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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014
The curtain falls
Neeraj V Murali, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 06, 2014
First Published: 17:16 IST(6/8/2014)
Last Updated: 17:20 IST(6/8/2014)

All  good things come to an end and so has our nine-week journey as campus jounalists in a national daily.  Many joyful experiences have been part of this blissful adventure. On the first day, we  were all mere acquaintances but now we are close friends. Every Wednesday, our meeting at the HT office was characterised by debates and arguments, deliberations over the theme of the forthcoming issue as some nonsensical chit chat!

The thing that attracted us to accept this delightful proposition was our love for the language and the curiosity of how newspapers work. Needless to say, our curiosity has been satisfied. We observed how hard journalists work to bring out a 10-page supplement; how each column is worked on to maintain the paper’s quality and make it appealing to readers.We were fortunate to have been provided with a well-detailed briefing every week, which helped us understand and explore the theme better.

During the first week, we had to write about ourselves. I remember, we wrote some funky introductions. Rishabh, the editor of the week, had penned some snappy introductions for all of us from his perspective. That got us started. The first time we held the newspaper which contained our pictures and articles in our hand is one memory which is etched in our memories forever. That euphoric feeling  that held on for days was one of its kind; something that cannot be forgotten.

By the second week, we all had settled down and had got accustomed to our jobs.The discussion about course and college helped us have a clearer view of what our choices should be. I dare say, it even helped some of us decide our careers! 
 
The third week we had a heated discussion on the four year undergraduate programme and how it affects our choices. Needless to say, we were all divided in our opinion, though we did try to arrive at a balanced decision. This is where we began to work as a team. We all had different perspectives, yet, we amicably agreed to write on a theme.

One of the memorable weeks is hands down, week four. The visit to the Jagdamba slum was an eye opener. To see for ourselves how the majority of people lived made us all feel that we were lucky to have a house to live in. As the admission process kicked in, all our writings were focused on the topic.One week, we wrote about our experiences of recovering from the shock of sky-high cut-offs and taking a seat in any college as soon as the first list was released.

The sixth week was really enjoyable, considering the fact that we bragged about the unique selling proposition of the college of our choice and listed the various opportunities that it offered.We also learnt a lot about the famous college canteens and their history.

It was also fun writing about our aspirations and hopes from our respective colleges during the seventh week. Soon, we were planning to-do lists and gearing up for the first day. The day soon arrived and we all got to write about our first day in college. Everyone had a different tale to narrate – interesting lectures, new friends, and the spacious campus!

This is our last week with you.It has been a pleasant journey and we have evolved both as writers and individuals.

We hope to stay connected with you through our blogs and possibly as professional journalists in the future.


Yusra Hasan, Mater Dei School

‘My moment of fame finally arrived’

[Scene: Holidays have kicked in after the Boards and Yusra is sitting cross-legged on her bed in her room, wearing her favourite pyjamas, brooding over the fact that it’ll be another boring day . Suddenly, her smartphone rings.It’s a call from Hindustan Times. ]

Little did I know that this phone call would be my ticket to the most ‘happening’ two months of my life! They say destiny has a way of finding you. I say, it has a way of ‘barging’ in on you when you least expect it! Being a campus journalist has been exactly that, if not more. It’s like my personal package of fortune being delivered right at my doorstep.

The day finally arrived. It was my first visit to a corporate office. It was the first time I saw a work cubicle. I was pretty much in awe of everything I came across, including the coffee dispensers. The meetings, photo shoots, brainstorming sessions all added to the fun.

 I’ve learnt many things during my stint as a CJ and my respect for people who work for newspapers has increased after witnessing first hand the amount of hard work that goes into producing a newspaper. My writing style, too, has improved.

Making new friends has definitely been the best part. Cheers to all our outings as a group — the shopping trips to Janpath, eat outs at our favourite pizza joints, clicking a million selfies or reading out stories to kids at Swechha.
 
I also must mention this episode when a complete stranger in the Metro recognised me and praised the column I had written. That was my moment of fame.

Anwesha Padhy, Amity International School

‘With power comes great responsibility’

For the past nine weeks as a campus journalist, I have been living a beautiful dream. And now that this incredible journey is coming to an end, I can look back with wonder and awe.

In school, I was taught various writing styles but it was my experience at Hindustan Times that turned me into a writer. I experienced first-hand the immense hard work that is put in by journalists to give us our morning newspaper. The stringent deadlines that have to be met for sending in articles made me get over my habit of putting off important work and assignments.

My turn as the ‘Editor of the week’ made me understand the meaning of the quote ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. I learnt that the job of the editor is tough. I got over the misconception that mastery over the language is the only skill  required to excel at the job.  You need leadership skills and tact to get your team to put in their best.

During my nine weeks of life as a CJ, I  also discovered friends. I feel that we make a great team. Yusra patiently listens to my philosophical rantings, Parnika is the crazy best-friend that every girl needs, Rishabh has a great sense of humour, Neeraj is the ‘dependable dude’, and Apoorv  a fellow science student has destroyed my idea of a ‘science’ stereotype.

Last but not the least, sharing my experience with all of you readers turned the harrowing admission process into a pleasant joyride for me.

Parnika Singhal, St Thomas’ School

‘First impression is not the last impression’

My eyes are already moist as I write this. It was exactly two months and eight days back that I was reading Jeffry Archer’s new book when I got a call from Hindustan Times to inform me that I had been selected from over a 1,000 entries to be a part of the HT campus journalists’ programme. I almost dropped the phone in excitement.
After the  final screening test, we were confirmed as CJs. On this new voyage, I learnt how to work within deadlines and state as many facts as possible. I also made friends for life. The role provided me an insight into how a newspaper is published. My weekly visits to the office taught me how to hold meetings, click selfies, go hunting for the best food in town, Skype chat with the CJs late at night and work under deadlines. From the Wednesday  edition,Wednesday meetings, Wednesday outings to Wednesday deadlines,   Wednesday had it all!

These amazing two months and eight days,  have tested my versatility. It saw my transition from a student to a writer, an amateur photographer, an editor and a journalist. I still remember the first impression that we had of each other, I thought it might be difficult to get along but let me tell you that the first impression is not always the last one. It was after we met a couple of times that we started getting along. We had become the best of buddies.
 
Apoorv Gupta, Cambridge School

‘A newspaper byline made all the difference’

Before June this year, ‘CJ’ for me was Carl Johnson from GTA. But now, it’ll always be campus journalist — the title, the column, and most importantly, the experience. This was not just another internship. It was an interesting ride into a profession for two months.

In fact, among many interesting memories and lessons, the most important one for me was doing things in a professional way and writing on a specific theme. To experience the working of a newspaper office first hand, to see so many people working for every inch of space in a national daily was both exciting and inspiring. 

The busy location of HT House made the experience better. I remember visiting Agrasen Ki Baoli for the photo shoot. It was fun hanging out in the lanes and cafés of Connaught Place after our weekly meetings.

It was also nice to have met other CJs and having worked with them. Group chats over WhatsApp and conferences on Skype kept us busy for weeks before college began.
The best part was the fact that I was not just another homosapien on this planet. My name in print did matter. The most satisfying bit was to see my mom’s face light up after she saw my byline. I hope to keep  up the hard work.

Rishabh Suri, Ramjas School

‘CJ life changed my equation with friends’

Becoming a campus journalist with Hindustan Times is probably the best thing that could happen to me. Scoring good marks in English in school and the Board exams was assuring enough that I was on my way to becoming a journalist…but as it turned out, it was easier said than done.

Writing articles on various topics such as the much-dreaded admission process, and meeting deadlines that were sacrosanct  introduced us to the basics of journalism. And to top it all, there was the amazing photo shoot. However, what was unexpected was how the whole thing would change my equation with my friends and family. Getting my photo published in the newspaper was a major thing, and my friends believed that success had gone to my head, which was not at all true. 

When my family read my article and saw my photo, they would say, “So you are a journalist now? You’ve got a job? You won’t go to college now?” I wish!

The whole CJ experience gave me a high. The feeling hasn’t sunk in yet. The college orientation day saw my seniors recognising me as the “guy who writes in the newspaper”.  Now this is what I call being “cool” and “popular”. But this is just the beginning…There’s much, much more to achieve!

Neeraj V Murali, Rishabh Public School

‘I discovered a new me’

Being a journalist is fun and now that this journey is coming to an end, I realise that I have changed a lot. From being a sombre teenager to being one of the “cool” CJs, it has been an exciting adventure. The day I first filled the online form to be one of the CJs, I didn’t even dream of being selected; writing for a national newspaper for nine long weeks seemed like a dream. I still remember the first day; I walked in, feeling pretty nervous. The faces I met that day are a blur; even when I was selected, I didn’t talk much with anybody. But, by the second meeting, we (the six CJs)  were getting on like a house on fire. The five other CJs pretty much succeeded in bringing me out of my shell! 

As a CJ, I feel I have been utilising my time in the best way possible. My confidence level has increased by leaps and bounds; I manage time more efficiently now. Writing has always been a passion and my writing style has improved over the weeks. I would say that the most important part of being a CJ has been discovering new friends, forging new bonds and of course, improving my skills.
 
I believe my two stints as ‘Editor of the week’ have been the most interesting phase of this journey. As the editor, I had to convene a meeting with all the other CJs on a Wednesday and we would choose the theme of the week.Reading through everybody’s articles, editing, finalising them and of course meeting the sacrosanct deadlines were some of the editor’s tasks. Undertaking the responsibility and fulfilling the needs of the position makes one feel
satisfied at the end.

Regarding my writing style, I have felt it has become more professional. The articles I had written and the ones that appeared in print were quite different; I have got a first hand experience of how editing is done. Of late, my endeavour has been to do away with the jargon and sentences I used in my writing earlier.

Personally, I have always been lethargic. The strict deadlines that we were expected to follow for turning in our articles and blogs have made me efficient.

Writing blogs have also been fun. Yet another thing that I’ve learnt working as a campus journalist with six others is team work.


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