Thursday, 27 March 2014

Do you have the nose Journalism demands?

A senior executive of The Morung Express, who participated in an exposition on Journalism in Northern Ireland recently, narrated to me a starkly fascinating anecdote: Celebrated reporter Eammon Mallie dared the gathered journalists with a query. “Why do people become journalists?”

You could almost hear unabashed and unworried answers leap from the journalists’ thoughts in response to the query. 
  • Fight corrupt governments
  • Encourage citizenship. Be the voice of the people
  • Be the ultimate microphone for Freedom of Speech 
  • Change the world
  • Block Climate Change 
  • Impress that gorgeous girl next door and et cetera
None so.

So why do people become journalists?

“Vanity! Vanity! Vanity!” Eammon Mallie thundered.

Today, Journalism – print, broadcast and electronic – is among the world’s more-celebrated careers, especially for the educated young. It is the prestige and romance of fame and grind, the opportunities and dangers (depending on how willing you are at risking your bottom on the frying pan). It is the high-competition and thrust for excellence that could span from big scoops to bigger trouble.

Placements in the journalism industry count by the thousands for major newspapers, broadcast and the online news corporate every year. Thousands of the young are opting for Journalism as a career for or either of, two basic reasons: 

(a) Passion to work for the people and society and 

(b) high earnings and the fame-factor. 

My money is on the second, though. No offense.

The People & Society Factor:

Do you wonder why Journalism sits in the same front row as Democracy and nation building? Even someone with the IQ of a cabbage knows that enlightened society has pinned prestige on journalists in that the role of the latter largely encompasses the universal pursuits for positive change, nation building, of peace and growth, and the universal aspiration for a progressive society.

High-earnings & Career Growth

Read the second and third sentence of the fifth paragraph for a gist. If low-IQ gets in the way start from the first paragraph again. 

The stuff about Journalism

Volumes and library-thick discourses throughout history offer a good idea on what characterizes journalism, and the role of journalists. I love what the feisty Nagaland Page’s chief Monalisa Changkija said of journalism during an interaction: Old-school journalism – Just to speak the plain truth. No drunken SMS English, no convoluted linguistic buffoonery, and certainly no likened steaming pile of bureaucratic bulldung, except for the plain truth.  

Considering the immutable changes in value-moderation, contemporary journalism has undergone an almost hedonistic makeover. ‘Truth’ today almost sounds a feeble defense to shut up the proletarian purists and feed the socialist-tweaking elitist. Global economic compulsions and handy sociopolitical tensions have forced new paradigms in value-moderation. However, the reality remains that truth is just plain truth. That is what journalism was all about.

Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel’s The Elements of Journalism summarizes the intrinsic values of journalism. The book is the one authority for reference for all aspiring journalists – with a reminder that all journalists are humans, and are therefore essentially biased.

The Elements of Journalism lists a number of imperatives that represent the very spirit of Journalism, its purpose and goal. The elements are not necessarily exceptions nor are they rules by design. They are more of a rationalization of the paradigms. I believe they represent the central tenets of purpose, rather than intent, completely. They are pragmatic standards for newsmen I say. The elements are:

  • The first contract of Journalism and Journalists is with Truth
  • Their first loyalty is to the Citizen and to Citizenry
  • Journalists are independent, and must maintain independence from any influence, individual, organization or government
  • Journalism is independent check-and-balance, the monitor
  • Journalism should provide the public a platform to opine and criticize
  • Journalists must be allowed to exercise personal conscience (I believe this element supplements point ‘e’ by principle and not merely complement it).

Now that you have an idea about journalism in this introductory article, we shall now examine journalism as an institution and a professional engagement. Read about it in detail here:  So What is Journalism? Role, Classification and Types of Journalists.

Blogger has no pagination features for long posts. For the moment, separate blog posts are the only options. I hope you bear with the inconvenience of having to leap-skip from one blog post to another. Thank you for visiting. If you have any questions, please state it in the comments. I shall be more than glad to try answering your queries. 

©2012 Al Ngullie ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This article contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.

No comments:

Post a Comment