NEWSLETTER JULY 2001
NEWSLETTER, July 2001
EDITOR: N. Watson Solomon (aka Nirmaldasan)
Issue No: 17
This issue of the newsletter promises you a rich fare. Read on...
IN THIS ISSUE...
* thought for the month
* editorial: practical journalism
* special column: young men, you better learn
* guest column: yoga for journalists
* book review: a journalist's glossary
* creative pulse
* site update
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
In `Politics And The English Language', George Orwell writes: "A man
may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then
fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same
thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and
inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of
our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."
EDITORIAL: PRACTICAL JOURNALISM
The convocation issue of The Word, lab paper of the Chennai-based
Asian College of Journalism, appeared on June 25. The eight-page
broadsheet spelt things out in perspective -- in black and white. It
also showed to the audience at the Russian Cultural Centre that
journalism was something best learnt on the job. The new media
students gained online experience and explored new horizons in
journalism through their ezine digantik.com; and students of the
broadcast stream had to skip dinner to meet morning deadlines for
their daily breakfast TV show.
But theory also had a role to play in shaping the first batch of
65 students who received diplomas from renowned scientist, Prof. M.S.
Swaminathan. Here is a paragraph from The Word's editorial: "Although
we had chosen journalism for a career, few of us knew much about what
it involved. In the past ten months we have learnt all about this and
much more. We have acquired skills in reporting and editing and
gained knowledge from the lectures by distinguished persons.
Inculcated in us are the core values and cardinal virtues
The ACJ, despite teething troubles, has done its best providing
its wards with a right mix of theory and practice. But whatever the
students learnt, they learnt in an ideal setting. It is true they had
to hunt for stories and meet deadlines in what may appear as chaotic
conditions. Yet this cannot have been the case as working journalists
who toil for different media establishments pretty well know.
The students can never be taught the imponderables. Different
employers have different priorities and vested interests. These of
course fall beyond the purview of academics. So `real journalism' can
only be learnt as an employee of some media organisation. This the
students themselves seem to have realised; for, The Word's editorial
concludes with a quote from Lord Tennyson's Ulysses: "Yet all
experience is an arch wherethro'/Gleams that untravell'd world, whose
margin fades/For ever and for ever when I move." But nevertheless the
ACJites have got an head start over their counterparts in other
institutions where practical training is never a priority.
Young Men, You Better Learn
by Dr. I. Arul Aram
My maternal uncle who happened to be an academic had told my father a
few days after giving his sister in marriage: "I won't allow my wife
to work. It is below my dignity!" My uncle was then not married. He
was referring to my mother continuing to work as a school teacher
even after marriage. Probably my father was upset then, but hadn't
replied to the sarcastic remark. The irony was that 15 years after my
uncle's marriage he too sent his wife to work -- he obviously had
given up his concept of dignity to gain some extra money.
There are cases where men force their wives to give up jobs on their
marriage, or where men demand women employment as dowry. But today
more and more women are in a position to take career decision,
independent of men having a say in it. This is a welcome trend that
triggers a whole lot of change in a family.
The obvious reason women work is to augment their family income and
lead a luxurious life. Middle class families in cities where husband
and wife are employed afford high standards of living. The man and
the woman may not have much time to spare for children, but their
children travel in Marutis, study in expensive schools and eat in MNC
fast food joints. The other advantages working women have are a
feeling of doing something fruitful and enjoying independence. And the
family as a whole gains a lot from both the parents working, though
the man and the woman would pretend to be on the peak of a volcano!
The mere fact that both the parents are working changes the roles in
the family. No more the job of bringing up the children is confined
to that of the mother and grandparents. The father now has a major
role to play. He does babysitting, he then takes children to schools,
and he helps his wife in cooking. In fact, a good number of children
of such households are more attached to their father, for he spends
more time with them and takes care of their needs.
The nuclear families that do not even have grandparents staying with
them face a tough time. In such families, both father and mother
equally share the responsibility of bringing up the children. The
husband is, more often than not, forced by the wife to do his share
of household work -- with the man's parents not staying with them,
the woman finds it easy to break the tradition that would have dumped
the whole lot of household work on her. Many a time the men who return
from even night shift are not allowed enough sleep -- they are forced
to do at least the job of getting ready the children and dropping
them at school. The nuclear families where both parents work can
survive only like that. I know a few such families where husbands
mainly do even cooking and washing clothes. I am not averse to doing
these jobs. While I do the latter job quite often though with the
help of Whirlpool, my wife has prohibited me from doing the former.
For reasons best known to her she hates eating the food I cook,
though I like everything I get from her -- be it cooked or not.
Hey friends, my message to all young men who aspire to get a bride
is: You need to learn a lot many household jobs and you better learn
them young. In nuclear families like mine that do not even have
grandparents to help children, there is no other go.
Yoga For Journalists
by Akila Dinakar
Yoga, for journalists? Well, are journalists any different from other
(read ordinary) people? So, here I write on what Yoga can do for
humans. Believe me, every bit of it will apply to journalists!
Yoga simply means union with the divine. The divinity that I talk
about does not mean any mumbo-jumbo about gods, goddesses or
religion. It is just that divinity exists in every human being, every
plant, animal and life forms, even in inanimate objects. The entire
universe is a manifestation of this divinity, a drop of which man and
woman also are.
Yoga is plainly a technology, an inner process through which humans
have learnt the art of uniting with this divinity within and without
them. The methods are principally eight: Yama, Niyama, Pranayama,
Asana, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi.
Going beyond Sanskritese, the eight parts just mean what you need to
do and not to do: posture, breathing, attitude towards work,
environment and surrounding developments, concentration, meditation
and total unity with the energy within.
Specifically speaking, as a journalist, I practice Yoga 24 hours a
day. Morning begins with Hatha Yoga -- cat-stretching your body --
and then Pranayama -- breathing in and out. It takes me over an hour
to do this. I meditate for 15 minutes around noon and in the evening.
The rest of the day, it is Karma Yoga -- doing the duty given to me
with utmost happiness; Bhakthi Yoga -- approaching problems and
difficulties with the knowledge that things are just happening and I
am flowing along with the tide; Raja Yoga -- control over my own
senses; and Jnana Yoga -- the knowledge that there is only unity
Simply put, when others get angry, I remain cool. No deadline can
perturb me. No assignment or human being is too big or too small.
Whatever happens around, I remain happy and am able to see what I can
do to make things better than what they are. Physical ailments
like migraine, breathlessness and overweight have vanished and I am
fit as a fiddle. I can think only positively, both for myself and for
others. That's about how Yoga can work for journalists like me -- and
of course YOU!
A Journalist's Glossary
by R. Chandrasekhar
Vernacular journalism is catching up in our country and there are
over 4000 language dailies with Telugu figuring among the top 10.
Very often the men at the news desk are stuck for an apt equivalent
of an English word and unless he is fully equipped, he cannot meet
the deadlines which are the very essence of a newspaper. A news item
which cannot be incorporated in the daily and given to the readers
becomes stale. With stiff competition from the electronic media and
advancement in technology, the race against the clock is what the sub-
editor has to contend with.
The man at the desk has to translate various kinds of news items --
politics, economics, science & technology, arts and culture. He has
not only to find the right word but also has to edit the copy to fit
into the allotted space in the newspaper. Journalism is a profession
where every day is a new day and a journalist learns by his mistakes.
In the changing scenario, what was an apt word till recently, may not
be so now. As such, the sub-editor has to be abreast of the latest
developments. He may not know everything but he must know a little of
all things. Only then he can make the translated and edited report
readable for the common man.
Of course, a journalist has access to any number of books or general
knowledge but a guide to a Telugu journalist could only be brought
out by another of his ilk. This is where Mr. Parkala Surya Mohan has
proved his mettle. His `Journalistula Padakosam' (English-Telugu) is
an exercise par excellence. His stint in `Soviet Land' and
subsequently in `Andhra Prabha' has helped him in collecting and
collating the Telugu equivalents to English words. His experience in
translating news items and comparing with those found in other Telugu
dailies has made him a master in this field. His work comprising 25
chapters is the culmination of strenuous efforts over a period of
The book has also information on UN member-nations, their capitals
and currencies, facts and figures about our Parliament and State
Assemblies, important abbreviations, glossary of terms used in
journalism and more importantly those words and expressions that find
place in annual budgets.
However, a work of this kind cannot be an end in itself. With science
and technology developing by leaps and bounds, what was a common word
till yesterday may become obsolete tomorrow. Just as the Oxford
English Dictionary is revised each year with the addition of more
words of common usage, Mr. Surya Mohan's treatise also needs to be
updated with the passage of time.
`Journalistula Padakosam' is a commendable compendium, dictionary,
ready reckoner and what more -- a desktop. For a senior sub-editor in
India's national newspaper to undertake such a task successfully, Mr.
Surya Mohan deserves to be congratulated for his toil and efforts.
From now on a sub-editor in a Telugu daily need not rack his brain in
search of the apt word if only he were to have a copy of Mr. Surya
Mohan's treatise on his desk.
Priced at Rs. 90, copies can be had from Visalandhra Publishing House,
4-1-435, Vignana Bhavan, Bank Street, Hyderabad -- 500001.
by S.A. Prabhakar
Around him all the time
Words dancing like sirens
Wanting to break his silence
Words from the eyes
From the lips
Hurt, hurting, smart smarting,
Doubting, doting, angry, angered,
Baleful, maddening, murderous,
Words like a mob of horns
Wanting to move in a snarl
Pummelling the stricken
The stranded and the dumb
Around him all the time
Faces changing faces
The right faces
With the wrong words
Around him all the time
Dancing like sirens
Wanting to break the silence
Of one who knows
But will not speak
1.There's a link to an interesting article titled Women In Journalism
written by Kristen Downs, Sarah Erwin and Barbara Eves.
1. Ms. Anuja Sharma (an-sh@...) writes: "Received the newsletter
a few days ago. Sorry for the delayed reply/feedback. The newsletter
seemed interesting. With the regular appearance of the frog... things
seemed to `jump around' a little bit. Glad to be a part of
2. Mr. R. Ramnarayan (rrn@...) writes: "Dear Watson,
Mariappan's poem `Frogs, Frogs, Everywhere' is very boring. I can't
understand what he wants to communicate. He has used difficult words
and I doubt whether they are common words used in English."
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