Sunday, August 14, 2005

It’s in my DNA

DNA: Designing News And Analysis?
It all started with an idea. The idea turned into a strategy. The strategy gave an admaker the opportunity and freedom to fiddle with words. And thus a sentence was born to redefine the history of Bombay’s print media: ‘Speak up; it’s in your DNA.’

The potency of that sentence made Times of India pregnant which resulted into a premature delivery of a baby called Mumbai Mirror. The sleek baby delivered to ‘cut the crap’ in fact intensified the rubbish which resulted in rise of the raddi business.

For the first time the traditional Times felt threatened by a new rival. But did that threat in fact materialise?

It’s too early to say but as things suggest ‘Old lady of Boribunder’ appears to be calm and poised like a bird with unruffled feathers. Old lady considers herself too sacred to be drawn into any kind of competition and comparison. Her ‘cut for you’ baby is doing the job.

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) – ‘the newspaper created by us’ has brought little smile and more tears in terms of content, reporting, presentation, layout, style sheet. Page classification like ‘Americas and Europe’ is the exact copy of The Asian Age. A supplement like After hrs. is more like renaming of the Bombay Times.

We Bombayites didn’t spend our ‘seven minutes’ to witness this renaming ceremony. DNA was supposed to ‘create’ rather than ‘rename’.

Considering it’s a new establishment, errors are bound to happen. But when errors become routine rather than rarity then it’s really bad news for a newspaper since ‘to err is human and to forgive is divine’ does not hold good in journalism.

Let me briefly deconstruct DNA’s DNA.

Silly Story: what do you do when you miss an important front page story? This is what DNA did when it missed Karishma Kapoor’s matrimonial mayhem. Next day it carried a story trying to give it a different angle but it got derailed. Here it goes word by word. You be the judge:

‘I respect clients’ privacy’
Mrunalini Deshmukh, Karisma Kapoor’s divorce lawyer, is a family person at heart
DNA Entertainment Cell

Lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh represents actor Karishma Kapur as she heads to wards ending her marriage to Sanjay Kapur.
Deshmukh took care of matters when actor Aamir Khan and his wife Reena divorced a few years ago, and also when Italian model Valentina Pedron wanted out of her marriage with playboy Arun Nayar.
Ask this happily-married, joint family and mom-in-law loving lawyer to spill the beans on the case in question and all she says is, "No comment."
There’s more to Mrunalini Deshmukh than meets the eye. "I’ve been a television presenter at one time," laughs the commerce graduate from St Xavier’s college. Law runs in her blood, Prof Dr T K Tope, who had assisted Dr Ambedkar in drafting the Constitution of India is her father. "He was a cobbler who wanted to get his daughter divorced. I took the case, we had an out of the court settlement. My fee was all he could afford to pay me: Rs 500. Later, he made a pair of Kolhapuri chappals. That really touched me," she recalls, talking about her first case.
"Your in-laws are the buffer when things threaten to go wrong in your marriage," muses the divorce lawyer.
So how does it feel to be known as a high-profile lawyer with high-profile clients? "It’s nothing. I’m not high-profile and I’ve always had high-profile clients, it’s just that most of them don’t attract the attention of media like Aamir and Valentina have done," she says nonchalantly. "People want me to represent them because I respect their privacy."

(DNA, August 9, 2005 Page 3)

Is this news? Where is the much cherished principle of newsworthiness? The only thing worth publishing is the ‘no comment’ of Karishma’s lawyer. It reads like a profile. Come on DNAites, you don’t write a profile on news page.

Take more inspiration from the Bombay Times.

Picture Imperfect: On August 12, DNA carried a news report (Page 7) about International hostel of Mumbai University at Churchgate. The story was fine but it was accompanied by a wrong picture of Mumbai’s University’s Post-Graduate hostel saying, "the facade of Mumbai University’s International hostel at Churchgate."

DNA’s photographer Mr. Kamlesh Pednekar may be ignorant but what was amazing is this: the entire editorial board of DNA slept over this pictorial blunder. No apologies. No corrections.
Perhaps DNA needs to hire a new pair of journalistic eyes!

Cleavage Calling: On the very same day After hrs. carried a half page story provocatively titled ‘who has the best cleavage?’ DNA took five of the country’s hottest women (Malaika Arora, Bipasha Basu, Pooja Bedi, Mahima Chaudhary and Mallika Sherawat) and got three men (Cyrus Broacha, Prahlad Kakar and Upen Patel) to comment and rate on their ‘ahem assets’ – their cleavages.

Gautam Adhikari, Editor of DNA had said to Guardian that "it will be a classic liberal newspaper." When I read the above story I realised what he meant by ‘classic liberal newspaper.’

Perhaps he doesn’t know the difference between liberalism and cheapness.

I am no DNA hater. There are some good things which I like about it especially Speak up page and DNA Money.

If Zee’s Subhash Chandra and Dainik Bhaskar’s Ramesh Agarwal have invested 100 million pounds, then they should get certain things right.

Understand the difference between ‘create’ and ‘copy’ and ask Philip Kotler if you guys don’t understand what product differentiation is all about.

It’s not my DNA yet.

I wrote this because I believe ‘speaking up’ is in my DNA.

It’s Gautam Adhikari’s turn to ‘speak up.’

3 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Mrunalini Deshmukh supports the cause of breaking families rather than encouraging people to reconcile so beware in your own interest.