Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ET: First Day, First Show

What's a poor blogger to do? You write about them, they get upset. You don't write about them, they get even more upset. Apparently, as a bunch of Express Tribune staffers have informed all and sundry, Cafe Pyala NOT urgently firing off a post about the the new paper's first day in print has been a topic of much speculative debate at the office.

And then, of course, we have you, our loyal readers who mostly don't seem to care about anything else either and insist on bringing up the topic in random discussions. Shoaib and Sania? Yeah, but how much is the Express Tribune going to cost? Wasim Akram may have buckled under legal pressure to retract his wild allegations against Lahore doctors while dating Sushmita Sen but did you know Ayesha Siddiqa is now writing for ET? Seven people died in Hazara protesting the name Pakhtunkhwa but will ET have the full International Herald Tribune? (Answers: Rs. 20 25, yes, yes.)

If the comments on this blog are anything to go by (and I have no reason to believe they are), ET has certainly captured its market's imagination.

Now, here is the real reason why we haven't blogged about ET on its first day: it's much too early to make a considered evaluation. I mean, it's the first day, for crying out loud. What I can offer, however, is first impressions (sorry Ahsan, was forced to fish outside off stump):

1. The paper looks very good. And by that I mean its design, its paper quality, its clean font (though the older lot may find it too small to read) and its liberal use of big pictures and highlights.

2. It will almost surely appeal to the young, upper middle-class, English-speaking market who like the USA Today type of soundbite news (the numbers, the random quotes, the cool graphics), who follow European football (main story in 'Sport' is about the Barca - Real Madrid match) and would like to read international news directly from the IHT . And it is obviously consciously targeting that demographic - hell, its main story in the city pages is about the Gulf Shopping Centre in Clifton, it highlights the number of books in the Sind Club library and it has a story about Karachi Grammar School admissions.

3. Its news content is fairly standard, its headings often pedestrian (the main heading "Gilani calls for paradigm shift in government policies" begs the question who the prime minister is calling on to do this!) and it had almost no hard-hitting exclusives. In fact, most of the stories were either Pakistani wire-agency-ish ('Fake liquor business flourishing in Islamabad') or featurish ('A window into what was Peshawar'). This was sort of expected given the lack of a strong reporting squad. But after the novelty of the new paper and its design wears off, this may become a serious issue: what exactly is the paper offering in terms of local content that is not available in other (cheaper) papers, on television or the net?

4. The front page and back page are a bit of a disaster: a total of three (count them, THREE) stories on the front page (none of which really grab your attention) and only one (ONE!) tired feature-ish story about blood transfusions on the back page. Incidentally, the back page is titled 'Rear Mirror'. One of the newspaper's staffers, recently tweeted "I'm embarrassed working for a paper that calls its back page 'Rear Mirror'". He should probably be more embarrassed by the content. The point is, if you're going to slash the number of stories on the two most important pages of a newspaper, at least make sure the stories you do carry are something to talk about.

5. There is a distinct lack of news analysis. The one piece dubbed 'Analysis' ("The politics of language and ethnicity" by a Zia M. Khan) on the 'National' pages  is a singularly uninformed piece of speculative waffle. It even manages to mis-label the Hazarawals "an ethnic community different from Pakhtuns."

6. The most engaging pages seem to be the 'Life & Style' pages, which at least have a couple of exclusive pieces on the fashion sense of the Bhuttos (admittedly more of a blog post) and the policy regarding Indian films in Pakistani cinemas.

7. The editorial pages again look good and they have managed to rope in ace-cartoonist Zahoor, though the editorials themselves seem lost in the clutter of the opeds. The opeds themselves today are nothing much to write home about though Ayesha Siddiqa's piece and Indian writer Farzana Versey's were quite readable and interesting.

In general, we need to see more to make a proper judgement. We still have to have a dekko at their magazines and what advertising does to their layout and design over time also remains to be seen (obviously the first day's paper has only minimal advertising). ET should make inroads into a niche elite market (and pretty much wipe out the miniscule readership of The Daily Times) but without some must-read news stories, it is going to find that very few regular readers of Dawn and The News (or even The Nation, when the paper eventually launches in Lahore) are going to jump ship. And it is worth remembering that fewer and fewer people are subscribing to more than one paper because of the rising costs of newspapers (to which ET has added).

Of course, that may all be irrelevant, since as we all know, English newspapers (or newspapers in general) are not published for their wide readership in Pakistan. Political and media leverage is, more than ever, the name of the game. Even Arif Nizami has been heard confirming that he too is planning to bring out yet another English paper.

Post-Script 1:

Here's the paper's editorial which will be printed tomorrow. I know nobody buys a paper for the editorials but now why would you put it on the net the day before?

A new name for a province
Editorial -- Express Tribune -- April 13

"The deaths of at least five people in Abbotabad on Monday after protests against the NWFP’s name-change turned violent are most tragic and serve to remind us just how emotional this whole issue is. The lives were lost after police tried to break up protests which had been continuing in the city since the passage of the 18th amendment in the National Assembly late last week. The protesters are part of a movement that seeks to create a new province from NWFP’s Hazara district on linguistic grounds and bases its argument along the same lines as the one that enabled the province to get a new name Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. That said, it is worth pointing out that living in a democracy often means having to accept the views of the majority and this is precisely what has happened in the case of the people of Hazara vis-a-vis the ANP’s successful challenge to the province’s existing – colonial – name. It also means that one can express divergent views but within the boundaries of the constitution and preferably through one’s elected representatives. In that context, one may ask that why wasn’t this disagreement or dissension channelled through Hazara’s MNAs and MPAs when discussions were going on to draw up the draft of the 18th amendment?

We would like to counsel caution and restraint on all sides for now given that the political and administrative centre of the province happens to be in a Pashto speaking area. The police action – which the ANP will inevitably say was unavoidable – is only going to inflame passions further and for that very reason the onus lies on the provincial government to direct the law-enforcement agencies and the local administration in Abbotabad to proactively take steps to defuse the tension. As for the protesters, they need to understand that it would be best if they were to make their point through parliament not in the street."

Post Script 2:

'The newspaper's already turning up the heat in media circles across the nation... If this was war, the Express Tribune team are ready for their turn." Enjoy!


Umair J said...

Two off-topic things:

How are the Hazarawals not an ethnic community?

Secondly, Arif Nizamis newspaper-in-the-pipeline is allegedly called 'Pakistan'

Anonymous said...

Umair J: Because Hazara is a (rather artificial) colonial creation lying between the Pakhtun belt and Kashmir, it lumps together a large number of very diverse 'ethnic' groups ie Tanoli, Jadoon, Mughal, Awan, Tareen, Gujar, etc, each claiming very different origins and histories. Confusingly, some claim Pakhtun ancestry too. And then there are Kohistanis in Hazara division, but we won't get into that here.
Most Hazarewal are united around the fact that they have long supported some form of Muslim League and speak Hindko. The latter makes them a linguistic rather than an ethnic group. But nationalist passions are high in the region owing to what they perceive as Pakhtun dominance

Anonymous said...

Oh my God! Is this Dawn News part 2? The video certainly suggests as much. My heart is sinking

Nabeel said...

If it is Dawn News part II, then I'd celebrate. Better than Geo News part II. What would you rather have - more sordid details on the sex lives of the wannabe celebrities or what seems to be an honest effort at some better journalism? Like CP points out, they lack reporters for now. I hated Dawnnews (the tv channel) when it came out but it improved steadily over time. Let's hope this does too.

If you're comparing this to DAWN the newspaper,then i again fail to see why that is a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant analysis XYZ! couldn't agree with you more

AKS said...

Man ET looks good. Hell, it looks good enough to overcome the terribleness of its reporting. And the IHT supplement is going to come in handy once NYT becomes accessible only though an IPAD app.

Think of it this way: which newspaper do you think appeals to advertisers more: boring, monochrome Dawn or exciting, colourful Express Tribune?

He who gets the ads is king.

Anonymous said...

Will the real slims please stand up :P ?

Mungal Panday said...

So...Wasim Akram eh....

Saad Azher said...

@ AKS - It is obvious by that statement sir that you know nothing about how an advertiser thinks, there is a reason why KTN is the only cable TV channel that is in the black in Pakistan and it isn't because it is pretty! Penetration and demographic have a bit of sway in the matter.
I agree with CP too early to tell, though to be honest, if this is the big first day, I am not looking forward to what is to follow.

Anonymous said...

First, a disclaimer: I am neither a Hazarawal nor speak Pashtoo.

From your comment, it seems that you don't differentiate between race and ethnicity. To me, this is an analytical mistake. While the issue of race is tricky, it is not that difficult to define and operationalize ethnicity in Pakistan.

It is a considered opinion of many anthropologists that the Hazarawals are indeed an ethnic group just as the Pakhtuns are. In any case, both of them, to quote Benedict Anderson, are imagined communities. Of course, it is easy to find people claiming "foreign" lineage (e.g. Arab), or of Pakhtun descent and what not among the Hazarawals. Similarly, there are several tribes/clans among the Pakhtuns who are not considered Pakhtuns by some puritans. And I am not talking of the kasabgars, but of the Khattaks and the Syeds (and few others). In spite of these fissures, there is a Pakhtun identity just as there is a Hazarawal identity. Similarly, there is a very good case of considering the Kohistanis as a different ethnic group. There are many more in the province formerly known as the NWFP (new name: yet to be decided ;-)

One more thing: ethnicity is not a static concept. Rather it is quite dynamic. It is not something that is frozen in time and space. You may (or may not) have heard of "situational ethnicity" or "ethnies" (sic) -- ideas which are worth looking into if you want to understand -- and problematize --the way "Pakistani" society is organized and functions.

All the best for your otherwise excellent blog.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how the market will react to two new newspapers.
Arif Nizami's paper is going to be called Pakistan Today. They're just about to start an advertising campaign for HR.
He has more journalistic clout than the Lakhanis so we might expect better news content but on the other hand, the Lakhanis also have the TV channels to somehow support ET.

AKS said...

Saad Azher:

Trust me, Rolex (or their authorized agent) and BMW (who recently had a half page ad in Dawn) don't care much viewing numbers, they care about their image and the quality of the readers. Having their image attached to a hip-happening, internationally affiliated newspaper that is read (viewed, really) by the 'right people' is what matters. And here, ET can really hit Dawn hard.

As for KTN being "the only cable TV channel that is in the black in Pakistan," you're having a laugh. Urdu channels maybe having a hard time (unless they're named Geo), but regional language and food channels channels aren't doing too badly.

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

The billboards put up by Express Tribune say some thing like this

"You will not even SWAT A FLY with it"

After paying like Rs.20 - 25 i dont think i will even Drain oil from my Pakoras. :P

On a serious note Good Luck Tribune!

Anonymous said...

After this "harsh" Blog ET wallahs would be wishing you had better delayed more.

From your view, I can assume ET another ordinary paper and may only harm DT market only.

Anonymous said...

The Ad says that ET will cost 25 on normal days and "horrible" 40 Rs on Sunday. 40 Rs is too much unless they plan to distribute NYT sunday magazine with it.

WHS said...

Lets SWAT OURSELVES after paying 40 Rs for ET!! :P

Anonymous said...

Just for the record: it costs 25 rupees on weekdays and not 20

Anonymous said...

some praise for ET portal

Anonymous said...

Here is the praise;


TLW said...

Bad news PyalaWala's;

Like a vampire with bullet wound, this filthy story has risen back from the dead:


Now I know why I always suspected this Sana Saleem.

Guys I think your blog is being trolled for news fodder by the above ground journalists.

And this stilted news handout, seems to eerily resonate with that News report you quoted.

Cafe Pyala, I think we need to "deal" with Dawn Blog, and this vapidly confused Sana Saleem.

Anonymous said...

Is cafe pyala that hard on Express Tribune only because Kamal Siddiqi is the editor? Because i for one enjoyed "reading" et more than i enjoyed "looking" at it.

Anonymous said...

Now someone brings in Kamal Siddiqi unecessarily into what I thought was a fairly objective analysis of day one of the new paper.
Folks, this is a blog not a fan club or hate society please. Much, much more critical pieces have been written here about Dawn, The News, Daily Times, Geo, Dawn News etc etc without provoking too many tantrums.
So please grow up and let us readers judge for ourselves

Faisal.K said...

Laypout was grt.. was pretty excited when i read the first days paper..not so excited after reading today's content as you say is going to be a severe shortfall...and giving columns to mubasshir luqman wont cut it...

temporal said...

you gave in to the temptation:)

it will take at least 6 months or even 12 for the teething troubles to be wrinkled out

hope you do a review then

Sad Sac said...

The op-ed pages suck!
Or at least they did for the first two ET editions. Today, however, I see better writers on it: Amina Jilani, Rubina Sigol and fasi Zaka.
I think ET will have to fish in some columnists from Dawn, ppl like Irfan Hussain, kamran Shafi, Nadeem Paracha, or maybe even Cowesjee.
But I doubt they'll move. They're just too entrenched in Dawn.
But I agree Pyala, the front and back pages of ET continue to dissapoint. They have absolutely NOTHING!
As for kamal siddiqui ... oh, well. Maybe later. :)

Sad Sac said...

Btw, read todays strange main front page story in ET. It's called 1984 and its about wiretapping in pakistani politics. Can you believe this? This is its front page story. LOL.
What's more check out the glaring typos in the first few paras.
Anyway, I doubt ET will ever be able to dent dawn. However, The News and DT should worry though.

Anonymous said...

Other than the good looks and the pointless additional pages of the IHT there is nothing more to support the premium price. .
Their gamble on the price issue might shun some but on the flip side might also attract the Quality conscious(read status conscious)readers.
As for 'Pakistan Today' (if that is what Arif Nizami's newspaper will be called) we should expect a content driven newspaper from his team. Having said this with the financial backing of Mr.Mansha and the likes you can also expect some decent bucks being spent upon the packaging and marketing of this new venture.
Though it is very difficult to predict the fate of these two new newspapers, one thing's for sure that for years to come 'Pakistan Today' will have one advantage over the rest and that of being the Last Mover!

Anonymous said...

XYZ's criticisms of ET are bang on the button. But to those making comments I say it's too early to be either dismissive or celebratory. The layout is great and it will stay the same. The question is, can they raise the quality of analysis and reporting? And can they - or rather, their readers - afford the price raise compared to other papers?

Some have been saying they should try to nab some big name columnists from Dawn and The News. I'd rather see them unearth new talent. And by this I don't mean solipsistic young men who dabble in the performance arts but those with fresher, stronger, more resonant voices. Do they exist? Is there any such talent out there? I call on ET to at least try to find out.

In other news, CP must have come across this:

Surely this merits the CP treatment. MSS, where are you when we need you?

Anonymous said...

The problem with the ET is that it is trying to attract a younger demographic by focusing on issues important to citizens on a certain side of the bridge. The problem with this approach, however, is that elite kids and yuppies who want to read newspapers are all orint journalists! The rest won't even watch TV news let alone spend one minute reading a paper. A second problem is the price point (which kid wants to spend close to 1000 rupees on one newspaper? And are they at all interested in what is happening in Cuba, the Philippines or Burma (IHT?)
As for the older readers, news content and scoops are all that matters. They probably won't even appreciate a new fresh younger layout (being creatures of habit). They are also more frugal by nature, and as a rule, would be horrified by lack of content, stories about party slims and teenage fashion.
Having said that Pakistan Today will face similar problems. How the big man MN will react will be interesting to see.

Umair J said...

With people like Omar Bilal Akhtar and Sami Shah writing op-ed pieces this newspaper is just a souped up version of the Daily Times. When will people realize that Dawn is Dawn because it has great editing and brilliant content most of the time.

Also i had serious issues with Fasi Zakas piece as well. They need better op-ed writers.

Omar R Quraishi said...

Umair J -- the first 4 days the op-ed pages had the following writers (and this includes April 15 btw): Farzana Versey, Salman Masood, Sami Shah, Ayesha Siddiqa, Quatrina Hosain, Osman Samiuddin
George Fulton, Mubasher Lucman
Omar Bilal Akhtar, Pervez Tahir
Aaker Patel, Marvi Memon
Amina Jilani, Kamran Shahid
Khalid Aziz, Dr Rubina Saigol
Fasi Zaka, Dr Meekal Ahmed
Faiza S Khan, Wajahat S Khan
and Feryal Gauhar -- the rest of the week you can expect to read Fahd Hussain, Naveen Naqvi, Dr Asad Zaman, Zafar Hilaly, Sanaullah Baloch, Mikail Lotia, Shandana Minhas, Khusro Mumtaz, Mohd Waseem, Rasul Baksh Rais, Ayesha Ijaz Khan, Absar Alam, Talat Hussain, Ahmed Rafay Alam, Munizae Jahangir, Javed Ch, Abbas Athar, Farhat Taj, Shahid Amin and soon Omar A Khan -- and these are all regulars -- doesnt include unsolicited articles -- and others that may be approached in the near future or are being approached

There are more to follow -- as temporal said perhaps it is a bit early to judge -- but even when one judges one needs to be fair

Anonymous said...

Omar I "loved" reading et's op-ed

Omar R Quraishi said...

wow 'anonymous' -- you 'just made my day'

Anonymous said...

were you being sarcastic or am i imagining things omar? :(

Umair J said...

@Omar: oh you have both RBR and Waseem sahab...with those two you just won my vote hahaha....haan maybe i was a bit too hasty to pass judgement on the op-ed content but sami shah's pathetic defense of OBA's piece in the comments section was a real let-down...

Monkey said...

Umair J.: Come on yaar, give ET credit where it's due. Their editing is definitely more crisp than Dawn! Dawn is yawn when it comes to editing...they can do so much better with the kind of exclusives they have.

Omar R Quraishi said...

umair -- 'pathetic defence in comments section' -- sir last time i check comments section of a website did not constitute the op-ed content of a newspaper -- at least not the actual articles written by op-ed columnists/contributors -- but of course you are entitled to your opinion sir - yes waseem sahib and rasul bux rais sahib would be good additions for any paper

Sami said...

In defense of my defense (how many times can I say 'defense' in one sentence?), I was just shocked at the unnecessary aggression showed towards Omar's piece. People commenting on not just the writing but his musical skills and him as a person. It is typical of internet comment sections where the anonymity gives people the license to behave like imbeciles. If you mouse over everyone's names in that comments section, no one even bothered to provide their email addresses.

I responded in kind. I instantly regretted it (much like most of my life decisions) but it really does drive me into a rage. I have just seen this happen enough times in comments threads to know that no one wants to create articulate debates (trust me, I've been called a "faggot" on youtube enough times).

That being said, I find the responses to mine, Fasi's and Oba's articles a bit old fashioned. Those who liked them get them, those who don't fall into two camps. People with a different sense of humor (which is something I can respect) and people who think humor has no place in a newspaper (which is silly. My favorite newspaper column is "Notes & errata" by Mark Momford in the SFWeekly. It is hilarious and insightful and more focused on commenting about culture than political developments. One person commented on how I shouldn't try to be a journalist, and I think I made it quite clear up front I have no intentions of doing so. I was hired as a humorist (more pretentious way of saying "clown") and that's what I intend on delivering. I just feel, if you don't like it, go read something else. Don't start banging away hateful and cruel comments. These are human beings writing these columns and they have feelings too.

There. I will no doubt instantly regret writing this too.

Umair J said...

@Omar: you're right on the comments section bit...but todays collection of op-eds was quite awesome, especially the piece by Faiza Khan.

@Sami: Bringing out the oft used narrative of sense-of-humor relativity acts as a convenient solution for many funny-men/women. Fine, we all agree to the fact that there will be people who find Punjabi stage shows funnier than your stand-up routines (even in the Tribune reading class), but a line has to be drawn somewhere. On an arbitrary scale of humor, there are somethings that are objectively speaking quite unfunny and poorly delivered. Nobody on that comment thread was arguing for a removal of humor pieces from the pages of a national daily. Everyone was simply pointing out that the piece itself was half-baked and lame (at best).

Your defense of OBAs piece relied on the fact that there were some readers who simply did not 'get' satire. I've heard of academic chauvinism but comedic chauvinism?? that has to be a new one. My advice, develop a thicker skin. see NFPs articles on the Dawn Blog and go through the comments section. He gets idolized and satanized within the space of two posts and i'm pretty sure he doesn't give a rats ass about it. In any case im hoping you're smart enough to realize that the anonymous humor-haters aren't going to run away any time soon.

Being a sensitive comedian (with feelings) seems to be a paradox of sorts.

Omar R Quraishi said...

thank you umair -- sami -- hey i think this is material prob for your next col? which btw is due next thu

Anonymous said...

Seriously, all tweets, comments and snides on ET aside (why on earth would you want your paper to share a name with a bizzare mute alien from outer space? - wait - it's because ET only appeals to kids?) I hear that it's circulation at the moment = its complimentary copies. Sales are almost at zero level and have been projected forward at a cap of 1500 to 2300 copies a day.
Hawkers are refusing to pick up copies because of its price point and I hear day one at regal chawk (the biggest newspaper sales point in karachi) ET sold - wait for it -one copy.
If this is to be believed, I wonder if Sultan Lakhani will continue to pump money into this venture or chose to shut it down one sunny afternoon as he did with his business paper (which some who still remember it say was fabulous). Or will he persist in his attempt to become a media tycoon/oligarch, and give in to bilal lakhanis ego, and try to lure away some more of the big names with the promise of even more mega bucks?
And this begs the further question, will SL ever make it to the exalted ranks of the top men - MSR and MN? Express Urdu, and the channels haven't done that for him yet...
Any feedback on this pyalaites?

Omar R Quraishi said...

wow 'anonymous' -- you seem to have the inside info -- strange because the guy who runs the news stand outside motta's told me on the second day that he sold around 35 copies -- this on the day that they were giving free copies --

Omar R Quraishi said...

i have to say -- and i wouldnt normally say it on a forum such as this -- that the response from the reading public has been quite contrary to what people are saying here -- i guess most of the people who come on cafe pyala are not part of that demographic or perhaps the latter are not posting on cafe pyala -- probably the second point is more likely

as someone said a proper assessment will be after a reasonably long period of time has passed, say a few months

and anonymous -- right above -- by MN do you mean Majeed Nizami?

Anonymous said...

Moneky: Crisp editing indeed

A sessions court accquitted Mohajir Quami Movment Haqiqi (MQM-H) leader Afaq Ahmed "in an illelgal possession of arms case" on Wednesday"

Omar R Quraishi said...

anon above -- well done -- now tell us in which paper the following brilliantly-subbed story appeared on april 14:

"Ms Veena, who allegedly lost temper and misbehaved with the SHO, brought the matter to the notice of the SP after coming outside the police station. After few moments, she again came to the SHO and asked for giving her the photocopy of the application and then snatched the original application from a police constable who was going to make a photocopy. She then left the place with a statement that she would not get registered a case and the police would have to face the consequences."


"Asif himself got a missing report of a cheque book having same cheques from the Defence-A police station on Feb 16, 2010. The settlement reached between the two during the dispute and Asif mentioned in a stay order that he returned Rs3.4 million to Veena which he had taken from her."

Sami said...

@umair j: Like I mentioned, I responded like an imbecile. Absolutely agree that my comment just further degenerated the thread on ET. I already apologized to the Tribune editor for doing that. I tend to rarely lose my temper and this one time it got the better of me, clearly.

Just one or two more thing I wanted to ask you about though. How do you know NFP doesn't give a rat's ass about those criticisms. He has been doing this long enough that he has probably developed a thicker defense in regards to criticisms now, but I'll bet anything there was a time when they hurt. My point is, it's fun to hate on me for being rude (which I admittedly was), but alot of people were rude to Omar as well, but no one seems to mind that. Some of the critiques were reasoned, some calm but missing the point. The ones that upset are the ones that get personal.

Secondly...really!? Do you know any comedians?!?! I know a ton and they are over-sensitive, insecure people. Trust me. All of them are. It's only a paradox if you don't stop to consider. After all, they may be comedians but they are also people with feelings.

That said, thanks for keeping the tone of your comments decent and polite. It's rare to see and worth appreciating when it happens.

Anonymous said...

Is this thoroughly irritating person who has been whining on and on about how nobody loves him and how utterly horrid and rude the world is really a comedian?

Anonymous said...

Someone truly witty once mused: What's worse than an unfunny comedian? A comedian with 'feelings'.


Ahsan said...

This thread has jumped the shark. And I am very proud of being the 50th commenter on it. Good night.

Omar R Quraishi said...

hahaha -- anon above ahsan -- what's worse/annoying/irritating than an unfunny comedian or a comedian than feelings? someone who interacts on a blog and says all kind of (mostly) drivel but doesnt do so under his/her own name

Umair J said...

@Ahsan Why? did someones kid go off to college? (hahaha)

Anonymous said...

@ Omar Q

wow that lame. heh. Now I understand why Sami shah's, OBA's and Fasi Zaka's pieces got published. Its easy for half-wits to impress an Ed who dosn't have any. If you spent, I don't know.... a few years, you might come up with a remark that's actually witty. Till then I'd lay off the snark if I were you.

P.S. Welcome to the Internets dear ORQ; A place where anonymity reigns. Even if I told you my real name you'd still have no clue who the fuck I was. Cheers!

XYZ said...

I've been dreading responding on here simply because of the sheer number of comments since I obviously cannot reply to all the questions and interjections. So I've decided to cherry pick.

@Umair J: I think Anon549 pretty much explained my take on the matter of why I thought the chaacterization of Hazarawals as an ethnic group is problematic.

However, @Anon307: You make a persuasive case and I am willing to revise my understanding of ethnic identity. I don't think the 'analyst' at ET, however, had any such nuanced understanding of the matter.

@AKS: I have to say I would partly agree with you, that luxury brands would certainly be looking at even a small circulation medium as long as it reaches their affluent target market. However, I would have to agree more with Saad Azher that the quality of the presentation would count for shit-all if advertisers felt that the beautiful paper they advertise in is not getting to the people they want to reach. You rightfully say:

"He who gets the ads is king."

The question being debated, however, is whether advertisers think it worth it to give the ads. Personally, I don't think ET will hugely dent the Dawn portfolio. One way of monitoring how advertisers feel about a paper and advertising rates is to see their classified sections. I know that newspaper classifieds are under a lot of stress in the West because of the advent of the net (Craigslist et al), but in Pakistan, Dawn and Jang lead the way.

@Anon852: Thanks, will correct price in post.

@TLW: Haha. I don't doubt that "above ground" journalists troll for fodder from wherever they can get it, as long as they don't plagiarize or leave out the attribution, it's ok.

Will get back to you on the substance of the two stories you quoted, but I don't know what you mean by "dealing" with the Dawn blog...

@Anon935: First of all, I don't think I was "so harsh" on ET. I was merely giving an honest opinion. Secondly, as Anon1104 thankfully pointed out, your dragging Kamal Siddiqi's person into this is juvenile and wholly unnecessarily. For the record, whatever other issues he may have, I think he is a professional.

@Anon650: Good points. Personally, I haven't had the time to go through the IHT in the last 4 days either and I do read the papers. Maybe it's because I prefer the UK papers which I can read on the web.

...to be continued...

XYZ said...

... continued....

@Umair J: Umair, you write:
"Dawn is Dawn because it has great editing and brilliant content most of the time."

No, Dawn is Dawn because it's a habit. Neither does it have brilliant content most of the time (have you ever seen their Sunday mag?), nor is its editing any great shakes any more. It may be subbed much better than The News, DT or The Nation e.g. but that's not saying much. The problems that ET faces in going for the Dawn readership have been laid out quite well by Anon650 above.

@Omar R Quraishi: Dude, while we appreciate most of your input, can you stop communicating with your writers about deadlines and recruiting writers in blogs' comments sections. It does seem unseemly for an opeds editor to be doing that.

@Anon629: Nope, don't have any info on circulation figures yet. And I think it's way too early to get serious figures. Obviously any new paper takes time to get off the ground and to rope in subscribers. This question should probably be asked perhaps 6 months down the road.

As for whether Sultan Lakhani makes it as media tycoon, I guess we'll just have to wait and see, won't we? Remember that he does have another few lines of businesses that are not doing too badly. But in which world would you lump MSR and MN together? MN may have Nawaz Sharif and Nazariya-e-Pakistan rhetoric on his side, but he's hardly in the same league business-wise.

@ All those going on tangents about Sami Shah and his comedy: Ok guys, please stop now. Any further posts on this topic alone will be removed.

@Ahsan: "Jumping the shark"... "Jumping the shark is an idiom used to describe the moment of downturn for a previously successful enterprise. The phrase was originally used to denote the point in a television program's history where the plot spins off into absurd story lines or unlikely characterizations."

What a cool phrase. Never knew it. Thanks for teaching me!

XYZ said...

One final response.

@Anon917 and Anon930: Praise for the ET portal might be a LOT more credible, were it not coming from the
"General Manager at Express News." Really. No joke.

Anonymous said...

XYZ I'm sorry for terming ur analysis biased -it was indeed juvinile as i had just got emotional with ur analysis.

Bolshevik said...

Omar: The two paras that you pasted sound like they're from the national pages of The News. :-D

The point, however, is that ET hired yuppies for the most part, and they're being paid shitloads. Shoddy editing from well-paid yuppies is unacceptable. Also, editing and layout are the only two things that ET has going for itself iss waqt; if they mess up even with that, what are they left with?

Anonymous said...

Pakistani English Newspapers Analysis

Best Stories

Worst Stories
Express Tribune

Best Language

Worst Language
The Nation

Best Headlines

Worst Headlines
Express Tribune

Best Columns
Daily Times

Worst Columns
Express Tribune

Best Cartoons
Daily Times

Worst Cartoons
The News

Best Layout
Daily Times

Worst Layout
The Nation

Best Graphics
Daily Times

Worst Graphics
The News

Best Pictures
Express Tribune

Worst Pictures
The Nation

Best Newspaper

Worst Newspaper
Express Tribune

Anonymous said...

The EXPRESS Tribune is newspaper OF Yuppies, BY the Yuppies FOR the Yuppies. (Thanks to Bolshevik)

Anonymous said...

@ Anon for 'outstanding' analysis of the best and worst in Pak print media.

Although I'm flattered that you've only had good things to say abt my paper, I think you should tip your hat to ET: they picked up Zahoor Sb (the best there is, the best there was and the best there is ever likely to be, not to mention ballsy!) for the editorial cartoons.

Also, I agree with all the others who're saying that its too early to tell for ET. There are still some snags, but give them time :)

Anonymous said...

DOn't worry, everyone will give the ET some time. But I think it's pretty clear that it will only be able to get the DT market - newspaper readers are first and foremost creatures of habit, and unless you have really explosive news, it will be pretty impossible to convince anyone to make a switch.
As for equating Majid Nizami with MSR - the pint I was trying to make is that both wield influence with the powers that be. SL has always been considered somewhat of an upstart by the establishment and ruling elite and has not - despite his massive financial layout - ever managed to, and will never, enjoy even 0.5 per cent of the clout to call the shots that the aforementioned gentlemen do.
would anyone disagree?