When the different careers for this series were auctioned before us reporters, I wasn't present. I guess everyone picked the choicest ones, and I was assigned Media. Now, we journalists anyway have an opinion on everything under and above the sun. A feature on an industry that we at HT are part of will be an open forum for opinions from everyone - the big bosses right down to the lowliest intern. Sigh.
But deep down, I was excited. Media is a force that pervades our daily existence - newspapers, TV, the Internet, hoardings… in academic lingo, the sub-sectors are print/TV/Web journalism, advertising, corporate communication/PR, communication research. To find a young and rising journalist on TV who'd tell the story of his/her sector was a tough call - just look at the number of TV channels, and the new faces speaking into their microphones every day. I did an informal polling and asked friends, colleagues and educators to nominate people they thought deserved to be featured. I found Tanvir Gill, now a good friend.
However, before I could start with my questions for Tanvir, I had to answer a several hundred from her - right from "Why have I been chosen?" to "When will it be published". It was fun - and insightful - as we went along, did interview after interview over chai and sandwiches, sat through voice recordings and re-recordings… I've always been a print journalist, although I have many friends in television. Exchanging views on and experiences of the print and TV medium helped us both, I like to think. Being a journalist and interviewing another is quite a task. The roles of interviewer and interviewee often get diffused when one unknowingly creeps into the other's shoes. I hoped that would come through in the story so that young men and women aspiring for a media career would benefit.
As it turned out, it was a learning experience for me as well. To distance yourself from something you're part of, look at it from the outside and make sense of it for a layperson (you, the reader) indeed changes your own perspective too. An ex-boss of mine used to say, "Every story you write changes a little bit of the person you are." I like to think this story changed a little bit of me.