Tapping into Community Journalism Tuesday, August 31, 2010 By Tenzin Tsetan
Journalists have become a type of people in the 21st Century. “Those media type people were there at the party,” I overheard on the subway the other day. Journalists have become stereotyped characters who are super-active, talkative and super friendly. Professionally, at least, that is what is demanding of them. You won’t notice a shy, quite journalist unless he is an exceptionally talented writer or a brilliant observer. My plan is to make my way into the second category. The newspaper company that I am interning at is called The News India Times , located at 37 West 20th Street, in the heart of Manhattan. This is an Indian newspaper company publishing three newspapers, two in English and the other in its native language. For those who feel home sick, media (both paper and electronic) serves as an important way to feel at home in an alien nation. Reading newspapers can bring nostalgia about a homeland. Local ethnic papers play a very important role in one's community, bringing people together in a community by organizing events, giving them the information about the events, even advertising local small businesses, some even meet their future spouses at the matrimonial section and also keeping them updated about what is happening back in home. In a recent issue of the paper, a contributor Rama Dey-Rao, wrote about how lonely she felt when she first came here from Kolkata. Dey-Rao, a scientist at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, remembers spending her first night at a motel reminiscing about her good times back home in Kolkata. Her feelings, in the mixture of home sick and confusion, gets a surprising welcome from a familiar face on the screen: Chevy Chase. She used to see him in the movies back home in India! Now imagine how she would have felt if she had found a copy of The Desi American in her rented room? The staffers at News India Times know how important their work is to their readers. Everyone concentrates so hard on their work that some days they seem to forget to go home. On publishing days, Tuesdays, the office feels like a time bomb is going to explode if we don’t make it to the printing machine by the end of the day. Those days the air is filled with stress and tensions. Eyes are glued to computer screens, looking at the smallest details and the editor, re-reading all the stories, almost bursting in to flames if he sees a tiny error. Yet retaining his calmness after few minutes just to keep the staff under control. The chief editor at the office, Sunil Adams, is reserved, intelligent and elegant. “Always read your story at least 10 times,” he tells me. This definitely helps a writer in finding mistakes in their articles and improving it. “If you read newspapers every day, you are ahead of others.” From my own perception, the internship is a transition from a theoretical, school-learning world to the real or practical world of office politics. It’s all about learning and gaining knowledge as much as you can, without getting anyone mad at you. Interns are like freshmen at college, with so much to learn and so little to omit, we tend to be the most cautious people around town. For more information about News India Times , please visit http://www.newsindia-times.com.