Don’t hate me because I read the Bangalore Mirror

February 15, 2011

My hotel delivers the Economic Times and the Times of India to my door every day. Both are owned by the Sahu Jain family, and according to Wikipedia, the Times is the mostly widely circulated English-language newspaper in the world. Most people who learn that I’m reading the Times and its Bangalore insert, the tabloid paper-sized Bangalore Mirror, exclaim, “But it’s a tabloid!” They mean it in the sensibility of its news, not its paper size.

I lack context about many things in India, and certainly in Bangalore, and that includes its press. I read what people hand me, whether it’s the Indian Express, the Telegraph, the Times, Mint or a variety of other papers. In the case of the Bangalore Mirror, I find plenty to chew over in the morning. The headlines are a little New York Post/New York Daily News, but there’s a reason people read those papers. More importantly, they’re jumpy and flashy because they often herald good journalism — the kind of stuff that people want to read. No doubt, they likely contribute to the tired “India! Ancient yet vibrant and modern!” PR campaign that has entranced my U.S. media colleagues.

Here’s a quick sample from today:

Please guard the stadium but do not use the loosso says KSCA’s order. It’s just not cricket, say the 700 policemen who were on duty for the India-Australia practice match on Sunday.

It’s about cops, cricket and peeing. Who’s not going to read that? With the big India-England cricket match coming up on Feb. 27, and the Mirror’s recent coverage of the Bangalore mayor’s attempts to get his business friends and their families nice seats for free, you have a good social justice series at work. A-1 story, by the way.

Want to keep eatery open till 1 am? All you got to do is ‘convince’ the local police… Police commissioner Bidari writes to BM, says five restaurants — including three Empire outlets — have permission to operate beyond midnight deadline.

Important story about corruption, the story that often gets buried because it happens so much. It’s also important if you work late at night in a town that shuts down its bar scene long before midnight.

Are you tired of running after women and want them to chase you instead? Read on.

Some headlines justify themselves.

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