A revelation of sorts

NT sets its sights high

To stay afloat in these troubled times in an industry that is not the best bet of financial punters is no mean achievement. Barring a few big fishes who gobble up all the spoils, there is hardly anything of encouragement to the small fry like us, who neither have an inherited financial muscle, nor the backing of big business.

Yet if News Today, which steps into its seventeenth year of continuous publication today, has weathered the odds and still manages to reach the readers every evening, we at the helm feel truly and justifiably proud. For in today’s ‘business’ of journalism, which has grown to include such things as trekking into the jungles to ‘nab’ brigands, announcing prize schemes that would leave even the great gamblers of Las Vegas with a marked sense of inferiority complex and making predictions that even the stars cannot foretell, it is competition galore and a no-holds barred rat race as everywhere.

When my father, Shri.T.R.R launched this daily in 1982 the only capital he had at his disposal was his versatile talent and unending courage. But he was not a businessman and never really worried about the Balance Sheet of the corporate entity as he did about his editorial output.

For him, News Today was a vehicle for his thoughts and he managed to keep it running and fit, if not accelerating at high speed which required the scarce fuel, Vit.M. The fearless voice of that frail man echoed through his powerful writings in English and Tamil and did cause quite a volume of political upheavals during his time, besides earning him the wrath of the moneyed and the mighty.

His socialist ideals flowed from a humanist tendency, not a tradeable political commodity and so he remained rooted to his ideals with conviction, unlike some of his peers, the pseudo-socialists, whose Leftist inclinations all but evaporated at the first taste of pelf. TRR never swayed till his death. Reason, also why he toiled till his death, neverresting on his laurels which also came in abundance.

Of course, we have no illusions of survival without regard to commercial sustainability, as we live in a material world which was immaterial to TRR. Yet it is that invisible foundation built with sweat, toil and turmoil, which is holding us in good stead even eight years after his demise and we the younger generation remain as committed to his ideologies as never before though we realise that the newspapers have to be financially viable and competitive in this age of info- explosion.

But such a pursuit will never dilute the professionalism and commitment that TRR displayed in his journalistic crusade and we remain steadfast to his avowed norm that news is sacred while views have to be expressed without fear or favour. Target is trouble has always been TRR’s refrain.

We too know no fear. And we have been expressing ourselves quite vociferously, despite threats, subtle as well as blatant, from those at the receiving end of our pen-or is it keyboard these days? Our readers and well-wishers have been a great source of encouragement, what with the unending stream of feedback pointing out the highs and lows alike.

But by far, the best, unbeatable compliment has come from the very rationalist establishment of the State, that has promptly rewarded us by stopping all advertisements to our publications. It is now more than a year since the ‘recognition’ came which continues till date, and stands out as a shining example of a thriving culture of Press Freedom in this great land of self-respecting, Tamil-speaking, Dravidian rationalists whose leader often prides himself as a pressman himself and waxes eloquent about his pro-media sympathies at every available opportunity.

But therein lay a revelation for us. For, to survive without government ads is no mean task which even the ‘free, but kept press’ do not dare experiment. We profoundly thank our rational powers that be for affording us an opportunity to know our strengths as well as to understand and bring out our talents. Advertisements are good, but we take this adversity too in our stride, a small price to pay to make our voice heard above the din of official orchestration.

News Today and Maalai Sudar, are now all set for a virtual relaunch. Readers will soon see us in colour-not coloured, mind you- on as many days in a week as opportunity affords us. The youthful team at the helm under the watchful eyes of experienced elders has already made these two dailies a compulsive reading in the evenings and is all geared to scale new heights as also to ride the crest of the current technology wave that has engulfed the information industry.

We are on the net too, updating the wandering web surfers every evening and efforts have been initiated to upgrade the entire set-up in tune with the times. Of course the purpose of all this is to ensure that the readers get a quality ‘news product’ on their hands every evening while the advertisers, who have stood by us despite the State ‘sanctions’, also achieve the desired mileage through their ad campaigns.

We enter the seventeenth year with hope and dreams in measured but not tentative steps. I am sure I can count on the continued support of our readers, whose numbers I am happy to say, is swelling, as also our advertisers, well-wishers and even the ill-wishers. And to our peers, we advise them to watch out and wait for this column, same time, same day next year. Cheerio.

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Jawahar T R