The Caravan, long-form narrative magazine on Indian politics and culture, has released a special issue for the month of December on media personalities, government ad spends/state of Indian media and print industry.
The cover story is an exploratory profile on veteran journalist Shekhar Gupta, and how he rose through the ranks in the field of media. The report aims to cover Gupta’s ambition, and the question of what he plans to do next.
Other stories in the issue include a profile of media baron Ramoji Rao, a report on Dina Nath Batra's attempts to censor books such as Wendy Doniger's The Hindus, and a Data Journalism feature on how the central government spends its advertising money, and how the print media in India is faring today.
The cover story authored by Krishn Kaushik is titled ‘Capital Reporter’ - How profit and principle shaped the journalism of Shekhar Gupta.
The writer quotes; “When I met Gupta at his home in mid November, for our second interview, the house was under major renovation. After a whirlwind six months, during which he had left his 19-year post at the helm of the Indian Express and returned to India Today, only to step away from the magazine about two months into this job, Gupta seemed to be enjoying his first hiatus from full-time employment in almost forty years. When I asked him about some of the rumours swirling about his successive departures, he replied, “Look, as I said, I’m a bit of a big fish right now for these factors to bother me.” Over
the course of our interviews, I realised that Gupta was no longer content to be the steward of someone else’s property,even if he had milked his time at the Indian Express for all it was worth. He related a piece of advice his friend Deepak Parekh, the chairman of HDFC Bank, had given him: “Ab bahut tu ne kar liya. Ab tu speech de, ab tu article likh, ab tu books likh.” You’ve done enough—give speeches now; write articles and books. “Enjoy life! Right? You are a brand—work for your own brand.”
In another excerpt from the story; “Despite Gupta’s proximity to people in power, most Express journalists I spoke to said that if a story was compelling enough, it would find space in the newspaper’s pages. The long-term staffer explained that Gupta “always had a reason for why a story was stopped. Whether those reasons were that editorially the viewpoint was different, or, as he claimed, the facts were not up to the thing is something you decide for yourself.”
“Every editor has allegiances,” Tejpal told me. “You have political allegiances, you have intellectual allegiances. You may have financial allegiances also.” He pointed out that editors today face added pressures and responsibilities from the business side of their publications. “You have been made a part of the mess of running the media,” he said. “In a very, very weird way, it leaves less room for grandstanding on moral issues. And that’s not such a bad thing. The world is a messy place. Why should you be given the right to grandstand over everybody else, while somebody else does the dirty work? Today you’re told that this thing has to be kept going, dirty work has to be done.”