November 01, 2008

Getting Students to Report and Write

P. Hari Shankar called me excitedly.
'Sir, Vishy Anand is going to talk to us live so can I cover it?'
'Are you sure?'
'Yes sir, I just got an e-mail invitation and I want to go!'
'I am not so sure Hari but go and check out what it is all about'
45 minutes later Hari called back.
'You were right sir, it was just a get together to celebrate Anand's win'
Hari resides in the Adyar neighbourhood and attends a local school.
Ever since we announced our annual project this year to encourage school students to go out and report and write for our weeklies, Hari has been calling me every other day and floods me with story ideas.
He managed to work on one story - profiling a chess coach.
That was easy because Hari is also a student of this coach.
It didn't matter - I liked his enthusiasm and we wanted to encourage him.
November is the time for young people in local schools to work with us.
Our intention is not to get them into journalism but to get them to move out of their homes and colonies and look around. And to learn a little more.
We began this programme over a decade ago. In the past, we had dedicated an entire issue to the reportage and pictures of our young reporters and writers.
Later, we chose to accommodate their contributions through November. The link - Childrens Day.
Over the years, I have seen a gradual decline in the interest shown by students in writing and an abysmal ignorance of the world around them.
When they suggest the local clothes store and the gaming zone as story ideas you know how small their world is.
In some ways, we have with us a generation that is narrow in its interest and engagement.
Parents have forfeited their responsibilities.
Does it make sense to broach a subject like the project to beautify the Elliots Beach even as the family takes a brisk walk in the sands and sits down for a snack?
Would you like to take your son or your daughter to the gates of the Kapaleeswarar Temple tank and, while gazing at the gushing rainwater talk about how the tank is linked to a network of drains and how water retention can recharge the groundwater.
We need to encourage our children to explore their neighbourhoods.
If there are excited Hari Shankars out there you are welcome to contribute to our weeklies.
Buzz us.


Lakshmi said...

:) brought back nostalgic memories reading this..
by the way, this is the link of the farm on facebook

prasanth said...

its a god one cani met that hariiii