My Views

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Newspapers should be printed in your neighbourhood

In cities we get the newspaper which is printed just a few hours ago. Sometimes we get in Delhi a newspaper at 7 AM which came out of the press at 4 AM. It was perhaps composed at 2 AM. The news is likely to be fresh.

Same is not true for outlying towns. Newspaper printed in Delhi or Noida at 6 PM may reach say Moradabad or Dehradoon next day morning. This newspaper is stale.

The way to overcome this is by ensuring that newspapers are printed  in various cities and towns that is in your neighbourhood. Today's technology makes it possible. The editorial offices stay at Delhi/ Mumbai/Chennai etc. The composed paper is transmitted electronically to different printing hubs. For example, Hindustan Times may be printed in Parwanoo to take care of Himachal Pradesh, in Haldwani to take care of eastern Uttarakhand etc. Many a times the printing press is owned by the newspaper. In such a case the printing press may be a shared resource or third party. So same press is printing in the same night thousand copies of Hindustan Times, five hundred copies of The Hindu and three thousand copies of Navbharat Times etc.

A newspaper printed in your neighbourhood will be fresh and worth reading.

Monday, April 08, 2013

News consumption

News consumption: 
Changing behaviour of readers/viewers/consumers

I have been noticing my own behaviour of how differently I gather and absorb my news.

The new of Mrs. Margaret Thatcher's death, I got from internet last evening. This morning's newspaper carried the news. I knew it. So it had no news value. I read it. And I gathered some more details. Important point was that I realized that she was the PM when I visited UK first time during 1989. A point that was insignificant at that time for me.

Some weeks ago, I was viewing the news about Gwadar Port in Pakistan on TV. This was the first time I heard the name Gwadar. My curiosity about it caused me to tap a few times on my smartphone and I was reading about Gwadar port on Wikipedia. That made my quest complete.

Reading newspaper in the morning is a habit formed over many years. Having your morning tea and reading the newspaper is still a luxury which I enjoy on the days when I do not have to rush for an early morning meeting, start of a new workshop or rush to catch a morning flight. But the feeling is not the same as it used to be even a decade ago.

Now the plus point with newspapers. This morning, I am having Times of India and The Hindu in front of me. The Hindu has published second installments of Wikileaks about defence deals in the 1970s. This is something which is done after the tedious task of going over large amounts of cable transcripts over the Wikileaks. So the newspaper has added value. Secondly coming from Hindu, these are not wild allegations the kind of which keep floating on internet. I have a higher trust on The Hindu's reports, though they may not be infallible. So "good processing" and "trust" are the two important factors that will keep the news paper relevant. Times of India is a day behind, For a reader who is not subscribing to Hindu, this is not relevant and he/she may not even notice this difference. And you may also be addicted to different columnists, like Santosh Desai, Chetan Bhagat, Harsha Bhogle, Swaminathan Aiyer or Ruchir Sharma. While their views, comments and analysis on TV are keenly watched, their written words carry a different type of weight. A TV programme does not wait for you. Your newspaper keeps waiting for you till you decide to put it in the dump.  

We  see the instances of investigative journalism both on TV and Newspapers. Though newspapers seem to have an edge in this area.

Another important factor that goes in favour of newspapers is kind of advertisements. TV advertisements are more on consumer goods and fleeting, whereas newspaper ads are more informative and actionable.  Tenders for businessmen, admission notices for students, job advertisements for job seekers, matrimonials for singles etc. Internet is competing with newspapers here but not the TV.

I would continue to experiment with new ways of consuming the news. Can't predict what is yet to come.