The Telegraph editor, R Rajagopal: Cannot afford to stay neutral

“When was the last time you saw such a headline?” R Rajagopal, editor of The Telegraph, asked a hall full of college students last month. “Let us see how the headline works here: first the sledgehammer blow. Then the tug at the heartstrings.”
As part of his guest address at St Berchmans College, Changanassery in Kerala, Rajagopal circulated copies of the front page of the last edition The Warroad Pioneer, the 121-year-old community paper of Minnesota that closed down recently, and asked the students to roll the headline off their tongues: Final Edition/How Lucky To Have Known Something So Hard To Say Goodbye To.
“No pronoun. No names at all. No places. No figures.… Great headlines transcend clerical details. They soar beyond time and geography,” announced the editor.
There could have been no better journalist than Rajagopal to lecture the students on headlines. It is the front-page headlines that have kept The Telegraph, the Kolkata-based daily that he helms, in the news. With most of mainstream media, especially television, giving in to toe the government line, The Telegraph is among the few to stand up to power and continues in its own spirited and irreverent way to question the government. Though published and circulated largely in the eastern part of the country, the paper’s digitised front pages and online news are eagerly awaited across the country, especially when there’s any major event or incident. The catchy, clever and sometimes shocking banner and screaming headlines are admired for their wit and courage.

“These days, I constantly remind myself of an exchange between Ben Bradlee and Katharine Graham in the movie, The Post.

Bradlee: If we don’t hold them accountable, who will?

Graham: We can’t hold them accountable if we don’t have a newspaper.”–Rajagopal

Read the full interview on The Kochi Post website.

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