Vishweshwar Bhat, new editor of Kannada Prabha

Vishweshwar Bhat, the former editor of the mass-circulation Vijaya Karnataka belonging to The Times of India group, has joined the State’s fourth largest paper, Kannada Prabha, as editor-in-chief, in a move that is likely to shake up the Kannada newspaper market in more ways than one.

Bhat was introduced to the editorial staff and management team of Kannada Prabha by Manoj Kumar Sonthalia, chairman and managing director of The New Indian Express group which owns Kannada Prabha, in Bangalore this evening.

On his newly launched blog, Bhat called the shift to Kannada Prabha a “homecoming“, having served it for four years as sub-editor in the initial stages of his career and then having done another four years at the Asian Schoool of Journalism launched by the Express group.

Bhat confirmed the shift to churumuri.com.

The popular yet controversial Bhat quit Vijaya Karnataka on 8 December 2010, and the market had since been abuzz about his next port of call. Bhat himself wrote on his blog that he briefly considered launching a new newspaper but had to abandon the idea of a startup because of the constraints of printing presses.

There were also rumours that Bhat was headed towards Udayavani, the Kannada newspaper published by the Pais of Manipal, but clearly Kannada Prabha‘s reach and reputation—not to mention the deep pockets (and ambitions) of its owner in waiting, phone baron-turned-parliamentarian, Rajeev Chandrasekhar—tilted the balance.

Both Bhat and Chandrasekhar appear to be similarly politically aligned.

Bhat served as an officer on special duty to the former Union minister Ananth Kumar of the BJP, and Chandrasekhar, an independent MP elected with BJP support, has been seen with both Ananth Kumar and the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, on a “Friends of BJP” platform.

***

Bhat’s decision to join Kannada Prabha, however, shows that an official Times VPL internal circular, issued in the name of CEO Sunil Rajshekhar that said he was leaving Vijaya Karnataka to pursue “higher studies“, was merely for public consumption.

Kannada Prabha, which currently belongs to The New Indian Express group of Sonthalia, is set to come into the control of Rajeev Chandrasekhar by June this year.

Chandrasekhar had entered into a “strategic partnership alliance” with Express publications in March 2009, and picked up a minority stake. His stake in Kannada Prabha Publications (valued at Rs 250 crore) currently stands at 48%. The grapevine has it that he will obtain a majority controlling stake of 76% by June.

So far, the fight for the Kannada advertising pie has been between Vijaya Karnataka (average issue readership 34.25 lakh readers, IRS round 3) and No.2 Praja Vani (29.10 lakh readers) belonging to the Deccan Herald group. But the Bhat-Chandrasekhar combination at Kannada Prabha (11.15 lakh readers) is likely to muddy the scene.

Vijaya Karnataka is said to be mulling the launch of a Bangalore Mirror-style Kannada tabloid to be issued free with Vijaya Karnataka to blunt the Bhat effect at Kannada Prabha, and also to overcome recent circulation and readership losses to Praja Vani.

***

Bhat’s entry into Kannada Prabha is also poised create a ripple in Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s media stable.

Chandrasekhar already has a sizeable media presence in Karnataka through his Suvarna and Suvarna News channels. He had successfully wooed Kannada Prabha editor H.R. Ranganath to the Suvarna News camp at the expense of incumbent Shashidhar Bhat two years ago.

Ranganath came to Suvarna News with his band of print journalists under the belief that Rajeev Chandrasekhar would start his own newspaper. That plan first came unstuck with his purchase of a minority stake in KP.

Now, with the arrival of Vishweshwar Bhat and his own band of print journalists from VK, the former Kannada Prabha journalists in the Suvarna stable are in a dilemma about their future course of action. One of them, Ravi Hegde, is reported to have left Suvarna News and joined Udayavani as editor.

K. Shiva Subramanya, who took over from Ranganath as editor of Kannada Prabha, is reported to have indiciated his decision to leave Kannada Prabha, with the entry of Vishweshwar Bhat, even as Vijaya Karnataka looks around for a full-time Kannada editor.

Whether Bhat will also have a say in Suvarna News or not will be clear in June when both the channel and the newspaper come under a common owner, but it is more likely than not that Bhat will be projected as a face on Suvarna News, both to push Kannada Prabha as a paper and to lend the channel more journalistic gravitas.

The editorial-musical chairs in Bangalore had set the Kannada tabloids and blogs on fire over the last couple of months, with allegations, counter-allegations, innuendos and insinuations, all showing Kannada journalistic egos in very poor light.

Bhat’s resignation also resulted in an ugly war of words with his longtime friend, Ravi Belagere, editor of the popular Hi! Bangalore tabloid. Till recently fought from the shoulders of the former Vijaya Karnataka columnist Pratap Simha, the squabble has increasingly become personal, with Bhat reportedly even sending off a legal notice.

Pratap Simha welcomed Bhat’s decision on his blog thus:

“Our dear editor VISHWESHWAR BHAT has joined “KANNADA PRABHA” just now!! He is the man who gave different dimension to Kannada Journalism, he is the man who captured the imagination of us through his journalistic skills, he is the man who changed the way v all used to think, he is the man who made stars out of writers, he is the man who gave forum to nationalistic views which were unheard until his arrival. I have reason to believe that, his new innings will set new standards and new parameters in Kannada Journalism. Just WATCH OUT…”

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37 Responses to “Vishweshwar Bhat, new editor of Kannada Prabha”

  1. Mysore Peshva Says:

    What does the Press exist for? A basic truth was stated in the first sentence of the first issue of the Spectator dated 6 July 1829, which ran, “The principal object of a newspaper is to convey intelligence.”

    In order to convey intelligence, we need intelligent editors. I am pleased to see that Kannada Prabha, one of the old and great brands in Kannada journalism, has found an intelligent editor such as Vishweshwar Bhat. All the best to Shri. Bhat in his wonderful new job!

    On another note, this is an excellent piece by churumuri — filed on the fly, but detailed and perceptive. I especially loved this provocative line:

    “The editorial-musical chairs in Bangalore has set the Kannada tabloids on fire over the last couple of months, with allegations, counter-allegations innuendos and insinuations, all showing Kannada journalistic egos in very poor light.”

  2. bvkulkarni Says:

    Congratulations to Mr,Vishweshwar Bhat in becoming Editor of Kannada Prabha. It is a value addition to kannada prabha.

  3. Anirudh Says:

    By welcoming V. Bhat into Kannada Prabha the management has also knowingly welcomed jealousy, nepotism, casteism and propaganda into the otherwise comparatively clean organisation. But, it won’t be easy for Bhat.

  4. ವಿಭ Says:

    Till today, this (KP) was a friend of common man. It has proved by taking such issues of bhopal gas tragedy, ‘horticulture farms to pvt companies’, ban to bt brinjal and endosulphan hazard.
    But this man (v. bhat) has don’t care mindset on such issues. I think now onwards KP will become anti-people and pro-company paper.
    I bet this 100%

  5. 'mudi'malnad Says:

    Congratulations to V Bhat. If I had money even I would have bet on VB.

  6. Pratapkumar Says:

    It’s a wonderful gain for Kannada Prabha

  7. Shetty Says:

    Considering Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s closeness to former Union minister Ananth Kumar (personally helped corporate lobbyist Niira Radia), can we now except Mr. Bhat’s powerful pen to swiftly strip the much-tainted Yeddi of his chaddi and reveal the crooked ‘Thief Minister’ once and for ever?

    While every CM the state has had has sadly, been extremely selfish and corrupt to the core, this CM has made every Kannadiga hang his/her head in shame with nepotism, illegal assets to his kin and cronies, shocking beliefs combined with an obsession with homas, astrologers, witchcraft, visits and obscene offering to various temples and mutts..etc.

  8. twistleton Says:

    Journos up for sale! ek ke saath ek free.

  9. NS Rao Says:

    BTW, why is the fight between Ravi Belagere and VB?

  10. div Says:

    Congratulations Bhattre on your new position. But will it change anything?

    when will Kannada news websites and even Indian news website become professional and news oriented rather than being gossip oriented tabloids?
    I think only “the Hindu” has a website that matches NY Times, Washington post or BBC in terms of the quality of the website and contents. They don’t put 100 pop ups and 1000 ads on their website.

    Most Indian news papers are hypocritical. They should call themselves tabloids.

  11. Yella Ok Says:

    It was lethargy that made me not switch from VK to PV or KP over the last 45 days. Now, it will be KP – a sort of homecoming for me as well, as KP was the kannada daily in our homes till we switched to VK (much before Bhat was the editor).

    I hope KP and PV will end up being no.1 and no.2 if only to halt the domination of ToI group in karnataka. Bhat has another owner with deep pockets to help him achieve that.

    I think its time the English media in Karnataka gets a shake up. But who will bell the cat?? Definitely not the nandi printers. The sector is waiting for its change agent.

  12. kumarswamy Says:

    Neo-rich Sonthalia ditched Shivasubarmanya K.
    Where is respect for good work ?

  13. Padmaraj S Says:

    Great Insight in to the news of Bhat joining KP…

    Now it is Interesting that what Mr.Bhat will do for his team which was left VK with him.At the same time Ravi Belagere joining JANASHREE!! any thing more is expected from two camps need to be seen.

    Lot of water flown under the bridge in these two months and I think your below words should ring a bell.Hope we readers will see good things to see and read.

    “The editorial-musical chairs in Bangalore had set the Kannada tabloids and blogs on fire over the last couple of months, with allegations, counter-allegations, innuendos and insinuations, all showing Kannada journalistic egos in very poor light”

  14. Ramya Sharma Says:

    I am thrilled know that Mr. Vishweshwar Bhat has joined EDITORS CHOICE “Kannada Prabha”!! His detractors might spread 100 bad things, but he is a force to reckon with in Kannada Journalism. I have been an ordent reader of his various columns. I was missing his columns since few weeks, Now I am happy. I must say that, he is the ONLY writing editor in contemporary Kannada Journalism(Mainstream). I am sure, Kannada Prabha will richly benifit from his experience and talent and will b numero uno soon. All the best V. Bhat.

  15. Anucharan Says:

    ಇಲ್ಲಿ ವ್ಯಕ್ತವಾಗಿರುವ ವಿಶ್ವೇಶ್ವರ ಭಟ್ಟರ ಬಗೆಗಿನ ಕೆಲವು ಕಾಮೆಂಟ್ ಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದರೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಸಮಾಜದಲ್ಲ್ಲಿ ಎಂತಹ ಅತ್ರುಪ್ತ್ತ್ ಮನಸ್ಸುಗಳಿವೆ ಎಂದು ಬೇಸರವಾಗುತ್ತ್ತದೆ. ಅವರ ಯಶಸ್ಸನ್ನ್ನೂ ಸಹಿಸದ ಅತ್ರುಪ್ತಗಳು ಎಷ್ಟೋಂದಿವೆ ಎಂದು ಅಶ್ಚರ್ಯವಾಗುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಛೇ

  16. Sanjeeva Says:

    I have to watch (read) KP for few days before deciding to opt for my daily newspaper.
    Padmaraj – What is Janashree?

  17. Ravi Kiran Says:

    Sorry Mr. K. Shiva Subramanya!

  18. Deepak Says:

    @Sanjeeva – JANASHREE is the Reddy’s new News channel.
    JANA = JANArdhana reddy + SHREEramulu :)

  19. Venki Says:

    Vishweshwar Bhat minus his communal brigade is welcome change for Kannada Prabha.

    Bhatru is intelligent, sharp, good writer and he can take KP to new heights. The only care he must take is to not get the communal brigade of Pratap Simha and others onto KP and make KP another VK.

    All the best bhatre..

  20. lalitha rangarajan Says:

    I used to follow Mr V BHATT’s “vakratundokthi’ with great interest when he was with V K. Also, his column in the sunday edition ,was very interesting.
    I am exited and look forward to more interesting write ups in KANNADA PRABHA.
    I wish him all the best.

  21. Gouri Satya Says:

    A YNK successor at KP! Congratulations VK!

  22. chandrakant Says:

    While welcoming VB to KP, comparing him to YNK is a bit unfair to both. As far as my knowledge goes, YNK never lobbied for anyone nor had he any affiliations. He cut to ribbons fools, pretenders and the like. VB is from a different era and with different school of journalism.

  23. boring journalist Says:

    Ut is now clear that promotions and postings in newspapers can be got through political influence. One can imagine what credibility the newspapers carry under the circumstances?

  24. atech-adda Says:

    ಕನ್ನಡಪ್ರಭ ಕನ್ನಡ ಫಾಂಟ್ಸ್

    ಪ್ರೀತಿಯ ಕನ್ನಡ ಬಂದುಗಳೇ,
    ನಿಮಗೆ ಕನ್ನಡಪ್ರಭ ಓದಲು ಕಷ್ಟ ವಾಗುತ್ತಿದಿಯೇ.

    ಅದಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಕೆಳಕಂಡ ಸೂಚನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಅನುಸರಿಸಿ:

    http://atech-adda.blogspot.com/2011/02/blog-post_24.html

  25. Hemanth Says:

    It is glad to welcome Saturdays with Pratab Simha’s “Bettale Jagattu” which I was missing since many weeks. Many of my friends and relatives also started subscribing”Kannada Prabha” already.

  26. padma bhat Says:

    sir,you are a very intelligent,and excellent journalist..”kannada prabha”is very pet news paper to me.college ranga is very very nice.

  27. SRINIVAS HEBBAR KORODI Says:

    you are welcome

  28. priyanka Says:

    ur gud sir

  29. nams Says:

    Please update the kannadaprabha e-paper software. Specially this link http://www.kannadaprabha.com/. Current software is very bad.

  30. mahesh Says:

    why dont you start your own paper

  31. venkatesh murthy H.A Says:

    “CONGRATS” PRATAP FOR KANNADA “rajyothsava” award . my hearty congratulations. great going.you deserve many more awards.

    keep writing daredevi articles along with EDITOR-IN-CHIEF MR.VISHWESHWAR BHAT.best wishes for your GREAT TEAM. It is SHAME on part of vijaya karnataka

    not printed your name or photo.because TRUTH IS BITTER they c’not DIGEST.

    venkatesh murthyh.a

  32. pradeepa Says:

    congrate sir iam ur fan

  33. prathima Says:

    I am very much proud your articles. In these days living in the small salary how difficult you please analyse and write about poor government employees living in this costly days regarding.

  34. VENKATESH MURTHY H.A Says:

    RESPECTED DR.S.L.BYRAPPANAVARU

    MY HEARTY CONGRALUTION SIR ,ON BEHALF MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS .THERE is no word to describe my happiness & joy.

    venkatesh murthy H.A

  35. Jayanthkh Jynth Says:

    simply superb….witout kannadaprabha my day wont start….
    n thanx 4 getting back SOFT MANA by sudhamurthy…..cute wishes to pranati akka….nodta ere enta fan aagtini..!!!!!

  36. Suresha Says:

    I like KP news paper. But column like bettale-jagattu articles are not good for society. KP Editor should take care of this. SOFT MANA by sudhamurthy are excellent, even Katta Naidu son read this jail and transformed him, it is really great to hear news like this.

  37. Dr.sarvamangala sakri Says:

    sir,

    our paper and my paper lot of news and lot of discussion topicks

    thank you

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