Sunday, June 28, 2015

ABC of Reporting

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Lecturer of Journalism, Peoples Campus, RR Campus.

Despite the decline of the newspaper industry in developed countries like the US, the UK and Canada etc, the scope of print journalism is still on the rise in countries like India and Nepal. Despite low salaries and unfavourable working conditions, more and more people are still attracted to journalism in countries like Nepal and India.

The US is the country where great newspapers of the world: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post etc are published. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were the reporters of The Washington Post and their investigative coverage of the Watergate scandal prompted the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1973.

Today, the scope and integrity of journalism  is on the decline in countries like the US and the UK.  Financially, job of journalists and reporters is not lucrative and is one of the worst paid jobs in the US. According to a recent news story report, newspaper reporter, which displaced lumberjack as the worst job of 2015, has a negative growth outlook of $36,267. Broadcaster and photojournalist, with mid-level annual salaries of less than $ 30,000, also ranked at the bottom of the list.

The unwanted snooping and questionable reporting practices in the US and the UK in recent times have seriously become alarming setbacks for journalism in these  countries.

But still, many American and Western journalists are working at dangerous war and conflict zones, and so many American and Western journalists have been ruthlessly beheaded by the ISIS Islamofascists recently. Well, journalists gather news and information to keep the people informed about important incidents and accidents.

Actually, a selfless desire to dig information is the quintessence of the virtue of true journalism. More often than not, for this, journalists have even to sacrifice with their lives. In the last 15 years, more than 700 journalists have been assassinated, making journalism one of the most deadliest and vulnerable profession in the world.

Majority of journalists and reporters across the world believe the adage that we comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. But there is also no dearth of journalists and reporters who act as the lapdogs of the powerful politicians and business tycoons. There are also a lot of journalists across the world who go after the people they know will not bite back.

And again speaking of reporting,  "telling all sides of a news story" is the best mantra for a reporter. Likewise, a reporter should always focus on ABC: accuracy, balancedness and credibility of the news story.

As a news reporter, if you are not able to reach a person or an organization, you say that in your news story. And if a person denies allegations or accusations in a story, you include that too and it goes without saying that reporting all sides bolsters the credibility of the news story and enhances its newsworthiness. Lately, there have been lots of scandals related to the reporting practices due to the lack of covering all sides of the stories.

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