A master of print
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G. Kasturi, who died in Chennai at age 87 on Friday, was the longest serving editor of The Hindu, as also among the more distinguished of this long line. He served as the paper's editor for a quarter of a century from 1965 to 1991, and it was during his time that it made its greatest strides. Making the paper's first foray in the north, he started its Delhi edition to which a large number of other editions outside the south have since been added.
His distinctive quality was that he was a thorough professional who always insisted on adherence to the highest values and impeccable ethics of journalism. He was also a gentleman to his fingertips and unfailingly soft-spoken, as I discovered during a few meetings with him in the last few years, long after his retirement. I couldn't help being impressed by the simple, indeed austere, life he led, despite his huge resources. Those who had worked with him tell me that he never raised his voice even when they had made a serious mistake.
Their greater tribute to him is that as editor he was an expert as much on the tone and content of editorials not an intemperate word went into them as on the breadth and depth of news coverage. The news editor got due recognition in his time. Of print technology, they say, he was "a master".
Kasturi was a family man and presided over a family-owned newspaper. It is all the more remarkable that in the last years of his life he succeeded in persuading the board of directors divided over some other issues that editorial authority of the paper should be freed from the "family's control". His son, K. Venugopal, editor of The Hindu Newsline, was among those who vacated editorial chairs.
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