Srinivasan Ramani is a senior journalist and currently working with the Hindu. He can be reached @
Economic and Political Weekly will soon have a new editor. Whoever it is, he/she will have massive shoes to fill in. I joined EPW in 2007 to begin my journalist career. I should have certainly done much better than what I did in 8 years in the organisation, but whatever editorial abilities that I have honed and have put in use now, much of them are owed to the outstanding editor of the journal, Ram Reddy. Ram was a great mentor and a fully committed leader of the journal.
He was on the job 24/7 literally, constantly encouraging and trying out new things and change – a) he spearheaded the digitisation of archives – EPW now has 50 years of archives + EW’s 17 years behind a payment gateway on the web apart from JSTOR syndication; b) he pushed for the move towards a more robust website which will drive readership beyond print and run on an open source CMS, Drupal; c) he encouraged the move to using an open source journal management system (OJS) that eased a number of issues with the way EPW was handling the large inflow of submissions and which allowed for peer review, tracking and a smooth editorial workflow and d) he made people like me want to be equipped with new skills (data journalism) to be tried out for the journal.
All this was over and beyond so many other things such as organising articles, specials, series and conversations and keeping the quality up in a prestigious journal; steadily increasing the salaries of the very committed employees of the non-profit journal; always fostering a sense of strong camaraderie and ownership among the editorial team; constantly looking for good scholarship beyond the traditional confines; helping with so many other things such as office space, computers, software and so on. Ram did all this and more as the editor. [When I left the EPW, I did so because I wanted to make a mark in mainstream journalism, but it was an extremely difficult decision as EPW and Ram were part of my growth as a journalist.]
I hope the Sameeksha Trust does not make the mistake of leaving out Ram from the process of finding the new editor, as has been reported. It will not help the cause of the unique institution that requires a special degree of care and nurture – something that Ram went all out to provide and work for.