For over a month now, I’ve been an employee of a leading player in the print media landscape in India. Having observed from close quarters, an industry that thrives on news every single minute of the day, here are my top ten reflections from the industry I depend on for my daily bread. (…and butter and jam and the occasional sandwich!)
1. Being in the newspaper industry isn’t just as glamorous as it seems. It’s just that bit more you never thought of. Suddenly Vir Sanghvi, Mrinal Pandey and Farhad Wadia become your bosses and you also get to flaunt that ‘PRESS’ sticker on your car.
2. It’s okay not to be entirely committed to it. As long as you are okay fiddling with news you can get away with a lot of things. E.g. the landmark Bombay Times, the trendy HT Style and the challenger in DNA After Hours.
3. Working for a newspaper is like playing a One Day Series. The catch being you never get to choose whether you want to play a day game or a day and night game. You just play along!
4. It is the only industry that makes money between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
5. It’s the antithesis of the wine industry. You want the newspaper served the moment it’s distilled.
6. Selling more and more units of papers in this industry is like risking your life every time you have sex with a new woman. It just about feels right but the more you sell, the more you lose on every paper.
7. This goes without saying but you are unlikely to be considered fit for the editorial team unless you have an unshaven look, can smoke and sport a low waist rugged jeans without a belt.
8. There are some news that can’t be bought. For everything else there’s a Page 3 in ToI. Actually I'm being kind here ; you could have their editorial space too!
9. Most days I love my job. The days I don’t, I love flirting with it.
10. I’m running out of ideas. Help! :-D
These are the best of times for newspapers because being challenged across media means that the newspapers have to pull up their socks every single day to stay ahead of the net, TV and digital forms of media. These are also the worst of times for that very reason. Either way, two years from today newspapers will never be the same.
Now, that’s fairly exciting! :-)