In the last two years, I have hardly ever considered being a regular subscriber to Outlook (or any weekly magazine), the same way as I have not considered buying the Ambassador car. Much like the Ambassador, these magazines belong to a different age. They have great nostalgic value and it seems like a long time ago when one looked forward to Saturday mornings with both India Today and Outlook competing to be out first. Both my wife and I normally began reading Outlook back to front—starting with VM’s quirky, witty Delhi Diary (or other City Diaries). One worked one’s way back to the lead story through the books page, the arts page, the lifestyle stories and saved the most explosive content till the very last. Once in a while there was Arundhati Roy—whose politics one violently disagreed with but whose prose was incandescent in its beauty. Outlook dared to give her a platform, which no one else did. But the days of weekly news-centric magazines are over. The internet has changed things. There is no room for a middle-brow rehash of last week’s news with slices of opinion masquerading as analysis. Most magazines do not seem to have the resources or journalists with the experience and the passion to conduct serious investigation or research. Sensationalisation of trivia now passes for investigation and for that, in any case, I can rely on Times Now to satisfy my daily disgust quota. For serious content, I have the internet. So who needs Outlook or India Today?
Amitabha Pande, Former bureaucrat
Outlook invites readers to take part in its 20th anniversary celebrations. Send us your bouquets and, more importantly, your brickbats. E-mail your entry to editor [AT] outlookindia [DOT] com