Not many may be aware of the grind of the crew bringing to the doorstep before the break of dawn dailies with news, reports, articles, advertisements to herald the day in the life of the land’s literati whose headcount is anybody’s guess. The print media, in the wake of a multitude of challenges and threats to its survival, particularly the rapidly rising competition with the electronic media, is “more sinned against than sinning,” to borrow an expression of the Bard of Stratford-Upon-Avon. A State-sponsored television news channel, in a veiled advertising gimmick, can be heard at the conclusion of every news bulletin, asking viewers not to miss its telecast for the benefit of getting true, comprehensive and rewarding news and reports on the happenings in the nation. Hardly has anyone heard a voice showering accolades on the thankless work of the print media day after day.
On the contrary, the Karnataka Legislative Assembly is mulling constituting a Legislature Committee to take a call on the quality of reporting in the dailies at large, going to the extent of voicing uncomplimentary remarks on the reportage and the reporters. The verdict of the elected representatives cannot be expected to be without bias.
While the profession of journalism in the days gone-by earned a niche for the calling by virtue of men of letters took to the profession, gaining in stature and popularity over years in the field, although their number could be counted on one’s fingers. Society of their days might have pitched in to serve as synergy in raising the image of journalism and its players by many notches. All that has changed to creating journalists through formal training in institutions, although the biggest handicap is the missing foundation of schooling budding journalists with command over language, apart from the needed rich vocabulary. It is here that the sweat and toil of seasoned journalists in nurturing competence cannot be over-emphasised. One is reminded of Prof. Ingersoll’s statement that colleges polish pebbles and dim diamonds.
Whatever the Legislature Committee may say, the players in the field of journalism owe it to themselves to set their own high standards for the calling and earn societal adulation. In the meanwhile, the reported displeasure in the Bombay High Court about reporters wearing jeans and T-shirt need not be blown out of proportion. Let not issues of dress impact the high standards of journalistic practice in the land.