Friday, May 20, 2022

Hafta letters: Metaverse, Newslaundry merchandise, the subscription model

Being a subscriber who wrote 1,000 word letters to you when it was okay back in the day – circa Hafta Ep 100 – I will keep it short.

I find vaccine hesitancy in India ridiculous. You would not have 1.5 billion if people had hesitated to take vaccines over the last 50 years. Infant/ female pregnancy mortality would have ensured a population half of what it is today!

Tek Fog as a thing though not implausible in the future. Reminds me of a meme, “Anybody who thinks that nurses, scientists…are collaborating on a big conspiracy has never worked on a group project”.

Metaverse!!!! If one took an Uncle Niku approach on millennials being lazy and on the phone all the time, the metaverse will be here sooner. A pinch of salt approach on the humare zamane mein bs, and metaverse may be a mix.

CCS is Carbon Capture and Storage: compressing CO2 from power stations/processes, and transporting it into old reservoirs or mines. With no clue of the effect of putting the CO2 there.

Regards,

Dheeraj Krishna Kumar

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I recently became a subscriber. Listen to both NL Charcha and NL Hafta as well as Daily Dose. Find NL Charcha serious and better researched. Daily Dose to an extent seems to be like regular All India Radio news. To keep listeners engaged if possible make Daily Dose for 30 minutes with perhaps a discussion of 10 to 15 minutes on any current topic. Also add the time by which these podcasts are uploaded on your website.

Shikhar Ranjan

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This is regarding the conversation on metaverse in the previous Hafta, I recommend you guys watch the movie Surrogates Starring Bruce Willis. You will get an idea as to where we are headed or atleast what is trying to be achieved. I have been told this by a very credible person working with an augmented reality real estate company.

Sarfraz Khan

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Recently, I was in western Uttar Pradesh and met some old friends. It is clear that the middle and lower class are struggling, as if SOMEBODY has pushed them off the mobility escalator. The frustration and shame for not being able to make rent or school fees for their kids has been a very personal experience.

Partly, it is the media’s fault that it has not told their stories repeatedly, which would have given them some common cause. The few stories that appear can be easily dismissed as things that have always happened in small town India.

Partly, the fault is the lack of strong networks such as labor unions, student unions or political groups that can put their case forward. The only social network these people strongly associate with is their caste group. Unfortunately, the caste leaders’ imagination only consists of agitating for SC/ST/OBC status, to avail the disappearing government jobs. I hope NL would cover struggles of such people rather than yet another political interview when covering UP.

Mohit

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Just heard the Hafta podcast. I know the discussion on metaverse was off-the-cuff. Still, I find it very irritating when even the most well-versed used the terms “web 3.0” and “web3” interchangeably.

Web 3.0 was the then-expected next generation of the internet – the semantic web – which did not become a reality. Web3 is the current expected next generation of the internet which would be built on blockchains and AR/VR technologies.

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I think it is important to make this distinction to (a) avoid confusion; and

(b) lampshade the fact that web 3.0 did not come to pass, and the same could happen to web3, even if it looks inevitable today.

Otherwise, I enjoyed listening to Hafta a lot. Great work team. It is okay to not know everything that is being discussed, the important topics would anyway reapear on future episodes, we can all learn more by then.

Rajmachhole

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When Abhinandan entered Hafta 364, the conversation immediately lifted and not just with humour. Till then, Manisha was the only one holding fort with intelligence and informed conversation (also because Raman was quiet).

An interesting thing to note: It is the combination of Abhinandan, Manisha, Raman, along with a strong, even if controversial, podcast guest that works. For example, my view on Chetan Bhagat changed (for the better) after being forced by you guys to hear him for a bit, he ain’t Socrates but he never claims to be. Keep up the good work! And since everyone has started writing about why they subscribe; I subscribe so Awful and Awesome can continue as a sideshow for allegedly serious/important work done by NL 😀 (just kidding, though the first part is true).

Sonali Singh

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Proud subscriber of Newslaundry for years now. My first interaction with NL was of Kanhaiya. It led me to google this man who conducted the interview, because it was very refreshing for me to know ki aise bhi koi interview kar sakta hai . Probably the same feeling that you guys might be having watching Samdish. Fun and engaging!

When I later subscribed to NL, I felt more like an investor in this ecosystem than a mere subscriber/customer. Talking like an investor, I think that the “I pay to keep news free” square image is really shit aesthetically with three different sizes of two different fonts in three lines with text-justify on to fill the square. I didn’t stick this artifact on my fridge, car or laptop. Just recently got the bottle as part of Xmas merch, and it’s in the category “haan ​​theek hai lekin mein kisi khas ko gift nahi karta”, Similarly, I like the mugs for the images.

I want to flaunt the NL merch for both the conscience and the quality, not only one of them. Aesthetically, “mere kharch pe azaad hain khabrein” is quite kadak, Wayse going by the video recordings of Awful and Awesome, even your laptops/Macbooks do not have these stickers.

I liked the red NL mask. I gave it to my mom who questions my financial prudence regularly and asks me questions like “tujhe yeh kaise pata ki yeh log theek hain?” I don’t have an answer to that, and it’s probably the reason why I regularly hear old Haftas. I would say it’s my way of “surveying” you.

This is my first ever email, it’s an ice breaker for me. More will follow.

Peayush Bhardwaj

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Hello NL team,

I have been a regular subscriber of Newslaundry since April 2020, I had written two Hafta letters, none of them were read out (although they featured among the letters which were published on the website). I hope this letter will not be snubbed.

Newslaundry’s The theory of the downfall of mainstream media in India (ie advertisement driven revenue model) is applicable only to broadcast media and is not completely applicable to print (few English newspapers). I often get to read stories on front pages of national dailies like Hindu, Indian Express (completely ad driven) which can put the government in the dock. For instance last week there were a couple of excellent investigative reports on the front page of IE ( , and ).

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Certainly ad driven model cannot be the only reason that TV media has become a mouthpiece of BJP, to buttress my point I quote a Business Standard article by Vanita Kohli Khandekar,

“There are no easy answers to the question of what will replace the broken business model of news journalism. While subscription is a healthy trend, not all ad-funded news is junk. There are many brands where owners have the vision and more importantly, the spine, to stand by good quality journalism. You need more of those, a good dose of capital and some out of the box thinking to get journalism out of its rut.”

Koshik Singh

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Hi, long time occasional listener, first time writing to NL.

Last week, Manishaji in her appeal for NL Sena asked the listener to contribute 1,000 bucks if not 40 or 50 grand. It made me think if the NL model is serving only the upper class or elites. 40 or 50 grand is way above the salaries of an average person in India. Do you think NL is reaching the average Indian like legacy media? Do you think the subscriber based model is dependent on the upper class or elites? Love your ground reports. Take care.

Anonymous

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Hello Hafta team,

I don’t understand why people would have any issues with the NL team talking to Manu Joseph and Chetan Bhagat. They may hold different views from many of us but this doesn’t mean that they should be de-platformed. I may not enjoy Mr Bhagat’s books but he does bring some interesting perspectives about politics to the table. Do continue to bring people across the aisles (not bigoted of course) where ideas across different spectrums can be discussed.

I would really like to see the Hafta (and Charcha) panellists do a Let’s Talk About Reservation, specific towards the EWS quota. This 10 percent quota and the income cap is completely devoid of all logic as the pool of people who are eligible for this will always be inflated because of the rampant poverty in our country. Other than the pretext of giving upper caste people some form of symbolic quota this policy serves no purpose. Thoughts?

Soham

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Hi NL team, always enjoy Hafta.

In last week’s episode, Abhinandan mentioned the noise around Havana syndrome and a secret Cuban microwave weapon that causes nausea and headaches and it reminded me of several other instances where the mainstream American press worked towards obfuscating the truth.

So, I would like to recommend the new book Gangsters of Capitalism about Smedley Butler and the 1934 business plot where a group of industrialist titans funded a failed coup against FDR. Also recommend the interview with the author on Democracy Now or the Behind the Bastards episode on the business plot.

Kudos on the last episode. It’s always good when robust critiques of news media break through, especially when they are made by those on the “same side”.

Vijay

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