एक युवा बिजनेस जर्नलिस्ट ने आधुनिक बिजनेस जर्नलिज्म की सच्चाई बयान की

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प्रभुप्रभु मल्लिकार्जुन (Prabhu Mallikarjunan) जैसे कितने युवा पत्रकार हैं जो अपने इर्द-गिर्द के हालात को इतनी बेबाकी और सच्चाई से बयान कर देते हैं. प्रभु ने अपने ब्लाग पर लिखा है कि कैसे वे महीने भर में ही ये समझ गए कि बतौर बिजनेस जर्नलिस्ट, उन्हें गिफ्ट दे देकर पेड न्यूज के लिए फंसाया जा रहा है.

प्रभु ने बिजनेस जर्नलिस्ट को गिफ्ट व खाने-पीने के जरिए ओबलाइज किए जाने के अर्थशास्त्र को बखूबी बयान किया है. उनके लिखे को उनके ब्लाग से साभार लेकर यहां प्रकाशित किया जा रहा है. पत्रकार प्रभु ने Gravatar पर अपने बारे में कुछ यूं लिखा है--

''Passionate, vibrant, jovial adventurous, explorer and young chap fascinated by the word REVOLUTION. After serving for 5 years in corporate world, I realized our government serves for corporate world and not for general public; so I had the burning desire to change it and didn’t wanted to comment sitting in front of TV but to get into media industry and bring in the change. Finally, lost crave for money for a better cause and decided to get into a respectable profession of Journalism. Now I can say ‘POLITICS’, ‘POVERTY’ AND ‘PASSION FOR RIGHT TO TRUTH’ brought me in here. Inside this harder shell there is one softer soul, if you can understand the inner ‘me’ you’ll understand me better.''


The (dis)grace of being a business journalist

Prabhu Mallikarjunan

: I find myself being a victim to the ‘paid news’ : I chose to write this piece with a sign of care and responsibility for the profession which I chose. This is my first job (in the media industry) and I happen to have had a great learning within a month. But I wonder if this learning would pull me out of the profession.

Anyways, I am willing to wait no more and it’s high time my boiling blood has to calm down. So, I am willing to take risk. Who says you don’t get perks being a journalist? Think again, within a month of me joining a business daily I have received Rs. 6,560* worth of gifts including lunch hosted at 5 star hotels.

It’s exactly a month since I joined a leading business newspaper and I find myself being a victim to the ‘paid news’. Yes, it so happens in a real corporatized media world. This comes at an off-peak season where there are no Diwali, New Year and quarterly results around. Perhaps, the perks might definitely increase during those periods. So yearly, a business journalist can get over Rs 78,000 as uninformed incentive.

I had no interest in business news but the growing scandals among the large corporate grabbed me in. Maybe I am as guilty as most for receiving the favor, but it’s the dirty little secret that I want the world to know. Gone are the days where a journalist went as a scribe to report stories. Now it all comes as a package deal making life easier for the journalists. I thought being a reporter was a field job, but it’s a myth. I work in an air-conditioned environment waiting for PRs to send me invites and do a bit of research or Google to go prepared for the event. Then it so happens that I get to go for an event hosted at 5 star hotels.

Like my other media friends, I too was curios to search what’s inside the bag which they offer to every journalist. It was later I realized, I was curious for the press release which is enclosed in a file inside the beautiful carry case while others were curious for the goodies which was inside.

Initially I thought its ok to receive stationeries (notepad, pen and pencil). But as days passed by, I started receiving calendar, coffee mug and parker pens. I thought this might be the corporate culture and still ok. It followed with 2 GB pendrive, T-shirt and leather wallets which made my blood boil.

These are not coming from unknown persons. These are given by same PRs who call you for press releases in the same 5 star hotels but for different clients of theirs.

Gifts received in kind over a period of 1 month

Of course, the public relations consultants are assigned the job of arranging press conferences for corporate houses and their success are gauged by the attendance they are able to guarantee. This middlemen business of PRs draws attention of freebies for journalist. Not all corporate indulge in such practice. It might generally be acceptable to have lunch or dinner if that is part of a group press event but when clubbed with gifts will definitely lead to a bias or distortion.

Business journalists later produce news which caters to the readers who can pay double the price compared to the price of other newspapers and who probably are sitting in an AC chamber like me and sipping Caffe Mocha or Caffe Latte looking over the stocks of the companies which they have invested in. To his surprise, the reporter also get ‘thank you’ message/call from PR or the company after the article gets published. They totally ignore to accept the fact that a journalist has just done his job but instead, treat it as though he had rendered a service to them.

Individual journalists can refuse bribes, so could I have, but I couldn’t have revealed this grimy practice if had stopped receiving on day one. As Paranjoy Guha Thakurta says “There are dogs and dogs. Apart from watchdogs and lapdogs, the media also has intelligent guide dogs and sniffer dogs.” So, there are good journalists and bad journalists and we journalists certainly need to be in touch with PR professionals and be objective.

But isn’t it a paid news? Nobody can deny it. The Press Council of India defines ‘Paid news’ as ‘news appearing in the media for cash or kind — appearing as news and not as an advertisement’. Magsaysay Award winner for journalism, P Sainath had said that Media and journalists are different. “Media is business, journalism is not,” he had quoted.

As one of my friend suggested I can give away the T-shirts and stationeries as charity. But what about the pendrive and leather wallet? If I give those and call it a charity people will laugh. Isn’t charity meant to be for a person who is in need? Of course pendrive and leather wallet cannot be a need for someone. I would rather return it to the company/PR with a note and woe not to take anymore.

I have nothing against business journalism, but for how long can this continue and where do we go from here? Where is the limit?

“That is how things have always been” cannot be the answer for the young generation journalists. This is something serious and the manner in which many business journalists operate brings disrepute to all journalists. This is not to condone those who accept gifts but remember, with this act begins the process of corruption.

The cliché of journalism is evading, the environment in the newsroom is changing and the mechanics of operating a press is shifting.

Of all the money which the corporate have spent so far, they could have easily donated money for ‘video conferencing’ facility at the Press club where invites can be sent to most journalists. It’s not late either. They can conduct future press releases without any hassle and without having to meet in 5 star hotels and giving gifts; they still can convey the information over video conference and take back questions.

…………………………………………………

*Amount in rupees (calculated based on market price)
Corporate buffet lunch (1,100+taxes12.5%) x 4 times = 4,950.
Leather wallet- 600.
2 GB pendrive- 350.
Note pads-100.
Parker pen- 100.
Other stationeries- 100.
T shirt- 300.
Coffee mug-60.

Total worth=Rs 6,560

……………………………………………………………………………………

I can’t claim I haven’t produced any news for such corporate but from now on, I decide not to receive any gifts in cash or kind and decide not to have cosy 5 star lunch hosted for the journalists.

((“The views expressed herein are the author’s own, and do not reflect the opinions of the newspaper where he works in any way.”))

साभार : Espydreams's Blog


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written by Amit Bhanot, July 03, 2011
I agree with Prabhu that business journalists are forced to publish good reports by giving handsome gifts but it is not a story of Business beat. Crime beat has monthly emoluments from each police station, health beat has its commission from doctors, hospitals and pharma cos., education beat has got fab. payment from pvt. institutions, everybody knows about political parties "weekly envelop," etc. etc.....

So why to crib about journalism. forget about mission Boss this is not even a profession but a hardcore Business where everything is give and take. new generation who is coming to this field knows it very well. it is people like us who are not accepting this fact.

Enjoy Journalism and accumulate as much wealth as you can.......

Ideals like Barkha Dutt, Veer Sanghavi, Rajdeep, Prabhu Chawla has shown us the same success path. Cheers............
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written by Rajanish , June 23, 2011
शायद यही वजह है कि आज कई पत्रकार, पत्रकारिता छोड़कर कंपनियों में पीआरओगिरी कर रहे हैं ताकि उनको ज्यादा सुकून मिले...
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written by Atul Kushwah, June 22, 2011
Nice summed up...cong...
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written by कमल शर्मा, June 22, 2011
कमल कीचड़ में रखकर भी कीचड़ में नहीं सनता। ऐसे ही जीवन को चुने। नहीं तो पत्रकार कम व्‍यापारी ज्‍यादा हो जाओगे।
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written by Rahul, June 22, 2011
यह बिजनेस जर्नलिस्ट गधा है. अगर कोई कंपनी किसी पत्रकार को समोसे-कटोरी खिलाए और गिफ्ट में कुछ भी ना दें तो हमारे माननीय पत्रकार उस प्रेस नोट से वही होटल में हाथ पोछकर उसे डस्टबीन में फेंककर चले आएंगे. जो कंपनी जितना अच्छा खाना खिलाएगी (साथ में शराब भी) और बढया से बढया गिफ्ट देगी उसकी खबर को प्रमुखता से प्रकाशित करते हैं. जैसे कि यही प्रोडक्ट भारत का सबसे बढया, शानदार, जानदार, सस्ता है.

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