Wednesday, October 13, 2004

In the beginning was the word - Why journos blog

It was coming all along. Someone was bound to pick up that question and knock it at our web-faces. SOme one did pick up that question. Actually, two people did.

Which is why I'm writing about this today, instead of the review of The Terminal (by Steven Speilberg) that I was eager to write about. Tom Hanks plays a Krakozhian national stranded in JFK airport, NYC - again award winning (Check out lazy geek's review, meanwhile). Mine, will have to wait, am afraid.

To give the devil its due ( ;P ), Ravi started it. He asked the question. Rather, he made the statement. Read it on his blog - about journalists blogging. And this morning, another friend of mine, just introduced to the concept of blogging, wondered why my "glog" (!! yeah, these people do exist!!) was so full of adjectives.

Why, indeed! In fact, why do I write at all? I mean, on a blog. Considering I'm a journalist and have to write for my supper, rasam and brinjal. Would I have not had enough? With words?

If this were one of those black and white movies, i'd start with those amazing vortex kinda thingies, concentric circles that spin and let you know a flashback's going to happen (watch
Kung Pow for the ultimate flashback rip off). The best place to start is the beginning, isn't it?

Not really. Not always. Besides, often you don't remember the beginning. Let's take this in media res, then. From the middle.

What i'm trying to say is that I'm a journalist because I never wanted to be anything else. And why I say middle is because for a very negligible period of my life I wanted to be a space scientist. It doesn't count.

I wanted to be a journalist, in the pre-Barkha Dutt, pre-mike totting, camera- rolling days, basically before journalism got glamourous. That makes me sound old, but the fact is historians will say glam crept up on journalism say five-six years ago. But it's true I belong to the time warp that believed journos were khadi-wearing, bespectacled, jolna-totting, male blokes.

But that's not why I got in. Even then, I believed that the image was a cliche. I'd be a journalist, but I would'nt be that dowdy type, I told myself. Mostly, I wanted to be a journalist because I believed it was the only profession which would allow me to do what I most wanted to - write. Sincerely, I wanted to write to make a difference, move people, if not mountains, to change. Smirking? But, I was young enough to believe that.

Now, I understand, it is mostly a fallacy. You don't get to WRITE in journalism, atleast not the way you imagined you could. I could speak for myself, but then again, a lot of my brethren would agree that their copies are edited. I guess we din't reckon with this bug bear called the DESK, or editorial policy when we signed up on the roster.

But here we are, writing to policies, deadlines, space requirements and word counts.

That is primarily why we blog, I think. It certainly is why I blog. Cos in the world wide web, in my corner of it, there is no editorial policy, or if there is, I decide it: I'm my own editor. No word limits either, no emphasis on facts, on steering clear of opinion or space-page layout problems.
It allows me to do what I thought, quite naively, that I could do with journalism - to write.

I guess all of us do it because of that. But for us, it is because with blogs, we REALLY write.

If I've come off like its a drag working, I din't mean to. I love what I'm doing and I would not really care to do anything else. However, when you sit at office, eight times of ten, thumping inanities on your computer, it will make a huge difference to pull the plug, get on the blog, write exactly what you want to and be sure that it will be published too!

And of course. In the beginning, and the end, there is only The Word.



Blogger S.Karthik said...

Hey, Same Pinch...
Yes ya, I too wrote something on my blog in which I capital lettered "REALLY". Guess, we journalists have finally discovered what the difference is in writing for a newspapers and "REALLY" writing. Although, capital lettering the word 'really' really is silly. Just like adding the 'ya' to sound young. Rightya? :)

9:25 pm

Blogger None said...


i guess i should've said that as well! on blogs I can write all caps or lower case and no one can ask why!
but seriously, if there is enough justification otherwise, which i think there is, i dont see a hassle with using REALLY. if we merely said REALLY write, without substantiating it in anyway, then it wd be like using ya to sound young.


12:10 pm

Blogger Shyam said...

Hey, dont knock editors! If it wasnt for us folks, you reporters would be rambling all over the paper with only passing reference to facts, and very probably in English that would equally well have only nodding acquaintance with grammar and spelling :)

That said, however, I agree that it must be nice for you to let your hair down and write what you like, just as you like. I know it's nice for me!

One more thing, Rums... rest assured you arent the dowdy kind of journo, you impossibly glam celeb journo, you! :)))

1:35 pm

Blogger None said...

hey shyam

try the kind that i work with everyday! :)
yeah,but i agree with u. there are exceptions to my rule bug bear.


3:12 pm

Blogger Ravages said...

You sound like I did on the day of the now infamous interview.
Truly, a blog is my newspaper. I am just now having this conversation with a friend of mine who wanted to know why I write so much, and why am i so open on certain issues that might get somebody's goat. She wants to know why I am not politically correct. I was telling her that a blog is my newspaper and that my editorial policy is that I write what I want to write. Just because some people don't have the maturity to handle what I write, and threaten me with cases and stuff, I am not going to shut my newspaper down.

But I digress. I write too, for the fact that on my blog, I can experiment with various styles of writing. With various issues, and with various voices. Not something I can do in my field of work. I need to write only "the truth" about the client's products. I need to adopt his voice and his mannerism when writing. I need to say only what he wants to say.

A blog is a welcome break.

3:49 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Devil?? I can assure you this is no Dr.(Mr)Devil....though, a coupla years ago, my better half did say "You handsome!" Strangely, it coincides with about the only time I had a peg! I've stuck with filter coffee, since then. Hey, I'm digressing. I'm just happy to write; rant would be more like it. Sometimes, its pure nonsense (ever seen my poetry?). That reminds me - the only time I wrote for a newspaper (a 'middle' published in the Deccan Herald - 1988) during my college days - NOT ONE word was edited! Man, should i be lucky or what? He he! Cheeeers, Ravi

7:20 pm

Blogger None said...

arright, i wrote it before dr.devil happened on suderman's site. in all innocence, therefore!
btw, is it any different to be a handsome devil? how do they look? like the onida devil? :)


8:13 pm

Blogger None said...

hey ravages,

this is what the Oxford Advanced learners dictionary says:

in•fam•ous /nfms/ adj. (formal) well known for being bad or evil
notorious: a general who was infamous for his brutality the most infamous concentration camp (humorous) the infamous British sandwich—compare famous

Come, come... If this is what u mean, surely you cant be so sore about The Hindu interview, which gave u bloggers awesome conventional visibility!


8:20 pm

Blogger Pavithra said...

>>>>>In the beginning, and the end, there is only The Word>>>> Ain't that the truth. A blog's where you truly let go - get people used to what you *are* instead of giving them cut-and-dried fare. Editing has its advantages - but there's nothing like running down a hillside, with the breeze blowing in your face, is there (as opposed to walking sedately, stopping at speed-breakers:-)?

But you do get to travel a lot. Now *that* I really envy :-)))))

7:08 am

Blogger b said...

Just a repeat of Shyam's comment... We on the desk may not be glam, celeb journos (there's only one of that kind that I know of!!), but we HAVE got our uses :-)

-- Brinda

12:19 pm


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