Archive for March 25th, 2008

Only in India: 90 per cent off for journalists!

25 March 2008

A shower of freebies is the first sign that an election season is around the corner. Three weeks after finance minister P. Chidambaram wrote off farm loans worth Rs 60,000 crore with an eye clearly on the coming general elections, the gravy train is picking up steam across India.

In the southern State of Andhra Pradesh, look who’s at the receiving end of the largesse: Journalists.

Sandhya Ravishankar reports on CNN-IBN that the “Congress is quietly buying out the state media by giving away 70 acres of prime IT land in Gachibowli to over 1,000 journalists”. More than 2,000 journalists have applied for the land. The selected journalists will get 200 square yards for between Rs 1 and 1.5 lakh while the market value is Rs 17 lakh.

The chairman of the state’s press academy Devulapalli Amar contends that the journalists won’t write in favour of the government just because it allots them house plots. But the opposition party leader Devendra Goud pulls no punches:

“The chief minister can give away his own land to whomever he wants. How can he give away state-owned land to journalists? He doesn’t give an inch of land to the poor to build a hut but he gives land to MLAs, MPs, judges and journalists.”

Read the full story: Andhra government doles out sops to journos

Why blogging is more interesting than reporting

25 March 2008

The jury is still out on blogging—and if left to the mainstream media, it will remain out for ever.

Is it good, is it journalism, does it have the “institutional” checks and balances, do bloggers go out and report a story… questions like these have been hurled for very nearly a decade without hurting anybody.

Now, Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark throws light on a Nieman narrative conference where reporter and Nieman fellow Josh Benton threw up an interesting theory on why blogging has come to be so interesting.

“Eyewitness reporting rendered in real time via the blog represents an interesting and worthy kissing cousin to long-form narrative journalism… in contradistinction to the kind of processed news reporting that still vanillas-up the typical newspaper.”

At its most basic, blogging represents natural reporting. It comes right after an event or an experience, when the story is hot. Through the authentic voice of the writer, it helps the reader catch the spark of the subject.

In a sense, blogging is like a conversation between friends: Fresh, unformed, unfiltered, as-is, not entirely accurate always, but fun, something that captures your attention.

Conventional reporting, on the other hand, takes more time, “neuters the point of view, neutralizes the language, and jams facts into standard suitcases.” But as more time passes, an investigative or feature writer recognizes the unrealized narrative potential of the story. Once again, “interestingness” becomes high.

Read the full piece: From blog to narrative

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