April 29, 2006

Sharing the experiences of professions

Would you like to read a story on cats who slipped into a Mylapore house following the last north-east monsoon, enjoyed the hospitality of the household and are now disappearing?
If you think this would make a short and interesting little soft story, then we could all persuade Sunder to write it.
Sunder is probably the youngest of the school students who have signed up for the annual journalism workshop conducted every year by 'Mylapore Times'.
A student of P. S. Senior in Mylapore, Sunder says he is here to see if he can improve his writing and communication skills.
And there are 27 others who are attending this workshop which began on Monday last - from Adyar, Mylapore, Triplicane and even as far as Thoraipakkam.
We started on a soft note. One of us noticed that the steps on the first flight of stairs to the workshop hall were of varying heights and had tripped many. Another sniffed the strong aroma of coffee which wafted into our hall as the 'coffee grinding works' on the ground floor of the complex began to execute the day's orders. And a third managed to recall almost all but one of the names of the students who introduced themselves at the workshop on Day One.
I found that this was a fun way to introduce our young people, still in school or about to step into college, to the basics of journalism.
Professionals in our neigbourhoods must take time off and invite our young people to explore our professions, our businesses and our work.
Such opportunities will widen their horizons and give them a better understanding of the diverse fields that are open to them today.
And the summer holidays are perhaps the best time to engage young people, and do so for a few hours so that they can enjoy the rest of the free time. Most of the young people who are at our workshop, which will run for three weeks this summer, want to know more about journalism, writing and the media. They have not made up their minds yet on their academic future. But they have had some interest in this profession and hope that a workshop like this one will give them a better understanding.
So from this Monday, after they sit through the morning lectures and classroom discussions, they will have to spend some part of their evenings, pursuing little stories they can work on in their neighbourhood.
One wants to write about a revived Ladies Association. Another, on a woman who provides fodder and water to stray cattle, free of cost. And a third has been persuaded to explore a century-old house, meet up with its residents and write on it.
If their stories are good and interesting, they may find a place in our newspapers.The greater reward though would be the experience of it all.
Not all of them will go on to be in the media.
But many of them will look at the world differently.

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