Daily Archives: 16 May 2007

Journalism is mostly about getting it right

What did our journalists and newspapers and magazines and TV channels say before and during the Uttar Pradesh elections, and how much of what they said came true or didn’t? What did they say of the cricket World Cup, and how much of it came true or didn’t? No one knows, or at least no one has taken the pains so far to tell us.

Result 1: Credibility becomes a certificate that is benevolently bestowed upon individuals and institutions by virtue of age, reputation, “influence” and other incidental and mostly non-journalistic reasons. Rarely are they put under scholarly scrutiny by our media schools, professors or researchers.

Result 2: journalists and newspapers and magazines and TV channels can hop on to the next big thing with their reputations more or less intact.

On the contrary, PRITHVI DATTA CHANDRA SHOBHI alerts us to a fine analysis by Radar of American journalists,  writers and experts on how right they were right they were about the Iraq War; “four pundits who were in our judgment the most influentially and disturbingly misguided in their pro-war arguments and the four who were most prescient and forceful in their opposition.”

Read the full feature here: The Iraq gamble


Outsourced ‘journalism’ suffers a welcome blow

Press Trust of India is reporting that a California website that created a sensation by hiring two Indian journalists based in Bombay and Bangalore to report on Pasadena city has decided to shelve its plan.

Editor and publisher James Macpherson says the move to nix outsourced local journalism follows the negative “attention that we received”. The original plan required the reporters to write the stories after viewing the proceedings on the internet, and if necessary by contacting officials by email.

“A lot of the routine stuff we do can be done by really talented people in another time zone at much lower wages,” Macpherson had said. The Bombay reporter was offered $ 12,000 annually and the second, from Bangalore, was given $7,200 annually.

But the plan was criticised by journalists in the US.

“To pretend you can get the feel and the culture of a town as complicated and interesting as Pasadena by e-mailing and doing things over the Internet is nutty,” said Larry Wilson, editor of the 30,000-circulation Pasadena Star-News newspaper.

Rob Gunnison, the director of school affairs there, is dismayed. “It just seems so fundamental to journalism to be there,” Gunnison said. “I still can’t quite believe it’s not a hoax,” he told the paper.

Also read: What’s the dateline?

‘A dream is what does not let you sleep’

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Martin Luther King had a dream. Do you, as a journalist? What is it about? Whatever it is, Loren Feldman hopes that it is not just about money.

As the Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam put it so well: “A dream is not what you see in sleep. A dream is what does not let you sleep.”