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Window Seat: The Guardian @200

23/05/2021 at 7:42 AM

The Guardian, one of the most respected newspapers of the world turned 200 on May 2021. It was first published as The Manchester Guardian on May 5, 1821. Incidentally it was on this day that Napoleon died.


Manchester based cotton merchant John Edward Taylor published the newspaper with backing from the Little Circle, a group of non-conformist businessmen as a response to the murder of ordinary people by soldiers in the 1819 Peterloo massacre. It set a tone that the Guardian followed for the next 200 years; it has always taken an anti-establishment stand and has always identified itself with centre-left politics.Over the last 200 years- it has established itself as a key institution in the definition and development of liberalism.

Its survival for two centuries is an enigma firstly as few newspapers have survived that long and well; and secondly unlike some newspapers, the Guardian has never had a wealthy and prosperous owner. Its unique ownership structure had probably been a factor behind its continued existence. It was owned by a trust since 1936 and profitability had never been the major objective of its existence. The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders. It also has adopted a subscription-based revenue model that has substantially decreased its dependence on advertisement. This has helped the paper to uphold its independence.

It was the vision of C.P.Scott (1846-1932) that built the good journalism-focused management architecture of the paper. C.P.Scott was the editor of the paper for 57 years from 1872, and became its owner when he bought the paper from the estate of Taylor’s son in 1907.

The present editor-in-chief of the Guardian Katharine Viner is the first women to have assumed this position in the history of the paper. She became the editor of the Guardian in 2015.

CP Scottwrote in an article to mark the centenary of the paper, “One of the virtues, perhaps almost the chief virtue, of a newspaper is its independence. Whatever its position or character, at least it should have a soul of its own.”
The Guardian does have a soul. A noble soul.
May it live long and healthy.

Museum

It is often said, history is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul. Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Museums are important as they preserve history by preserving artifacts and documents to show us the way things were in the past and the way it evolved. Museums connect the present with the past. Connect with the past and linking it with future- has been one of triggers of the growth of the human civilization.
The Ashmolean Museum, founded in 1677 from the personal collection of Elias Ashmole, is considered by some to be the first modern public museum. It was set up in the University of Oxford to be open to the public.
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) established International Museum Dayin 1977 to increase public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society.
This year it has been on 18 May. The theme of the day this year is: “The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine. Looking at the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic the call is for recovering and reimagining. The crisis triggered several crucial innovations, notably an increased focus on digitisation and the creation of new forms of cultural experience and dissemination.
Several museums across the world are trying to provide life-like experience in the digital space through cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Should you want to know more about museums across the world and what they have on offer log on to:
icom.museum/en/news/international-museum-day-2021/

Hope

Once a king announced death sentence for two convicts.
One of them knew that the king is very fond of his horse. He went up to the king and told him that if you spare my life, I’ll teach the horse how to fly in the next one year.

On hearing this, the king became very happy that he would be the only owner of a horse that could fly and spared the life of the convict.
The other convict looked at his friend with surprise and said, “you know that a horse cannot fly, so why did you think of such a stupid idea, you are just delaying your death by one year.”

The other convict replied, “I have given myself five chances to obtain freedom.
First, The King may die in one year,
Second, the world may come to an end in the next one year,
Third, the horse may die in the next one year,
Fourth, I may die in the next one year due to any reason, and maybe, there will be a miracle and I will be able to teach the horse to fly.”
Morale of the story:
You should never lose hope even in the worst of circumstances.
Despite the pall of gloom related to Covid all around, the recovery rate is increasing, the positivity rate is coming down, medical infrastructure is increasing, multiple vaccines have arrived and the rate of vaccination is increasing.
Despite the odds, life is going on. This too shall pass,
Fear will hold you prisoner; Hope will set you free,
Choose Hope.

Tailpiece: Vaccine Situation

Vaccine situation in India is like looking for a bride for marriage.
First you are not ready…then you don’t like any..then you don’t get any..!! Those who got are unhappy thinking may be the other one would have been better.
(Courtesy: Social Media)


Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives at the central Odisha town Dhenkanal. mrinalchatterjeeiimc@gmail.com

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