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Journalistic over reach – why are we surprised?

Finally we were able to come out and share our perspectives on our investment in Naaptol. Over past few weeks, as the news leaked first in ET, then picked by various blogs; and then a second round in VCCircle, we received several enquiries on the same. I would like to thank media persons who resorted to responsible journalistic practices, and allowed us an opportunity to express our views on the same.

Some of the earlier misreports, perhaps especially the one at pluggd.in drew stark reactions from people questioning whether this was responsible journalism. Honestly, I do not feel anger that “our news had been leaked” – media in general has leaned in favor of sensationalism over past many years, and there is no reason to expect that online blogging will be any different. There will be certain sources that will lose credibility over time, and there will be others which will be relied upon for authenticity – that strategy choice belongs to owners of those sources. As an audience, the choice that belongs to us is who we go to and for what. In the print and television media, business success has not necessarily been maximized by credibility, but by “breaking news”, and I consider it a valid incentive in the startup space as well. The mistake that we have made and feel undone for, is to consider startup bloggers as “friends of startups” – that mistake is entirely ours. These businesses have no obligation to care about interests of entrepreneurs, which can be severely damaged if deals “reported” in media do not go through. These are businesses like any other, and are free to set their ethical standards where they would like to – if we dont like that as customers of these businesses, we should defect.

There is one primary reason for me to write this post though. At pluggd.in, there were several revisions of the story, and I think most of them misquoted me, including the last one of my having denied the investment altogether. I consider this as deliberate falsification of information on part of the author – my credibility is important for me, and I am reproducing my response to Ashish in toto – as the readers will notice, I had refrained from denying or confirming specifically the news of an investment being made. There was also no express refutation of the numbers reported by ET – I can now confirm that the numbers reported by ET were wrong.

Nothing to share right now Ashish. The ET report is factually incorrect – journalistic over reach!

Will definitely share anything that we have to share with you :)

Alok Mittal

which got reported as “[Alok] mentioned that the numbers aren’t correct at all”, and the followup

As I said, no issues from my end, cheers

Its not just the data, the news itself might be incorrect

which got reported as a denial of the investment – “It seems the news itself isnt correct, as per my conversation with Alok”.

I am perfectly fine with any journalist reporting standards. One thing that does apply even to that world – Please do not misquote.

  • http://www.gmail.com Yatish Lalwani

    Alok you have really tried to put things in right perspective. This Mr. Ashish Sinha feels that he is a great benefactor of startups. He has so many not so great comments about entrepreneurs as if he is a successful man in life – he is a bugger, an average performer at Yahoo who is so happy that he can now write that he is from IIT Roorkee and not Roorkee University.He screwed up Naaptol news, he screwed up Grabbon’s hapiness. Those guys were happy with acquisition and Mr. Great Sinha says that the acquisition was a dignified term for bankruptcy and also that people will now call themselves serial entrepreneurs !! I guess Ashish grudges everyone who does well in life. He is a killer of startups and his comments are filled with viciousness and malignancy.He should first prove himself with something worthwhile in life rather than writing about everything that he claims that he is a guru off. everyone can write crap like him.

  • Anonymous Coward

    Alok,

    I am wondering why you decided to get your hands dirty with mud.

    IMHO, Pluggd puts out mostly mediocre stuff. There is hardly anything insightful on it. Some guest entrepreneurs/VCs fill in the gaping hole in their content.

    Incidentally, it is only blog where comments are polite and the author gets abusive. Check the post you linked where he calls an anonymous commentator “Mr. Know-it-all A**hole.”
    http://www.pluggd.in/canaan-partners-invests-in-naaptol-297/

    It also happens to be a blog where readers in big companies are called “corporate bozos.” Quite amusing, given that the founder was at a big company not too long ago.
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=corporate+bozos+site%3Apluggd.in

    Stay away.

  • http://www.canaan.com Alok Mittal

    then you shouldnt be saying we denied chakpak. i think we understand each other.

  • http://www.pluggd.in ashish

    Because we knew about the chakpak deal. We just needed the formal statement from you.
    As far as naaptol is concerned, I had no clue, except for the ET story.

  • Rohit Kapoort

    “The mistake that we have made and feel undone for, is to consider startup bloggers as “friends of startups” – that mistake is entirely ours. These businesses have no obligation to care about interests of entrepreneurs..”

    Well said Alok.

  • http://www.canaan.com Alok Mittal

    Ashish, your later comments certainly are different:

    “VC firms denying reports of investment and then they make a formal PR announcing the deal”. You also mention that we had denied chakpak earlier – your original post on chakpak doesn’t mention any denial. There are points when we are unable to either confirm or deny stories, and we say that rather than denying.

  • http://www.navamcapital.com Rajeev Mantri

    We had a similar experience with Pluggd.in when they reported our investment in EnNatura Technology Ventures (http://www.pluggd.in/ennatura-green-ink-vegetable-oils-takes-on-offset-printing-inks-297/). The funding amount was misreported and even misrepresented.

    We had said the amount has not been disclosed and the article authoritatively stated an inaccurate figure.

  • http://www.pluggd.in ashish

    “might be incorrect” vs. ‘It seems the news itself isnt correct,’
    - Is there a difference?

  • http://www.canaan.com Alok Mittal

    Ashish – there is a difference between “might be incorrect” and denial.

  • http://www.pluggd.in ashish

    Thanks Alok. Quite surprising that you mentioned ‘mght be incorrect’ yourself and we just added that update on the post.
    Not sure what’s the big deal here? If there was a overreach, it was from Economic Times – you didn’t bring that context here.

    Anyways, I have published my reply to your article here :
    http://www.pluggd.in/on-journalistic-approach-and-credibility-to-anon-comments-reply-297/