Sidelines of a Really Long Game


As an intern in a magazine you are always in touch with the news. They make you read everything, you are constantly researching things for articles and transcribing press statements. You are really looking at these stories and you are meant to think as a medium; you have to think as someone who is over and above these people who will read the story. Adjusting to that takes some time these days.

I have been looking at the Ishrat Jahan story and thinking about journalists who have been deeply committed in bringing this story and keeping it in the public view. Something makes me think that we do become connected and then we are no longer just a medium of representing, we become mirrors of what should be, not just what is. There is of course a danger here where a well-meaning journalist can become a political pawn. There is a danger that in showing what is just you can become a ‘person’, not just a medium who has to make people think. How does one negotiate a temptation of being self-righteous when you know that people will listen to you? The public dimension that makes one journalist so powerful is the same dimension that can give rise to the problem of not negotiating with the role of the person who shows but does not tell. The old ‘show, don’t tell’ technique in fiction probably makes for a great argument in journalism too, who knows?

The interesting bit is the amount of data that these journalists consume and how they consume it. Many times, they are privy to little snippets of information that the readers aren’t and that makes it a little problematic. The transparency of journalism is blighted by the fact that not everything is to be ‘revealed’. The idea of whistle-blowers is dangerous in many respects because they are doing away with these sort of arguments. The side-lines of the game start coming out of the margins and become pioneers of a new system of epistemology. Seems like the world out there is waiting to be interpreted. But then, are the readers (fed on consumerist media outlets which depend on advertising for sustenance) go ahead and really see for themselves what new media is showing them?

(image credit: Tehelka)


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