In a surprising albeit bold move, English newspaper Daily News & Analysis (DNA) has dropped its edit page from the newspaper. Instead, it will be giving comprehensive news in different pages of the newspaper. Letters to the editor will now appear on Page 2.
In an announcement on the front page of DNA on February 1, 2010, Aditya Sinha, Editor-in-Chief, DNA, stated: “For years, many of you felt that the newspaper edit page has long outlived its usefulness. It’s boring, very few read it and it’s a chore to fill. It’s more punditry than expert comment. It’s become a single-page editorial ghetto; and that makes little sense in this TV/ mobile/ web age, where you’re looking for more news validation and analysis. Thus, DNA has decided to do away with its edit page.”
This apart, DNA is also doing away with ‘leaders’, the 400-word unsigned editorials. “Instead, as and when a news event warrants a stand by DNA, it will appear on Page 1,” Sinha added.
Meanwhile, strong reactions have erupted from the journalistic fraternity, especially on Twitter, on DNA’s move. Vishweshwar Bhat, former Editor of Vijay Karnataka, tweeted: “It’s really disgusting to know the fact that DNA has removed edit page. It’s an insult to the readers.” Sachin Kalbag, a Delhi-based journalist, wrote: “Disagree with a mainline paper doing away with the edit page.” Another journalist, Joanna Lobo, commented on DNA’s twitter profile: “DNA has no edit page... interesting... on the positive side, three nation pages rocked.”
Meanwhile, speaking to exchange4media on the content strategy of English newspaper Mail Today regarding its editorial pages, the paper’s Editor, Bharat Bhushan, said, “The edit pages are an integral part of Mail Today, and our readers who want to read opinion, analysis and expert views on various issues, enjoy it a lot. The editorials are certainly a vital part of serious newspaper.”
Shashi Shekhar, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan, commented, “Whatever I have learned, editorial pages of newspapers have contributed a lot to it. Editorial pages make readers more aware about the recent happenings. This space not only gives the independence to write on particular topics freely, it also reflects the thought of the newspaper.”
He also cited a few examples when newspapers had done away with the edit pages. Shekhar noted that in India, few newspapers had left their editorial space empty in 1975 to protest the imposition of Emergency by Indira Gandhi. While in Europe, a few newspapers painted their editorial space black to protest various issues. “Edit pages are the pages of ‘thought’, and a thoughtless human is nothing,” Shekhar remarked.
Experts believe that there are various pros and cons of having an edit page in a newspaper. From the cost-effectiveness point of view, the edit page has always remained a challenge for newspapers. On the one hand, these pages remain ad-free, also the columnist of this section has to be paid a good amount of money. It remains to be seen whether this initiative of DNA will pay off in the future and whether other newspapers will follow suit.
DNA is owned by Diligent Media Corporation, a joint venture between Dainik Bhaskar Group and Zee Group. Launched in Mumbai in July 2005, the newspaper operates in Mumbai, Bangalore and other cities such as Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat and Jaipur.