Journalists are like sitting ducks. Not because they are prone to attacks and have no defense but this is connoted in a different way. They sit like ducks in their offices and look for gossips of film personalities or Page Three crowds. I have seldom seen journalists getting back to their basics – reporting. In an era where news comes in capsules and bytes and tweets, journalists say they give news that people want. But that is wrong. People get what journalists offers. If they don’t have anything to offer, readers are not going to complain. They have no mechanism to file a complaint against a newspaper for not reporting the news they want.
How can a viewer or a reader file a complaint against a newspaper or a TV channel for reporting stories that they are least interested in? For example, what will a Hindi migrant of Chennai has to do with live telecast of a minor rainfall in Gurgaon – which could be breaking news in Aaj Tak? How on earth can he communicate to the channel authorities that he wants to see national news and not regional news.
Newspaper barons have stopped asking journalists to travel for hard news. Television channels have put local video camera owners (mostly covering marriages and other social functions) to act as their local henchmen in moffusil places. This has turned to be a boon for journalists who need not take their bumps from their revolving chair to anywhere except perhaps their dwelling place. This saves a lot of money for newspaper owners. But in bargain what they get is amateur news and unprofessional journalism.
The focus today is to see what celebrities are indulging while totally ignoring whether a family starves in a far flung place because of government apathy or negligence on part of local officials. In my 16 years of journalism, I have spent 13 years traveling all across the country for news. I had to record my bytes for radio, have photographs of the subjects and then write stories describing minute details of the subject. So I had no option but to travel since I was reporting to print, radio and photo journalism mediums. Since the last three years, my travel is limited to some towns where I reach the nearest place by air, take a taxi or have a friend with me and travel comfortably by car.
But the charm of reporting on rickety buses, staying in badly maintained hotels, using Sulabh toilets, sleeping on railway platform benches and trekking for stories is not there in the fast reporting that I did later. And now, I am gracefully retired from reporting or travelling, and I wish I could get away from journalism as well. Almost.
The above photograph of my pet, Percy, is deliberate since journalists now have become parrots
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