Opinion » Open Page

Updated: December 8, 2013 00:57 IST

What’s happening to my newspapers?

Malathi Mohan
Comment (32)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

The morning paper with coffee is a perfect start of the day for many of us and over a century (nearly getting to two centuries), our favourite papers have been evolving all through, trying to please us readers. I’m proud I’m reading the same paper, The Hindu, my grandfather and my father read. I have never swerved in my loyalty when we moved for a few years to Mumbai, my husband and I felt so forlorn that he would go to a special paper dealer and get the previous day’s issue of The Hindu. Perhaps, our paper had not spread its wings as much as it has done today.

When people tell me to read news online, I’m still resisting. Can anything replace the comfort of holding the paper and even smelling the fresh scent of the ink and reaching out for it the whole day whenever I’m free to play Sudoku and Crossword? Though we can play these on the Net too, it is never a match for the pleasure of pencil marks I make on the side of the puzzle to guess a correct number or an anagram or two.

In Mumbai, The Times of India also grew familiar to our family as it was important for local events as well. We would stand on the pavement near the paper’s printing press near the Victoria station, now Chhatrapati Shivaji, to get the heady scent that emanates in the surroundings. Have you experienced it? Where is this scent when reading news from the computer?

With the coffee cup in hand, we were able to read the headlines even on a folded paper. Now, this pleasure is denied as the top sheet has a huge advertisement which may not mean anything to us and to turn the paper without spilling coffee, we have to learn juggling!

Really sad to say that the comfort of reading while holding the paper spread out in two hands, especially when you want to shut out your surroundings (I’m sure many men will agree with me!) is slowly being denied to us. Why? The top sheet is cut in half, lengthwise, and it flaps and slips when you try to turn the sheets or fold them, to get the item closer for the ease of reading. It makes us feel clumsy. The latest discomfort is caused by an extra two-inch length of paper jutting out at the edge, making it more difficult to turn the page. By the way, am I the only one complaining?

Another feature, of sticking some free gift on the paper — like a shampoo or a real estate booklet or any other goodies — makes the paper lose balance and get sticky when this ‘gift’ is removed. Of course, I can’t even mention the ad pamphlets which slip out irritatingly. My brother found a use for them as rough paper for market lists and phone messages when one side is blank.

However, all is not negative and all is not lost. Let me not keep whining.

The features suitable children and teens are commendable. As seniors we can learn a lot and also brush up some of our forgotten knowledge. But I am yet to see a feature just for seniors, but what exactly can go into it? We already have health, fitness, politics, history and what-not, covered in detail.

Newspapers are doing a great service to the country by promoting education to the downtrodden, to the unlettered of all age groups and to special needs groups. They are waking us up from stupor and complacency and making us aware of our responsibilities in personal and social lives. Newspapers are the first stop for information and for general knowledge of current affairs. They are not dramatic and distracting like TV news channels.

I am praying for a long life to our newspapers so that my grandchildren can read them too.

Just one request. Do make my paper comfortable to hold while reading. Please!

(The writer’s e-mail:

More In: Open Page | Opinion

i think kasturi&sons shoud publish one hindi version with same content

from:  sumit
Posted on: Dec 11, 2013 at 00:14 IST

Thanks to all the readers for taking notice of my light-hearted article.
I've also had 40+ e-mails. Glad to know others are also feeling the
same. We know ads are necessary for survival. Can they be kept out of
the top sheet? What would you call the HEAD LINES,after this?

from:  Malathi Mohan
Posted on: Dec 10, 2013 at 20:15 IST

I am a reader of The Hindu for 6 decades.When I was a boy my father used to buy the
paper only on Sundays as otherwise he had no time to read and did his going through the
newspaper at office.I am also buying TOI nowadays but for local news I always look to The
Hindu only.I am reading online since when it went online.I used to read the paper even
when I was in USA.In fact I used to read it even before people in chennai could do so!For
articles and in depth stories about our culture and heritage I always look forward to the Hindu only.

from:  Ramamurthy M
Posted on: Dec 10, 2013 at 15:47 IST

I echo the views of some readers. They have all said what I wanted to
say-- Here they are--
1.You seem to be speaking for me too!
2.Completely agree with you. The paper is not at present comfortable to hold and read. The Hindu should take a leaf( or all the leafs) out of papers such as the Guardian which are a delight to hold and read. They are designed like a small booklet making reading it easy. With the Hindu, many pages are disjointed and fall out while the pages are being turned. Why are their loose sheets in between?! Why cant they all be stuck together like a small booklet?
I do hope the designers look at this seriously. Thanks for raising
3.The Hindu is my favorite Paper. Recent changes done in the Paper
were unsettling.It looked more like than any other Paper but The Hindu.Mr.
Ravi,taking over is good news. The Sunday Paper is minus the the
Special full page write up on issues, concerning the people /nation,
should be looked into.Pl pull-up your sock

from:  K.R.Mani
Posted on: Dec 10, 2013 at 10:30 IST

I lived in Canada from last forty years, i read Hindu on line two times daily. i admire paper which is promoting secular and democratic principles in India, which is the need of the hour. There are forces, which want to disrupt the communal harmony for their narrow agenda. But my favorite newspaper is exposing their sinister designs with editorials, commentaries, news etc. India can progress only with positive reportings

from:  surinder sangha
Posted on: Dec 10, 2013 at 06:48 IST

Having come to the U.S. for a short stay I feel that I am missing a lot as far as reading the
newspaper is concerned. Though the online version can be accessed yet I personally feel
lost. The pleasure of holding the newspaper in your hands as compared with online reading
cannot be explained adequately. It can only be experienced. The difference is as between
the home cooked food and junk food. But when there is no other option available we have to
rest content with what is available.

from:  A Michael Dhanaraj
Posted on: Dec 9, 2013 at 23:26 IST

In the mid-90's i was posted in Ozar, near Nashik. The Hindu newspaper
would be delivered in bunches by post once every few days, and my
colleagues never missed teasing me about it. But i felt that it was
touch of home...

from:  swarna
Posted on: Dec 9, 2013 at 19:52 IST

The Hindu undoubtedly is my favorite newspaper. Reading The Hindu on
Sundays is a treat with so many wonderful articles in the open page.

from:  Sudha Sunder
Posted on: Dec 9, 2013 at 18:48 IST

Dear Malathi,
Your piece is so true! I remember reading The Hindu a week late when I
was deployed in a remote part of Sikkim in the 80s during my Army
days.. a week late but The Hindu was the only paper to read! I
depended on The Hindu and Frontline to pass the Current affairs paper
in my competitive exams! Today, sadly the paper seems to have been
bitten by the commercial bug...but I still cherish my visit to the
Kasturi Buildings and seeing all the "action" there...

from:  Krishnan Srinivasan
Posted on: Dec 9, 2013 at 17:52 IST

Truly, you have spoken for all of us - The Hindu readers. I would say I
am addicted to The Hindu since by school days when my uncle introduced
me to it. But lately, I am missing the Sunday magazine, it is not like
the olden days (if I can say that). Hope the Management of The Hindu
will look into it.

from:  Latha K Surjith
Posted on: Dec 9, 2013 at 17:03 IST

Newspapers are a nice habit but no longer needed in the era of fast
digital news. By the time you get the newspaper, you already know what
it contains and barely skim through it, barring maybe an editorial or
analysis piece.

from:  Rohit
Posted on: Dec 9, 2013 at 16:57 IST

This is something which I too wanted to convey for a long time. Being the reader of The Hindu for the past so many years, the recent changes being brought out in the lay out are somehow make me feel disturbed. Big, full page advertisements were not there earlier. May be the paper is facing financial crunch. Sunday magazine is reduced to four pages from eight. Till the recent past, it was a rare occasion to find a spelling mistake or faulty sentence construction but of late it is a daily occurrence. Most importantly, my favourite crossword used to have a standard place on the last page at the top left hand corner where I used to reach after completing the entire paper which is now appearing on different pages on each day. Pleasantly today I found it on the last page but on the top right hand corner.

from:  G.S.R.D. Prasad
Posted on: Dec 9, 2013 at 15:28 IST

Dear Malathi,
You seem to be speaking for me too! My son and i enjoyed sniffing the smell of fresh print before reading the newspaper or a new,he is used to reading online ..something i guess i may never get satisfaction from..the various ads and promotions have their place ...inside...NOT ON THE COVER PAGE. This is not limited to The Hindu...Deccan Herald is equally responsible!! glad that i'm not alone..hope something will be done about it soon!

from:  Radha Ramani
Posted on: Dec 9, 2013 at 11:48 IST

One thing I can say is "Keep Ahead Times". As Hindu's ad suggested. ;).

from:  Shuhaib
Posted on: Dec 9, 2013 at 09:42 IST

The only place where I get something worth without any distraction.Its
like more than a newspaper to me.

from:  Sadhana
Posted on: Dec 9, 2013 at 00:19 IST

Also to mention the speaking AD for Volkswagen, the first of its kind. I cherish those days waking up eagerly to find THE HINDU outside my hostel door only to be read for 10 minutes before fighting with others for the same.

from:  Saravanan
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 19:32 IST

And we hope to see the Open Page and Sunday Mag back in full. These were
two most interesting parts of The Hindu and now they have been snipped
too short.

from:  Malathi S
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 18:29 IST

The Hindu is my favorite Paper. Recent changes done in the Paper were
unsettling.It looked more like than any other Paper but The Hindu.Mr.
Ravi,taking over is good news. The Sunday Paper is minus the the Punch.
Special full page write up on issues, concerning the people /nation,
should be looked into.Also, the Magazine section too be made more
interesting. It looks rather monotonous.May be the management is working
on these issues after recent developments.

from:  c n srikanth
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 17:33 IST

I am 80+ and now live in the US but as always I have been reading the Hindu because of it non-sensational nature of reporting, Tribune of Chandigarh as I was there for more than 30 years as also the Times of India. In the I also go through the other papers because I get a composite news as what is happening in India. Thank you all for making your paper available online.

from:  K.S.Subramanian
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 16:57 IST

Actually i have a sense of Deja Vu when i read the papers these days, since i have already read the news online!!

from:  Manoj
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 16:53 IST

True. But the paper is really comfortable to hold when we know how.
Nevertheless, nice article.

from:  Pramod B
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 14:53 IST

I buy 10 papers daily. My day starts with 3 kms walking. Then I go to paper vendor. On sundays,I see open page at the shop it self.To day this title attracted my attention immediately. WHAT MORE A NEWS PAPER LOVER NEEDS THAN THIS TITLE?I am addicted to THE HINDU for past 5 decades.I have several anecdotes With my friend, philosopher, guide and mentor THE HINDU. To mention few, when I was in vacations from medical school, I used to get THE HINDU on 3rd day by post and in some other vacations on @nd day through a postal runner from neighbouring town. When I go to village my vendor preserves all THE HINDU papers.I am tech neo literate and I don't read on line and I started filing comments only recently. I file after preparing a script and from a Internet centre.Many mistake me for a NEWS PAPER BOY.When I shared that NEWS papers get news from North,East,West and South-it used to be news to listeners.

Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 14:03 IST

Nice article! Made me nostalgic for a moment. Newspapers can be a true companion during times of happiness and turbulence, if they retain their originality.

from:  Omkar
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 12:09 IST

How right you are! If they use the back page too for these
advertisements, we could easily throw the page – but alas! The publishers too know this! The saddest thing, however, most of the
mainstream news papers are behaving like tabloids and, worse, using
terrible language. We have lost the news papers of yesteryears – may
be forever!

from:  Dr. S. K. Das
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 11:18 IST

Very true. I also love my newspaper but feel sad it has lost much of its
innocence. The front page ad is irritating. So is many of tricks at
marketing. Malayalam newspapers give insurance, prizes etc. to solicit
patronage.Some newspapers try to compete with channels and cut a sorry
figure. Still I cannot imagine a day without my morning newspaper.

from:  K. Vikraman
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 05:20 IST

"I’m proud I’m reading the same paper, The Hindu, my grandfather and my father read" - Well said! This is my pride too. I live far away from my motherland. I don't have the luxury of reading a hardware newspaper. So, I read in software newspaper(computer browser). The transition from hard to soft was difficult.

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 05:00 IST

I What’s happening to my newspapers? In praise of news papers
Sorry! Things are bad. They are filled with advertisements, paid news and mostly one sided information.
Thing one way traffic will go in same way as radios, Films etc. I do not have the time. But death is written on the walls.

from:  Gopinathan Krishnan
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 04:29 IST

Completely agree with you. The paper is not at present comfortable to
hold and read. The Hindu should take a leaf( or all the leafs) out of
papers such as the Guardian which are a delight to hold and read. They
are designed like a small booklet making reading it easy.
With the Hindu, many pages are disjointed and fall out while the pages
are being turned. Why are their loose sheets in between?! Why cant they
all be stuck together like a small booklet?
I do hope the designers look at this seriously. Thanks for raising this.

from:  Ayush
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 04:20 IST

As a reader of "The Hindu" for over half a century, I share all the pleasures and concerns raised by the author of this article. When I went overseas in the eighties, before doing so, I ensured that I subscribed to the paper's International Edition. After two weeks, I received the first of my dad's airmail letter as also "The Hindu" Weekly International Edition. During those two weeks, I can't describe how I missed the paper. I used to share the contents with all my Indian colleagues, who envied me for having thought of getting "The Hindu" while being abroad. With the advent of the internet, not a day passes without my browsing "The Hindu" at least ten times a day for the updates. By the way, I coninue to start my day with coffee and of course browsing "The Hindu" on the internet! This habit wouldn't change until I breathe my last. Long live "The Hindu"!

from:  Chandra
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 04:04 IST

Newspapers deserve respect because a day's newspaper gives so much of information that one if trying to get this on the internet will spend three times more time to find and then read it. Newspapers also help readers in first structuring and their voicing their opinion. They can make a difference and also do a great deal of help in providing useful community knowledge.

from:  Mudassir Hashmi
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 02:36 IST

The sentiment by the writer is nice, but it is just much more convenient to have stuff online. There's no paper clutter at home. Nor the chore of getting the old papers to the old paper shop. We can find news articles years, even decades, after they were ever printed, by searching a phrase we remembered - try this with even a one-month paper stack. One doesn't have to unnecessarily read everything to get the "paper's value". You can actually have a "davara-tumbler" coffee now because you are not holding the paper with both hands. The news is now in your palm - iPhone, Blackberry or what have you. These are all just the tip of the iceberg and many more to add.

from:  Bala
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 02:17 IST

and ensure Mumbai gets fresh Hindu and not a stale one.

from:  E Siva S Iyer
Posted on: Dec 8, 2013 at 02:16 IST
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