Politics, a subject which is commented upon by everyone but understood by almost none. The responsibility of a journalist thus becomes to stand his ground amongst those handful politico-savvy ones. This becomes important because journalism amongst other things acts as the transit point between the authorities and the public. Hence it couldn’t have been better for the trainees of ITMI when they got a chance to learn the know-hows of political news gathering from the ace journalist, Sanjay Sharma.
Sanjay Sharma, a prominent name in the political galleries of journalism emphasised that how important knowing the constitution of a political party is before jumping on to much more complicated things. He also highlighted the necessity of being unbiased and objective in one’s coverage of any story regardless of the political party they are assigned to do the reporting. A polyglot himself, he corrected the pronunciation and diction of the trainees while taking everyone through the tenets of news gathering, during the session. According to him , a good journalist exerts proper command over his working language.
Though an expert in political coverage, Sanjay Sharma has covered almost every beat of news. Which is why he could suggest that being informed and well aware about every issue is crucial to a journalist regardless of the beat been assigned. Being aware not just adds to the knowledge base of the journalist , it also acts as the saving grace in situations of information crisis. He also added that a good journalist should save himself from being a disciple of ‘Google Baba’ as there can be situations when all the roads to reach this modern age baba are blocked and then only one’s intellectual knowledge base comes handy. And reading newspaper on a daily basis without fail is the first step towards attaining this goal, he said. Secondly, he also talked about the importance of having sources, not one but multiple. Because a story reflects credibility when confirmed from varied sources. And a source can belong to any tangent of the power hierarchy and their value should only be assessed by the kind of information provided by them.
Lastly, he called it a day by saying that there are a lot of successful journalists but good journalists are very few. And knowledge and being true to the ethos of the profession is responsible for this demarcation . And as students of journalism our mission first and foremost should be to be good and later to be successful.