August 02, 2008

Citizen Journalism

When college student A. Maithily queried us if she could report the annual 'aadi perukku' fest her college hosts at this time of the year, we had a quick answer.
Sure, go ahead.
Facts are sacred and keep it simple.
And, keep to a deadline.
Maithily kept to the three guidelines. She even guided our photographer. And this weekend, her report with her byline appears on page one in the Mylapore Times.
This isn't the first time that we are using reports filed by readers, wellwishers and freelancers.
But from now on, we will keenly encourage citizen journalism.
Our mailboxes and trays are always full - invites, pictures, reports, attachments, promos, jpeg files . . .
That is a given for a newspaper or a publication.
We actively encourage people to report their events. And give them a few tips, if they have the time to listen. In some cases, people are only keen to get their 5 cms of space on the pages.
We would encourage reportage on events and serious issues, local as they are.
B. R. Kumar is an old friend. A man who has left his mark in the world of radio. Kumar makes time to write on local issues for 'Adyar Times'. (You will come across his letter in the Letters section of the weekly this Sunday). And he is so persistent and focused that there seems to be some reaction from the men who manage our lives.
When you write on local issues you provide on-the-spot and first hand coverage for a community newspaper. You have the facts, the details and the men and women who are part of the event. All you need to do is to take pen and pad and go to work.
Keep out the biases, avoid the frills, get to the facts and let the information be complete. And don't try to impress the newspaper or pull a fast one!
We would like to have more Maithilys and Kumars enriching our newspapers.

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