If I were to make a list of Journalists I know, it would be pretty long. Right from a cub reporter to somebody who has 25 years experience..
Let me start by saying that NONE of them looked biased to me. Strong, bull headed, proud, name dropping, – yes many of these things, but very rarely biased. I would never, ever be afraid to give them a story and worry that they would threaten the company and make money with the story.
I know one lady/girl who calls me 10 times when she does an article, and I do not think she could ever make a mistake in a story that she is doing. I have known youngsters angry that their bosses were not letting them do a story. However this was not a ‘suffocation’ it was just that there was no bandwidth to do a detailed 5 installment story. Lack of time, yes, not lack of intention.
I know some journos who have made these foreign jaunts, nicely handled by the PR agency, but do not write false stories. Not seen that.
So now when people ask me is ‘Honest Journalist’ an oxymoron, turn the question to yourself and ask ‘do you know of an honest journo?’ . If the answer is yes, then the word ‘oxymoron’ is wrong. I know some of the most straight forward, good looking kids in the TV business. If you think it is glamorous, you should see the tobacco smoke in the ante rooms! These kids go through tremendous amount of stress, deadlines, traffic, cramped and noisy offices.
Am I saying that there is no bias? No.
Am I saying that there is no corruption in the media industry? No.
We are all humans and love being pampered and praised. I love it when I hear that more than 100,000 copies have been sold. Or 159 copies of my book are still sold in E form every month. Sure it feels great, but that does not really mean much once you are out of the room, right?
I know one journo who is part of a big establishment. She calls a top industrialist and he calls her back in 10 minutes. She tells me..the day I stop covering the sector, he will NOT TAKE MY CALLS. She is very clear about her strength – it is the brand and the designation. I meet anchors who tell me..that at the end of the session it is my cheeks that are paining because of the grin that I have to keep everyday.
One of the most thorough journalists in India has to be Arun Shourie. He told me once ‘judge a journalist by the house in which he lives and the car that he/she drives’. I am not sure whether I even agree with this. It makes the rich journalist (ha) – could be rich because of inheritance and not by bribes, right?
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