Only the brave or the foolish would risk making a case for newsmagazines a week after the 80-year-old Newsweek announced that its dead-tree version would be buried at the end of 2012. But, hey, it’s fun trying to prove Tina Brown wrong! So here goes—‘seventeen’ reasons why newsmagazines will survive, even if they will struggle to thrive, in India that is, not the US of A.
SBecause the newsmagazine is the only pan-national print media vehicle in our country. The newspaper you read at home is not what you might in your office. Not everybody watched the TV show you did. But an Outlook Mr Dutt gets in Jungpura is the Outlook Mrs Goswami will in Kamrup. In the global village, a newsmagazine alone has the architecture and ambience for a shared discussion on current affairs amongst citizens and consumers, so vital for a democracy.
EBecause the newsmagazine has a long shelf-life. This minute’s ‘Exclusive’ on one TV channel is next minute’s ‘Exclusive’ on some other. A newspaper’s life is between 7 am and 7:24 am (delete valuable seconds for sorting out supplements, pamphlets, flyers, advertorials, paid news and other cons), after which the cook wants it for drying the paapad. A newsmagazine happily stays in the drawing room for a week, if not more. Ever heard of a ‘collector’s issue’ from your newspaper?
VBecause the newsmagazine is classy a la carte; the newspaper is a rowdy buffet. Dailies throw everything at you in promiscuous pell-mell (and then some more) in the hope something, anything, will interest you. Newsmagazines do less, and better. We appreciate your time and serve up just what you need to make sense of an increasingly complicated world. Information, not overload. (But you will permit us our celebratory overkill this week, won’t you?)
EBecause, newsweeklies break stories. For all the explosion of the media since 1991, many of the biggest stories in Indian journalism (from match-fixing in cricket to the Jain commission report, Operation Westend to the 2G tapes) have come from newsmagazines. Sources trust our intent and independence; they value our rigour and research; they seek us out and pour themselves out.
NBecause, newsmagazines provide a vivid, 360-degree view. Newspaper stories end before they begin. Newsmagazines allow you to soak it in. Experienced reporters and photographers transport you to the ground, and provide depth, colour, background and context with brilliant pictures, graphics and design on clean, clutter-free pages. We take you where you couldn’t go, and as Hemingway said, show you how the air smelled.
TBecause, it is our opinion that the best opinion is in newsmagazines. It’s here you meet the premier essayists of our time: Arundhati Roy, Ramachandra Guha, Pankaj Mishra. It’s here you enter the urbane, intelligent world of letters.
EBecause, newsmagazines have a worldview. Yes, it is more important to know if there will be water in your taps than whether there will be war in the Middle East. But man does not live by pondering about potholes alone. Newsmagazines have a weltanschaaung; we tell you of life outside the straight and narrow, beyond the here and now. Guess who Barack Obama spoke to first?
EBecause, a daily newspaper is a habit, a purgative passed down generations. A newsmagazine is a style statement; it tells the world who you are, the concerns that drive you, the values you stand for. Guess which magazine has the tagline ‘How to get from B to A. Great minds like a think’?
NBecause, none of our national newspapers will be able to do an issue like the one you are holding. Imagine reading “When I was 175”. Happy dodransbicentennial, Mr Jain! (Just kidding)
Thank you for sharpening your outlook with us.
*Where the other eight reasons? Well, if you have to ask...
Krishna Prasad’s endpiece to Outlook’s 17th anniversary special issue was excellent (Happy Birthday To Us). Pieces like these are what make Outlook a lively read. Refreshingly served fare, I say.
Ashish Tandon, Delhi
Hmm, not too sure about Arundhati Roy in your premier essayists category. If anything, Ms Roy will be your downfall with her verbal diarrhoea. If her rumblings don’t stop at Outlook, I’ll certainly stop subscribing. Take heed.
R.K. Ravindra, on e-mail
I’d like to add to Krishna Prasad’s Last Page line that ‘newsweeklies break stories’. Well, what they don’t do—and this is a fact common to the Indian media at large—is follow major scandals over time down to their logical conclusion—ie follow-up stories.
Vidur Dayal, on e-mail
Fine issue, just a note on KP’s take on the dailies. I get six of them and their life is 16 hours (till I sleep) and not just from 7 to 7.24 am.
R.D. Singh, Ambala
Agreed, ‘When I was 17’ is a collector’s issue, for one rarely comes across something as smug as this. This is a 17-year-old’s frantic collection of made-to-order balderdash from beginning to end.
Atin Gupta, Delhi
I can understand celebrating 15, 20, 25 etc. Celebrating every year appears too childish for a magazine.
Best Wishes to Outlook!
>> "Yeah, hateful morons!"
Speaking about yourself again?
Best article i have ever read on any Outlook. I hope the magazine will come with many more like this. Better than Arundhati Roy's one for sure.
Newsweek decided to go online with the cover declaring Muslim Rage. It might take Muhammad's cartoon on Outlook cover for this magazine to go online only. Yeah, hateful morons!
Articles like these make OUTLOOK a lively and throbbing read. Refreshingly served.
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