first_imgIt isn’t often that a single event claims two covers in a row. The only other time this has happened was in the buildup to the 1980 election when the magazine featured three successive cover stories on the gathering political forces, focussing on the various combinations that were about to enter the electoral battle. But Asiad is, by any standard, an event worthy of extensive treatment.Colour, excitement, competition, beauty – a colossal extravaganza that could not but claim centre-stage of the country’s, and indeed the Asian continent’s, attention. At India Today, ever since the Games began, the staff has been divided into two camps: those whose professional calling took them to the Games to cover them or those fortunate enough to have got hold of coveted tickets to key events, and most of the rest who remained glued to a colour television set keeping track of the Games even as they wrote, researched or edited this issue.But doing justice to an event such as this was no mean task. For one, the magazine was scheduled to appear on the news-stands just as the Games were in their final stages, having started printing several days earlier with the Games barely through their half-way point. For another, the high pressure on the accreditation facilities meant that an inadequte number of photographers and writers could obtain the coveted green press pass. And, third, the tight security surrounding the athletes, whether at the village or in the sports arena, made it virtually impossible to get close enough to the competitors to gauge their feelings, their moods, hopes and disappointments, which are so much an integral part of a sports story.It was clear from the beginning that with such vivid visual possibilities, the emphasis of this fortnight’s cover story would be on a portfolio of colour photographs. Under the overall direction of Picture Editor Raghu Rai, Photographers Bhawan Singh and Pramod Pushkarna zeroed in on key events as they occurred, shuttling from venue to venue – from 10 in the morning before the Games started till after the curtain was rung down each evening.To write the text, India Today mobilised no fewer than six writers. Senior Writer Dilip Bobb, keeping track of the high points of the Games on television and occasional forays into the Games Village, was joined by Hyderabad Correspondent Amarnath K. Menon and Bhopal Correspondent Sreekant Khandekar who toured the stadia, met athletes, coaches and officials to get a fix on the Games. Correspondent Sunil Sethi took stock of the success of the impressive inaugural ceremony while Correspondent Asoka Raina met officials responsible for the success of the Games. With a team of eight people directly involved, it was an unparalleled effort for India Today as well: never before have so many photographers and writers been merged into a single team for one story.After a ten-month legal battle, India Today last fortnight was finally cleared by the Supreme Court to publish stories about businessman-politician Charanjit Singh. As a report in this issue makes clear, the judges threw out Singh’s objections in a case which began last February and was reported in the magazine (India Today, June 15) before coming up for a final hearing. It was, for the magazine, just another story which got blown up in importance because of Singh’s case against it. The story, as it was originally conceived, was long since overtaken by events. Singh’s hotel has now been declared open, and the story relevant now is told by Principal Correspondent Prabhu Chawla on some controversial aspects of the hotel project.last_img

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