Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Charity is funded

The right balance

I have not vanished again, just been busy and therefore away.

We moved house. There was the whole gamut of packing, sorting, discarding followed by unpacking, sorting and hmmmmphs saying, " Shit, I shudn't have thrown all those dusters aways, they could have been handy here. What was I thinking?" 

Well thats one thing that happened and then I fell ill which was the other thing that happened. Probably because the kids have never seen me lying down during the day with a grimace, my son thought I was going to die and he made a bunch of promises to me about doing his chores, homework and stuff on time everyday. he also said that he would not fight with his sister. On being told that I am just a bit ill and will be up and about in a couple of days his reaction was, " Oh,so its not cancer huh?" The C-word scare has passed on from me to him, not that I am free of it, but he has it too, the all pervasive fear of C-strike.

Then there was the job that I loved and was so happy doing for the first two years and in the last year it had become progressively hard to digest. I finally convinced myself to leave. I chose to be happy and bored over being agitated and argumentative over issues that could not be resolved. here is the low down.

My last three months working for the company I joined when it was just conceived was a whirlwind of desperation, trying in vain to get my passion back. I was and always will be passionate about writing and hence about my readers. I joined a company that focussed on readers and left the company that had turned into an advert-based catalouge churner. Every company needs money, and in publishing, advertisement brings in the dough, there is no denying that, technically I suppose the company has always been an advertising company, but for the better part of the last three years, it didn’t feel like one. It was an ad company only in the sense that a good TV show is an ad company: having great content attracts advertisers. But then the focus shifted. I could not accept editorial being sold. Fights ensued and we stopped seeing eye to eye.

In one of the bitter fights with my GM he said a line that will stay with me. The fight was actually between me and the AGM - Sales, and we had to rope in the GM as neither of us was budging. It was the usual war between a piece that I felt we needed to carry and the sales team head wanted dropped and replaced by an interview of the CEO of an advertising company. After an hour of heated words my GM said, " Sujata don't be naive, I think it is high time you realise that even charity is funded. Nothing comes free." Well, I agreed to that line but could not accept to live with that ideology and hence decided to leave.

It is more than 15 days now that I have left my job as Head - Editorial. It feels good so far and I am happy to be writing what I want rather than writing what the advertiser wants. Charity is definitely funded and I am lucky to have a husband who is paying my bills unconditionally. :):)


Please write in your comments on how far we should allow advertisers to rule publishing.

18 comments:

Nona said...

It has been 2 years in the job! Yes, I guess that was the time you stopped writing too. Welcome back to this space.

R. Ramesh said...

feeling good n bad to read this post sujata...good that u r back to yr blog world..bad abt yr experience in print media...hmm..im completing 29 yrs in mainstream media..and undersnd fully what u mean..just today a very senior journalist smita deshmukh from mumbai wrote to me worrying about "paid News". that's a trend ostensibly started by Times of India..hmmm...oh i will go on and on...v will keep this later discussion if v ever happen to meet..which is unlikely...:)

anilkurup said...

Yes indeed charity is also funded Philanthropy with out tags and rider is a thing of the ancient.

It is the question of principle that you may have embraced.Yet, now that you are lucky to have a spouse who is charitable, perhaps one may in quiet ask if one would have followed the same course if sustenance was not forthcoming.

Well I 'm only trying to think loud. Because often when I speak about matters of the higher ground , I do ask myself if I would stay course when situations are different. Sometimes I get an answer, sometimes I do not.

sujata said...

@ Nona I worked for three years in all. Its good to be back. How is Paris treating you?

@Ramesh: I am sure you deal with this on a regular basis. Maybe for newspapers this is less. For magazines its too much sales controlled, especially this part of the globe. Even the covers are sold and for peanuts at times!

sujata said...

@Anil I agree that I could keep up the fight for what I believe in and finally leave cos the family does not feed from my salary. However this in no way means that I would have compromised if I was the bread winner of the family. I would not have left probably and in that way i would have managed to fight harder and possibly improve the system. I quit cos i didnt need the money, i fought cos i believe the system needs to change.

Shivangi Shaily said...

Heya Di!

Howdy? Its so good to see you back in action. Its been long...so long. Now Please do not disappear again...keep writing...it provides solace. Even I have undergone a lot of changes within a couple of years: Graduated, Post graduated, worked in villages for over 2 years, got engaged, getting married in Nov...made my blog private one, otherwise could have used it for conveying facts at-least...reason being, m' facing blockades while writing...so you know how important it is for you to write here , I seek inspiration from you....Ha ha ha

:) tc...and plz keep writing.

Sneha said...

I think you've done a great thing. I required the money and had a same situation when I worked with a magnanimous media company. Got another job and put in my papers. You're right - you can't work in a place where ideologies mismatch so much , especially compromising on quality - being a writer. Sadly, most stick around and do not speak up. Not that I judge them. They'd have their own reasons!

Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

Wow. That was something! I gave up writing and switched to advertising only because it paid more. At least you can do otherwise :D

sujata said...

@Shivangi Hey thats wonderful news about you getting married. Congratulations and I wish you a lifetime of happiness.
Why did you make your blog personal, I cannot access it anymore.

@Sneha Thanks. Feels good to hear your view on this. I am sure all media companies face this tug-of-war between good content which is pro-reader and advertorials. To draw the line to where it needs to stop is the issue.

@Niki Advertising certainly pays more and is also very creative. Congrats, hope you excel.

KParthasarathi said...

It depends on the objectives of the company.If it is mainly a commercial venture out to make profits without any social cause behind it,paid news is the order of the day.Most media indulge in it.But it is your choice whether you would like to write for such outfits.You did a right thing when it did not gel with your principles.But the question is are their companies that would meet your values

L KRUPAA said...

Hi, First time here. Thanks to KP got to read your post. It would be meaningless to work with a company when we have to compromise on our values. But we have consider so many dependencies, but I would still choose not compromise on my values.

Sumandebray said...

For some one who is running a business, he has to run it profitably so that he can take care of not only his family but also the family of employees who work there to support theirs ... the business case has to be alive ... the reader or the audience always has the option to turn the page or change the channel!
there is no absolute right and wrong .. it is always contextual...
When it comes to passion and got nothing to do with survival.. one is free to follow the heart.. like writing a blog!
But I know I can say that only because I am making a statement being detached from that particular context.

The Holy Lama said...

Lots of things come with strings attached, can try to be the puppeteer though:)

The Holy Lama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manu Martin said...

Some things make us realise that we are not following our passions... and good to know that you are now back to your passions. All the best.

sujata said...

@KP I agree to what you say completely. It is better to part ways without hard feelings. I think freelance writing suits me the best.

@L Kruppa thanks for dropping by and writing in.

@SDR I agree that a business has to be profitable to make sense, but at what cost? The resolutions that one begins with gradually shift like sand and inch towards an outfit that you no longer recognise, and yet we call ourselves pro-reader - that is not fair, if we have to talk in superlatives about products just because they pay us - that is not fair either. Good content and high visibility will eventually get good ads as that is what a client wants - a magazine that is seen everywhere and people pick up to read and so see their ads in the process.

@The Holy Lama When we go to press events and the clients give us a goodie bag with an expensive watch... haha quite along string attached!!

@Manu Heyyy!! Good to see you here! You know the drill, I am sure it was the same in India as well! I will hop on to your blogs soon.You have quite a few, I see.

indranil said...

and among all the gamut of packing sorting discarding re-sorting you also had to bear with a guy who stayed on for dinner amidst all the re-creation.....

Anonymous said...

Be careful about leaving job, these days with omanisation at its peak not easy to find another job

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