By Manju Gupta
This book written by an academician and pioneer in teaching journalism in Orissa, has been posthumously published by his wife.
Journalism, as the common man knows, involves the writing of articles and editing of newspapers and periodicals by collecting and transmitting news, apart from business management and advertising. With the advent of radio and television, the author has covered all forms of communication.
The author begins by defining what is news (account of an event), its determinants (timing, importance and magnitude of event, prominence, etc.), types (daily, investigative views of the reporter), sources of news (handouts, meetings, interviews, books, speeches, performances, press conferences, events, etc.) and news structure (chronological, logical, a combination of the two). He provides sample news and how to present it, how to conduct an interview (ensuring that the interviewee does not backtrack on his statement by recording it), press conference and press briefings (especially to ?beat? newspersons by a government official), speech coverage (comprising a lead item (a quote or importance of the occasion) and the body to cover the novel aspects.
Another interesting aspect of the book is that the author has taken pains to explain how accidents, storms, floods, obituaries are to be reported. Sports activities, festivals, fairs are to be reported keeping both the narrative and explanatory aspects in mind. As for science writing, the author says, ?Most of the science news however relates to health and medicine, space science, communication and computer technology for which the reporter should have knowledge of science and guard against blowing up a story beyond its proportion or make a presentation or disclosure to create a sensation.
A person interested in crime reporting or in rural reporting will find some useful hints on how to go about gathering information and presenting it so that the reader'sinterest is aroused and maintained. Other areas included are reporting of cultural events, court proceedings, parliamentary happenings, etc.
What is of special importance for a reader interested in taking up journalism is the chapter on interpretative reporting which is essentially an extension of the editorial branch rather than that of news reporting and this brings in the factor of judgement to direct news which ?gives a perspective to the news?.
The ?difference between interpretative and editorial writing is that interpretative applies the rule of reason to news but stops short of recording what should be done about it. But in practice, this thin line of difference is not given much respect,? says the author. He then talks of the importance of editorials which is a sort of ?mirror in which the intellectual sagacity, policy and the extent of freedom of expression enjoyed by it are reflected. The editor is compared to a judge who pronounces his views on any development; it has the stamp of a final character using polished words that go deep into the heart of the reader?He is the conscience keeper of the society, and is not tossed about by emotional tides.?
The book provides the basic principles and the processes of news reporting with editorial writing in particular and journalism in general.
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