Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Of newspapers

Got into a lunch discussion about newspapers, more specifically about how we end up paying for newspapers that ultimately land up at the old-newspaper-shop (pazhaya paper kadai). I have been brought up on the ‘reading newspaper is a good habit’ thing in school, moving to the ‘reading newspapers is desirable/essential/paramount to success in CA exams/ MBA interviews/ placement interviews’, later in life.

I have always been a supplement reader; be it Young World on Saturdays or The Sunday Magazine on Sundays (both from The Hindu stable), Siruvar Malar on Fridays and Varamalar on Sundays (from the Dinamalar stable), or The Metro Plus or more recently, Chennai Chronicle and Chennai Times. I am also a big fan of tabloids – I used to look forward to the free tabloid that you could pick out at the London tube stations (can someone remind me the name); I still look forward to flying out of Mumbai in the evening, I love the Mid-day. Ergo accounts for my 15 minutes tea-breaks in early afternoons.

So what do I like to read?

1. Cartoons (I love them, Calvin and Hobbes, Heathcliff, Wizard of Id, Archies, Asterix, Garfield, Dilbert, Simpsons)
2. Simple brain exercises (Spot the differences, word jumbles, mazes, sudokus (to an extent), cross-words (very rarely))
3. Gossip
4. Agony Aunt columns of whatever kind (especially relationship columns, I get almost voyeuristic pleasure reading them)
5. Regular Columnists (not a regular reader of any of them in the paper version, used to enjoy V. Gangadhar’s Slice of Life)
6. Editorials and Opinions
7. Local news (the chain snatching, broken roads beware, woman elopes with neighbour kinds)

It is fairly obvious from the above that I do not enjoy reading political news and business news, possibly the real ‘news’ portions. To me at least, reading news is like following a TV soap; you need to know what has happened earlier to appreciate/understand what has happened yesterday. Just make it several hundred soaps and you know how difficult it is to completely comprehend all news. If you take a New Year resolution to start reading newspapers regularly (like I have done on several New Years), you are starting a movie from just before the interval. Too much has happened that you are not aware of, and there is no way you can immediately find them. You only to need to wait and watch more of it, and try to figure it out. Which requires too much patience, which is always in short supply. When forced to read with an end-objective in mind (like CA exams, interviews, etc.) it only gets worse. The outcome is the same (you don’t read them), but add to it a feeling of guilt.

That is why I enjoy reading newspapers online. Read something that catches your fancy, and there are always related articles that you can read, an opinion column that provides a beginning and some context, and if you read on rediff it will inevitably lead you to a slideshow of scantily-clad models :-).

A separate post on The Hindu vs lesser mortals will follow.

11 comments:

Anand said...

"I am also a big fan of tabloids – I used to look forward to the free tabloid that you could pick out at the London tube stations (can someone remind me the name)"

- that would Metro (morning paper), London Lite, London Paper (evening papers). Love 'em too, can't beat good 'ol celeb goss, specially of the Amy Winehouse variety.

You should also try papers like the Daily Mail (UK), they make even regular "serious" news sound like gossip!!!

Vidya Venkat said...

Yes - Metro - that is the name I was trying to recollect - thanks Anand :)

Dhananjay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dhananjay said...

But we don't for the paper. I mean I have a 2 year subscription of DNA and HT for about 200 each. Dad tells me he makes more money by selling off all the newspapers at the end of month. So they are for free :-) Rather they pay us to read it :-)
I still like my good old newspaper. I can't read the online on in the confines of my bathroom :-)

Anonymous said...

dhanno.... u shud get a laptop!!!! hahahahaha

Vidya Venkat said...

well, i agree on the 'you don't pay for the paper' part - recently subscribed to TOI or some 300 bux, for which I got a travel bag free, which even by my MIL's strict standards should be worth at least 200 bux. We'll more than make up for the 100 bux by selling old paper.

John said...

1. Cartoons (I love them, Calvin and Hobbes, Heathcliff, Wizard of Id, Archies, Asterix, Garfield, Dilbert, Simpsons)
2. Simple brain exercises (Spot the differences, word jumbles, mazes, sudokus (to an extent), cross-words (very rarely))
3. Gossip
4. Agony Aunt columns of whatever kind (especially relationship columns, I get almost voyeuristic pleasure reading them)
5. Regular Columnists (not a regular reader of any of them in the paper version, used to enjoy V. Gangadhar’s Slice of Life)
6. Editorials and Opinions
7. Local news (the chain snatching, broken roads beware, woman elopes with neighbour kinds)


I think I totally agree with your little list. but I think the Hindu has too few Cartoon strips :(

Nishu said...

Don't u read the Variety section on Hindu?? The Religion thingy and the crossword puzzle can drive anyone crazy. Hindu ain't that bad at times :D I hate their "HARD" Sudokus :MAD:

Cheers...

Dhananjay said...

Where's that elusive post on Hindu and Lesser Mortals?

Maddy said...

My favourites are the simple brainy sections (Sudoku, Kakurao, Jumble, etc). If you like these, then TOI has the best daily - Mumbai times and Mumbai Mirror. During my project in Mumbai, the half hour journey to office invariably ended with solved puzzles stashed at the back of the cab :)

I infected my colleague Prabhat too into doing the jumble everyday at lunch when we are at a plant in Morena (in MP). Looked forward to these puzzles in that drab plant...Sigh!

sujeetjoshi said...

I love the travel columns by Hugh & Colleen Gantzer in the Hindu Sunday mag!