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Archive for the ‘Career listings’ Category

Covering Poonam Pandey, Dolly Bindra & Shilpa Shetty as a cub reporter for a daily is not easy. Especially as you’ll never be asked to cover or uncover Poonam Pandey, Dolly Bindra & Shilpa Shetty as a lowly cub reporter. The only assignments that come within the scope & ambit of the average cubby are very, very important events like Rotary club functions, kindergarten (I went through pre-KG, LKG, UKG & even 10th std thinking it was KinderGwarden; but that’s a different story) graduation parties, Ladies Recreation Club parties and the like. Going through journalism school with dreams of breaking the next Hawala/ Bofors/ Telgi scam – its not easy to swallow the bitter truth that you don’t get to cover Karunanidhi, Jayalalithaa or Vaiko unless you get to be as old as them or as pepper-tongued as them.

So the first job of the cub-reporter after he has finished sleeping over the super-boring report he has himself filed on —Rotary club functions, kindergarten graduation parties and Ladies Recreation Club parties — would be to read up on today’s newspapers (at 4.00 pm) so that he can knowledgably discuss yesterday’s events with his Chief Reporter who comes in at 4.30 pm. So as is the habit of everyone young at heart, the cub starts reading the paper from back-to-front so as to get an eyeful of “hot” news, before going on to the front sections to get bleary-eyed over who’s “hot” in the news.

In fact Page 3 is a myth started by journalists to get people to read news about Rotary club functions, kindergarten graduation parties, Ladies Recreation Club parties and the like. I mean honestly, which newspaper have you seen which sees fit to put hot pictures of hot girls wearing hotter clothes that leave men super-hot & sweaty on Page 3?

None!!! Coz that’s the exclusive territory of state & city reporters to bemoan the rubbish heaps at the end of their street. Just like a merry-go-round – the corporation reporter first reports on the rubbish at the end of their newspaper office street, then the rubbish at the end of the Editor’s street and then the rubbish at the end of the Principal correspondent’s street, senior correspondent’s, correspondent’s, trainee correspondent’s till they work their way down to the rubbish at the end of the newspaper watchman’s street.

But the rubbish reports sorry reports on rubbish are done only every alternate day because the day after this mind-blowing, award-winning “Blunton Mail expose” or coverage of rubbish, the next day the concerned newspaper will carry a huge story titled “Blunton Mail Impact” and a photograph in which you can see corporation workers clearing away the rubbish from the street they reported on yesterday.  So with everday having a “Blunton Mail expose” or a “Blunton Mail impact” you can be sure that reporters do their part in keeping corporation workers on their toes. Which is why the reporter, who covers problems on civic amenities, is known as “the Corporation Reporter”. Get it?

As to why the Court Reporter is called so, we can talk about that in another episode titled “Poonam Pandey, Dolly Bindra & Shilpa Shetty-Part II” (which we will call “Mad Hatter Times Impact” as its the follow-on) where we will get around to actually talking about “Poonam Pandey, Dolly Bindra & Shilpa Shetty.”

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Joining Reuters!

Tanta-Tanta- Ta-Da (Imagine trumpets blaring) And here come The Big announcement, the one I’ve been waiting to tell: “I’m joining Reuters and shifting to Bangalore! Monday – April 26th is the D-Day and I’m so very, very excited about it!”

I never ever thought that one day I would work in the company I dreamed of working in ever since I was a 5-yr-old. Of course I have a had lot of other ambitions in between like wanting to become a zoo warden, a forest ranger, a wildlife vet, a wildlife photographer, a naturalist, etc, etc….None of those dreams, however, bore frutition…But this one! Oh! I’m so skipetty-dipetty happy! I feel like singing; I’m on cloud no.9; ecstatic and have to constantly keep pinching myself to reassure myself that this is not a dream, but real!

Both my parents love books and are voracious readers. So when I was a 5-yr-old and my mother deemed it ready for me to progress from reading Appusami and Sitapatti in Tamil to reading English fiction; the very first book I ever read (not books that were read out to me) was Tintin in America. I struggled with the words and could barely decipher their meaning, but I just love, love, loved that book. In fact for the next three to four years, till I eventually discovered the merits of Asterix and Obelix, Swiss Family Robinson and Children of the New Forest, my staple diet was “The Adventures of Tintin and Snowy.”

Tintin’s lifestyle was the epitome of everything glamorous and wonderful for me those days. I proudly told my mother that when I grew up I wanted to become a newspaper reporter just like Tintin and travel the world over in defence of truth and justice. I also told my mom I could start off by working for the Hindu (in the innocent belief that editors in the Hindu would queue up outside our house with offer letters once they knew the intrepid, swash-buckling Chitra wanted to be a journalist) and then go on to better things like the Belgian Times. It was then that my mother first mentioned “Reuters”  – the news agency. She told me about their history, their coverage of landmark events, the fact that many famous authors were once Reuters journalists and that if I ever wanted to do international reporting I would be better off with an agency than a national newspaper. Of course, at that age none of this registered in my brain, but what caught my fancy was the name Reuters. I was intrigued that Reuters was not pronounced as it was spelled. And I loved the way I could roll out the “R” in Reuters as I had only recently mastered the letter “R” with great difficulty. Earlier, I could only lisp out “En pelu Aachel Chichida,” when people asked me my name.

Anyway for the next few months I constantly kept telling everyone who could listen, which included my mom, dad, maid-servant Maliga, pet canary Toffy and its arch-enemy our cat Coffee, that I was working for Reuters. I would also make frequent trips to the post box hanging precariously from our gate and dump all manner of scrap paper in it and announce proudly to my family members that I had posted the news for the day.

But the desire to become a journalist soon paled, once I discovered the fantastic world of James Herriot, Gerald Durrell, Jim Corbett and Kenneth Anderson. After that from 10-16 years of age, I only thought of the animal kingdom and used to debate the rival merits of being a vet vs being a naturalist. I had to shelve those dreams – post my standard XII results, as I hadn’t got the marks for studying veterinary science. I had got only 84% when the FC cut off was around 85% or so. So I just signed up for Chemistry, did a bad job of studying it and skimmed through my years at Madras Christian College without opening the covers of a single non-fictional book.  It was then that my interest in journalism resurfaced and I took a course in journalism at MCC. Then I went on to work for The New Indian Express, News Today, Deccan Chronicle, Premium, RTT News, before I finally landed up in – REUTERS!

So Wish me luck! This is the job I want! The one I have been dreaming of! I’m sure I’ll find the work interesting and plan to do a lot of reading in future! The only fly in the ointment is the marathon task of shifting from Chennai to Bangalore with all my furniture and precious books intact.

So here I am happy, contented and crossing a milestone in my life. I’m 25 now and will turn 26 this October. Its been almost 5 years in journalism and I have loved everything about the field. I hope I continue to find job satisfaction in the years to come. With an enormous amount of peace and goodwill to all my well-wishers, I’m signing off now (its 3.00 am)! Cheers! Love life!

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lasanthaLasantha Manilal Wickramatunge was a prominent Sri Lankan journalist and former editor-in-chief of the The Sunday Leader. Wickramatunge was assassinated on 8 January, 2009, while driving to work in Dehiwela, just outside Colombo. His killing has been widely condemned by the media and viewed as an assault against press freedom. The government is being held responsible for the killing as it has failed to stop attacks against media personnel. His murder is the latest in a series of murders of journalists in Sri Lanka.

(Disclaimer* The views expressed in this article are solely that of the late Mr Wickramatunge and not mine or the organisation I work for. I empathise with what he says and this post is in memory of him)

One of his last essays read:

No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honor to belong to all those categories and now especially the last.

I have been in the business of journalism a good long time. Indeed, 2009 will be The Sunday Leader’s 15th year. Many things have changed in Sri Lanka during that time, and it does not need me to tell you that the greater part of that change has been for the worse. We find ourselves in the midst of a civil war ruthlessly prosecuted by protagonists whose bloodlust knows no bounds. Terror, whether perpetrated by terrorists or the state, has become the order of the day. Indeed, murder has become the primary tool whereby the state seeks to control the organs of liberty. Today it is the journalists, tomorrow it will be the judges. For neither group have the risks ever been higher or the stakes lower.

Why then do we do it? I often wonder that. After all, I too am a husband, and the father of three wonderful children. I too have responsibilities and obligations that transcend my profession, be it the law or journalism. Is it worth the risk? Many people tell me it is not. Friends tell me to revert to the bar, and goodness knows it offers a better and safer livelihood. Others, including political leaders on both sides, have at various times sought to induce me to take to politics, going so far as to offer me ministries of my choice. Diplomats, recognizing the risk journalists face in Sri Lanka, have offered me safe passage and the right of residence in their countries. Whatever else I may have been stuck for, I have not been stuck for choice.

But there is a calling that is yet above high office, fame, lucre and security. It is the call of conscience.

The Sunday Leader has been a controversial newspaper because we say it like we see it: whether it be a spade, a thief or a murderer, we call it by that name. We do not hide behind euphemism. The investigative articles we print are supported by documentary evidence thanks to the public-spiritedness of citizens who at great risk to themselves pass on this material to us. We have exposed scandal after scandal, and never once in these 15 years has anyone proved us wrong or successfully prosecuted us.

The free media serve as a mirror in which the public can see itself sans mascara and styling gel. From us you learn the state of your nation, and especially its management by the people you elected to give your children a better future. Sometimes the image you see in that mirror is not a pleasant one. But while you may grumble in the privacy of your armchair, the journalists who hold the mirror up to you do so publicly and at great risk to themselves. That is our calling, and we do not shirk it.

Every newspaper has its angle, and we do not hide the fact that we have ours. Our commitment is to see Sri Lanka as a transparent, secular, liberal democracy. Think about those words, for they each has profound meaning. Transparent because government must be openly accountable to the people and never abuse their trust. Secular because in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society such as ours, secularism offers the only common ground by which we might all be united. Liberal because we recognize that all human beings are created different, and we need to accept others for what they are and not what we would like them to be. And democratic… well, if you need me to explain why that is important, you’d best stop buying this paper.

The Sunday Leader has never sought safety by unquestioningly articulating the majority view. Let’s face it, that is the way to sell newspapers. On the contrary, as our opinion pieces over the years amply demonstrate, we often voice ideas that many people find distasteful. For example, we have consistently espoused the view that while separatist terrorism must be eradicated, it is more important to address the root causes of terrorism, and urged government to view Sri Lanka’s ethnic strife in the context of history and not through the telescope of terrorism. We have also agitated against state terrorism in the so-called war against terror, and made no secret of our horror that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world routinely to bomb its own citizens. For these views we have been labeled traitors, and if this be treachery, we wear that label proudly.

Many people suspect that The Sunday Leader has a political agenda: it does not. If we appear more critical of the government than of the opposition it is only because we believe that – pray excuse cricketing argot – there is no point in bowling to the fielding side. Remember that for the few years of our existence in which the UNP was in office, we proved to be the biggest thorn in its flesh, exposing excess and corruption wherever it occurred. Indeed, the steady stream of embarrassing exposes we published may well have served to precipitate the downfall of that government.

Neither should our distaste for the war be interpreted to mean that we support the Tigers. The LTTE are among the most ruthless and bloodthirsty organizations ever to have infested the planet. There is no gainsaying that it must be eradicated. But to do so by violating the rights of Tamil citizens, bombing and shooting them mercilessly, is not only wrong but shames the Sinhalese, whose claim to be custodians of the dhamma is forever called into question by this savagery, much of which is unknown to the public because of censorship.

What is more, a military occupation of the country’s north and east will require the Tamil people of those regions to live eternally as second-class citizens, deprived of all self respect. Do not imagine that you can placate them by showering “development” and “reconstruction” on them in the post-war era. The wounds of war will scar them forever, and you will also have an even more bitter and hateful Diaspora to contend with. A problem amenable to a political solution will thus become a festering wound that will yield strife for all eternity. If I seem angry and frustrated, it is only because most of my countrymen – and all of the government – cannot see this writing so plainly on the wall.

It is well known that I was on two occasions brutally assaulted, while on another my house was sprayed with machine-gun fire. Despite the government’s sanctimonious assurances, there was never a serious police inquiry into the perpetrators of these attacks, and the attackers were never apprehended. In all these cases, I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.

The irony in this is that, unknown to most of the public, Mahinda and I have been friends for more than a quarter century. Indeed, I suspect that I am one of the few people remaining who routinely addresses him by his first name and uses the familiar Sinhala address oya when talking to him. Although I do not attend the meetings he periodically holds for newspaper editors, hardly a month passes when we do not meet, privately or with a few close friends present, late at night at President’s House. There we swap yarns, discuss politics and joke about the good old days. A few remarks to him would therefore be in order here.

Mahinda, when you finally fought your way to the SLFP presidential nomination in 2005, nowhere were you welcomed more warmly than in this column. Indeed, we broke with a decade of tradition by referring to you throughout by your first name. So well known were your commitments to human rights and liberal values that we ushered you in like a breath of fresh air. Then, through an act of folly, you got yourself involved in the Helping Hambantota scandal. It was after a lot of soul-searching that we broke the story, at the same time urging you to return the money. By the time you did so several weeks later, a great blow had been struck to your reputation. It is one you are still trying to live down.

You have told me yourself that you were not greedy for the presidency. You did not have to hanker after it: it fell into your lap. You have told me that your sons are your greatest joy, and that you love spending time with them, leaving your brothers to operate the machinery of state. Now, it is clear to all who will see that that machinery has operated so well that my sons and daughter do not themselves have a father.

In the wake of my death I know you will make all the usual sanctimonious noises and call upon the police to hold a swift and thorough inquiry. But like all the inquiries you have ordered in the past, nothing will come of this one, too. For truth be told, we both know who will be behind my death, but dare not call his name. Not just my life, but yours too, depends on it.

Sadly, for all the dreams you had for our country in your younger days, in just three years you have reduced it to rubble. In the name of patriotism you have trampled on human rights, nurtured unbridled corruption and squandered public money like no other President before you. Indeed, your conduct has been like a small child suddenly let loose in a toyshop. That analogy is perhaps inapt because no child could have caused so much blood to be spilled on this land as you have, or trampled on the rights of its citizens as you do. Although you are now so drunk with power that you cannot see it, you will come to regret your sons having so rich an inheritance of blood. It can only bring tragedy. As for me, it is with a clear conscience that I go to meet my Maker. I wish, when your time finally comes, you could do the same. I wish.

As for me, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I walked tall and bowed to no man. And I have not travelled this journey alone. Fellow journalists in other branches of the media walked with me: most of them are now dead, imprisoned without trial or exiled in far-off lands. Others walk in the shadow of death that your Presidency has cast on the freedoms for which you once fought so hard. You will never be allowed to forget that my death took place under your watch. As anguished as I know you will be, I also know that you will have no choice but to protect my killers: you will see to it that the guilty one is never convicted. You have no choice. I feel sorry for you, and Shiranthi will have a long time to spend on her knees when next she goes for Confession for it is not just her owns sins which she must confess, but those of her extended family that keeps you in office.

As for the readers of The Sunday Leader, what can I say but Thank You for supporting our mission. We have espoused unpopular causes, stood up for those too feeble to stand up for themselves, locked horns with the high and mighty so swollen with power that they have forgotten their roots, exposed corruption and the waste of your hard-earned tax rupees, and made sure that whatever the propaganda of the day, you were allowed to hear a contrary view. For this I – and my family – have now paid the price that I have long known I will one day have to pay. I am – and have always been – ready for that. I have done nothing to prevent this outcome: no security, no precautions. I want my murderer to know that I am not a coward like he is, hiding behind human shields while condemning thousands of innocents to death. What am I among so many? It has long been written that my life would be taken, and by whom. All that remains to be written is when.

That The Sunday Leader will continue fighting the good fight, too, is written. For I did not fight this fight alone. Many more of us have to be – and will be – killed before The Leader is laid to rest. I hope my assassination will be seen not as a defeat of freedom but an inspiration for those who survive to step up their efforts. Indeed, I hope that it will help galvanise forces that will usher in a new era of human liberty in our beloved motherland. I also hope it will open the eyes of your President to the fact that however many are slaughtered in the name of patriotism, the human spirit will endure and flourish. Not all the Rajapakses combined can kill that.

People often ask me why I take such risks and tell me it is a matter of time before I am bumped off. Of course I know that: it is inevitable. But if we do not speak out now, there will be no one left to speak for those who cannot, whether they be ethnic minorities, the disadvantaged or the persecuted. An example that has inspired me throughout my career in journalism has been that of the German theologian, Martin Niemoller. In his youth he was an anti-Semite and an admirer of Hitler. As Nazism took hold in Germany, however, he saw Nazism for what it was: it was not just the Jews Hitler sought to extirpate, it was just about anyone with an alternate point of view. Niemoller spoke out, and for his trouble was incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945, and very nearly executed. While incarcerated, Niem0ller wrote a poem that, from the first time I read it in my teenage years, stuck hauntingly in my mind:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: The Leader is there for you, be you Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, low-caste, homosexual, dissident or disabled. Its staff will fight on, unbowed and unafraid, with the courage to which you have become accustomed. Do not take that commitment for granted. Let there be no doubt that whatever sacrifices we journalists make, they are not made for our own glory or enrichment: they are made for you. Whether you deserve their sacrifice is another matter. As for me, God knows I tried.

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(Picture courtesy Workers Solidarity Movement)

PR agencies are mostly a bane and never a boon (unless you are a cover-seeking journalist or you have the rare good fortune of meeting a decently efficient + knowledgeable PR agent).

The communication skills of PR agencies are notoriously poor.  They keep addressing you as “dear” (quite inappropriate and too close for comfort) and send “gretings to you” (PRs are notorious spellers; I am sure they would never be accepted even in Hufflepuff at Hogwarts).

They keep trying to give you calenders, diaries, pens, notebooks, money (covers), gifts, freebies, gift coupons & junkets which you don’t want. But they will never give you the things you do want like contact information, phone number, email ID, press releases and photographs.

Further they believe in sending “backrounders” (I warned you they were bad at spellings), which contain no useful information other than what they mistakenly copy pasted from the company website.

One PR agent sent me the company’s 2004 annual report, when I wanted to know their sales figures in 2008. Maybe I was supposed to compute my own statistics based on their average rate of growth?

pop0432They also have no clue as to what the company’s objectives really are. What is galling is they make so much money, just by convincing the company that they were responsible for the journalist’s reports, which were filed after zero consultation with the PR agency.

When you look at the amount of money they make just by pretending they are responsible for half the stories that get printed, I think it would be more profitable for media owners if they  just started PR agencies for every edition that they have…then they can at least be assured that all profits from ad space and editorial space comes only to them.

Of course, the idea is not new, considering that some newspapers have gone ahead and drawn an agreement with a long list of private companies companies for editorial space…..still starting a PR agency might make things clearer for the reader – who is publishing the news, why are they publishing it? for whom are they publishing it? what benefits its publication will have?

And then again there are the disclaimers that PR agencies send with their mail. The disclaimers are usually longer than the contents of the mail – as the contents of the mail are written by PR agents who are bad at spellings and company info and the disclaimers are written by legal consultants who are very bad at precise writing.

Anyway these disclaimers don’t make sense.

Information contained in any e-mail transmitted from or on behalf of XXX PR agency are confidential and intended solely for the addressee(s) and may be legally privileged or prohibited from disclosure and unauthorized use. Information contained is also under copyright of XXXX PR agency and should not be re-printed, re-published or used by any one other than the addresse. No legally binding commitments will be created by this E-mail message. XXX PR agency may not be held responsible for the content of this email as it may reflect the personal view of the sender and not that of the company.

If its under copyright, how come X & Co can’t be held responsible for its contents? Or maybe they realised that some PR agents were sending A-jokes to journalists in an attempt to get over-friendly..Hmm! Maybe just like the Working Journalists Act, we could have the Abolishment of PR Agencies Act? 🙂

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1)The argumentative journalist: The journalist who believes he shouldn’t stop with asking questions in a press meet. No press meet is complete unless he gets into an argument with the main speaker.

(e.g.) At a press meet, in which late forest brigand Veerappan‘s wife Muthulakshmi was protesting against airing a serial on the life of Veerappan by a popular Tamil TV channel, this kind of a nuisance cropped up. Ms Muthulakshmi felt that her two girls had already faced enough discrimination from the school management and in the interests of the girls’ education demanded that the channel refrain from raking up the issue.

The argumentative journalist: Why can’t they air the serial?

Muthulakshmi: You see sir, they are…

The argumentative journalist: (Interrupts) Why are you preventing them from airing the serial?

Muthulakshmi: Sir, my girls..

The argumentative journalist: Will you allow them if they give you any royalty?

(By this time, Muthulakshmi is in tears..and the organisers are trying to close the press meet. And this guy walks out proud, thinking he’s another Karan Thapar, who succesfully got Kapil Dev to cry..)

2)The cover-seeking journalist: This journalist will ask a hundred-one questions (to justify his taking money) or ask none at all (as he wants to draw no attention to himself or the money he’s getting from the organisers). He’s also the one guy who gets a bad name for everybody else in the profession. You can easily spot this guy, as he’s found to be hanging with the orgainsers most of the time, rather than with the speakers at the press meet.

3)The honesty-advertising journalist: Most journalists working for English newspapers don’t accept money (because they are reasonably well-paid and social norms)….but there’s a difference between the honest and the honesty-advertising journalist.

The super-honest journalist shows off his honesty:

  • by abusing PR agents. He feels his honesty is directly proportional to how badly he treats these people, who are paid good money to be sycophants and lobbiers
  • by taking only the press release and returning everything else in the press kit (honest journalists also do the same; but they don’t brag about it so that everyone else at the event can hear)
  • by not taking, coffee, tea, food or drinks at the meet, as he will not be under any obligation whatsoever to write favourably about that company (Of course, the same guy the minute he gets back to his office, might write a 800-word piece praising the company, if he’s told its an Editor’s Must)
  • by wearing torn slippers, a joulna bag, a kurta and spectacles

4)The arrogant journalist: Everywhere there’s a hierarchy. And in the newspaper industry in Chennai, the people at the bottom of the rung are Tamil/vernacular newspaper journalists; next come News Today and news websites; next Indian Express and Deccan Chronicle. Crowing it at the top are Hindu’s journalists. Joining them at the top is the ex-Express, now TOI team (Times of India).

Earlier, PR and HR guys would not start the press conference till the Hindu journalist came, even though every other journalist in the hall would be fuming at the delay and the obvious partiality/toad-eating. When finally the Hindu journalist arrived, he would cross his legs, ignore all the other journalists, pretend he is God and generally make a nuisance of himself. The opening statement of any conversation of his would be: “I’m from the Hindu” (like he owned the paper).

5)The know-it-all journalist: These people abound, even the honest, nice journalists sometimes get this way. They have to introduce irrelevant, unnecessary details just so that they can exhibit their knowledge. Most of often, the guy would have done a google search on the subject 20 minutes before leaving for the press conference and thinks he knows everything.

(e.g) At a recent press conference in which a city hospital announced the first oozyte pregnancy in India (I don’t if it was the first, but every Chennai hospital is competing for media space that they are the first in something….soon they might even announce: “We are the first and only hospital with 0% recovery”). Everyone else was interested in the legal, ethical and medical implications of using this method. One bright person alone acted like a school student with her science teacher.

The know-it-all journalist: Like more than 70% of any living cell is made of water. So when you freeze the egg, does it turn into ice? Won’t it die?

Doctor: No, using our rapid freezing technique, the egg will not decay

The know-it-all journalist: But if it is frozen to sub-zero temperatures it will die. Right?

The Doctor launches into a highly-complicated explanation on why the embryo is not dead. While all the journalists want the accompanying lunch and not the explanation.

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I posted a couple of stories on sub-editing, my in-office experiences…but generally my blog doesn’t reflect the fact that I’m a journalist. Maybe its because after a whole day at work, I don’t want to bring the same luggage home.

Whatever, the reasons, I have decided to post more here on journalism. So cheers! To my middle-of-the-year resolve!

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Sub-editors are not always those creatures whose English can be termed ‘impeccable.’

Once, a sub-editor overlooked a reporter’s heading that read: JAYALALITHAA DISTRIBUTES AIDS.
Luckily, we changed the heading before it went for printing, but not before there were many off-colour jokes at the expense of Jayalalthaa and the reporter.

And then again there was the sub, who forgot to check whether ‘actress Lakshmi tucked the sari around the temple idol (a news article which was published many years before, which our professors always used to recount to us) or ****ed the sari around the temple idol…..
Apparently the newspaper had to make an out of court settlement, as the rumour goes।

This was one of the really nice ‘LETTERS TO THE EDITOR’ News Today recieved, that made our day.
Letter reads:

Sir,

Nice to know that Jayalalitha has decided to fast on the Cauvery issue. She really requires to trim her sumo-wrestler physique!

P.H. Chandran,
Mumbai.

And then this really superb copy that came down the wires:

Bush’s recipe for a win: Leave before the job is done!

US President George W Bush has added more gems to his long list of unintended gaffes.
Remarkable among them, Bush: The fiscal year ended on February 30

Rachel Chitra

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