Visual profile: Skills, abilities, experiences, interests and highlights from 16 + years in media

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Starting from the latest, in July 2014, I joined Harper’s Bazaar Bride, the luxury fashion magazine for weddings from the India Today Group, and acquired first-hand insider knowledge on the workings of the fashion media. As the Executive Editor, I am responsible for quality, on time delivery, production, editing, rewriting of stories, barters, photo shoots, sourcing, etc., on a monthly basis. This allows my Editor in chief to travel to network with potential advertisers in various parts of the world.

 

And when media portals like exchange4media and others announced my move, it was flattering!

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Heading a team of 16 + that includes writers, stylists, fashion editors, photographers, designers, secretaries, I play the role of an editorial guide responsible for their performance, idea generation, budgets, work delegation, dispute resolution, trouble shooting, and other administrative functions like leaves, attendance.

 

 

 

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Prior to Harper’s, I relaunched Air India’s inflight magazine as it Managing Editor. Earlier called Swagat, we rebranded it as Shubh Yatra. Here, I used my creative abilities to think of innovative covers/concepts, like this one that drew in from the Hollywood classic Roman Holiday when Air India was starting flights to Rome and Milan.

Thought of innovative covers

 

Public figures have a few good words for the Air India magazine.

Celeb Quotes

 

 

Roped in big names from the world of cricket and Bollywood to draw readers to the Magazine—of course, for free. Here, it is SA cricketer Jonty Rhodes’ turn.

Roped in big celeb names to contribute from bollywood stars to crickters

 

 

 

My monthly Editor’s Letter in Shubh Yatra (later renamed thus)  had a lot of people talking, the buzz revolving around 1. The unique writing style that drops gramatical long sentences to use just a word or two to convey a whole lot of information, and 2. the creative signature, signing off the letter with my thumb impressions instead of a usual lettered  signature.

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Used thematically relevant images, like this piece of art by artist Raza, to convey a point, without wasting money on special shoots.

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Identified/discovered/spotted and nurtured talent. I sought out newbie illustrators with varied sketching styles and  budding photographers to contribute to the magazine, in a win-win situation for all. This illustrative cover was done by a young man for peanuts.

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With a nose for what makes a good story, ever curious, unearthed several priceless tales from Air India’s dusty archives, like this one on the late illustrator/cartoonist Mario Miranda, flavouring it with my writing style.

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Readers write in through various platforms like FB, etc., to compliment on a good job done.

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During my tenure, Shubh Yatra managed to get several awards, including one for the best magazine of general interest in the country. Read more about it in this link: http://www.sify.com/finance/shubh-yatra-sweeps-53rd-abci-awards-with-four-awards-news-press-releases-nlbwuchbeadsi.html

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Know how to tell a big story in small space. When I don’t have editorial space or pages, I can think of various ways to tell a story. The one below is on a modified bike in easy to understand design layout.

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Introduced new edit formats/page/edit concepts, and ideas for the short-on-time on-the-go flyer.

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Launched India’s first airport magazine Touchdown for Mumbai airport. Since competition for readers came from newspapers and current affairs magazine like India Today, Newsweek, etc, I gave a ‘breaking news’ feel to the stories in this magazine with information that call for action, information that they can instantly put to use. Like a behind-the-scene story on in flight entertainment or airline food menus.

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Launched Mail Today Traveller with short, interesting and interractive content. The supplement continues in the same format/layout and concepts that I had devised back in 2007.

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Intrepid and seasoned travelller who deviates from PR driven routes and itinerary and roughs it out: Here a 15-day motorcycle expedition from New Delhi to Leh, Kargil and Siachin basecamp.

Intrepd travelller who rouughs it out: Here a 15 dat motorcycle tour from delhi to Ladakh and then on to Kargil and Siachin.


My attempts to explore the underbelly of a city/destination gets me into risky situations. Getting robbed in St Petersburg (story below) is a good example.

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Associated with Tripoto, world’s largest crowd-sourcing online travel platform, and helping the company from its start-up days on content, readership, and revenue models.

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Created moodboards for fashion shoots and helped in styling, sourcing clothes, photographers, models, venues, etc. The following shoot was for the Ambience Mall magazine.

MallAmbiencePhoto Shoot

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Made real estate sexy to get more readers. Launched Mail Today Property, an 18 pager then, that came separately with the Friday edition of Mail Today. Introduced a refreshing new change in terms of real estate coverage, telling stories with examples and photo shoots from a property owner or a potential property buyer. It exists in a smaller format still.

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Relaunched Discover India in a new avatar, replacing done-to-death stories and cliché images of India with those of an emerging India: Ancient temples were replaced by new age templetainment; religious festival by electronic music festival; Puri’s Rath Yatra by superbike cruises; and Bharatnatyam by Bollywood choreography. I did away with the existing lot of photographers and writers who charged sinful amounts of money for substandard work, and roped in a new breed of young talent at the fraction of the cost. Covers were specially shot showcasing a neon-lit India in nightclubs and malls. The cover of March 2015 issue (left) still follows the layout design  I and my team standardised in 2006.

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Introduced the concept of art poster in Discover India as it USP, wherein we would reproduce a travel/destination based painting done exclusively by a well known artist for the magazine. The poster can be taken off the magazine and framed by the readers.

First one in India to write/repot on and document electronic and underground music, just when the scene was beginning, back in 2000. These were for HT City, Hindustan Times.

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Was in charge of HT City’s travel section, Footloose. Travelled the world for stories.

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Can write on various lifestyle disciplines that includes adventure and motorsports, golf, fashion, culture, art, books, Page 3, home and interiors, etc.

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Launched, managed, and edited this page called Channel Y in Indian Express to “win away the MTV generation back to the pleasure of the written word”.

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Indian Express taught me the basics of good journalism. Broke several hard-hitting news, and got several exclusive stories

 

Broke several stories/ exclusive coverage.

 

 

Starting my career as a copywriter in advertisng industry, can think of out-of-the-box ways to drive home a point. This was a campaign I did in Chandigarh to rise AIDS awareness. Was widely reported by the city papers, like this one in Indian Express, Chandigarh.

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One of my earlier stories in The Statesman where I wrote regularly as a Delhi University student.

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My first fullpage travel story for the Pioneer as an intern following my first professional tour, from the pre millennium era.

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Believe in the power of celebrity to drive home the point of a story, for effective communication. So love to network with public figures and potential sources for story ideas. Can work on low editorial budget thanks to the goodwill developed over years with the right people.

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OTHER SKILLS

Introduced the concept of art poster in Discover India as it USP, wherein we would reproduce a travel/destination based painting done exclusively by a well known artist for the magazine. The poster can be taken off the magazine and framed by the readers.

Love using smart and catchy headlines and intros, headlining a story on the Rann of Kutch, for instance, with “Kutch me if you can”; one on gifting with “Make your presents felt”; and yet another story on precious stones with “Gem session”.

Good at conceiving marketing innovations. Suggested a full-page 3D Hologram ad for a jewellery brand to convey its credibility

 

Interviewd and opinions sought on lifestyle journalism by various ezines: http://www.thethumbprintmag.com/nishiraj-baruah-debunks-myths-about-lifestyle-journalism-in-india/

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HOBBIES AND INTERESTS

Have been playing the drums since my school days in Don Bosco Dibrugarh (Assam). Started the Maxposure Band while working in the Maxposure Group. Part of a drum and percussion group called Delhi Drummers. My forte is drum solo and jazz drumming.

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A YouTube video that I uploaded.

 

 

Have a unique hobby of collecting knives, the collection now boasting as many as 129 knives from various parts of the world. Plan to put these up for an exhibition when the collection numbers 300.

Knives

Have a well developed taste and design sense for home interiors. Self-designed, my house, below, has been featured in several magazines on home and interiors (Better Homes and Garden, Elle Décor, etc.) for its eye-pleasing play of colours and optimum utilisation of space.

Home

Thank you for your interest in my profile.

Nishiraj A. Baruah

Former Executive Editor of Air India's in-flight magazine and Harper's Bazaar Bride. Lifestyle journalist, travel writer and blogger who collects knives and plays the drums.

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