raining cats and dogs, so much so that atleast 5 new ‘kerala mess’es opened in and around Wipro at Electronic City. The extremely competent people hired as chip designers did not even know how to make nendra baale chips (banana chips).. bullcrappers
How on earth is this a conversation about north Indians vs Mallus??!! Palani R Swamy, if you’re reading this, can you please clarify if this is what you intended by writing the article? This divisiveness? If not, do enlighten us what your intention was. Or was it just a case of sour grapes?
Doddi buddi, you seem to be trying hard to turn this discussion around and make it racist. Why?
And a clarification regarding what you wrote: “VV, Thanks for the memo sample! It is hilarious! On this evidence alone we must dispatch all the Mallus to Gods Own Country!:)”
The memo that VV posted was by a Mr Balachandra Rao. Certainly not a Mallu. So what is your verdict now?
hey everybody.. don’t blame mallus…. EPML’s only one profitable centre is Kochi )kerala(.
Look, who is talking.
The anxieties being raised by P.Venugopal in his resignation letter are very genuine. But they look like a speech by a prostitute on chastity. Who is this Venugopal after all? He was the henchman of N. Madhavan Kutty in the Kerala editions of express for over seven years in sacking a number of good journalists. Madhavan Kutty, who stooped to the level of a public relations man of Kerala CPM’s corrupt leader Pinarayi Vijayan, used the Express as a tool for Pinarayi to attack his party rival Achuthanandan. Anyone can ask Madhavan Kutty of the number of false stories he planted to defame Achuthanadan, who still remain an icon of value based politics. Venugopal as Chief of News bureau acted along with Madhavan Kutty to do PR exercise of Pinarayi. In Kerala editions, Venugopal is a synonym of `Kuruvadi’ (the bamboo stick of RSS Men). RSS-BJP extremists like Kummanam Rajasekharan, P Parameswaran and K G Marar had used him as an instrument to plant their own RSS stories. Here goes a random list of capable express journalists, who were sacked by Madhavan Kutty and Venugopal in the same way Venugopal was ousted. Leela Menon, N P Chekkutty, John Mary, K A Antony, Charmaine Edwards, Ravi Menon and Abdul Latheef Kizhisery were some of the fine reporters, who left Express because of Madhavan kutty and Venugopal. What was Kuruvadi’s contribution to express during his service? How many public interest stories he generated? I don’t want to speak much on Bangalore’s buffoonery king Balu alias Balu sir. He along with Sankar made both editorial and reporting ladies compartments where there were not much people who were just even capable of read and write. What a pathetic tragedy. I think Aditya Sinha and Manoj K Das are far better than these men.
pUT OFF THESE VIEWS AND GOSSIPS….THERE IS NOTHING MUCHABOUT THE RESIGNATIONS….
LETS LOOOK WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE FEB 25 RELAUNCH …. I AM NOT SURE WHEN THE NEWSPAPER IS GOING TO BE RELAUNCHED… HOPE ON FEB 25..
EARLIER THE BEST FOR TNIE
What Jerry said abt Venu is right. Madhavankutty has stooped to the level of a Pinarayi’s PA. But it is wrong to say that Manoj K Das and Aditya Sinha are better off. Manoj is also another `kuruvadi’ like Venu. He is nothing but an RSS pracharak in the seat of an editor. He used to sport that RSS mark on his forehead till recently. That was there even in when he comes to the ofifce But he is not doing so these days, may be because of the realization that that won’t be good in his new position as an editor.
I can see lots of Raj Thackarey’s in this forum who are on a mallu-basing spree.. There is lot of exaggeration when it is said that even sweepers are being brought from Kerala, etc. Before casting aspersions on mallu and charging that they are being illegally favored, just ponder over why they get into such positions. Due to hard work and ability. You can’t put people based on their place of origin. We all know that mediocrity won’t be the criterion but meritocracy in employing people. Shake off those ugly thoughts spurred by passport-bound nationalism, parochialism, chauvinism and xenophobia..and adopt a gracious world view of human love
You Journalists are worse than politicians, without a second thought, we commoners can tell ” psuedo socialists”, racists,and a piece of advice to budding journalist. It’s better to work as a content editors, ad copywriters or anything that fetches you something for a comfortable living
Humble request to Journalism Students, Don’t be with this dirty pigs,
There isn’t anything surpriswing in the recent developments ibn the, ‘The New Indian Express’. I was all expected at any momemt especially since the activities of certain henchmen of the management were going in such a direction.
Ofcourse, the case with people like Mr. P. Venugopal and others were an exception. But, on the otherhand, the attitude and activities of people like Mr. Madhavankutty were pointing to that direction. This great journalist who ofcourse was inclined to the left as pretended to be was a strong supporter of bourgeoism and though he is now acting as a sincere follower of Mr. Pinarayi, actually is a person who always stood against the interest of the same left movement through his acts.
He wa a person who always blocked the entry of the real leftists into the New Indian Express. Let it all be forbidden as old facts. However, it re
i was with TNIE for about two years and had the bitterest form of experience. The team led by an immature editor is not only tarnishing the image of the paper but ushering in a slow death to one of the oldest dailies of the country. How a newspaper of tradition and value opts for such leaders is beyond me. If it is based on the numerology and astrology, shame on such “sciences”. What a situation!
Heard that Express is getting a face-lift in page lay out etc. Is it by a professional layout artist of international standard or by a quack-like fraud astrologer?
Interesting reading! I wonder how the TNIE is still surviving. It would have been closed down long before the advent of the 21st century.
Madhavankutty, Venugopal and their likes were ruling the roost for quite some time. Who would call them editors … what stuff do they have … what is their professionalism … ? they sowed wind and reaped whirlwind.
Kutty was the one who got four out-of-turn promotions in a span of nine months (maybe a record in the entire IE) to become the chief of bureau in the 80s. It’s not because he was talented, but he had a godfather. His godfather MKD (the then Kochi RE) sidelined a worthier hand in Mr Thampi, a pucca gentleman and a workaholic from Trivandrum. Without any valid reason (except that Thampi had to fight the authoritarian ways of Kutty’s predecessor … another Kutty). This predecessor Kutty was a master plagiarist and treated Thampi as his minion. (Once, he gave a flask to Thampi and asked him to get tea for his guests. There was no attender in the bureau then. Thampi suffered all these humiliations silently and fought back in the end).
Poor Thampi was shunted to Kochi where he was put under the same Venugopal who also was his junior. Everybody knows Venugopal’s calibre! The latter did not spare any chance or half-chance he got to harass Thampi. Incidentally, Kutty’s godfather was also Venugopal’s godfather. In disgust Thampi left the Indian Express and joined the Hindu. Now, he is the editor for Kerala there.
Those who know the three intimately would vouch that Thampi is a far better worker than the other two. For Kutty it would take six – seven hours to complete an article which any normal journalist would do in one or one and half hours. He would refer dictionaries, find out difficult words and jargons which an ordinary reader wouldn’t understand to fill his articles. Probably, he thought that that was the best way of writing. As for Venugopal’s writings one should see his original copies. An average cub reporter would do things far better than this ‘great editor’.
Finally Mr Kutty, when he got the opportunity, pulled MKD’s legs to succeed him as RE. Some believe that MKD deserved it for nurturing a venomous snake. Kutty did not stop there and he (mis)used the power he had to punish all of MKD’s men. Many of them landed in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Bhubaneswar and many others left the organisation. The only one to survive was again Mr Venugopal.
I have heard that Manoj Das, the present head at Kochi, though young and lack in experience to be an editor, is quite reasonable. The circulation has improved like anything under him. Then why should people grudge? Who would say ‘no’ when he is given an out of turn promotion? Manoj has done only that.
More interesting stories … how managers swindled the company, how a manager lost his clothing from a cheap lodge in Trivandrum etc. etc. … later
This happened to an Express staffer. He took his teenage son to a tuition master for English lessons. While offering advice to the boy on how to improve his English, the master told him about the importance of reading English newspapers and advised him to read one. In the same breath he cautioned the boy not to read The Express and asked him to go for The Hindu only. The reason? Grammatical mistakes, localized and `Expressised’ English, poor editing, etc etc..
The Express staffer was bit pissed off, but he didn’t say anything. Soon the master asked him where he was working. He said the name of the paper, Express. Suddenly, the master apologized to him.