We type in the facts. I speak to a party spokesperson and you take the byte from the opposition leader. And we file the story. The journalistic principle of getting the facts right and incorporating the views of all the parties concerned is duly followed- and the next day we share a by-line. This is what we do in the name of journalism.
We do human interest stories too. I take out a data of the number of atrocities committed on the Dalits in Uttar Pradesh-compare it with the crimes committed under the last government. I speak to the NHRC spokesperson, a couple of NGO and the state Home minister- and the next day I have a by-line. All in the name of journalism. One more achievement in hand.
Really? Is this what journalism is?
I remember the time when a story was filed from Kalahandi on the starvation death in Orissa and the next day when the paper was published, the then Prime minister of India rushed to the state with food and supplies. Remember the last time when such thing happened?
“Journalism hasn't remained the same”, Bela, the beautiful German shepherd at my home tells me. And I tend to agree with her most of the time.
I have not been educated to be a journalist. I did not attend a school of journalism. My former girl friend did and so did many of my friends. And they tell me that they are told that are the doyen of justice for the oppressed class of the society. They are told that once they will pass out they will be writing stories to paint the story of the poor and the less privileged.
But as the classroom changes to newsroom-the lust to change what we see around us as wrong , forget the whole world, is strangulated once the glamour of media touches our ‘not-so-gullible’ mind.
How many P.Sainath you know of ?Only one if my memory serves me right. Are not there people who are writing at the district levels? Speaking for the fews? There are. But who gives a damn to them.
The ‘journalists’ continue to tell themselves and boast to the others that they are doing what a journalist should do. But then a two minute introspection is all that is required to clear the mist of misunderstanding that we all so proudly express.
Many of us are living under the false pretence that we are doing a service to the society.
Come to think of it- most of us want to join a news channel so we become an overnight celebrity. Those who foray into the print have other things in mind, a position of Bureau chief, among others. A post that brings accessibility to minister, industrialist and the benefits associated.
Like the politicians we love to hate and the bureaucrats we so readily shift the blame to, we too stand with them and most of the time we love to be in their company. The only difference is that there is someone ( who else but the patrakar) who points finger towards a Neta and a Lalbati wala- but who scrutinizes a Jhola wala?
To continue with the status quo is easy: to neglect thoughts of upholding the journalistic principle as being a juvenile thought of mind much more easier. The sad part is that there is no hard choice to choose from.
Journalist for many was never about journalism and for those whom it is; they simply are outnumbered.