Tuesday, March 07, 2006
An Interview With Mr Rao
I was talking about this interview with the veteran journalist V N Subba Rao(in picture). Here is a transcript of the conversation. We spoke about a variety of issues and I am afraid there is no smooth flow of questions. My nervousness is no excuse for shoddy work, I know but anyway, the writer boldly throws the arena open for criticisms!
Do not fall prey to glamour of journalism: Subba Rao
V N Subba Rao needs no introduction to those familiar with the journalism world. The respect he commands comes from over fifty years of service in the profession. Starting his career as a film journalist, Mr Rao has worked in dozens of newspapers, both in English and Kannada and is currently the chairman of Karnataka Media Academy. He has been recently called the 'Bhisma pithamaha of Indian journalism', a title he richly deserves. He shared his views on various issues after inaugurating a one-day media workshop in the city recently.
What is your take on Page 3 journalism?
It should be only one form of journalism and is good for a section only. You should not mortgage entire journalism to Page 3. The language press should not emulate this trend.
What is film reviewing like today?
Film journalism is today considered frivolous with the stars being treated as dolls while the artists are being neglected. Unqualified people are reviewing films, trying to say a lot and end up saying nothing.
24-hour news channels have changed the face of journalism today. What do you think as far as their content is concerned?
The competition has made them lose their credibility. Also, a number of inexperienced reporters are presenting political perspectives. This could mislead the perspectives of the public. There is also lack of discretion because of the element of immediacy. A sense of immediacy is present in print medium too but that is different. It is up to the management to train reporters to give the right perspectives and analysis.
Sting operations are the latest trend today…
These are not new. In fact, sting operations started with Watergate. I agree there is a lot of corruption that need to be exposed but these sting operations should not become a fad. You have to be very careful where public morals are concerned.
Advertisers are dictating terms to the editors. What do you think?
Do not go out of your way to please them. You should give them publicity only when they deserve it and not mortgage your newspaper to them. This has become a vicious circle with the newspapers trying to attract advertisers from concentrating only on television. Unfortunately, I do not see this trend changing in the near future.
What is your advice to budding journalists?
Do not fall prey to the glamour of electronic journalism. You should not sacrifice fundamental ethics even in Page 3 journalism. Have more substance and depth and do not trivialize journalistic principles. Keep your head over your shoulders and don\'t let anyone exploit you. Remember that glamour is not all and that serious journalism is very hard work. Be more versatile, daring and more forth coming.