Sunday, July 5, 2015

"I Regret Not Being an Active Reporter"

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

The stereotypical perception of a reporter comes from a person nosing around for news with his pen and notebook, and dangling around with his camera and smart phone. But it is also very true that we can not imagine the existence of newspapers without the reporters. The quintessence of a newspaper is a talented and qualified reporter. Today lots of powerful political stalwarts and powerful tycoons are also scared by  some formidable reporters of popular newspapers. I regret not being an active reporter during my entire experience in journalism. Although I was involved in the news desk during my journalistic tenure, I had opportunity to be friend and to interact with reporters not only from Nepal but from across the world.

Reporters are integral part of news outlets like newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television networks and news agencies. News and breaking news about important incidents, accidents, scandals and catastrophe  are the results of tireless works of reporters.

Judging by interaction and long friendship with the reporters, I can say life of a reporter is not only always hectic and  busy but vulnerable to threats and intimidations and yet it is full of adventures and challenges. You get to meet with so many political stalwarts, business tycoons and luminaries and celebrities.

To work as true reporters in authoritarian countries is really risky and challenging. It is in these repressive regimes that true and genuine reporters are treated like criminals for doing their job honestly. It is in these  authoritarian countries  that hundreds of reporters and journalists have been assassinated for what they wrote.

During my long stay in countries like the USA, the USSR and India, I have confronted with reporters from around the countries ruled by dictators and authoritarian rulers. They had expressed their opinion to me and the bottomline was: the authoritarian regimes are not happy with the modus operandi of the true reporters.

Today Nepal is a democratic country where reporters do not have to face big problems while doing their reporting assignments at least from the side of government, though time and again the Nepalese reporters have been harassed and intimidated by political stalwarts, business tycoons and criminal dons. But, at least, unlike during the Panchayat period, the Nepalese reporters and journalists are not persecuted and prosecuted - for what they write - by the government. But in many repressive and authoritarian countries, hundreds of reporters and journalists are being incarcerated  for what they wrote. In some countries of Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America, seeking out information the government does not want made public deprives the reporters of their basic journalistic freedom.

In countries like Nepal and India, reporters working for newspapers, radio stations and TV networks are under perennial pressure to bring in breaking news and scoops and there is carte blanche to do most bizarre things.

A scoop is a piece of  important or exciting news made public by a newspaper, news agency, radio station or TV channels before its rivals. Reporters across the world are nosing around for scoops and breaking news. Reporters like to nose out all the details of a sensational scandal. Reporters keep looking around places and asking questions in order to discover something interesting.

Well, reporting is a hard  and challenging job, but it is also where the joy lies in journalism. Digging into something newsworthy provides a rush, almost a high. But to discover something new by searching carefully and talking with people is another joy for reporters. Anybody who has worked as a reporter can tell you what it feels like to get a big scoop. I have seen the joy of reporters bringing in the breaking news and scoops in the news desk.

No doubt, news is a result of work of reporter. News must be newsworthy, accurate, impartial and balanced. For this,  opinion of all sides relating to the story must be included.Reporters must be careful careful while writing, gathering and selecting news stories. The primary essence is to identify the important underlying problems of the relevant issues.

*Shakya is also State Education Director, NRNA - USA Oregon Chapter, Portland, USA.
*I value your opinion. Please provide your feedback by posting a comment below.

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