Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blogs vs print media
The job of journalists is to reflect social events as they are and when they happen. If the society has scars in its face, the journalists reflect the same, like a mirror does. Do we blame the mirror for reflecting scars in our face?
Some bloggers do not seem to get this message and there has been a series of comments against journalists in the social media. It is portrayed as if journalists “easily fall prey to monetary temptations,” and “do not stick to professional ethics.”
The bloggers are entitled to their views, but generalisation is in poor taste. Every profession evolves and so does journalism. 
I started my career in the mid-80s and there were no computers in The Times of India, Mumbai then. It was the Hot Metal (Letter Press) printing days. 
When the computer system was introduced later, journalists were worried about their future. Dozens of proofreaders and paste-up artists lost their jobs.
The print media was shifting from hard copy to computer editing. Pens, pencils, erasers and scales were silently being discarded. Sub-editors, who were used to sleeping in the office after the edition amid the din of teleprinter machines and antiquated fans making funny noises, were slowly getting used to quiet surroundings. 
Fortunately, we copy editors picked up technology fast. Now, journalists and computers are inseparable. 
I do cry for my adorable Remington typewriter. I sold it to a reporter friend in Navi Mumbai. I could not gift it to her as those were challenging days and pay for journalists under Indian government wage board structure was pathetic.
When I joined as a copy editor, for the entire first month I was given only “Brief” reports to edit. “Briefs” were used to fill gaps between two big articles. And they were never more than one or two paras. Imagine editing two-para stories for weeks. The bosses were so intelligent; they would find a mistake even in those and rebuke me for being careless.
And we had funny names for headline sizes for page layout purposes like “Single,” “Heavy Top” and “Bottom Spread.” That was an extension of British journalism. In fact, the page opposite editorial was called BOR. I never understood that for many weeks until a senior told me it meant “Back of Reuters.” Frankly, I still do not understand what that meant. 
Most of the bloggers who throw mud on journalists may not have come across young men and women journalists working day and night who dedicated themselves as devoted members of the Fourth Estate. 
Just this week, a reporter friend from a Mumbai daily mentioned to me how he wrote about a couple in distress.
After losing one daughter to disease and a second child to a miscarriage from the shock of the death, the couple were struggling to put together funds needed to save their third child, who needed a bone marrow transplant.
The report helped raise Rs1.3 million in funds from 200 donors in various countries including the UAE, Australia, Norway, Canada, USA and Oman.
This is not to argue that there are no rotten apples in this profession. Just like in most other fields, there have been examples in history of unethical mediapersons too. But there is a need to nurture, protect and even cajole mediamen who do their job sincerely and courageously as their role in society is as vital as breathing for human beings.


  1. No,Ramesh it's not true that bloggers throw mud at the journalists.
    You watch any India news channels for ..say..10 days and you will come to a conclusion that it is SOME juornos who are themselves responsible for the declining credibility .

  2. A serious post on a serious subject, Ramesh!

  3. The times without computers was indeed hard labour...but I guess a lot of people were happier without it. "Heavy Top", "Bottom Spread"...huh?! ROFL ;P

    Now lest I digress, the role of journalists has become even more important in this time and world, what with the kind of reach and power the media holds over I believe it is up to the journalists to behave responsibly and ethically; and of course up to us to be able to discern what's right or wrong, from our perspective and understanding, without pointing the finger.

  4. The problem is some of the news that gets printed is nonsense and I am sure you will agree to it ..

    I mean how can the queen of uk's DIL being pregnant make the top news , front page splashes and is still doing it .. while there are much much more important things that shud be on the front page ..

    i watch the indian news channel and it repeats the same news over and over and over again and the pics they show in the background is exactly the same today - tomorrow and will be day after too ..

    I am not saying all journalists are bad.. but i can say many are for sure and believe me I dont believe what indian news channel tells .. its all money making for them .. they have lost the credibility because of their own.. the recent incident about a girl abused on the roads of Guwahati, how can it be a journalism when you are recording the incident instead of helping ..

    but as you say there are some good journalists who i am sure are doing their work sincerely for sure and my best wishes to them always


  5. Thanks to comps that manual work is decreased.Previously the image of an editor was tired,tied-up with work and old (thank to our hindi movies for this image)but now we see quite young,relaxed and dashing editors around. :)

  6. Ramesh, I agree here with you that anything should not and must not be generalized...we all know that there are both type of people in all professions...but again, the way journalism has turned its face is something to worry about, and its the journolists themselves who can change the opinion of majority of people...

  7. Journalists are doing their own profession a lot of harm. Look at the selective news reporting that happens. I was really offended when Barkha Dutt -- Vir Sanghavi controversy broke out. And then they tried to muffle the news. That was even more distasteful.

  8. Oh, I have always read only wit with wisdom posts @ Global Madrasi. This is the first rant i remember reading here:)

    There will always be different school of thoughts, opinions, ideas etc and thanks to social media many of us are able to air our views.

    May be, the opinion about journalists among the general public is also the same. I agree with you, nothing can be generalized.

  9. Ramesh, there is saturation of professional jounalism. Nevertheless, the over-filled ocean of knowledge will self correct when the fakers would be faders.
    The fact is credibility of journalist depends on unbiased and true reporting.
    And the competent writers regardless of the type of media (print or electronic)would prevail in the end.
    Blogs, however, provide an opportunity to those who are not hired for any Print edition.
    So the internet provides the opportunity.
    Benefits include excessive knowlegde, yet the credibity remains a good question.
    Here comes a smart reader/audience to do the needed screening through ignoring or commenting or whatever is feasible.
    Ramesh, you have good points - Sir!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Ramesh- Well said...I really appreciate the work of journalists , I really envy them because they really strive hard and give their best.

  12. Very correct. You cannot paint everyone with the same brush.

  13. I am very proud of my journalist friend and that is you Ramesh.True.