Monday 29 December 2008

Back in the workforce, and looking for writers

After many lazy years working in grungy shorts and torn ganji, we had an offer we could not refuse.

We have pulled out our respectable work clothes and have joined Digital 18 Media Pvt Ltd (part of the Network 18 group) as Editor - Special Features of the Forbes - Network 18 magazine project. The mag has a great team, and we have always had a weakness for start-ups. The goal is attractive too: to create an international quality business magazine with local relevance.


We (as in me, but also as in the magazine) have started commissioning articles, and we want you to let us know if you'd like to write for us. We (as in me, again - unless otherwise specified, it's always me, me, me in this space) are not talking the typical business feature here. The hard-core business stuff will be taken care of by folks far better qualified than we are. (If you want to write the heavy duty biz stuff, we'll put you on to them. Send us links - preferably - or a writing portfolio, and I'll pass them on.) Those are the parts of the magazine focussed on helping the reader make more money. The section we're handling is the part dedicated to helping her or him to put that affluence to good use, to, if you will, live better.

Stories could be anything from half-page quick guides (written by domain experts for intelligent readers who just don't happen to share that area of expertise) to several thousand words of rigorously researched, in-depth copy that looks at every side of the issue and has a point of view.

What about? Well, anything really. Make it interesting! Broadly, we want to help the intelligent reader expand his/her knowledge of issues, experiences and trends. No matter what the area, we will first want this question answered: why should our reader care, or need to know about this? And second, can your writing kick serious butt?

We can't go into details of sections and so forth, for that will mean the F-N18 team will take us out at dawn and shoot us (and you know how we hate getting up early), so, instead, just to give you an idea of the things we like, we went a bunch of stuff we have mailed to friends (there's an archive here, which you're welcome to go through) and pulled out a few.

We'd do a Sachin Tendulkar piece if we could get someone to write with as much style and substance as Federer as Religious Experience - David Foster Wallace in NYT
A nice fitness story: An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-Up - New York Times

Understanding Carbon Emissions Big Foot - New Yorker

The history of the web: How the Web Was Won

Travel and Books - The Guardian - Part One, Part Two

If we were doing a story on popular TV, we'd want something like It's Saturday Night!

Education? Give us an IIT / IIM story like The American Scholar - The Disadvantages of an Elite Education - By William Deresiewicz

Or how about this piece on Late Bloomers - Malcolm Gladwell - New Yorker

Great writing, great research, fascinating story: Mercenary - Esquire

A gimmick, yes, but what style, what depth! Pearls Before Swine - Washington Post - Gene Weingarten

Pico Iyer: On Travel and Travel Writing:1, 2, 3

The Greatest Mystery: Making a Best Seller - New York Times

Great popular culture / trends piece: Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy: The Greatest Generation Gap Since Rock and Roll -- New York Magazine

A cut-the-BS tech piece: Breaking the Myth of Megapixels - New York Times

Lit debate? The New York Inquirer: Against Literary Readings (and Especially Q & A's)

Anyone up for a 50 most important Indian web influencers piece? The 50 Most Important People on the Web - PC World

Behaviour and technology and pop culture: Downloading Is a Packrat's Dream

Complete whimsy. But what a nice read. Nick Tosches: Autumn and the Plot Against Me:

A novel year-ender: 50 Things We Know Now (That We Didn't Know This Time Last Year) 2006 Edition

Travel, the economy: Russian Airports - The Economist

Advertising Steven Pearlstein - What Happened To Creative Advertising? -
Or The Future of Web Ads Is in Britain - New York Times

Health, pharma: Eternal Sunshine

On Crit: Giving It All Away - New York Times
And while on the topic: Harry Potter and the Death of Reading -

How children lost the right to roam in four generations | Mail Online

Science, a rant: The new age of ignorance | Science | The Observer (: Click through at the end of the article for the celeb quiz. See if you can do better. :)

Friday 26 December 2008

Barack Modi

Saw this on the magazine rack in a bookstore. ("G2" stands for "Global Gujarati," to save you the click.) Lost for words.

(Oh, and the text above the dude in the suit is a pointer to a New Year's article, which is about "Whiskies to serve between midnight to morning." The global Gujju, one gathers, does not hold with prohibition and suchlike.)