[MJR] A little respect for readers, please

15 Mar,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


Living in big cities, you accept the privileges given to you with an entitled sense of arrogance. Yes, we have pubs everywhere in Mumbai, dear Virginia, and women can walk out at any time without fear of being raped.


But this grouse is not about that. It’s about trying to read a newspaper in non-big city India. The past three weeks in Dehra Dun mean that all the news in the English newspapers are between 24 and 48 hours old and given the pace at which TV spews out the stuff, completely outdated. Internet facilities in the capital of Uttarakhand – and I am stationed a few km above Dehra Dun – have improved considerably. This means that by the time you get The Times of India, The Hindustan Times or The Hindu in your hands, your only interest in the front page is which paper has given more importance to which news.


I understand all the compulsions which newspapers face about printing and travelling times and the costs incurred in transportation. But there has to be a better way of dealing with “dak” or “mofussil” editions than methods used decades ago. In fact, just a decade ago when I was with The Times of India in Ahmedabad, we were aware of the problems faced by our readers in Vadodara and Surat and pushed the management to look closely at the logistics.


The most amusing newspaper which we get here is The Asian Age, which really is a day old since it’s the Delhi edition. With it, you play the game to see which front page item is completely redundant.


A little more respect for readers may not be such a bad thing, perhaps.


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