No coverage of Jaipur Lit Fest. Is this what readers want?

Media was happy to front page the fest only in the context of the brouhaha over Rusdhie, but nothing on the festival. Is this the prioritisation that readers want?

Anant Rangaswami January 20, 2012 11:47:49 IST
No coverage of Jaipur Lit Fest. Is this what readers want?

This morning, it’s not so much about what makes it to the front pages of the newspapers, but what doesn’t. Where has the Jaipur literature festival disappeared? The Times of India has a pointer below the mast-head which takes you to a story on Rushdie’s tweets about SIMI, but does not clarify whether he is coming to India or not. The inside page story on the fest focuses largely on security concerns, with little about the fest proper. Another front page pointer takes you a story on Oprah and a scuffle with journalists, but nary a mention of the fest.

No coverage of Jaipur Lit Fest Is this what readers want

Media was happy to front page the fest only in the context of the brouhaha over Rusdhie. Reuters

The Indian Express has nothing on the front page on Jaipur, and just a 100 word story on Rushdie’s tweets inside.
DNA ignores the lit fest on the front page, with a pointer that takes you to an inside page that analyses the role of the Congress in the Rushdie episode. Another story on an inside page is headlined ‘At Jaipur, Rushdie is already the talking point’. Others mentioned in this story include Tarun Tejpal and Kabir Bedi. Not a word about speakers at the festival.

For Mumbai Mirror, both the festival and Rushdie are inconsequential, with not word devoted to either.

Hindustan Times ignores the festival and Rushdie on the front page, but does compensate inside. It’s the only newspaper of the five we’ve reviewed which attempts to cover the Jaipur Literature Festival. Half a page is devoted to the festival, with the page using a slug saying ‘HT @ the fest and a story promising detailed coverage in the HT. If you cannot be there, the column suggests, get it all on HT. HT also has Advaita Kala, author of Almost Single, tweeting from the venue. Of most use to readers – especially those planning to hop across to Jaipur, is a distillation of the speaker list into a ‘must-attend’ list. Today, for example, will see Michael Ondaatje, David Remnick, Mohammed Hanif and Sunil Khilnani.

The coverage today suggests that other than HT, we will not get too much from the newspapers – but fear not – Firstpost is right in the thick of things. From the moment Jaipur literature festival kicks, our colleagues Lakshmi Chaudhry and Sandip Roy will be bringing you non-stop coverage, including a live blog. Here's the live blog.

Back to Justice Katju. Even if one doesn’t agree with a lot of his views, one does agree with some of them, and the coverage of the Jaipur Literary Festival does make one stop and think. Media was happy to front page the fest only in the context of the brouhaha over Rusdhie and, today, over Oprah – nothing on the festival per se. Is this the prioritisation that readers want?

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