Nepal | July 05, 2020

Changing face of journalism

Biswas Baral
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This book is not about 21st Century Journalism in India (Sage Publications, 2007) per se, as the title would have you believe. For among editor Nalini Rajan’s eclectic oeuvre of 28 essays are: Subarno Chattarji’s What is the Spanish Word for Appeasement? that lays bare the not-so-subtle bias of The New York Times Op-ed columnists against European Muslims post-2004 Madrid commuter train bombings; Anjali Kamat’s Prophetic Misreading on the Western media’s misinterpretation of the furore over Prophet Muhammad’s cartoons; Mustafa K Anuar’s Prescribed Truth, Licensed Freedom: The Press in Post-Mahatir Malaysia; and Robert Brown’s India: A Billion Testimonies Now where the author traces the evolution of Literary Journalism, from its heady days in 18th century Britain of Daniel Dafoe through its modern American practitioners

like Truman Capote and Tom Wolfe to emerging non-Anglo-Saxon writers like Suketu Mehta, the author of Maximum City (2004), which is a vivid portrayal of the complexities of life in modern Mumbai.

Subramaniam Vincent and Ashwin Mahesh write in Journalism: The Practice and the Potential: “In countries with widespread poverty and bad governance as India, the press’s responsibility to act as guardians of the public good and provide an accurate reflection of the society… should be pursued with even more vigour than in the more developed parts of the world.” Doesn’t the same apply to Nepali press?

Cutting through diverse cultures and boundaries, the book offers a fascinating dekko into the diverse world of 21st Century Journalism. The first of the book’s four sections, ‘Representing the Unrepresented’ grapples with the complex and troubling issue of media’s prejudice against minor and “queer” groups. Sandhya Rao’s essay on Children’s journalism is absorbing

and so are D Ravikumar

and V Geeta’s trenchant analysis of the intricate relationship between Dalits and journalism in India.

The second section, ‘The Plurality of Practice’ discusses different aspects of modern-day journalism. Likewise, ‘Media in Perspective’ and ‘Future Trends’, the third and the fourth sections respectively, deal with the digital revolution in media and emerging trends in New Age journalism.

21st Century Journalism in India is an important book. By capturing the dynamics of the fast-evolving field of journalism, it sheds light on the crucial role journalists can play in

helping common people make a sense of the exciting times we live in.

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