Opinion » Readers' Editor

Updated: December 11, 2011 11:37 IST

A heart-warming & generous letter, out of the blue

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S. Viswanathan
The Hindu
S. Viswanathan

The warm and spirited response of readers of The Hindu to the praise showered on the daily by Khushwant Singh, distinguished writer, journalist, and diplomat, was special. In a letter to the editor that landed on the editorial desk out of the blue, the nonagenarian declared that although he used to “go over a dozen morning papers every day,” it was only The Hindu that he read “cover to cover.”

“I find its news coverage reliable, authentic and comprehensive,” he said, adding: “I cannot say that about any other daily, Indian or foreign.” He praised and congratulated the Editor and his team “for giving India the most readable daily in the world.”

In a spontaneous reaction, over a score of readers agreed with Khushwant Singh's assessment of the daily. Many readers admired the newspaper's determination to maintain its century-old high standards in English and “exemplary” social commitments. Some wondered how it could steer clear of hurdles to practising ethical journalism, particularly in the context of the rapid commercialisation of the profession as well as the industry. Others highlighted the virtues of quality news, objectivity, and balance in reporting. In-depth interviews with eminent persons by informed journalists also came in for appreciation.

Cooperation from all over

Some of those who wrote were contributors to the Open Page. The Hindu's greatest asset continues to be the goodwill the newspaper has earned from hundreds of thousands of readers over the decades. The Corrections and Clarifications column, and the institution of the Readers' Editor, an independent news ombudsman, on the lines worked out by The Guardian are all about the newspaper's accountability to its readers. The purpose is “to improve accuracy, verification and standards in the newspaper.”

The interest shown by alert readers in the “Corrections and Clarifications” column is impressive. Many do it with rare kind of dedication. Right from the start, the system has been working well with the willing cooperation of reporters, the editorial desks, and readers across the country who volunteer to spot the errors.

Question of significance

One question we face from time to time is whether minor errors, errors that are not so significant, errors caused by oversight should be taken up for correction. Recently, the last paragraph of an article published in the Sports Page of the newspaper asserted: “With covered pitches, the surface has little moisture which can be erased by heavy rollers in the morning....”

This was clearly not what the writer meant. The missing ‘a' (before little) has caused the confusion. Our readers seldom let something like that pass.

Corrections can be fun as long as you are not the writer or the sub-editor who committed the howler. Here are two of my favourites from Craig Silverman's “Regret The Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech”:

OUR STORY on the price of tomatoes last week misquoted Alistair Petrie, general manager of Turners and Growers. Discussing the price of tomatoes Petrie was talking about retail rate not retail rape. We apologise for the misunderstanding. — Sunday Star - Times (New Zealand).

Australian cricketer Don Bradman was carried, not curried, off the field during the Ashes series in August 1938 (Heroic Hutton leads England to 903, page 12, the archive, November 6). — Guardian (UK).

Agree with all. I started reading since 1951 when my father used to sit with me and tell me the grammar aspects and idiomatic aspects that were followed by Hindu. I read Hindu thanks to internet though i am at Boston now. In fact Hindu English helped me to pass my Madras public service commission in Group II and then in UPSC for IAS proper examinations. Well when i worked with Kushwant Singh in mid 1960s for illustrated weekly he always used to say about Hindu to reporters. Why even Times' Sham Lal had a praise for Hindu. True it is indeed deserved praise. Even in my research thesis for PhD, in Economics, I tried to adopt Hindu style of writing then. Yes Hindu has long time patrons even from my father's days. My father was a fellow student with C N Annadurai who became CM of Tamilnadu. Why Annadurai also had similar views like Kushwant Singh on Hindu.Indeed credit goes to founders who saw that standard is continued to be maintained even today. Kudos Hindu. You got Kushwant's letter.

from:  Dr. G. Balakrishnan
Posted on: Dec 10, 2011 at 21:40 IST

I am an avid reader of the 'Hindu' since the past eight decades or so - I am now 92
young - The idea behind reading this newspaper stemmed from a desire to
improve my standard of the English language which, even to this day, is of
invaluable help to me in this respect. Right from the days of the late Kasturi
Ranga Iengar, the founder of this great newspaper - I stand to be corrected -
followed by his illustrious successors the Hindu has always maintained the
highest standards of journalistic ethics. Even amidst the rough and tumble of
politics, the 'Hindu' has tried to steer clear of all controversies - a rare trait worthy
of admiration. It was a delight to read the newspaper from page to page. I wish
the editor Mr Ram and his colleagues continued success in their mission to foster
amity and goodwill among all sections of society through the columns of the
esteemed 'Hindu' for all times to come. .

Posted on: Dec 2, 2011 at 18:13 IST

The Hindu is one of its class. Incomparable to all other newspapar available at present. after reading the hindu paper all other newspapers looks flaccid. & moreover its editorial,opinion & Op-ed part is so insightful which is rare to find elsewhere.Thanks to the editor & the hindu team .. keep the status alive !!

from:  Vivek Chhabra
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 00:40 IST

When in Pondy I used to be an avid reader of "The Hindu" every day without fail for eight long years. On days when I was late to get a copy from our local newspaper kiosk, I could read it in our Ananda Rangapillai Library of the Pondicherry University in Kalapet or at the Romain Rolland Municipal Library in the heart of the city. The print, high quality content, ethical perspective and the layout were and are simply superb. Fantastic daily newspaper. Rendering a meaningful service to a vast legion of readers across the country. Long live "The Hindu".

from:  Dr. Cajetan Coelho
Posted on: Nov 21, 2011 at 23:49 IST

One of my teacher advised me to read 'The Hindu' but I found it's
English too difficult so I gave up. Later when I finished my exam i
sat whole day long to read it and understand it.Gradually I started to
understand it.I used to discuss especially the editorials with some
learned elders. Now I have kinda addicted to it. I often neglect my
studies to go through it properly. It has helped me to develop
critical thinking,English and I feel myself as growing each time after
I read it. I am really thankful for maintaining the high standard of
the newspaper and its worth to congratulate

from:  kritika kumari
Posted on: Nov 13, 2011 at 23:45 IST

I am a regular reader of "The Hindu" News paper for the past 30 years. I have been reading this paper since my college days i.e. from the year 1980. I have specific interest in letters to the editor, reader's mail, spiritual page and the cartoons. Morning without The Hindu is unimaginable for me. Hats off to the National News Paper of India.

Posted on: Nov 12, 2011 at 19:07 IST

I am sure everyone who reads The Hindu will endorse the opinion of Khushwant Singh. He has himself edited newspapers and magazines and so his opinion is valuable and must be correct. In fact it is a feather in the cap of 'The Hindu.' Apart from objective reporting of the news items the editorials are balanced and portray the real picture of the issue. They never try to mould the opinion of the readers one way or the other but place the facts as such and leave the decision to the readers themselves. The 'Know your English' column is very popular among the young and the old. Sometimes the dictionary may not give the exact meaning but this column does. Above all 'The Hindu' seems to be the only newspaper which has thrown its pages open to those interested in writing. In the Open Page on Sundays we get a lot of interesting articles written by people from different walks of life. Really a marvellous treat.

from:  A.Michael Dhanaraj
Posted on: Nov 4, 2011 at 12:34 IST

On reading kushwant singh' s letter, I had an emotional flash back. My father, a retd high school head master of the erstwhile Cochin state cadre, settled down in Ramanattkara, a Remote village in the then Malabar area. There was no agent for Hindu in that village and he used to get Hindu by post from madras and was passionate to read yesterday's paper every day. After retirement, 8 decades back, he read the paper till his death four decades Back. That did inspire me a lot when I was very young and the inspiration continues. The paper has undergone lot of changes over the long period. The single column headlines then And the catchy multicolumn columns of to day. But for objectivity, honest reporting,allegiance to uphold the principles of Indias freedom hungry leaders and high Standards in journalism, there is no change and the country is aware of that. Hindu never Played to the gallery. My father has inspired me. My children in USA are equally inspired.

from:  C.p.Chandra das
Posted on: Oct 28, 2011 at 19:32 IST

The Hindu can be compared only with The Hindu. Mr. Kushwant Singh was right in telling what he said in his letter echoing the opinion of millions of its readers. Another aspect of The Hindu that appeals to long time readers like me is its secular policy in representing Indis for its right onward march, progress and development. Who can be a better voice of the Indian people than The Hindu? No doubt The Hindu is a principled daily newspaper.

from:  V.M. Khaleelur Rahman
Posted on: Oct 28, 2011 at 06:50 IST

Hindu is contributing to the intellectual growth of our country. Hats off to all the people who make this possible every day.

from:  Subrmaniam
Posted on: Oct 26, 2011 at 15:48 IST

It is really heartening to see one news paper in the mainstream media standing tall when all others have degenerated into yellow journalism. Long live The Hindu and you are really praiseworthy for upholding the journalistic independence and excellence.May your tribe grow from strenght to strength and may other too feel inspired to follow your path

from:  Gopal K Baliga
Posted on: Oct 26, 2011 at 13:43 IST

About 20 years ago one of my friends told me of the Hindu. I am a daily reader of this newspaper since then. It is the only Bharati newspaper that is palatable to a 72 years old Amritsar born, partition hardened, Pakistani. The Balance and Objectivity of reporting is most commendable. Long live the Hindu and good luck to all those who work for it.

from:  Mahmood Saeed
Posted on: Oct 25, 2011 at 13:37 IST

Your reaction on Kushwant singh's praise on the Hindu was appropriate. However, you have missed a vital point,viz. many readers have honestly & sincerely confessed that despite Hindu rejected their letters for publication they still continue sending comments. This in fact speaks volumes of their dedication & devotion to their 'own' Hindu. Secondly a good number of the reader community has expressed their indebtedness for having trained them to compete successfully in all India exams! I am also not an exemption as I owe my allegiance to Hindu for having inculcated the habit of reading & writing, which in fact started right from GK Reddy's style of writing was popular. In fact his style motivated me aspiring to be a 'journalist' (albeit never materialized)And yet the spirit is still in my nerves. When I read Hindu as a daily ritual I recall the person who was behind to imbibe me reading 'Hindu' by none other than a product of Presidency College Madras a veteran in English literature!

from:  p.mgopalan USA
Posted on: Oct 24, 2011 at 21:10 IST

Along with all the list of adjectives Khushwanth sir praised 'The Hindu' with, its overwhelming to see 'humorous' also added to the list.

from:  Venu
Posted on: Oct 24, 2011 at 17:54 IST
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