It is not every day that a 136-year-old patiently listens to impassioned ideas and expectations of a class 12 student. Tanush Jagdish is a student of a Kendriya Vidyalaya in Bangalore. He wants to get his newspaper, The Hindu, at home and also read it on his smartphone. He wants to grow up with it and be part of its news-making beyond the school edition.
At the other end of the spectrum is Sreekar L. Bhandarkar, 75, who, as a 10-year-old in Shimoga, flipped in awe through an English paper that he could not yet read. He has stuck with it through the times.
What The Hindu means to its readers aged from 18 to 75, became evident on Saturday as 40 avid readers of the newspaper came face-to-face with its Readers’ Editor A.S. Pannerselvan. They were picked from among over 250 respondents.
They regaled the gathering with happy and funny associations with their paper and voiced their views on what they approved, disliked and expected from their daily news dispenser.
Some found it cool, some wanted colour, some liked the paper to be more graphic, a few sought larger print, some gave their thumbs-up to local news, a few wanted special pages. They offered tips on opinion and online news while a few wished they could themselves write in the paper.
John Thomas, a veteran Bangalore newsman, said his home still has a 10-year album of articles from The Hindu Young World that his son collected as a school-goer in the 1990s.
Gayatri Chandrashekar, former Doordarshan newsreader, wished to read more global news. Vikas Singh, Ph.D scholar in agriculture from Haryana, wished he could read The Hindu in Hindi. Pankaj Bhatt was sorry his newspaper reading had shrunk from two hours to 45 minutes.
The Readers’ Editor said the purpose of the exercise was to know what readers expected to read in their paper every morning. Some of the do-able suggestions would be woven into the newspaper over time.
On regulation of online comments, he explained the practical difficulties of handling a few thousand reaction of all hues. The main concern was to keep them relevant, fair, and legally safe. This was the second connect after Chennai; similar meetings are planned in other cities.