Narayan Wagle and Prateek Pradhan, the original reporters of Kantipur and the Post respectively, who rose to the helm of the papers signaling the new era in Nepali journalism, call it a day
Outgoing editor Narayan Wagle (second from right) addresses reporters in the newsroom of Kantipur. The newly appointed editor Sudheer Sharma, first from right, and Hari Bahadur Thapa (third from right), the newly appoint news editor listened. Pic by Suraj Kunwar
Sudheer Sharma has been named the new editor of Kantipur daily following the resignation of Narayan Wagle, one of the most charismatic journalists of Nepal.
Akhilesh Upadhyay was named the editor of the Kathmandu Post following the resignation of Prateek Pradhan. Upadhyay is a former reporter of the Post who had left the paper some five years ago when Pradhan was elevated to the highest editorial position in the Post. Upadhyay also opened an English language weekly magazine called Nation that was ultimately closed because of economic problems.
Both Wagle and Pradhan, who joined the papers as reporters from the very beginning when they were started 17 years ago, rose to the top positions of the respective papers signaling the arrival of new generation to the leadership in Nepali journalism. They are the first generation of Nepali reporters to reach the top positions of their papers. Both Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post are published by Kantipur Publications Pvt. Ltd, Nepal’s largest publishing house.
Sharma, a rising star of Nepali journalism, was the editor of Nepal Magazine, a weekly from Kantipur Publications, the publisher of Kantipur daily and the Post. Prashant Aryal, assistant editor at Nepal Magazine, also from Kantipur Publications, was promoted to the editor of the Magazine. Aryal is also a former reporter of Kantipur daily.
Sharma, the new editor of Kantipur, is an equivalent of Narayan Wagle in magazine journalism. Though he has never worked in a daily newspaper Sharma has done ground breaking reporting in several magazines and weekly papers. Sharma rose to stardom through his stories in Himal fortnightly magazine. He left Himal to join Nepal as an assistant editor. Within a year or so he was named the editor of the magazine. He resigned from the magazine only to join it again last year.
In the past several days five top editors and a senior cartoonist have resigned from Kantipur and the Post. News editor Ameet Dhakal and chief reporter D K Jaisi the Post and news editor Gunaraj Luintel of Kantipur and senior cartoonist Rajesh KC of the Publications have also resigned.
These resignations have come after the company saw a change in leadership and selling of shares from one of the owners to the other last month. The Gyawali family sold all of their shares- 50 percent- in the company to the Sirohiya family who had the remaining stakes. After the transaction, Sirohiya, the Managing Director, was named the Chairman and MD of the company. Hem Raj Gyawali was the Chairman and Binod Raj Gyawali was the director of the company before the change.
In a separate farewell program organized in Kantipur Complex a few days ago for the former chairman and former director, Binod Gyawali had announced that he would bring out new English and Nepali language papers (“Bhai Kantipur” or younger brother of Kantipur) soon. Reporters in the newsrooms of both Kantipur and the Post speculate that the resigning editors will join the new papers though Narayan Wagle didn’t give any hint about that in an informal farewell speech delivered in the newsroom of Kantipur this afternoon. Prateek Pradhan is not in the country currently. He is in the US and expected to return Nepal this week.
Wagle and Pradhan led the papers in some of the most difficult and tumultuous times in the history of Nepali politics and journalism. They firmly and courageously led the papers during the emergency of 2005 when the freedom of expression was severely curtailed by the then king Gyanendra who was ousted by the Constituent Assembly this year following the historic April uprising of 2006 and the election of CA four months ago. They both fought, through their strong leadership, against the autocracy and led the newsroom to report the pro-democracy movement vigorously.
Wagle, a celebrated reporter, rose to fame through groundbreaking stories from the hinterlands of Nepal and his semi fictional weekly column called Coffee Guff in the Saturday supplement of Kantipur. He is also the author of the best selling novel Palpasa Cafe that won Madan Puraskar, the highest literary award of Nepal.