What future for specialised media?
Development media, agri and rural media space?
We have a lot of association, long memories and many of our older associates and friends have come from the EPW stable. In particular, the long-time editor, the most amiable Krishna Raj, was our long-time friend.
Whenever we visited the first call would be on Krishna Raj in his modest cubicle and there are others, one was our Oxford friend, she used to urge us at the very first instance to take out a subscription for the venerable journal!
There is much to say about the EPW story and here we won’t do it.
The point here is that Indian media scene is now radically changed. There is no space in India for any high-minded pursuit of ideals for ideals sake, right?
The Indian media scene is so changed, so commercialised, so much dominated not by the right people, we feel. It is one of a heady-competitive world of 99-odd TV channels, news channels alone proliferating in all languages and that is a huge industry space here, the language channels alone are differently segmented. If you take the Tamil language TV channels, it is almost deafening noise pollution here. The two Dravidian parties and their smaller cousins all go for 24/7 noise and film serials! TV watching is now almost a health hazard, it seems! There is no room for anything else, no news, and no reliable news at all. All plain and shameless brain-washing!
As for the print media, the major newspapers, the old and venerable ones are also now struggling and the only way forward, it seems, is to go for the tabloid versions!
Now, what is the future for such serious-minded EPW? As we see the more the academic standards fall, the more fall would be for the standard of contributions to journals like EPW.
Once, yes, it was a heady stuff. When economics played a dominant role in
the social sciences there came along names like K.N.Raj and Amartya Sen and many others like prominent Leftists like Romesh Thapar and Bengal academic-turned finance minister who wrote regularly. Krishna Raj used to cite the contributors whom he much admired.
Though we knew some these prominent luminaries these Leftist intellectuals brought about a very narrow and restricted mindset to bear on the ideology of the EPW. This narrow and restricted mindset also limited its readability and the saleability of the journal. By the way, there is no politics in the EPW name, not even much worthwhile economics. Indian economy has changed.
We need a new realistic goal of transforming the Indian economy, politics and society!
Now, as we are also in parallel field our media ventures also have similar challenges when it comes to survival in the open market. Of course you can’t run print media ventures just only on the profit motive alone and achieve anything other than increasing your profits!
Money-driven print media and values driven print media?
EPW is certainly a values- driven venture also. Thus we salute it. Lately, there is information about the declining readership. Donations and banks’ ads, EPW, have other donors.
Media success is a mix of many things. Ultimately, what the media venture achieves, what gives fulfilment are all in the realm of one’s particular vision, public good and call it whatever way you find agreeable.
Vadamalai Media’s constituency is agriculture and rural India. Its commitment is defend this constituency and seek justice, freedom and equity and equality of opportunities and the fundamental rights of the people who constitute this constituency.
How many media ventures that purportedly seek the pubic good? How many succeed? How many fall out on the way?
Such questions can’t be answered to the satisfaction of all. But we can at least see the public perception and the public opinion of the people in this constituency in whose name all our otherwise powerful and influential personages, the powerful politicians and the corporate heavyweights operate, make promises, seek to sell their promises, and products and services and hog the limelight, name and fame!
So long there is injustice and poverty and even after making it in life people seek meaning and a place in life the agriculture and the rural India sectors would come to their minds.
It is this dream of a new India that is free of the many disabilities and also an India that is driven by great and noble ideals, our media venture would have served its purpose!