Going beyond TN often means I get few chances to look at the Hindu in the print form. (parts of Kar, Andh are exceptions..not sure about Kerala).It is particularly a problem when you are travelling long distances in trains to places in North India.HT and TOI tend to dominate out there. Historically, I guess TOI and Hindu have always dominated in select territories. Coming from Chennai(bulit-in bias acknowledged!)..I am hooked to The Hindu.
I was away for a month-and-a-half in Allahabad and I got to see The Hindu only in bunches, once in 4/5 days. That often meant spending a few days without reading Hindu’s ed & op-ed pages…which are my favorite.( my netlife isn’t discipled enough..can’t think of wading thro links on that unimaginative Hindu website on a daily basis) Although I knew I was always biased towards Hindu..I never had much of a anti-(other papers) feeling. But this month-and-a-half sort of polarized things more.
Some of the prominent differences that I notice are:
- Sheer size/cost ratio ..Hindu wins Hands down! ..inspite of the one rupee (mis-)adventure of Deccan Chronicle in Chennai.(an aside.. DC is particularly dumb..I was shocked to see it carrying “Astrologers assure that there is no effect due to tenth planet” on the front page!)
- Even ed/op-ed articles tend to be much smaller in TOI and HT compared to Hindu. I guess this must be a part of an Editorial policy to limit the sizes. And if the reason is more space for ads.. it is indeed sad. Hindu certainly gives more space for detailed analysis and insight. I hope it stays that way. It terms of getting prominent people to comment, I guess all of them do that well.But unfortunately, I often got the feeling of a wonderful article ending just as it was starting while reading TOI and HT(will dig up a few from the archives and post the links). N.Ram, while delivering a lecture at IITM confessed to extreme pressures to allot adequate ad-space to keep the cost of the paper low. He however made it clear that he would not dilute content beyond a limit.
- Hindu tends to be left-centered..and I sort of like that. This observation is ofcourse strictly personal and I am not sure of how many pple share this particular view about The Hindu. A friend of mine is a pure leftist and he complains that the Hindu isn’t left enough! He also let out the secret that N.Ram (during his loyola days) had been an active member of AICUF, a student organisation dominated by leftist thoughts.
- The Hindu, ofcourse is much more conservative and u will probably never see a flashy image of a bollywood actress on Hindu’s frontpage. TOI/HT might not have problems doing something like this. But this is fair considering that papers obviously try cater to the their audience. Chennai.. needless to say..is more conservative than Bombay! This attitude also shows in the choice of articles. I feel that there is certainly a lesser element of sensationalism (again in comparison to HT/TOI)in the way Hindu even chooses its headlines!
The first point is my primary source of the small anti-(others) feeling but the third one contributes to an extent.I tend to prefer lesser sensationalism.