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K. Narayanan, The Hindu's first Readers' Editor

JOIN THE CLUB: K. Narayanan, The Hindu 's first Readers' Editor, being greeted by Ian Mayes, Readers' Editor of The Guardian. Photo: Shaju John

JOIN THE CLUB: K. Narayanan, The Hindu 's first Readers' Editor, being greeted by Ian Mayes, Readers' Editor of The Guardian. Photo: Shaju John  



Special Correspondent

Aim is to institutionalise the practice of self-regulation, accountability & transparency



CHENNAI: The Hindu has perhaps become the first newspaper in India to appoint a Readers' Editor, who will be "the independent, full-time internal ombudsman."

Making the announcement at the conclusion of "two lectures" by the Editor and the Readers' Editor of The Guardian, The Hindu 's Editor-in-Chief N. Ram said: "The key objectives of this appointment are to institutionalise the practice of self-regulation, accountability and transparency; to create a new visible framework to improve the accuracy, verification, and standards in the newspaper; and to strengthen bonds between the newspaper and its millions of print platform and online readers."

Editor of The Guardian Alan Rusbridger spoke on the topic "Do newspapers have a future?" while the newspaper's Readers' Editor Ian Mayes outlined his role and the canvas of his interaction with the readers as "The news ombudsman - a visible presence, an independent voice."

Mr. Ram presented to a packed hall at The Taj Coromandel, where the function was held, the first Readers' Editor of the newspaper - K. Narayanan, whom Mr. Ram described as the "quintessential professional for more than half a century, showing great commitment and integrity."

Mr. Ram acknowledged that The Hindu "has been inspired to do this by the exemplary practice and experience of The Guardian, U.K., over the past decade in a crucial area of newspaper performance," and said it adopted, with minor modification, the terms of reference worked out for The Guardian's Readers' Editor.

The terms of reference include "to collect, consider, investigate, respond to, and where appropriate come to a conclusion about readers' comments, concerns, and complaints in a prompt and timely manner, from a position of independence within the paper."

The Readers' Editor will "create new channels of communication with and greater responsiveness to readers, whether by email, telephone, the internet, surface mail, or through the columns of the paper."

Mr. Narayanan, 73, joined The Hindu as a Kasturi Ranga scholar in 1955, became Sub-Editor in 1956, Chief Sub-Editor in 1964, Assistant Editor in 1975, and News Editor in 1978. Between 1984 and 1991, he oversaw the news operations of both The Hindu and Frontline. He became Associate Editor, Frontline in 1991 and retired in 1996. From September 1996, he has been Editorial Consultant to Frontline, and from July 2003, Senior Editorial Consultant to both The Hindu and Frontline.

Mr. Rusbridger and Mr. Mayes congratulated Mr. Narayanan on his appointment, which will take effect from March 1, 2006.

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