Thursday, April 28, 2005

Old Favorite, New Look





One of my weekly calls to India last month found my dad a bit more excited than usual. The reason behind his excitement was soon clear. The print edition of The Hindu had gone through some big changes starting April 14! Having grown up with the newspaper, I was pretty curious about the changes myself. And though my dad was quite descriptive, we all know that a picture speaks a thousand words! Thankfully, the paper's website, though it hasnt changed, carries the print edition changes in detail.

The changes seem to have affected every part of the venerable newspaper, from colored mastheads to new fonts to a different way of presentation and organization. The comments from the readers seem mostly positive though as always, there are some noises of dissent, mostly complaining about what the change means to the culture and tradition of the newspaper.

IMO, it is a necessary step for the newspaper. Today's generation(gosh, that makes me sound so old!) likes everything flashier. And the newspaper cannot afford to overlook the youngsters if it is to keep increasing its readership. Presentation is every bit as important as content in today's world and the new look is definitely more attractive to the eye when compared to the previous, staid appearance. That said, the role model for the update, with the colors, the boxed index on the front page and short news items on the side, seems to be USA Today. I found the new Hindu to resemble USA Today quite a bit.

The Hindu was an inseparable part of my life while growing up. My dad was one of the ol' faithfuls of the paper and naturally, the habit caught on with me too. Superb writing and clean organization made the newspaper a pleasure to read. I was quite passionate about it and have had numerous arguments with readers of the Indian Express, its closest competitor, which I found it to be more sensational and possessing a distinctly lower quality of writing. I've devoured the superb editorials and re-read particularly well-written news items, especially about cricket. In the later years, I also religiously read articles like 'Know Your English' and Art Buchwald's column and spent hours trying to solve the daily crossword. In fact, I used to cut the crossword out to take it with me to college, an act which irritated my dad no end since he liked the paper to be in pristine condition when he began reading it.

Sitting in the verandah of my house, sipping hot coffee and reading The Hindu was a morning ritual that I remember very fondly. Somehow, eating cold cereal while browsing through the paper's website just doesn't feel the same...

4 Comments:

At 12:30 AM, Blogger Kaps said...

I agree with your part on making the paper more trendy. Somehow when I spoke to my parents last week they seem to be quite upset with the new look of the Hindu. They feel that the advertisers are the only ones who have got a good deal in the make over. Anyway they have sent me a copy of the new look Hindu and I intend to check it out myself.

 
At 8:53 AM, Anonymous ram said...

yep, the new look & feel rocks...

The Hindu was indeed part of my daily routine, even if it only involved coaxing my Dad into giving me the penultimate page (Sports!) while he was looking at the Editorial and op-ed pieces!

yep, the quality of writing has a quaint quality to it...I jokingly told my friend the other day, "Half of the words in the GRE lists are used only by journalists who work for The Hindu!" but jokes apart, their use of language as a potent tool is unparalleled...

"Somehow, eating cold cereal while browsing through the paper's website just doesn't feel the same..." --> how true!! I gripe abt that all the time...

 
At 6:32 AM, Blogger Zero said...

Paper is Paper!
And if it is Hindu, it is THE PAPER!

 
At 8:41 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

kaps, i've asked a copy of the paper to be sent over with my mom-in-law too :)

ram, definitely! both their news items and editorials featured awesome writing. IMO only other Indian publication with the same quality of writing is 'India Today'.

 

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