The Post-Truth: Media's Survival Sutra

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The book provides valuable information about the way journalism has evolved in India since Independence, the idealism and missionary zeal of the early pioneers and ‘foot-soldiers,’ the changing technology and mores of reportage, the joint resistance by owners and journalists to the government’s moves to tame the media, and the shift from the primacy of the editor to that of the owner, and eventually into the inexorable logic of the market paradigm of the news media… The thumbnail sketches of the editors, owners and journalists, and the insights into the pulls and pressures at work in newsrooms are truly invaluable.

P. Raman

An octogenarian, P. Raman brings with him the trials and tribulations of the print media spread over half a century. Beginning as a sub-editor, he worked with a dozen English dailies and weeklies, including Patriot, Link, The Indian Express, The Economic Times and Business Standard. He was the political editor of the last two. During the Emergency, he was shunted to Ahmedabad as a special correspondent.

He has also worked as chief sub-editor producing the editions and as deputy news editor. Long stints at the news desk made him witness to the technological changeover from the hand setting and cylinder printing era to Lino-rotary days to bromide pasting and finally computer page making.

As the main political correspondent at the Express, his generation knew him as an adversarial reporter specializing in anti-establishment stories. First ET and then BS carried his weekly column 'Realpolitik', which he syndicated after retirement. As a middle-rung worker, this footsoldier of journalism was privy to the bitter cold war for the control of the print media during the turbulent '60s and '70s and the final triumph by the owners after liberalization. He had intimate knowledge of the frequent hiring and firing of the celebrity editors and their harassment and humiliation – beginning with Frank Moraes, S. Mulgaonkar, Edatata Narayanan, B.G. Verghese, S. Nihal Singh, V.K. Narasimhan, Nandan Kagal, T.J.S. George, T.N. Ninan and Arun Shourie.

He was a member of the Press Council for two terms. He had an obsession with preserving his reporter's notepad and jottings on spiral books for his weekly column. When in doubt, he still thumbs through those piles for fact verification. This is the main source of facts for 'A Footsoldier's Version'.

Review

The book provides valuable information about the way journalism has evolved in India since Independence, the idealism and missionary zeal of the early pioneers and foot-soldiers, the changing technology and mores of reportage, the joint resistance by owners and journalists to the government's moves to tame the media, and the shift from the primacy of the editor to that of the owner, and eventually into the inexorable logic of the market paradigm of the news media. The thumbnail sketches of the editors, owners and journalists, and the insights into the pulls and pressures at work in newsrooms are truly invaluable.

Reviewer, Publication