Dropping an issue at the end of the year, with the whole office going on a week-long holiday, has been a long and happy Outlook
tradition. But there is no point to having traditions unless they are broken sometimes. When the tsunami tore through Southern Asia, our Editor was in Egypt, Publisher in Malaysia, Managing Editor somewhere in the mountains of Goa, Deputy Editor in Rajasthan. But the spirit of journalism and global cellphone networks prevailed. Photographers Atul Loke and Sanjoy Ghosh near-teleported to the Tamil Nadu coast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands respectively, while Photo Editor T. Narayan coordinated and started poring over the thousands of images flooding in. Our Chennai correspondent, S. Anand, hired a car and set off. Correspondent Saikat Datta convinced the Indian Air Force to fly him down to Andaman & Nicobar’s worst-affected areas. Foreign Editor Ajaz Ashraf worked the phones to ensure eyewitness accounts from across Asia. Assistant Copy-Editors Manisha Saroop and Sasi Nair were at the Desk, making sure the flow from e-mailed article to printed word was seamless. Senior Editor Ajith Pillai returned from Dharamsala to be around when the pages were made. Bishwadeep Moitra drove back from Rajasthan to take charge of Design, with Anjan Das assisting. Illustrator Jayachandran filled in for our cartographer. Librarian Rajkumar provided all the info back-up the team needed. Vice-President R. Rajmohan and Production Chief Anup Dwivedi ran the administration, from organising money for correspondents to getting the presses to run. Rakesh Mishra in Mumbai, Shashank Dixit and Bhoomesh in Delhi provided production assistance.
It had to be done, and it has been. But I am sure you, our readers, will join us in our prayer that we never have to do this again—see, record and report human tragedies on such a scale. Outlook’s was the first media team in the world to reach the earthquake-devastated town of Anjar in Gujarat in 2001, the first to report the horror of it all. Yes, we are proud of our team’s commitment to our readers, but we also do not want to do this again. Yet, even as I write this, I know we have no choice.