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uday shankar

Speculation Rife After Media Veteran Uday Shankar Joins Business Standard Board

Ever since Uday Shankar, former chairman & CEO of Star India and President of Walt Disney Asia Pacific, joined Business Standard as non-executive director in February this year, rumour mills have been on an overdrive. Avid media watchers say, BS has been looking for a good investor to buy a majority stake. Shankar, a former TV journalist who redefined media business in the country, is not joining the board for its ornate position. They say, going by his past track record, he may play an active role in the running of the paper and chalking out its growth plans. Coincidentally, Shankar has entered into a new venture with his former employer James Murdoch. The venture will be focusing on technology and media opportunities, including digital media, in the emerging markets. “The fact that BS has been looking for an investor is no secret and hence it will not be a surprise if Uday Shankar buys a majority stake in the paper,’’ said an insider. The paper has been quietly witnessing a slew of changes. Veteran business journalist TN Ninan, who transformed the paper, after getting in Uday Kotak and company to buy stake from Ananda Bazaar Patrika, has stepped down as chairman and director after over three decades of association. The business daily’s CEO Shivendra Gupta has been appointed as MD & CEO.
modi nytimes

NYT Seeks A Reporter: Only Modi-Baiters May Apply

The New York Times’ call for an enterprising journalist would have been a non-event, a non-issue but for the backlash its grand 627-words job description evoked. “India’s future now stands at a crossroads. Mr Modi is advocating a self-sufficient, muscular nationalism centered on the country’s Hindu majority. That vision puts him at odds with the interfaith, multicultural goals of modern India’s founders.” The message was soon picked up. Tweeted one @SamairaRehan: “These two factually incorrect sentences are part of the job description for the position of @nytimes ‘South Asia Business Correspondent’ based in New Delhi. Journalism is in danger, indeed. But from within.” Apparently, anybody arguing against these twisted premises knows they haven’t got a hope in hell of getting an NYT offer. Senior I&B Ministry adviser Kanchan Gupta fumed: “@nytimes has dropped all pretences of impartiality with this job ad. They are clearly looking to hire an anti-Modi activist who can also stoke anti-India sentiments in our neighbourhood. With this, the paper qualifies as a foreign-funded NGO.” Such hiring practices by dominant Big Media – with naked political and ideological tilt – point to a scary future of journalism. And this practice is unlikely to stop anytime now – given American billionaire George Soros’ $1-billion fund to fight nationalists; China’s ads in Big Media; and Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia floating a media joint venture.
bill cosby

Bill Cosby Walks Free: Is It The End Of #Metoo?

Some may mark Wednesday, June 30 as the day of “Justice for Black America” when Bill Cosby —  an American stand-up comedian, actor and author famous for his TV show, The Cosby Show — walked free after serving just three years of a 10-year sentence on three counts of aggravated sexual attack. Half the world will mourn it as the day the #metoo movement died. When “America’s Dad” was convicted in 2018, it seemed a landmark moment when a famous and powerful man was held to account for abusing his position to exploit women. Women exulted as their movement gained traction with the Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby cases. Cosby used the classic Black card, much like American football legend OJ Simpson did to exploit racial divisions splitting the court of public opinion. The court decided that Cosby had been unfairly prosecuted three years ago but a 12-person jury had found him guilty. The climax in this cause celebre shows the American legal system is flawed and that the rich and famous can find their way out. But what it does for the women’s movement against sexual assault is a sad commentary on what is still a man’s world in which power and money can make a mockery of justice.
baba dancing

Photo : Facebook

Chennai’s Dancing Baba In Police Custody Under Posco Act

It is the same story, pan India. Aspiring Godmen turn rogue conmen when their followers blindly endorse their divinity. Tamil Nadu has its share of notorious babas — Daadi babas, Beedi babas, Naaadi babas and assorted con Babas who preyed on gullible followers in ingenious ways and amassed wealth. As a first, the current news sensation, Siva Shankar Baba, revelled in dance and nicknamed himself the Dancing Baba. His full moon day Rasa Leela’s with nubile girl students of his Sushil Hari International Residential School in Kelambakkam, a salubrious suburb of Chennai turned into giddy events. Also, Baba’s Waterloo. A devotee of Baba had donated 60 acres of land for the ashram cum school. 72-year old Siva Shankar Baba has travelled a hoary road as a graduate, logistics professional, soothsayer, desi dava vendor…the list goes on, till Baba’s potent talent for hugging and kissing his girl students hit public attention. Soon, stories of rape set Baba on the run, now in the CBI-CID net, charged under POCSO. So called true followers of Baba are busy fighting over the wealth. Siva Shankar is not the first nor will he be the last.
sindhu saina

Medal winners -- Sindhu silver, Saina bronze at Asian Games 2018, Jakarta-Palembang

Sindhu Goes After The Big Prize

Pusarla Sindhu, the long-limbed Indian shuttle-cock champion has been the cynosure of all eyes in the last five years. She sprang a big surprise winning the women’s singles silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, followed it up with a silver at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia and the gold at the World Championship in Basel. She is expected to bring home a medal from the Olympics at Tokyo set to start on July 23. Soon to turn 26, Sindhu, has a wholehearted supporter in former nine-time national champion Aparna Popat who is not really bothered with Sindhu not winning other BWF tournaments: “Sindhu does well in the big ones, the World Championships, Super Series Finals, and the multi game events like the Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth. No one talks about Djokovic. Nadal, Federer, winning ATP titles now, only the grand slams like the Australian, French, Wimbledon and the US. Why can’t Sindhu be seen that way?  You introduce her as the World Champion and Olympic silver medallist. Who is asking for more? That’s all. It’s not that she needs to make money from other tournaments to make a living. She has got everything sorted. Winning the big ones is like a lottery, you win one big title and you get 20X. This has been her strategy, and it has worked.”

Mumbai’s Film City To Invest Rs 392 Cr On Latest Technology

Dadasaheb Phalke Chitra Nagari, famously known as the Film City, is getting ready for a makeover in phases. This integrated film studio complex, spread over 520 acres, is located in Mumbai’s western suburb at Goregaon East. It has over 42 outdoor shooting locations and 16 studios of various sizes. Now, the latest news is that Maharashtra Film, Stage & Cultural Development Corporation (MFSCDC) is keen to equip the Film City with technologically advanced infrastructure. According to – a leading real estate website, MFSCDC intends to undertake the development of 22 acres of the Film City via the PPP route. It will develop sound stages, post production facilities, and related infrastructure. It has invited Expression of Interest and the cost envisaged is around Rs 391.6 crore. With big demand coming from commercial cinema, TV and now OTT, most state governments see business opportunities in creating a hub for film shooting. It may be recalled that UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met with several leading Bollywood bigwigs when he was in Mumbai a few months back, inviting them to shoot in UP. Perhaps not wishing to lose out business to other states, the Maharashtra government is going all out to ensure that the Film City is equipped with latest state-of-art technology that makes life easier for film makers. About time too.

Udhayanidhi Stalin Wows His Voters By Playing A Real Hero

Actor Udhayanidhi Stalin, new elected DMK MLA, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, is all over his Cheppakkam Thiruvallikeni constituency, a dense demographic mix of Hindus and Muslims, who have lived in amity for long, mostly from the middle- and lower-income groups. Their concerns: navigable roads, uninterrupted power and water, safe neighbourhoods. A TASMAC outlet right in their midst and the fallout of filth and unruly behaviour was one of the first vexing issues brought to him. Overnight, the outlet was sealed. The voters here are on overdrive praising his tireless efforts and can-do attitude of solving civic problems as fast as they are filed. This area is plagued by clogged up drains and overflowing sewage. He has tackled this with huge septic tank vacuum cleaners. Old tenements with broken power meters were on the list of woes. The young MLA has given orders to install new ones. The hawks are just waiting to see him take one wrong step. Udhayanidhi is tunnelling through, unmindful. After all, his grandfather, Kalaignar Karunanidhi, won from Cheppakkam three times, building the DMK cadre. And having played only the hero in his six films, for Udhayanidhi taking on the adversaries is scripted by the mighty party machinery. Reel hero turns real hero for now.


Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.