Monday, January 12, 2015

Media Matters-5: Why we became journalists (Second part of a three-part series)

This was published on the Education Page of Dubai's Khaleej Times on December 30, 2014:


By Ramesh Prabhu
In the previous installment of “Media Matters” (December 16), three young journalists explained why they joined the profession. Today let us listen in as a few more youngsters discuss their reasons for choosing journalism.
Digital Editor, Quintillion Media (till recently a television journalist with CNN-IBN)

I loved to tell stories when I was a kid. When I grew up I realised that when I blend my imagination with a pinch of reality, in the form of words, it gave me a certain kind of bliss. I guess that was the beginning.

Later, when I had to choose a vocation for myself, I started interning at multiple newspapers. I loved what I did, especially when I saw my articles in print. The processing of news in a newsroom fascinated me. So here I am!

Becoming a television journalist happened by chance. I was awe-struck by the CNN-IBN newsroom when I had gone there for my internship, which was arranged by my college. At the news channel, my work as an intern was appreciated and I was inspired and encouraged by many journalists there. I understood that I could learn a lot from working there full-time. So when I got the opportunity to go back there after completing my master’s course, I grabbed it with both hands!

Today I am thrilled to be a journalist. Which other profession gives you so much variation and excitement – and an adrenaline rush – almost every day? No day is the same. A story can change someone's life, and we journalists have that power.

Financial journalist, Cogencis (formerly with Financial Express and InformationWeek); winner of the PoleStar award (see photograph) for business/IT journalism

I decided to become a journalist right after Class 12. Though I was in the science stream, my parents, fortunately for me, did not force me to take up engineering just for the sake of a degree. Instead, since I had an inclination towards writing and public speaking, my father decided to enroll me in a graduate programme in media. After that, as I gradually got exposed to the subject, I realised journalism was the best fit for me as it would let me do what I am really interested in.    

Business journalism happened more by chance than by design. I got my first journalism break in The Financial Express, a leading business daily in India, and that’s how it all began. But now I believe this is what I am best suited for, as it is like a white-collar journalism job. You avoid some of the “unnecessary” hassles you may face, say, on the crime beat, yet you are a full-fledged journalist, free to break any news including a corporate scam. It’s a big world of business and the implications of what you write can be bigger.

The most interesting thing about being a journalist is that no two days are the same. Every day is a new day and you are only as good as your last story. You begin afresh every day.
Reporter/Sub-editor, The Asian Age, Mumbai (formerly with Deccan Herald, Bengaluru)

Journalists are watchdogs. We help to keep people informed. This responsibility combined with the fact that we can present even seemingly mundane things in a way that readers would find interesting is another merit of this profession. Also, I have a healthy curiosity about everything under the sun, so digging for stories, researching, and presenting them to readers is a challenge I enjoy.

I think the opportunity to look at things from different angles is the most interesting thing about being a journalist. After all, something perfectly ordinary, if looked at from a different angle, can become an interesting news story, which means even if several reporters are working on the same topic, many different news stories can be produced for the benefit of readers.

Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez has written that journalism is the world’s best profession. I agree 100%!
Independent business/IT journalist

I chose journalism not only as a career, but as an opportunity for personal growth. Most people crave for an interesting conversation, and journalism gives a chance for interesting conversations every week. I learnt to ask any question without being judged.

This job exposed me to a variety of people, broadened my mind, and fed me with energy. While my friends complained about feeling restricted by a cubicle, I was learning something new almost daily. Of course, there are mundane tasks in journalism too, but the door to try something interesting is always open.

I entered the field with barely any knowledge about technology. As I started talking to people, I realised enterprises are at war for recognition, clients, and revenue. It seemed just as alive as politics and I got hooked. Besides, my job included interviewing industry leaders and achievers. Just talking to them is so inspiring that it pushes me to do more.
Reporter, CNN-IBN, Bengaluru

I drifted towards journalism during my undergraduate course in microbiology. A chance to be part of the College Editorial Board of The Times of India’s “Education Times”, in a way, made me realise that this is what I wanted to do.

It was at Commits that working on TV stories and producing news bulletins gave me hands-on experience. The print journalism classes helped me develop an eye for detail. I also got some of the best internship opportunities that ultimately converted to a job.

TV journalism happened by chance. I started liking TV after working on news bulletins at Commits. With TV, a story can be told in a way that creates an immediate connect with the viewer. When I did my TV internship, I hoped that one day I, too, would be part of such a newsroom where the energy is infectious. However pressured you are, the adrenaline rush seconds before going “live” is compelling. It always reminds me of the countdown to a rocket launch. Like the gurus in our industry say, no two days are the same in journalism.

THINK ABOUT IT: “The most powerful teacher on the planet is media... In fact I believe journalism and storytelling are education.” ― Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of The National Geographic Society, writing in this month’s edition of National Geographic magazine

·    COMING UP IN THE NEXT INSTALLMENT OF “MEDIA MATTERS”: Third and final part of the series, “Why we became journalists”

·        Ramesh Prabhu is professor of journalism at Commits Institute of Journalism & Mass Communication, Bangalore. Commits offers a full-time two-year M.A. degree course.
·        “Media Matters” welcomes questions from readers who would like to know more about careers in journalism. Please send in your queries to

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