By Mahesh Nayak
November 29, 2011: We are proud to announce that our editor-publisher V. U. George received the state-government sponsored ‘Karnataka Media Academy Award’ for the year 2010 along with 48 other media personalities.
He received the award from the Chief Minister of Karnataka D. V. Sadananda Gowda at an awards distribution function held today evening at Jnana Jyothi Hall, Palace Road, Bangalore.
Mr. George is being recognized for his pioneering effort in bringing out ‘Mangalore Today’, the city’s first local English monthly magazine and almost singlehandedly running it for the last 15 years despite immense struggles and hardships in maintaining the long term viability of the venture.
Mr. George started Mangalore Today in 1996 with a small team of young and enthusiastic journalists and the first issue was launched at Hotel Moti Mahal on December 17th of that year. In 2005, the magazine hosted the ‘Mangalore Today Conclave’ to commemorate its 10th year and subsequently the event has been organized three more times. In 2009, the magazine also launched its web edition www.mangaloretoday.com.
It is commonly acknowledged that running an English language city magazine is a thankless job as the readership is restricted and the revenues are poor. Even media giants have failed miserably in sustaining such projects in Mumbai and other cities. Mangalore Today is probably the only English city magazine in the country to survive for 15 years. Under George’s leadership, the magazine has not only published outstanding stories highlighting the burning issues concerning Mangalore, but also the magazine has served as a training ground for many young journalists who have gone on to pursue successful journalistic careers at the state, national and even international level.
When informed of his selection for this honour, a visibly surprised George first thought somebody was playing a practical joke on him. Then after he was able to confirm that the award is for real, typically said: “I thank the Karnataka Media Academy and those responsible for selecting me for this rare honour, which in a way is a vindication of our long years of hard work. Moreover I want to share this recognition with our entire Mangalore Today team, both past and present who have been a part of the journey.”
Well, all this should not come much as a surprise to those who have known George long enough. An artist by inclination, George began his career in the media in the late Seventies – but on the other side of the divide, namely advertising. He was a pioneer who introduced ‘creative advertising’ in the city long before those words became fashionable and at that time had an accredited ad agency, a rare achievement even for the present times. However, with the advertising business becoming more and more competitive, he switched over to other businesses before finally finding his match in ‘Mangalore Today’. In the intervening period, he also produced two acclaimed Malayalam movies, invented a real estate direct marketing firm and ran a public relations outfit. With a resume like that, it should now be clear that George is an adventurer at heart and his adventure in starting and shaping Mangalore Today has been the most passionate, sustained and satisfying effort of his life, for which reason alone the award can be said to be well deserved.
We of TEAM MANGALORE TODAY are proud to raise our hats to V. U. George on this great occasion and wish him a much more glorious innings in the years to come.
(Published without technical clearance from the editor)(!)