What does it take to retain a magazine’s identity, sustain reader interest? A lot more than platitudes. An 18-point call to action

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Daily Mail
Nov 18, 2013
The Power of Eighteen

The lead essay (To Look at the World and Be Looked At) by Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the half-kilo 18th anniversary issue defines two types of editors. Could you enlighten us which of the categories you belong to? He also says many publications take no more than half a minute to read because you can predict what they will say. Like the physical copy, the articles too were weighty and forced.

Jatinder Sethi, Gurgaon

Excellent piece by Pratap Bhanu Mehta. Sometimes, Outlook does surprise us with a high-quality article. And, by the way, congrats on reaching voting age. We know you vote for the Congress, but from now on you can do it legally!

Rakhal Chandra Ghosh, Tomball, US

Ok, so now we know, thanks to Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s Law of Predictability, why it always took precisely half a minute to read Outlook! We really used to wonder. Don’t be doubly predictable now...I hope your staff writers have read what he says.

Arun Visvanathan, Chennai

Can someone please translate Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s piece into understan­dable English?

R. Ramachandra, Bangalore

Oct 26, 2013
01:45 PM

Bhanu Prataps intelligent take on the media is meaningful, and far more educative, than say, the feminist moaner, Arundhati Roy.

Hope he also touched on media biases, comments policy, hidden agendas ( anti-male, for eg. ), and how to hold the media accountable to its readers.

Chennai, India
Oct 26, 2013
02:19 PM

Being associated with you, in the crowed of audience, this is a
proud moment for me. Though, Outlook made  many adolasence pranks,
never it underestimated the intelligence of its audience.
Bravo, you are an adult now with more responsibility.
Cheers, its party time. CongOOOO OOOOO OOOOO OOOO......
( Eighteen first alphabet of Outlook)


V.N.K.Murti Pattambi
Oct 26, 2013
03:01 PM

The essay, coming from Bhanu Pratap Singh,  is in simple english without scholarly embellishments or jargons. The essay is  directed at the journalistic world rather than the lay reader like me. Some ponits  worth noting :

"The partisanship towards values should not be mistaken for partisanship towards parties and people. ..................;. A defence of a democratic value does not automatically imply the defence of a particular party."     Particularly when we are ranting at each other.

"A phrase, a sentence, a paragraph can have more depth and reveal more than a tome. Depth is the quality of mind and writing you bring to a subject" 

R V Subramanian
Gurgaon, India
Oct 26, 2013
04:17 PM
In India so many publications take about half minute to read because you can predict in advance what they will say, no matter what the subject, what the facts, what the context. There is fide­lity to prejudgement, to unexamined assumptions, to comfortable conclusions, that creates a virtual world of its own. This preconceived world is trotted out as if truth is a matter of rehearsing one’s own truisms.

So true. I hope Saba Naqvi, RK Mishra, Pranay Sharma and the other staffers read this article.

Chennai, India
Oct 26, 2013
04:55 PM

Outlook magazine best example of yellow  journalism.Always   cash on  sensenal strories gossip or blackmailing.Boasting to change the world is  nonsense talk only depend on coups

Ramesh Raghuvanshi
Pune, India
Oct 26, 2013
05:41 PM

Very well written article. Outlook does surprise us sometimes by a publishing quality article.

Congrats to reach voting age!! We know you vote for Congress but from now on you can do it legally!!

Rakhal Chandra Ghosh
Tomball, United States
Oct 26, 2013
07:38 PM

Outlook, though totally biased and often pandering to baser instincts in pursuit of profit is considerably better than Times of India, Hindustan Times, India Today, and now even Indian Express. The websites of these previously respected newspapers/magazines are full of smutty material. In pursuit of money, they have thrown journalistic integrity into the dustbin. They now resemble semi pornographic publications like the Sun and the Daily Record. There seems to be a competition on to explore the depths of vulgarity and voyerism.

Pradip Singh
STAFFORD, United Kingdom
Oct 27, 2013
01:54 PM

Dear Mr Mehta,

I am a regular and very appreciative reader of  your writing.

You occupy a unique and special place amongst the observers and commentators in India.

Please accept my sincere thanks for all your writings and continue to do the same in days to come

Thank you for them and this 

Atul Chandra
Oct 27, 2013
10:27 PM

Eighteen already? I still remember the day I read the first issue in 1995. Just like how we say when we see children growing up, I'll say "How time passes"!

In these eighteen years  Outlook has emerged as one of the most popular magazines in India. For us NRIs, it gives the most unbiased and readable account of events back home. Congratulations to you and the rest of the team, Vinod Mehta. Keep up the good work.  

Isere, France
Oct 28, 2013
01:09 AM

Excellent points for editors and reporters to ponder. The tension between the needs of quality journalism and the priorities of publishers is becoming more and more acute.

Dallas, United States
Oct 28, 2013
10:08 AM

I've been reading Mr Mehta regularly , rather braving it out , esp his columns in The IndianExpress. His single bigest qualiifcation for being published so regularly seems to be his verbosity. His style is circumlocatory and his writings are mostly obstruse . Ironic that you choose him to advise you about how to go forward !

arun v
Gandhinagr, India
Oct 28, 2013
06:07 PM

The best thing about Outlook is that it's true to its 'Comments Policy'. It accepts scathing criticisms, and online comments are not pre-moderated or pre-edited unlike many of other Indian publications whose comments policies are still quite anachronistic.

To be able to carry on unaffected without advertisements from the Tatas is a good sign. Advertisers, the biggest source of revenues and hence the primary clients, are characteristically vengeful anywhere in the world. Interestingly, readership (effectively the readers, who constitute the secondary client group) is then sold as a commodity to the advertisers. That creates a delicate balancing-act problem but Outlook seems to be managing that well.

Happy 18th anniversary and all the best for a long and healthy life!!

Amit Thakur
Tokyo, Japan
Oct 29, 2013
09:38 AM

Can someone please translate this piece into understandable and coherent English for dumbos like me?

Ramesh Ramachandra
Bangalore, India
Oct 29, 2013
01:19 PM

12 D Amit,

"It accepts scathing criticisms, and online comments are not pre-moderated or pre-edited unlike many of other Indian publications whose comments policies are still quite anachronistic"

As an online commentator for a pretty long time, I must admit that much of your comment is true. And is the most important comment that a reader can make.

However, having been banned for more than 100 times, and for some strange reason, Outlook too did use to have a policy of banning members. Quite at whim. And sometimes even without logic!

Even now, it has an anti-male policy of publishing ( in the magazine ), ONLY comments enimical to male interests - sometimes even pro-male comments are twisted 180 degrees, in order to achieve this! This is similar to the other media you wrote about - which have ZERO TOLERANCE to 'outside' comments. And then, like the true hypocrites that they all are, always moaning about the 'loss of freedom of speech' for themselves!

Chennai, India
Oct 29, 2013
11:25 PM

At 18, has Outlook become dim-witted ?

Tearful Onion
Jhumri Talaiyya, India
Oct 31, 2013
02:20 PM

I first came to know of Outlook, when I saw the magazine being read by my aunt, an avid T. O. I., Mumbai supporter. Both India Today, and Outlook are pretty different in comparison, as is the Week, another great magazine.

Aditya Mookerjee
Belgaum, India


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