Monday, 30 July 2012

What do Journalists do? All in a day’s work

What do journalists do?  In my previous article ‘What do Journalists do? An Introduction to their Job, we ran through the various contexts of production and workload that influence the work profiles of media personnel. I shall assume that you have already formed a basic idea about what they do daily.

Now – broadly speaking, sorry, broadly blogging – ‘journalist’ is a loose term to describe a professional who works in an organization that provides news information to the public. Meaning, you have different and various types of journalists:
  • Reporting Journalists (or news reporters)
  • Production Journalists

Now you get the idea: The type a journalist is, also means that his work profile would be different from another type in terms of workload, nature of profile, and assignment.

To make easier the job of understanding what a Journalist actually does daily, let us examine the work profiles of some of the main information-disseminating personnel in news organizations. The job is far less glamorous I tell you.  

What do Reporting Journalists / News Reporters do?

Primarily, the role of a reporting journalist is to collect and disseminate information about current events, people, trends, and issues – and/or anything of current interest, or people would be interested in reading about.

Put simply (and I have no doubt you already know this one) a reporter researches and presents information in certain formats of mass media – print (newspapers), broadcast (television and radio) or online (new through the Internet). So his job, basically, includes:

  • Gathering facts (Interviewing people, confirming the occurrence of a reported event, visit place of event, confirm statements or witnesses’ accounts etc. The idea is to gather materials to make it into a "story", i.e., a news report)

  • 'Record' the gathered information in a written form (compose and write down report; list event and statements associated with the event into a narrative form)
  • Submit story to editor
  • Story is published (after the editor has approved it. The editing process involves crosschecking for factual errors, grammatical errors, contextual inconsistencies etc) 
The job also naturally means a reporter with a good nose is an indispensable asset; to smell a story out of nothing. A candidate needs to be innovative, creative, active and enterprising and yes, courageous.

Being a very-high-stress career itself, journalism is not for every bright-eyed lad that walks into a newspaper or a television news channel with a CV. Few stick long enough to actually earn respect as a journalist.

Basic job description of Production Journalists  

Production Journalists are the ones that turn your ugly toads into Page-3 princesses. They are the
  • Editor-in-chief / Managing Editor 
  • Sub-Editors (Asia) or copy editors (UK, US)
  • Proofreaders
  • Designers
  • Photo editors,
  • Best Practice managers,
  • Video editors,
  • Graphics / layout designers,
  • Webmasters

and all such personnel specializing in certain areas of technical production.

What do they do? In the modern Media corporate, production journalists are some of the highest-paid skill-and-resource workforce. 

They are the managers, the tweakers and the management chiefs. The ones that make sure that the facts in your story are accurate, comprehensible and systematic. They are the section that edits your stories and make sure your English sounds civilized enough. They are the creative eyes that make your 2-pixel photographs look like Ciril Jazbec’s magnum opus.

They are the ones that directly oversee day-to-day operations of the newsroom. They make sure the photographs personify the story perfectly; that the unnecessary are banished to the dustbin; that the stories fulfill the demands of accuracy and comprehension; that the uncertain shades are blacked or whitened. The production guys are the nerds, the tweakers, the horned-rimmed glasses, the hamburger cool millennialS.

Of all, editorial personnel function as the second pair of eyes that look for something not visible in a story.

They are professionals with specialized skills and expertise in various areas of media production such as:
  • Language and editing,
  • Designing,
  • Analysis
  • Experts in multimedia / technological applications etc

Generally, there are no hard stipulations on working hours for production journalists. Their working hours are counted from whence they began work, as their skills are applied only as a production effort, for instance, after reports have been filed by reporters.

©2012 Al Ngullie ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This article contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.

What do Journalists Do? An Introduction to their Job

What are the tasks of a journalist? No, it does not necessarily include the more enjoyable job of grabbing free soda packs laid out for the Press. A major backache with journalism jobs is this: What they do is varied and (one too) many. Is the workload cut out for a New York Times reporter in NYC bigger than that of a Sidney Daily News suburb chaser? Silly question.   

Wait a minute. What kind of “journalist” are we talking about in the first place – the news-reporting journalist, the camera-shooting journalist, the copy-editing journalist or the layout-designing journalist? So there we are. But that doesn't still explain what they do or what their workload, presumably, may be, right? Keep reading.

To keep things simple, let’s simply generalize the job of “journalists” (any ‘journalist’ – anyone who works in the news or news production team of a news organization (Print, broadcast or digital). We would literally be asking for a duty-index than a work profile if you want to talk about what the Press people do to keep their refrigerators filled with food.

Before we discuss what journalists do, let me explain the basis behind the range of the assignments they are tasked with. There are variables to what journalists do. Work profiles and the tasks their “beat”* fits in. The ‘variables’ generally ride on a number of factors.

(In journalism, a ’beat’ is the sphere of work a journalist specializes in. For instance, if you specialize in reporting mainly on political and government-related happenings, then your ‘beat’ is  ‘political news beat’ or ‘policy beat.’) 

Image from myportfolio.school.nz
All in a reporter's day's work? Read here 


Here are some of the ‘factors’ that decide the daily tasks journalists have to tackle:

Organizational factors:

Simple illustration: A newspaper with fewer reporters definitely means they have to cover a bigger chunk of workload than a news organization that employs comparatively-more reporters.

Oh did I mention something called ‘competition’? Yes, competition (It’s a uniquely dirty word for a ‘profession’ that has all the ambitions of purity and goodness of humanity in it). Anyhow, competition between media organizations can also decide the extent of a news employee’s job. 

For example, the heavier the competition, the greater the emphasis and pressure on reporters to find “breaking news” or “exclusive” events and news; multiple events mean more work. That is where the dynamics of an organization and its reach, influences nature and scope of a journalist’s daily work.

‘Special’ circumstances:

Another simple illustration: A New York Times reporter writing about fashion in a NY suburb has a somewhat lazier (and less stressful) day than a reporter working in the explosive corner markets of Kabul. For journalists who report from and in conflict situations, the job is not so much about how many assignments he can complete but how he can actually complete the one he has at hand!

Yet again, comparatively, a sports reporter assigned with the Olympics has ‘more work to handle’ than one that has been assigned with writing a report about a bomb explosion in a downtown market in India. Here again, the dynamics behind what journalists do, changes, influenced by circumstances. 

Vocational profiles:

Do you like New York City? Come let’s check out the newsrooms of NYC. In the great apple, the job profile of a reporter is to fish out a fishy story, write and submit his news reports to his Editor. After that ritual, the reporter happily goes home to play with his kids (or his girlfriend. Cough. Cough).

But in India, you could be given additional assignments to write say 2 stories or more stories till you complete the 8-hours-a-day work stint (thankfully not every newspaper in India commits that atrocity).

Likewise, a copy editor in Brisbane has only to copy edit press releases of stories submitted by reporters. In India, a copy editor (interchangeably called ‘Sub-editor’) goes for stories too, do you know that? He looks for stories, meets with people, does interviews, and / or writes about it. Then as part of news production, he copy-edits his story (and his reporters’ news stories in tandem). What next? Well, he does all that before designing the newspaper page layout and uploading his and the stories his reporters’ filed, himself!

Now the entire subject is not so confusing, or did I just hear a whimper.

So there you are. I hope my explanation about what journalists do have given you an idea about their job and what it demands. Generally, as I have already stated, the work of a journalist varies context-to-context, one location to the next, and from one circumstance to another.

Now that you have an idea about the work of journalists here is their various types (reporters and production personnel), their job profiles and basic tasks. Read Here

©2012 Al Ngullie ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This article contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Drunken Hic-lish, sorry, English, society's leaders utter

A look at the abnormal, strange, ridiculous, non-existent English gibberish society's leaders utter to the Media - newspapers, to be specific. 

With due apology to all "Naga identity" purists out there, here’s the truth: you cannot make do without English. You can pompously declare to high heavens the singularity and uniqueness of your culture, but the world still won't give you a flying tihs. 


I recall a family friend offering me this precious, highly-sensible advice: ‘Your Mother Tongue is most important – only within your bamboo kitchen. Once outside, they don’t care which tribe you belong to. Better get your British right.’

Then there is the pressure of  pursuing independent, unbiased news. That is where the writing  style of each reporter, and journalists in general, comes into play. A small instance: In a tremendously Media-sensitive country like India, a typo or an innocuous "synonymic" oversight in a newspaper item has all the power to trigger political parties and their goons into rampaging through streets toppling every innocent auto-rickshaw in their 'career' path. Did I just write "innocent auto-rickshaw"?

No wonder that the Media in Nagaland has yet to not feel guilt every time it declares "Our Nagaland's Press fraternity is second to none!"   
Nagaland's government leaders lead the quirky English pack
(Note for the more academic-inclined visitors reading this article: The terminologies (in asterisks) are entirely self-styled / do not exist in established English dictionaries)
So, in effect, you are using the story's title to explain the entire article. What do you get? Well, something in the nature of 'I am sick for leave holiday.’
Don't ask me, I have no idea at all why they condemn the Media/Press people all the time in the 'subject' section when it should just name the nature of the statement, though)
Propaganda itself means ‘false.’ In other words both the terms 'False' and 'Propaganda' denote one and the same meaning. It’s like saying ‘Bread Loaf’. ‘Propaganda’ itself means 'false', 'lie' or 'untruth'.
We are also upbringing in English school, English college and English Nagaland University from very young children time but due to our Naganess, poorness in English mother tongue is very ok. 
Naga tribal organizations students and government is very, very poorness of language of English. It is very shameful issue which Nagas must think clearly to wash away our language backwardness.


Being a professional in a third-world Media institution means you have a career that had everything to do with the big bad world of oral, audio, aural and visual pitfalls. They are only a small part of the harder pressures: You are always exposed to the extremities that the demands of corporate marketing gimmicks pose to your sense of information.

Another: Very few leaders in Nagaland have actually dispatched us decent and elucidated statements, you see. Thankfully, Nagas are equals when it comes to stupidity (or sheer apathy, I should say) - you wouldn't raise a finger if your politician was stealing your salary right under your apathetic nose. The state of the Media in Nagaland is one that of a sad puddle of mud. 


So, logically, if the Media's state-of-affairs could be in the muck, do you honestly think we would give a flying ink about quality journalistic writing, style sheets or formats?


Some of the better "Journalistic writers"


To name a few, (former) Governor of Goa SC Jamir, (former) Chief Secretary of Nagaland Lalhuma, (former) Tourism Commissioner & Secretary KK Sema, (former) Deputy Commissioner of Mokokchung Abhishek Singh and bare few leaders of Naga students’ groups are some of the better ones, if not the best, when it comes to clear - almost studied - written English. 

The rest – decidedly inclusive of even major tribal organizations, students’ organizations and yes, Naga ministers / MLAs, not forgetting the Naga underground groups – are all nothing short of gibber authors at their British. And I shan't dare name a respected Editor here too, though!

Face it: Naga society leaders' English should definitely embarass their children (native dialect is king of bamboo kitchens only). If we don’t get it right, we’d better invent an alternative with which global village can communicate with us, in lieu of English, French, German and Latino, of course. 

In the following are some classic examples of how many people more-than-often twist English phrases to fill their English potholes. The instances were collected over time from an array of press releases / statements we received in The Morung Express.
Some are from other newspapers that caught my eye. Even more shocking: They actually went to print (newspaper Editors in Nagaland are, well, judge them yourself!).  The points are also from what I like to call "Private Naga newspaper funny collection." 

Please note that the crazily ticklish phrases listed in the following are normal, everyday English misadventures Naga leaders happily utter every day to / for the Media.

1.   I, on my own behalf…” 


      The most (in)famous of them all. Nagaland's ministers, society leaders, politicians, student-speakers etc., use that line when starting a speech. No, they don't suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder - but then, aren't politicians supposed to have two faces and two tongues anyway? 

2.  "Peace and tranquility is the need of the hour..."


      The commonest declarative you'll hear from, say, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and his Cabinet colleagues. They'll be seeking water for rain, very soon.        


3.  "Failure to do so we will take our own course of action...” 


      Led by presumably "more educated" students' organizations such as the Naga Students' Federation, that phrase-of-threat is probably the most overused, redundant and completely incoherent declarative organizations in Nagaland utter. It means, "we will react (if our demands are not met)." Maybe they should try someone else's own course of action for more effective results. 


4.  "Work for the *Upliftment of the people"


      Nagaland's history is honored by British and American education since the 1880s - even the dingiest of a 3-room cowshed village in the State has a government English primary school. Sadly nobody - including most of the Journalists in Nagaland - has yet to realize that there is no word called 'Upliftment.' The exact word is 'Uplift.' 

5.  *Insultation” 


      The one word worthy of salutation. The Naga person who created the unique word only meant to say ‘Insult’ or 'insulted')


6.  Request for Press Release” 


      Press Releases that are submitted to newspapers here, are always potent stress-busters. When you could have simply said "Press Release", you went ahead and made sure to add something suggestive of an appeal to the editor to publish it too.

7.  Press condemnation” 
      
    (Another. Press releases that contain statements denouncing, say, a law and order issue, come titled 'Press Condemnation'.

8.  Press condolence” Press releases that express condolences for demised persons. 

9.  We condemn the barbaric murder” 
       
    Only in Nagaland do we have civilized murder or decent rape and such, you see.

10. Inhuman killing

11. Uncivilized rape” (again)


12. Unitedly” (to mean ‘in unity’ or ‘united’)


13. Repeat again” 


      We love to make sure that our argument has been put across satisfactorily. Therefore, to ensure the next guy got it right, our dear NGOs use multiple expressions that have the same meaning. Twice.


14. Civil Societies” 


      There are no civil societies. Civil society is used only in the context of a cohesive platform, say for example, organizations,  not collective communities. Somebody please inform the government, NGOs, students and the underground groups in Nagaland.  


15.  Medical nurse” 


       Nagaland is still waiting for its Mechanical Robot


16.  General public” (Oh well, what do I say. Read more about that nonsense here) 


17.  Bandh and general blockade


18.  One single cadre


19.  Peaceful atmosphere,“tranquility”, “peaceful serenity” 


      ‘Atmosphere’ in the context of polity Nagas use in the recent times is, well, totally ridiculous. 'Apple orchards carry a peaceful atmosphere but definitely not politics, war or well, even the accentuation of peaceful times. 


20.  Great historical past” 


       Yes, another of the great multiple-words-one-meaning excesses

21.  HIV Virus” I thought HIV was the virus. It's like saying 'Vehicle car'.

22.  *“Secterianistic” (to mean ‘sectarian’)

23.  Government should implement the delimitation issue” 


       Projects, work or programs are implemented but not issues. Issues are addressed, or broached, or discussed, and not implemented)  


24.  *“Upgradation


        Another unique Naga brand that apparently means 'upgrade'

25.  "After the apprehension of the culprits...” 


       (In Nagaland, newspaper use the word 'apprehension' (Which actually means 'fear,  worry or 'anxiety') to mean ‘arrest’ or ‘capture.’


26.  *"Resignment” 


      To mean ‘resignation.’ Another strange Naga invention.

27.  “False propaganda” 

    The commonest and most awkward rebuttals the Indian military and Naga underground factions throw at each other.


28.  Non-availability” 


       The correct word is ‘unavailability’. Another Naga brand

29.  Un-satisfaction 
          
    (The correct word is ‘Dissatisfaction.’ This one was from a group of NPSC candidates - with English in that nature, they definitely have every right to be dissatisfied with their education!)

Concluding remarks 

But it is very ok if our English of Nagas is very bad and broken because we are original native Naga citizens and are dis-citizens of England country. 


Another reason is because we read decreased books, we unread newspaper, never reading national newspaper and hardly imagine beyond our egoistic, self-serving, tribal, factional, forever-Naga issue minds. Due to because we are also the very backward in intellectual sides but highly forward in college degree.

Even almost a scary amount of students’ organization is writing very bad English. The reason is unknown due to dissatisfaction from poor upliftment of our brains. 

And oh, readers, me will very cheerfully make you update when any new Naga-English invention is coming up OK? Please looking at this column for many new Naga English again!     

(Originally published - including the satirized "Concluding Remarks" section - in June, 2007, in the author's column United Colors of Nagaland', The Morung Express)

©2012 Al Ngullie ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This article contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Strange Words/English that found their way into Nagaland's newspapers. And Editors didn't care

Readers from Nagaland and Northeast India may be familiar with my obsession with 'preserving' funny English – primarily the colorful, weird and funny terms, phrases and expressions some Naga persons use. Raja Mircha to injury: editors publish them without a second thought. 

We don't even do first thought anyway.

Here are some sufficiently potty things most Naga citizens create, aside from unemployment and pottery. The atrocities listed here are real instances scoured exclusively from press releases. I have a private "funny newspaper reading" collection.  

Do not ask me what the following polio-stricken cases mean.

"False Propaganda" 

Truthfully, I've yet to come across truthful propaganda. Have you?

"Honorable, acceptable and beneficial" 

That smorgasbord is the Naga people's most brutal contribution to the integrity of English. What is honorable but still manages to be unacceptable, or detrimental? Conversely, what is dishonorable, but succeeds in being acceptable and beneficial to anyone? Such synonymic (if there was such a word) excesses are still integral to our much-loved orgies.

"General Public"

My favorite. We Nagas (including most of the State's Journalists) love declaring “general public” this and "general public" that, all the time to describe the greater society.

If there was anything in existence as "general public" in the first place, I assume every individual was a public unto himself -- we'd all be Multiple Personality Disorder patients. Do inform our students' unions, “educated” college leaders, and the government and the underground groups, that there is no “general public.” Just public. ‘Public’ in itself means ‘general’ or 'all the people.' Soob manu.

"Recensus" 

A creative village council member from Zunheboto district came up with this word circa 2008. The poor man was merely suggesting a review of the census data for his district. He never meant to modernize (or cross-breed) the word.

"Expeditely" 

I believe the NGOs meant to say ‘joldi joldi koribi ho.’ (For foreign visitors reading this article, "expeditely" is a word 'we' use to mean something similar to "C'mon dude! Go! Go! Go!"
 
"Overaged" 

What the Nagaland government calls wrinkle-friendly job candidates. Or what the state's learned students' leaders call you when you are beyond 30 years of age.

"Fastly" 

You already know what it means. The poor man who sent the holweler in a press release only wanted to emphasize urgency. The specimen was from a Mokokchung Village Development Board secretary, if I recall correctly.

"Presentee"

Hazard a guess. I'm assuming that a “presentee” is someone who holds out something to you, as opposed to 'presenter'. Or is it the receiver? I'm a bit confusee now... 

"Cosonscious" 

I believe the computer was unconscious when the author was typing in the word ‘Consensus.’ You are right, the word looks somewhat dazed.
Rudiperlous – The HP printer was drunken when the word was being led to the guillotine. I believe that the Naga organization responsible for inventing 'Rudiperlous' actually meant to say 'Ridiculous’. Most organizations' PRs are rudiperlous, sorry, ridiculous, anyway.

"Former ex-MLA" (or "former ex-minister"

This politically incorrect obscenity was from somewhere Wokha district I think. You get exceptionally vigorous ones from us Kyong tribesmen, you know. I think the term refers to politicians that have attained a second tenure of unemployment after being toppled from power.    

"Befoxing the public" 

I don’t know if the government of Nagaland is…er...bewolfing the public but I believe the Press Release writer raked up the howler while searching for the phrase 'cheating the public' or 'hoodwinking the public' to convey the idea of deceit.

"Incompromisical" 

Honestly, sincerely and admittedly I don’t know what the creative author of that word thought it meant. Honest.

"Redressal" 

You'll agree that the term "redressal" definitely looks all dressed up for the carnival. The exact and correct term is ‘redress.’ There are no derivatives to it.

"Non-transparency / Untransparent"

The ‘educated unemployed’ organizations of Nagaland have monopolized the specimen. So have the NSF, Naga Hoho, ENPO and their like. The correct 'word is 'Nontransparent'.
  
"Encadrement / Encadred" 

Tell your dear daddies and uncles and aunties working in the state government services that the exact word they are looking for is ‘commissioned.’ ‘Encadrement’ is a French term to mean ‘Supervise’ or ‘frame’ and has no English connotative usage other than ‘commission.’ By meaning, 'commission' is connotative with 'appoint'.
 
"Press Rewind" 

It was given as the description to the subject of a press release we received from a Naga tribal union (don't ask me which tribe. We'd start a tribal war.). Let us simply assume that the polio-stricken anomaly is an antonym for 'Press Forward'!

"Conscentizing /Concentinzing" 

The one word used regularly by the Naga Mothers' Association,  women's commission and women ‘hoho’ leaders.  The word they are looking for is “Conscientious.” Yet again, “Conscientization” itself has no formal projection (even entry) in the English glossary and is used simply as a slangy term to illustrate the semantic weight of ‘Critical Consciousness.’ I believe the exact word our organizations should be using is ‘critical consciousness’ or ‘awareness.’

"Unauthorisedly" 
The word is self-explanatory.
 
"Non-biased" 

Well, I might as well go find myself a non-wrong word, what do you say?

"Safetiness" 

Such words are the result of dangerous bostiness.
Note for foreign readers: 'Bostiness' is a Nagaland slang; the English equivalent is 'boorish'. Translation: Specimens such as "safetiness" are a result of dangerous villageness.  

"Un-satisfaction" 

If you …er… un-want to go to the dance party, just say you are dis-go!

"Uncivilized rape / Uncivilized killing" 

I shudder at the thought of civilized rape spreading in Nagaland. Dear ladies, watch out for penises that wear tuxedos!

There are many more to come and I'll be listing them out soon. If you search on Google any of the funny English words listed here, you'll notice that all the results the search throws up, are from either Nagaland (mostly) or mainland India (a few)!

Example: Google search the word "Rudiperlous" - only one result. That too, would from my September 2011 newspaper column in the English daily, The Morung Express, India. We are a colorful lot.

(This article was originally published in the author's column 'United Colors of Nagaland', The Morung Express, 29th September, 2011)

©2012 Al Ngullie ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This article contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.

Nagaland NGOs English is many bad words ho, na?

Funny News Headlines, articles and even funnier I-m-trying-to-read-It reading  

Nagaland State's rich cultural tradition of corruption, backdoor appointments, bogus teachers and fictitious qualifications, has finally begun producing incomparably extraordinary idiots. Talk of Journalism in Nagaland, the horrific news articles newspapers publish in the name of the great cause of 'journalistic information' seems a kick to the face of modern days' Shakespearean ambitions.
 
For those of you who grew up heroically declaring ‘Good, Gooder, Goodest’ in the face of great danger in ‘English two’ classes, I say you fought strong. In fact, you outdid me in the superlatives – I encountered major issues with "Far, Farer, Farest," you see.  

The personal experience is a primary reason I do not rebuke our many unfortunate “graduates” and “MA” mambo-jambos who demonstrate natural talents at tripping on their ‘Has’ and ‘Have’ – or viciously pop an “Ain’t” right in the middle of an enthusiastic English oratory. 

Trust me, I file political reports to keep my refrigerator well-fed and I know well enough that even (Nagaland's chief minister) Mr. Neiphiu Rio’s own Cabinet boasts of some truly exceptional talents when it comes to Naga English gibberish.  The “education” our beloved School Education Department's  klutzheads have imparted us is perhaps accountable for the paper-shriveling atrocities Naga society write to shout down their equally vociferous opponents.

Admitted, even some of us in the Media are no better off in skills requiring decent diction, syntax and projection, run and grammar. In fact, I confess, we cringe in embarrassment digesting the quality of parsing and diction in “edited” reports on Page-1 parsed by media persons we generally esteem. 

Typing errors (or Typos) and editing oversights are forgivable – the biggest names in publishing are credited with some of the most horrific errors committed in the print. But errors in parsing? Unforgivable. Not even from Editors. Leave alone products of Naga teachers. I’m no better either, but as the street-smart say ‘I know my basic stuff, darling.’ So just continue reading.


We is the Nagas…


I mean, Nagas are an extraordinary people of the superlative order. When we aren’t celebrating festivals, we are fighting. And we fight in bad English. 

As if things weren’t already worse. 

We fight in English so toxic one is forced to believe that the Oxford Reference was written essentially for "Naga Journalism."  Take for instance politics. Politics is not a way of life for us, apparently. It is our life – a people who, with the skill of gladiators shove colorful syntax, unruffled propositions and polio-stricken declarative into the face of the embattled government. You should examine some of the atrocities our political organizations declare in the hard unedited statements. 

My English is more bester than your English 

Wobbly, crazed English from the less-schooled deserves sympathy – in fact, come on, even love and kisses. But not so much for entities who represent a greater, more urbane social order – civil society leaders, political parties and governments. And many of our “students” unions definitely need a “Basic English Secretary” in their ranks.

Nevertheless, let us be appreciative at the very least that the land of the pork has finally found a common reason to reconcile and unite – wild, so-Naga  English. Our wild English has virtually united our conflict ridden society now – many of our “graduate,” “students” and “educated” organizations (guess which ones), leaders of the government, civil society and the undergrounds and prominent cultural personalities (Nagas of course). And can we afford to overlook those odd copied-from-the-web articles from “research students” and  Nagaland University's very own “research scholars?

So what are  the sufficiently potty things Non-Governmental Organizations in Nagaland write and submit to the newspapers – and our unruffled Editors happily publish them in our 'esteemed' newspapers all in the name of Journalism? Read here: Some newspaper goof-ups that found their selves on Nagaland's breakfast tables.

(This article was originally published in the author's column 'United Colors of Nagaland', in The Morung Express, 29th September, 2011)        

©2012 Al Ngullie ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This article contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Elements of Journalism for Dummies

The stuff Journalism is made up of

What are the 'Elements of Journalism?' Volumes and library-thick discourses throughout history offer a good idea on what characterizes Journalism, and broadly the role of journalists. 

Personally, I love what the feisty Nagaland Page’s chief Monalisa Changkija – during an interaction years ago – said of journalism: Old-school journalism – Just speak the truth.

The intrinsic values of the very purpose of journalism are summed up in The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel. The book is considered the one authority for reference for all aspiring journalists – with a reminder that all journalists are humans; and so, are essentially biased.  

The Elements of Journalism lists a number of imperatives that represent the very spirit of Journalism, its purpose and goal. These elements are not necessarily exceptions nor are they rules unto themselves. 

They are more of a rationalization of the paradigms, I believe, that completely represent the central tenets of purpose, rather than intent. They are pragmatic standards for newsmen I say.

Put simply: 

The elements of Journalism say that:
  • The first contract of Journalism and Journalists is with Truth
  • Their first loyalty is to the Citizen and to Citizenry
  • Journalists are independent, and must maintain independence from any influence, individual, organization or government
  • Journalism is independent check-and-balance, the monitor
  • Journalism should provide the public a platform to opine and criticize
  • Journalists must be allowed to exercise personal conscience (I believe this element supplements point ‘5’ by principle and not merely complement it).

Considering the immutable changes in value-moderation contemporary journalism has undergone, ‘truth’ today almost sounds a feeble defense to shut up the proletarian purists and feed the socialist-tweaking elitist. Global economic compulsions and handy socio-political tensions that stormed the advent of the 21st century have forced new paradigms in value-moderation. 

Sadly, reality is that both the society and its messengers continue to struggle in 'trying' to embody the truth which the Elements of Journalism seek to present. In other words, 'plain truth' - as opposed to 'fact' has yet to find expression in modern world's information exchange. Come to think of it: If you read the Elements of Journalism you will find just one word: Truth. Plain Truth. Nothing else.

©2012 Al Ngullie 
 
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