Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interaction with N.Ram on Readers Editor of The Hindu

I had an interesting discussion with N.Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu group, on my complaints about how the Readers Editor of The Hindu is not talking about the views of readers... following is our conversation.

For those who don't use twitter, here's how you should understand the conversation:

All conversations starting with @nramind are those I wrote to him. All those starting with @ssudhirkumar are those he wrote to me.

@nramind. sir, when was the last time the reader's editor actually wrote about reader's greivances? Why is he writing parallel editorials

@ssudhirkumar: The Readers' Editor is an independent, critical, reflective voice. The remit is not to parrot or 'reflect' other voices!

@nramind i am confused now, when did we ask him to "parrot" our voices? he seldom talks abt readers views.. what is the pt of RE then?

@ssudhirkumar The Guardian (our model) & The Hindu have Terms of Ref for RE:

@ssudhirkumar Within Terms of Ref., each Readers's Editor fashions own role, finds & develops an indep, critical, reflective voice.

@nramind "To write a regular column addressing one or several aspects of readers' concerns, suggestions, and complaints,..."

@nramind that was picked from terms of reference... in the last 10 columns by the RE, how many have adhered to this term?

@nramind once or twice, to reflect on media's role and behaviour on issues pertaining to national interest is denying

@nramind but just have a look at the last 10 columns sir ... where have reader's concerns been discussed? The previous RE did that...

@ssudhirkumar If an RE confines his or her role to providing excerpts from readers' mail or currying favour with them, I won't applaud.

@nramind you are mistaken with my view... don't provide excerpts or curry favour...debate those views...that's what i am asking

@nramind ...and frankly sir, that's what the terms of reference clearly mention too... they are all about how to handle reader's views!

@ssudhirkumar The Guardian's two REs thus far, Ian Mayes & Siobhain Butterworth, with dif. approaches, have set high standards for us.

@ssudhirkumar The Hindu's two RE's, K. Narayanan and S. Viswanathan, with dif. approaches, have both done us proud under Terms of Ref.

@nramind am a big fan of this concept, n hence hurts to see when RE dsnt "use this column as a platform and forum for readers' views. "

@nramind again draw ur attn to "To write a regular column addressing one or several aspects of readers' concerns, suggestions, n complaints"

@nramind r u satisfied that term of reference is being adhered to by this RE?

@nramind Also, K.Narayanan has set high standards for this post. i have regularly interacted with him too. but with this RE, no interaction.

@nramind there were times when i disagreed with the 1st RE, but there was an interaction. which is what is missing now.

@nramind another term: "To use this column as a platform and forum for readers' views."in the last 10 columns,how many times has this happnd

@ssudhirkumar Which Indian newspaper/news organisation other than The Hindu has an internal news ombudsman independent of Editor-in-Chief?

@nramind i applaud Hindu for that sir. no denying. in many places, I have also given this point is that this particular RE (cont)

@nramind (cont) is not engaging with readers,his columns dont talk abt readers (terms of ref are so clear on this!) even giving examples

@nramind the 'corrections and clarifications' column is one part of his job. his weekly column should also debate readers concerns.

@nramind wasn't that the original purpose? to debate and discuss? is it asking too much? :)

@ssudhirkumar Read RE's Terms in totality. RE engages with readers' concerns, complaints, ideas, serves as platform but thinks independently

@ssudhirkumar The RE's role under the Terms is decidedly not to serve as a lightning rod for ideological homilies, slant or flak!

@nramind why are you assuming I am asking him to debate the extremes? the terms here state what his clmn shld be

@nramind and the last 10 columns he has seldom done that. i am not qualified enough to debate the wordigs with you... (cont)

@nramind ... but it says he writes independent of the ideas and views of the paper... all i am asking is for more abt rdrs in his column

@ssudhirkumar Had we more print space, I would accommodate more excerpts from readers's mail, incl. complaints with an ideological slant.

@ssudhirkumar, soon to go fully functional, provides for moderated readers' comment on articles. Should do more online.

@nramind it'd be great if you can manage to find some more space in the print edition..nothing can beat reading ur views in paper :)

@ssudhirkumar In my view, an RE who writes on diverse issues that matter to readers & society & the media's role re these does a fine job.

@ssudhirkumar Anyway, thanks for this interaction. Appreciate your suggestions, will refer them to our exemplary RE, a veteran journalist.

@nramind thanks to you too, for interacting :) glad you are taking the suggestions in the right sense :)


Anonymous said...

actually, the current RE of Hindu is anything but exemplary. I have stopped reading him on Monday. His often ranting should be part of edit-page acvities, not RE work.

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