Where has the romance of the Newsroom gone?

By Alexina Donald Correya

Fifteen days into being a journalist for the country’s No.1 newspaper (according to random sources), I wonder whatever happened to that dreamy cliché’ image of the writer’s world we believed in…

The men in knee length kurta’s with the doped look.

The women in loose T-shirts who never bothered to comb their hair and looked naturally sexy.

The stuffy room with old books strew around everywhere and coffee mugs that need cleaning on the tables.
The ash tray, picked up as a souvenir from a poverty stick country, overflowing with cigarette buds that smelled of more than nicotine.

The editor who speaks in Shakespeare English with an accent that is hard to place and yells for every comma misplaced in a copy.

The walls with pictures of great political movements, anti-war campaigns and hand written phrases of world famous rebels.

The activist who would go any length to put his point across and didn’t care if they paid him peanuts for it.
The hot dude with streaks of silver hair who had an opinion for every issue under the sun.

All these things have disappeared and instead everything here is so corporate-y.

Let me remind you that I used to come from a software office where they make an extra effort to get things tidy and look pompous, the newroom now reminds me of exactly that place. The men are in tucked shirt formals. No "aha" or "eurekha" screams from the next room. Almost no one comes drunk to office. The philosopher and poet does not call you aside to talk about the book she just wrote. They are all just too busy breaking news.

They do not believe you are a natural writer or intellect (which I shall not argue on) and train you as they do in the chop shop corporates (term courtesy : US senator Schumer)

Not to forget the HR takes care of you, making you feel more important than you think you are. Fending for yourself is left to the rat race department and not in actually “fending for yourself.”

The reporter does not pick up his dusty back-pack and cycle into the desert to meet his character, but picks up the phone to dial the characters number or the cab guy who drives him all the way.

Most of all the big guns (editors) refer to the newspaper/website as the product and the reader as the client. The newsroom/family is called the brand??But, Microsoft, Mercedes, Whirpool, Kingfisher are brands. Aren’t we supposed to be holier than thou?

Alas, my friend this is what we the children of this era of the crisis-of-the-media houses will have to live with. We have to do without the stereotype romantic environment we drooled on when dreaming of the artist world. This we shall do so that the fraternity survives. Cheers to competition and a materialistic world.

NOTE- Alexina Donald Correya is a journalist working with The Hindustan Times, and the above article was written by her when she just joined the paper, after completing her studies from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media

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