Dear Friends and readers,
it has been 10 long years since I have taken up the challenge to run a parallel media. Challenges come in every form on day to day basis encompassed mainly as staff crunch, finance, lack of intellectual support, limited resource, and manpower. Comparatively, other tabloids have 100 plus staff to run 16 pages of paper, but presently our staff numbers are less than those 16 pages and this sets us up for a new challenge every day. Mentoring the staff towards journalistic ethics and orienting their thought process shape the outlook of the media house. It is a task of great responsibility and very tough to accomplish with constraining resource and manpower.
Intellectual slavery is too much imbibed into media these days. But we speak the truth having no agenda and no inclination towards any specific party. We appreciate the good and criticise all that is not good for the public interest. Bringing all facets to light is the prime responsibility of journalism and it is important to get information to the forefront for our readers. Thus, being neutral is very difficult as nobody loves you and one needs to take pressures on all fronts. When you write about Congress, people think that you are against BJP, and when you write about BJP, they presume that you are opponent party supporter. Your criticism and praises both are translated with their perspectives. Regularly we witness the awful things that people do to each other and the most persistent awfulness of all, the outcome. For journalists like us, the question is how you tell stories about something so muddling. And how do you use language about expressing emotions or showing concern for the people of this country, if we really want the truth, then one has to be blunt and not diplomatic. My media house follows the rule of speaking our minds. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to citizens and we owe it to our country.
The economic pressures have created gaps in the market for new businesses to exploit. Secondly, newsrooms are bleeding as many professional journalists and universities are spewing out and they all gotta go somewhere. And thirdly and perhaps most importantly, it’s never been easier or cheaper to set up a newspaper business, and that is the reason while running for resources and taking care of every aspect of a newspaper become a challenge. The seed of every business is the same, and journalism is no exception. They all begin with an idea. And this is one of the most important things to get right as it’s the prime pillar of your foundation.
Before you put down your pen for good, there is a hope. It is, believe it or not, possible to get paid for doing what you love – there’s even a whole empire of life coaches, books and courses — all trying to convince the team of this. But still it requires a lot of thinking and great deal of which needs to be so far outside the box, they’ve forgotten where they left it. It starts with really boiling down that why you went into journalism and why you should be a mentor to many brains those at times don’t deserve or match to your expectations. You really question your own desire to elevate the mindset of people who don’t want to see matters with ingenuity and breach blocked mental boundaries. Although there will be countless opportunities, not every journalist will become a business owner; but I tried becoming one. We can always work with or under those who prefer to be entrepreneurial or at least achievers. For that, every journalist must start learning about smart business decisions and about the importance of innovation. Future is still to come, but you have every opportunity to shape it and make it your present reality.
My team in naive; every time the team gets changed as the new talent comes in and the trained staff go out for better opportunities — in a way Afternoon Voice is a paid vocational training centre for wannabe journalists. There are many challenges because each one of them had different attitude, nature and adoption to environment. Sometimes I see most obedient and wanting to learn peers, sometimes some come and divide us into groups, due to their own insecurities and limitations. I get all sorts of people and dealing from here to the outer world every day is a new challenge. Staff and news desk may have many encounters; end of the day, I have limited but very dedicated readers, who hold us to sustain and move forward.
My only agenda for this newspaper is journalism. There is nothing beyond it, nothing more, and nothing less. We adhere to the integrity of the fourth estate and keeping it alive is our only agenda. The irony is that, today media is tagged with paid media, “bikau media” and “bazaru media”. People randomly abuse media when something unpleasant is written about them. Reacting strongly to the comments seems to be the only form of reaction devoid of exploration of facts and realities. Most of the people have incredibly gone berserk in their inclination towards one leader, one party, one faith, one religion and have gone so blind that they get scared to see, accept and express the truth. Living a life with horse blinkers 24/7 seems to have become the way of living for these people and evolution of righteous thoughts and national priorities has taken a complete back seat.
The political allure has completely blocked their mind from pragmatic realities which impact every citizen and nation’s future. They love the glorification of their leader, their ideology, their favouritism and social exposure. These days, huge newspapers are hated for their opinions, but when you want your point printed, they are most happy with them. Double standards audience have added to the challenge of existence of the media houses. When people choose survival over truth and lack strength in life to stand with integrity, their ego invariably impacts the essence of journalism and fights against the evil in the fourth estate are compromised. Their loyalty is to personal gains and not the truth. We don’t get enough government ads as our reach is limited. Struggle of keeping this media house functional is walking on a thin rope. Still we have walked till now, we don’t know our future.
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