Thursday, November 23, 2006

Cause for some learning

Many months after Leptospirosis (rat fever) and Chikun Gunya began spreading, many reporters continued to write about "a strange disease gripping their town".
We proved again that reporters, as a tribe, are too proud to accept lack of learning and lazy to upgrade.

Members of every professional association get together every year, share experiences, speak, listen and learn. Doctors call it Continuing Medical Education. Engineers by some other name and even teachers and lawyers do something similar. Such kind of teamwork and relearning is sadly absent among the apparently all knowing community of Journalists.

I saw that the journalists in the US do this regularly. I attended one such discussion group on ground water preservation in May. They tend to forget things like competition and individual career advancement while doing such things. The community spirit prevails there.

I feel strongly about this. We need to meet, discuss, shed prejudices and learn. Family picnics can also be fused into such professional meets.

Or else, we will let people believe we know everything about everything and that we will help them to come to informed decisions. But what happens is that personal prejudices of journos pass off as expert opinions.
We are seeing that this is leading to people laughing at our prejudices, little knowledge and the arrogance to learn.
We hopelessly continue to lose credibility. We are seeing that too.

In the days of information explosion, (the phrase does not really explain the phenomenon. We could probably use information volcano eruption)and blogging and I-witness reporting and what not, people have an unprecedented involvement with the media. We can no longer remain frogs in the well, but continue to describe ourselves with fancy phrases like 'armchair writers in ivory castles'. We all should reflect upon this.

We should seriously get together to learn from experts and be responsible enough to provide quality content to readers. In doing so, we may not get into the swamp of association /union politics. Anything can be done informally if the doers are sincere.

This may cost some money. This should not be a problem in these days of zillion rupee salaries.

This is one of my several loud thoughts.
Kindly reply to me if you feel the same.

3 comments:

Radhi said...

your comment about prejudices passing off as expert opinion holds so true and relevant!
I have often found that prejudice dressed up as a majority opinion firstly dictates what is newsworthy, and then what is `objective'.

prajusha said...

What you have said is sooo true. I have always wondered why we journalists turn a blind eye on this which we know is so prevalent and are even aware that the whole community knows about it.
Why is that we are so saddistically cautious that we refuse to acknowledge the prevalence of dreaded diseases, despite having proof and pass it off as a 'mysterious disease'. Prejudices of creating a panic, may be, makes us soooo ineffiencent in wirting the truth that we, as a community, settle to to overlook a serious matter and just report, in all bad sense. Will we ever do that?!

Ranjani said...

Rishi: I was particularly amused by this line, "Members of every professional association get together every year, share experiences, speak, listen and learn. Doctors call it Continuing Medical Education. Engineers by some other name and even teachers and lawyers do something similar. Such kind of teamwork and relearning is sadly absent among the apparently all knowing community of Journalists."

Sadly, the situation remains the same in Teaching as well! Yes, there are schools that organise 'Refresher Courses', 'Teach the Teacher Seminars' and a whole lot of fancy sounding events. But from what I have seen in my few years of being a teacher, these are conducted for two major reasons. One, organising schools are start-ups. So, inviting teachers from other established schools is an easy way to collect resources and ideas. Second, these are fertile hunting grounds for teacher poaching!

The few schools that do organise such events in the right spirit of learning are only half successful, as teachers are rarely willing to be completely open to sharing and learning (the glorious irony of life, don't you think?!!)

In any case, promoting further negativity is hardly the solution. Since "we must be the change we wish to see", I guess the sharing and learning can begin one person at a time! I have started! :)