KN, as he was fondly known, had served The Hindu Group for nearly five decades, and died in Coimbatore on Tuesday, after a prolonged illness


K. Narayanan, who served The Hindu Group for nearly five decades, and served as the newspaper’s first Readers’ Editor, died here on Tuesday, after a prolonged illness. He was 88.

An alumnus of Loyola College, he joined the newspaper as a Kasturi Ranga Scholar in 1955. He was appointed a sub-editor in 1956, and rose to become the News Editor in 1978. KN, as he was fondly known, had worked closely with then Editor, G. Kasturi. He oversaw the news operations of The Hindu  till 1990, and of Frontline, the fortnightly, from 1984 to 1996.

Known for his hard work, integrity, and wide knowledge on a range of issues, KN served The Hindu with panache. He proved to be a shaping influence on a generation of journalists at The Hindu as News Editor, and later at Frontline, as its Associate Editor.

Recalling their professional association with KN, journalists who had worked under him recalled how he would bring with him from home, pages from each day’s newspaper with errors and awkward phrasing, as well as good work, marked out. He had a special skill for page layout.

KN held together the daily grind in the Editorial Department, as the newspaper made a key transition in 1980 in production terms from hot metal technology to computerised photo typesetting. He would ensure impeccable professional standards, all in the most self-effacing manner.

Colleagues invariably looked up to him as an example to follow, as he displayed efficiency and quick thinking even under typical newsroom work pressure.

After his formal retirement from service on August 31, 1996, he was appointed Consultant to Frontline. Later, in 2003, he became a consultant to The Hindu as well.

KN took office as the first Readers’ Editor of The Hindu on March 1, 2006. He continued in the role till June 30, 2009. The Hindu had modelled the role of the Readers’ Editor on the example set by The Guardian.

KN is survived by his wife and a son.

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