May 10, 2008

Blogs on Neighbourhoods . . .

Do you still read 'The Hindu'?
Or are you taking a look at the 'Times of India'?
Perhaps, you buy three newspapers - 'The Hindu', the 'Times' and the DC ('Deccan Chronicle').
You may not have the time to read all three but for less than ten rupees you can pick your choice from the 92 pages at your doorstep. And we haven't forgotten 'The New Indian Express', redesigned, repackaged and ready to be part of the newspapers' battle in this
city.For the past four weeks, a small group of us have been looking a bit more closely at all these four dailies.Now, we can take a break.
For, our annual Journalism Camp for senior school students has just closed. We began with the dailies, we lived with them and we learnt some thing from all of them. Some good, some not so good. Our group has always been small and out of the group, are a few sparks who go on to sparkle.
A very positive outcome of this year's programme has been the steady stream of writing assignments that the young people have accomplished. They are all posted on a blog ( There are a few pictures too. And jottings on what took place every day.
The experience has been varied.
Last Tuesday, we landed at the NDTV's Chennai bureau and found correspondent Sam Daniel
getting entangled into a breaking story - related to the wall that had been built to separate a Dalit and a upper caste community in the Madurai region.Sam lectured gamely between phone calls and 'to camera' feeds for two morning news bulletins.
All of this was a great learning experience for the students who join our camp to get an idea of what journalism is all about.
In the days ahead, three participants who reside in the same neighbourhood may launch a Net initiative.
A blog for Thiruvanmiyur perhaps.
Populating the blog will not be so difficult for this trio. They now know how to seek news and info, how to interview people and ferret details and how to write and post.If their initiative moves forward, then they will network with the livewires of Thiruvanmiyur and enrich this blog and create the buzz.
Neighbourhoods need to have such initiatives going.
Lets see what happens with this trio.


GVK said...

Vincent, Thiruvanmayur trio might want to have a dekho at Laughing Waters. But then it is an in-house site for a residential colony. Inspired by LW we set up a site for our apartment block Premier Residency

K. S.Vijayaraghavan, KB Nagar, Adyar said...

Participation by the younger generation in the media in any form form, print or online is welcome.
But, the mainline newspapers and responsible neighbourhood newspapers should continue to voice civic and social issues in a matured and professional way.
What do you say?
I write this because this week's Adyar Times published all the news targetted at kids. except two reports for the adult citizens.
Could it have been because of the influence of the student reporters and their proposed blog?
Adyar Times cannot become a 'Young World'. No, a 'Young Adyar'.
But then it is your take. We are not the paid subscribers anyway. We have to consume what has been offered as it is a free newspaper!
No offence meant, but I have expressed a sincere feeling.

Vincent D' Souza said...

Thanks KSV for your comment.
Feedback is always welcome and helps us too.

But I need to clarify on some points raised here.
Adyar Times has always reported closely on civic and local political issues. And it is wrong to make sweeping remarks based on one issue.

Also, the reports it carried this past week were not 'juvenile'; they were varied and colourful.
Also, they celebrated Adyarites. be it the man who runs the TT academy or the woman who has cared for animals for years.

Also, the contributions of the Student Reporters are edited at our desk and surely are as good as the rest.

In an age when our young people now make almost 50% of our population, it is time to bring them in! Adyar Times believes they too have a role to play in community journalism.

Finally, that tinge of sarcasm in the final line hurts a team which does a professional job of the weekly. The weekly may be free but its standard is top class.

The story on the Corporation school topper was done on Saturday morning even as we were putting the paper to bed. We felt it was our duty to highlight the singular achievement of this young student and profile him and his family.

I do have a request; you and your fellow Adyarites should also play a more active role in pursuing social and civic issues. Reading about them isn't just enough. We need to participate, report comment, intervene. . .

Vincent D' Souza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KSV said...

Thank you for the reply.
To clarify, I am not negative about the writings by the students. I was again referring to the particular week's edition.
This is not a case of 'sweeping remark'.
Adyar times can publish one summer edition for the students and continue the main news service in all the other editions. This is a suggestion.
Senior citizens like me can only write letters to the editors and leave the actions to the active groups.

Anil P said...

I would believe that it is the writing style combined with perceptivess that will differentiate a 'juvenile' piece from a 'readable' one, and age has little to do with it though it can be a factor.

It is a commendable effort on your part, Vincent. Do keep it going.

With practice everything improves.

Check the link below for a very useful guide to Citizen Media published by a Harvard Law School research thinktank. It is a PDF file you ned to click to download it.

Guide to Citizen Media