Bharathi Y., a student who lives in Thiruvalluvar Nagar, a colony in Thiruvanmiyur is gamely working with me.
Via the internet.
This class 12 student is keen to sign up for our annual Journalism Training Course this summer.
To qualify for it, applicants have to demonstrate their skills and keenness before we invite them.
Bharathi e-mailed a short report on a main road that runs through her nagar. I do not expect senior school students to impress us with some smart newsgathering and writing. But with a few tips and some encouragement, they can do impressive work.
Despite the unseasonal rain, Bharathi was quick to go out and work on her story - so if there are traffic problems on this main road, why doesn't she take a closer look at them and include such details in the report? And how about talking to local people to get their views and add them to the report?
The excited girl is at the job. What is the deadline, she asks me!
Our annual journalism course is open to all students in the city - but it is not only for students who may want to opt for studies in media/journalism/writing. It is also meant for those who want to explore the world around them, pose questions, collect information and share it with others.
It is not an exhaustive course though it runs for 20 days but it does push participants to undertake field assignments, to meet people and talk to them, to look at local issues and to write on them. Everyday.
These reports and pictures are posted on a web site (you can visit http://www.mtjclass.blogspot.com to see what the group of 2007 did). This enables others to take a look at the efforts of the participants. And they attract visitors long after the course is wrapped up.
We see this course as an extension of our work as a community newspaper.
Soon, we will also offer basic training to readers who may want to write for us. How do you think we should go about doing this?
Share your ideas at my blog - http://www.vincentsjottings.blogspot.com