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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Once a journalist, always a journalist

Commits alumnus Ayushman Baruah (Class of 2008) on why, after a brief stint as a corporate communications professional, he has returned to his first love, journalism:

AYUSHMAN BARUAH
Journalism is unlike any other profession. The great Gabriel Garcia Marquez has gone on record as saying a journalist has the best job in the world. I am in complete agreement. It’s a rare profession in which a salary is immaterial. If I were making enough money through other sources, I would be willing to work as a journalist for free. I can’t think of any other profession that one would be willing to do for free. (Sure, there are exceptions to every rule!)

There is a reason why journalism can be, and most often is, a great profession. And I am talking about good journalism here — that’s the assumption I am making throughout this article. Journalism gives us an outlet to voice our opinions and share it with the larger public. As human beings, we all have an inherent desire to express our feelings and be heard and here is a profession that allows us to do so in a professional way with the added elements of style and context. What more can we ask for?

Journalism also keeps you away — mostly — from the corporate rigmarole of preparing and maintaining unnecessary Excel sheets and PowerPoint slides, and attending routine team meetings, which often don’t serve any good purpose. To me, Excel files and PPTs are good-to-have tools in an MBA class. Beyond that, a waste of time and effort. Journalism, on the contrary, is more real and grounded. You write articles based on first-hand interviews with the people you meet and these pieces have interesting stories to tell, stories that often have an impact on the people, the company, or the issue concerned.

AYUSHMAN BARUAH'S NEW HOME

During my recent short stint as a corporate communications professional with a software company in Bengaluru, I spent most of my time coordinating and following up with regard to routine tasks such as pending payments and approvals for a press release. To make things worse, I had hardly any control over what I wrote or said, which is the norm for a communications employee in the corporate world: Everything has to be first approved by the company and everyone has to follow a process. Nothing wrong with that, one might argue and I might agree, but if you are a journalist at heart, it will prick you; somewhere it pains.

Not surprisingly, I got out of that role to become a journalist once again. Yes, once a journalist always a journalist. I am hoping I will now write more than coordinate, and use more MS Word instead of MS Excel.

  • On March 1, Ayushman Baruah joined Business World as Associate Editor. Before becoming a corporate communications professional with a software firm in Bengaluru, Ayushman was Senior Correspondent — Equities with Cogencis Information Services (formerly NewsWire18). He has also worked in senior editorial roles with InformationWeek and The Financial Express

ON OCTOBER 4, 2013, AYUSHMAN, WHO WAS THEN THE PRINCIPAL CORRESPONDENT OF INFORMATIONWEEK, RECEIVED THE POLESTAR AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM, ARGUABLY THE HIGHEST AWARD AS FAR AS BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY JOURNALISM IS CONCERNED. HE RECEIVED THE AWARD FROM TATA SONS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR R. GOPALAKRISHNAN AND POLARIS CHAIRMAN AND CEO ARUN JAIN AT A CEREMONY AT THE ITC SHERATON PARK HOTEL IN CHENNAI.

  • READ Ayushman Baruah's insightful piece on what it takes to be an IT journalist here.

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