NEWSLETTER JULY 2004
NEWSLETTER, July 2004
EDITOR: N. Watson Solomon (aka Nirmaldasan)
Issue No: 53
Welcome to another edition of the Journalism Online newsletter. It is
a bit overloaded with ... Read on.
Regards. Nirmaldasan, from Chennai
IN THIS ISSUE...
* thought for the month
* editorial: pulli raja again
* media news
* site review: www.gurunet.com
* special column: creating an e-mail newsletter -- part I
* guest column: professional education for media
* small things that mean much
* creative pulse
* media humour
* site update
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
In 'On The Sense Of Humour', Lin Yutang writes: "Homorists handle
thoughts and ideas as golf or billiard champions handle the ball, or
as cowboy champions handle the lariat. There is an ease, a sureness,
a lightness of touch, that comes from mastery. After all, only he who
handles his ideas lightly is master of his ideas, and only he who is
master of his ideas is not enslaved by them."
EDITORIAL: PULLI RAJA AGAIN
Pulli Raja, the invisible icon of the controversial AIDS awareness
campaign (first phase) in South India last year, will once again be
all over town in a couple of months. The U.S.-based Population
Services International, responsible for the multi-media campaign,
simply ignored protests from women's groups till the very end. PSI
had earlier courted controversy with a similar campaign (Balbir
Pasha) in Maharashtra.
A study, commissioned by the PSI, claims that the Pulli Raja campaign
had raised AIDS risk perception. But the fact remains that the
campaign was ill-conceived, sexist and vulgar. The PSI communications
manager, Kaveeta Jayaram, reluctantly concedes that the first phase
of the campaign had unwittingly portrayed women, especially sex
workers, in bad light. She promises that the second phase would give
a rounded picture and steer clear of gender bias.
PSI has a sorry record of unkept promises. Balbir Pasha and Pulli
Raja-I have done enough damage to the gendered psyche. It would be a
fallacy to argue that AIDS is a greater problem than gender
discrimination. Even if it were, we need to remember that AIDS and
gender issues are mutually exclusive. Therefore, there is no need for
an AIDS awareness campaign to be gender biased. Such campaigns, in
fact, should be launched only after a review by women's groups. The
National Commission for Women should take up this issue with the
authorities concerned lest an unrepentant and sexist Pulli Raja
dishonour the human mind once again through hoardings and television
Akbar threatens to sue government in 'IHT' case dispute
Pressure on Government over IHT issue
Women in the Media Survey
`Pulli Raja raised AIDS risk perception'
Tehelka Tapes Original, Not Over-Dubbed: Expert
Nod for Radio Pakistan reporter likely
BBC to adopt new guidelines on reporting standards
Rural Newspaper Revolution
Iranian dailies tie up with Urdu, Telugu papers
GuruNet At A Glance
By Yona Noone
GuruNet's mission: To deliver relevant, qualified answers on demand.
GuruNet www.gurunet.com provides answers at your fingertips. Have you
ever tried to look up simple reference information with a search
engine? First, you open the search engine in your browser. Then you
type in a term. What comes back? Frustrating and time-wasting
information overload -- lists of thousands of links, each to be
clicked on one at a time. GuruNet goes beyond search to display
authoritative answers, definitions, and facts for more than three
quarters of a million topics.
The ultimate reference tool, GuruNet is an answer engine that
provides answers, not links. We all believe that life's too short to
search, so GuruNet gives you the answers you need without burying you
under an avalanche of irrelevant, distracting information.
GuruNet's value proposition is simple: As an answer engine, GuruNet
delivers clear, focused, authoritative facts without the clutter and
time-consuming process of searching web pages full of thousands of
links. It's a complete, virtual collection of hundreds of reference
works and live data feeds.
Search engines are helpful at conducting wide-area scans. However,
using a search engine as a reference tool has a number of clear
disadvantages -- the list you receive is sometimes hundreds of
thousands of links long, and the ideal page may be in position
2,148. Ahead of it may be links that you try one by one, back and
forth, wasting time viewing entire pages, when all you actually
wanted is a short tidbit, definition, or explanation.
With the GuruNet Kids edition, younger students get the answers they
need without exposing them to inappropriate information often found
on the web. For example, a child who is working on a biology project
may look up the word 'skin' on a regular search engine. With GuruNet
Kids, they find a diagram of the parts of the skin with clear,
concise explanations -- not inappropriate content.
Since customers usually find the information they are looking for in
GuruNet's content, the reference answer process becomes a quick,
safe, enjoyable, and efficient one.
GuruNet attracts two major categories of users:
1) Individuals who require precise language/terminology/facts as part
of their primary daily activities:
a. Students -- for help in writing papers, homework and doing
research. Ask any kid -- it's pretty easy to get distracted when
working on schoolwork!
b. Teachers -- GuruNet helps teachers reach many kinds of learners,
with live in-classroom look-ups, sign language content, and
preparation for focused topic-based learning. They also can
reinforce classroom assignments with targeted GuruNet homework
c. Professionals with diverse projects -- attorneys, advertisers,
journalists (editors, writers), consultants working on projects in
various realms needing instant access to the diverse vocabularies of
d. ESL/International -- for those who seek a more extensive command
of the English language, GuruNet provides concise, easy-to-read facts
and definitions about words or phrases they may come across while
reading to ensure the usage is correct. In addition to the
information found in the topics themselves, we offer translations on
a word-by-word basis into one of 14 languages.
2)General Public -- anyone who sees the time-saving benefit of being
able to type in or 'Alt-Click' on any word and get instant
information (e.g., while reading an article/column on-line, an e-mail
that uses an unfamiliar term, quick weather info, or language help
The GuruNet product line is continuing to evolve, providing
information retrieval power to both individuals and organizations.
They are continuously expanding their patented technology and expect
to announce support for new platforms, functionality, and products
for vertical markets.
Creating An E-mail Newsletter
Part I: Before You Start
By Moira Allen
Writers have experimented with a variety of forms of
"self-publication" on the Web, and one of the most popular types
of publication to emerge from online technology is the e-mail
newsletter. There are literally thousands of e-mail newsletters
online, on every subject you can imagine (and many you probably
never dreamed of).
E-mail newsletters appeal to writers who dream of launching their
own periodical, without the costs of print, paper and postage.
Unlike a Web site, they have the advantage of requiring no design
or HTML skills. All you need is an e-mail program; sites like
Yahoo Groups and Topica will host your newsletter at no cost.
Before yielding to the temptation of the "paperless periodical,"
however, you need to ask yourself a few questions -- the most
important being "Why?"
Determining Your Purpose:
There are actually many good reasons for a writer to launch an
e-mail newsletter. One of the most common is to provide a vehicle
through which to promote your books or other writings. An e-mail
newsletter can be a great way to stay in touch with fans, and to
build a larger audience for your work.
Newsletters are particularly effective if you've written a
nonfiction book, as you can use it to target an audience hungry
for information on your subject. By creating a newsletter that
offers worthwhile articles, news and updates, and links to useful
sites, you're likely to attract a broader readership for your
work. Such a newsletter is also likely to attract links from Web
sites related to your topic.
Fiction authors often use an e-mail newsletter to keep fans
informed of new releases, speaking and booksigning engagements,
and other events in the author's life. Such newsletters may also
include short book excerpts, or perhaps nonfiction material (such
as background information or writing tips) that are related to
the author's fiction work.
Another reason to launch a newsletter may simply be your desire
to provide information about a topic that is close to your heart.
Whether you write about parenting or pets, children or computers,
chances are you have lots of information to share that won't fit
into a traditional magazine article.
Whatever your reason for launching a newsletter, your second
question should be, "Who?"
Determining Your Audience:
Who will read your newsletter, and why? Unless you can answer
these questions, your newsletter's circulation will remain
discouragingly limited. As you develop your newsletter topic, you
must also develop a mental picture of the "typical" reader for
whom the newsletter is designed.
If, for example, you wanted to launch a newsletter about
"writing," you need to determine what type of writer you want to
reach. Do you want to provide information for beginners, or for
more experienced writers? Based on your specific area of
expertise, should you target writers in a particular genre or
subject area, such as mystery writers or tech writers? Perhaps
you might choose to target writers in a particular demographic
group, such as "writing parents," or "working writers." By
defining your audience, you will be able to define the content
that is most appropriate for your publication. You'll also have
a better idea where to find that audience (i.e., by promoting
through Web sites that appeal to that audience).
If your goal is to promote your work to existing and future fans,
you need to know a little bit about who your fans are and what
appeals to them about your work. Are your readers drawn to your
books by the characters, or for your accurate depiction of a
period in history? Do they enjoy the romance or the flashing
swords? Are they interested in your personal life, or would they
rather hear your tips on becoming a successful author?
Keep in mind that you can never please all the people, all the
time. For every letter that I get telling me that the "Writing
World" newsletter has too much "beginner" material, I'll get
another saying that the articles are too advanced. For every
person who complains that the newsletter is too long, another
will say that it is too short. One will ask why I never cover a
particular topic; another will ask why I wasted so much space
covering that same topic. Having a firm "vision" of what you want
to accomplish and whom you're trying to reach is the best way to
keep this sort of conflicting feedback in perspective.
But "how" will you reach that audience and accomplish that goal?
That's the third and final question you need to ask yourself
before launching a newsletter!
Determining Your Approach:
It's very easy to get caught up in the excitement of launching a
publication, to imagine the thrill of having hundreds or even
thousands of readers signing up to read your words every month,
or even every week. Then the reality sets in: Those readers
expect something from you every month, or twice a month, or every
week. How do you intend to deliver?
Do you have enough material to produce a regular publication?
Does your subject area lend itself to regular coverage? Does it
offer enough "fuel" for regular monthly, bimonthly or weekly
articles? Is enough happening in your field to provide regular
"news updates?" Will you be able to fill those pages week after
week, month after month, year after year?
Do you intend to write all the material yourself? This is the
least expensive way to produce a newsletter, but also the most
time-consuming. Coming up with something new for your readers
week after week can be a tremendous burden. Nor can you afford to
"slack off" -- even a single mediocre issue will cost readers.
Do you need help? Many, if not most, e-mail newsletters rely on
contributions from outside writers. Many also have a small
"staff" to help gather news items, hunt up useful links, and
manage subscribers. It's often possible to find volunteers for
all of these tasks, but when your help is unpaid, it can be more
difficult to control the quality of your newsletter. (It's hard
to be critical of the performance of those who are donating their
time or work out of the goodness of their hearts.) Which brings
us to the final question...
Do you want your newsletter to be a source of income? Many
e-mail newsletters began as labors of love -- and evolved into
income-producers. Often, this transition is a matter of
necessity, such as the need to generate enough income to pay for
contributions to the publication. Many editors suddenly realize
that their "labor of love" is cutting into paying writing time
-- and to justify its continued existence, it must start paying
In Part II, "The Mechanics", we'll look at ways to make a
newsletter profitable, as well as how to design and format your
newsletter, and how to attract and manage subscribers.
Ezine-Tips.com -- http://Ezine-Tips.com/about/
E-zines.com -- http://www.e-zinez.com/index.html
So, You Want to Start an E-Zine? -- http://www.zinebook.com/roll.html
(This article originally appeared in 'The Writer' and has been
reproduced with permission from Writing World www.writing-world.com )
Professional Education For Media
By Dr. I. Arul Aram
For the world to be a happier place for all, we need to develop more
open and inclusive information societies. This depends on the
capabilities of those who work in media. Realising the challenge,
JourNet was formed under UNESCO's auspices to network media schools.
The JourNet International Conference on Professional Education for
Media was in Newcastle, Australia, from February 16 to 19, 2004.
(Newcastle is a beachside city known for surfing, sailing, skydiving
and dolphin watch cruises.) The conference attracted some of the
world's leading media experts.
Abdul Waheed Khan, Assistant Director-General, UNESCO, said media
should promote mutual understanding and tolerance. It should
facilitate free exchange of knowledge and serve as a platform of
dialogue for diverse groups.
Chen Peiqin said bilingual journalism teaching in Chinese
universities combined Chinese and Western concepts. The increase in
English media (particularly websites) called for journalists who
could work in both English and Chinese. Those undergoing such a
programme could work overseas as well.
Janne Bang Nielsen argued that qualified journalists often could not
work together as a group. The modern journalist must be a team
builder and team player. The notion of the journalist as just a
writer was narrow. Instead of acting as a lone ranger, the journalist
had to learn different actors' perspectives and tasks. Considering
the convergence of media (in formats and professional practices),
media educators should redesign syllabi.
Violet Valdez presented an overview of an online M.A. programme in
Journalism from Manila. This e-learning programme gave journalists in
the Asia-Pacific region access to high standard of education from
their home or office computers, anytime.
Romy Froehlich said the high percentage of women who graduated in
journalism and the rising share of women entering the profession
during the past few decades had had least impact on the number of
women in senior positions. The image of female journalists as "better
communicators" was a dangerous myth that might hinder women's career
in journalism. Transferring mothering role from home to workplace led
to a "friendliness trap" that made women lack assertiveness.
Tanja Dreher said that while journalism had a long tradition of
informing citizens and defending democracy, the discussion of
journalists' responsibility in a multicultural context remained
underdeveloped. `Indifference to difference' had been a value in
Australian journalism and this needed to be challenged. Journalists
should be more sensitive towards aborigine issues. Journalists and
journalism educators must reflect critically on this.
Kathryn Bice of The Sydney Morning Herald said the newspaper
recruitment process emphasised on taking in minority groups like
Arabs and those from backward areas, so as to ensure that a
multicultural diversity was reflected in the newsroom.
Ruediger Claus talked about a digital photography course offered free
by the International Institute for Journalism in Germany. A
photographer of today had to do more jobs than just clicking a
picture. S/he should have knowledge of transferring photographs into
a computer, digitally improving photos, cropping photos, writing
captions, distributing photos and archiving photos.
Taking cue from the Noelle-Neumann's spiral of silence model, my
paper discussed how the Internet was redefining media. According to
the model, some people might find their views losing ground; such
people might not openly express deviant opinion and/or change from
deviant to dominant opinion. But the Internet went a step further by
allowing groups neglected by media to air their views - it could be
done by initiating an e-group or creating a website. Thus the
Internet helped contain the `spiral of silence' to some extent.
Chatting during the conference dinner in wine countryside, JourNet
president Frank Morgan (of Newcastle University) said media people
must be more professional. An instance where media had got it
completely wrong was that it painted a wrong picture that Australians
were mostly Republican. "But we are not; we love monarchy." (And adds
humourously) "Monarchy is good. It is better to put the blame on
someone when something goes wrong!"
The British Council, Chennai, funded my trip to the conference at the
request of Pieter Wessells of the Commonwealth Journalists'
Association. CJA is an association of journalists, and it organises
training programmes on journalistic skills throughout the
Commonwealth. To sign off, Australians have a special liking for
India as many of their ancestors had served in India during the
(The writer is Chief Sub-Editor with The Hindu, Chennai)
SMALL THINGS THAT MEAN MUCH
80 Is Good, Sober Genius
By A. Thirugnanasambandamoorthy
Twenty years ago I had read a very revealing article in 'Reader's
Digest' by a psychiatrist. He had narrated how he convinced a parent
that his child must be a good student to have secured 80 marks and
not a mediocre one as the parent had dubbed him. Then he had gone on
to say only an average student can consistently get more than 50.
Only a student of very superior intelligence can get 80. This girl or
boy can easily be encouraged to soar into the 90s bracket. But if you
dismiss 80 as something commonplace the youngster will lose heart not
knowing how big and good 80 is.
A couple of months later I read English Test cricketer Peter
parfitt's 'My Best 10 Cricketers'. Of course the great Gary Sobers
was one of them. Mr. Parfitt had asked Gary: You are a genius to whom
everything is natural and easy. And there are some in your team who
just cannot measure up to your standard. How do you remain composed
even when simple mistakes are made? Gary's answer is a lesson to
teachers, coaches and parents. Peter, he said, right from the
beginning I have known I am a genius and all my teammates are not.
Some of them may be below the mark. When one of them spills a simple
catch, I walk up to him to say do not let this lapse bother you. I
know you are capable of doing better and you will do better.
This attitude has a positive and rejuvenating effect on the other
person. Elders will always do well to nurture the talent the younger
ones have with words of encouragement and cheer.
1. The Medicine
By Ashwin Kumar
It is now on for such a long time,
It's about time they called it a miracle,
I thought it would end soon but I was proven wrong,
How by the sheer gift of hope she just lived on.
They told it was cancer, that they could do nothing,
But she proved it to them that they needn't do anything at all,
She would see through the darkness as if it never existed,
And wake up every morning to stand on her legs, unassisted.
The doctors have grown bald, the nurses have grown fat,
And those who were bachelors are now caring dads,
The hospital is running out of patients,
Getting sick is so out of style,
As everyone seems cured and healthy after seeing her salubrious smile.
2. Not To Belong
By S.A. Prabhakar
I cannot tell you
Where I'm from
The place I was born
Was not where I grew up
The first just a name
The second was a shame
Both had temples though
One of the reclining god
The other of a dusky goddess
I'd visited more often
Yet she watched quietly
As hunger sat
Unsatiated at my door
And chaos swept in
With rapid eyes
And even swifter tongue
Speaking of things unseen
Railing at unknown foes
The personal, a spectacle...
Whose sacrificial fire
Had I been thrown in
Whose misery to mitigate?
What god was it
That slept through my nightmare
Scorched by whose sins
As I cried in torment --
I was burnt to the bone
Yet lived and learnt
Not to strike roots in the air
To let things go
To look and not to long
To be and not to belong --
Beloved, you want to go
Visit the reclining god
And the dusky goddess --
Maybe you will see him stir
And the other smile.
Translator gets 400 words to translate.
Client: How long will it take?
Translator: About a week.
Client: A whole week for just 400 words? God created the world
in 6 days.
Translator: Then just take a look at this world and afterwards
take a look at my translation.
(Courtesy: http://www3.sympatico.ca/srajano/jokes.html )
2. Say That Again ...
* He had a photographic memory that was never developed.
* Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
* Acupuncture is a jab well done.
* A midget fortune-teller who escapes from prison is a small medium
* When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.
* She was engaged to a boyfriend with a wooden leg but broke it off.
* Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
* A backward poet writes inverse.
* A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.
* Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
(compiled from Express Vibes, November 28, 2003)
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