TODAY -

Editorial of the week

LOOKING AHEAD
Courtesy: The Imphal Free Press 03 January, 2002

The print as well as the electronic media have been on the annual routine of rounding up the year with articles and compilations in retrospect of events that happened in the past one year. We are sure from the point of view of the readers there is nothing very novel about such articles, but it can equally be said that from the point of view of the writers, it is quite a thankless job. As a matter of fact, we would contend it is one of those mundane necessities (or an added duty) that a news organization has to go through. There is nothing much creative in journalistic writing, so they say. That journalism is 95 percent perspiration and 5 percent inspiration. Necessary duties like the chronicling jobs journalists are required to do at the end of the year, we suppose tilt the balance further towards the impression of journalism as nothing much more than a sweatshop. Now that this routine is over, it is time to get back to the business of normal journalism and perhaps also to do a bit of exploring of the 5 percent space generally thought to be reserved for journalistic inspiration.

The Old Year is now behind us, and the New Year too is already two days old. As the retrospective spree thins out, those in the profession should focus their attention to the days ahead, as well as do some introspection on areas where the profession has been deemed to be weakest. All this not out of any love or need for masochism but with the intent of making the contribution of the profession to the overall good, all the more worthwhile. As we see it, one of these weak links of journalism in the state has been the dearth of specialist writers. The general level of sensitizing of those in the profession to issues other than the obvious politics of the Assembly variety and the everyday staple of violence, we contend, is still far below desirable. Issues of vital importance to the society such as health care, water resources management, environment, legal questions of child rights, or even the high profile disease AIDS, have not received either the depth or extent of coverage they certainly deserve. This incidentally has also been the complaint of many outside the profession but definitely very concerned with the status of media and its role in backward states such as ours.

We cannot expect doctors and professors to join the journalistic profession. That kind of specialization is far beyond our reach, although it is nice to note it actually happens in larger organizations elsewhere. Indeed journalists with IIT and Pillani degrees, or a PhD in economics or international relations, are not altogether uncommon as for instance in New Delhi. In our context, we can think of some degree of specialization, and more importantly sensitizing, through orientation courses and interactions with specialists. For this reason, there ought to be more meaningful social discourses between journalists and genuine NGOs in various fields, as well as with individual specialists in other professions. The All Manipur Working Journalists Union can also chip in its bit in this and organize these self educative workshops as part of its annual curriculum. We are here reminded of a catchy motto of a news agency: ‘Tell us and we will tell the world.’ Yes, journalists may not be specialists, but if the specialists tell the journalists, they can pass on the message to the world.


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