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      Volume 10 |Issue 15 | April 16, 2011 |


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News People in the News


The cub reporter was perhaps only learning to toddle when the newspaper walked out with its first issue. And so when her editor asked her to write something special on the 20th anniversary, she made no secret about her qualm and blurted out something she had read, “I thought you only had to celebrate anniversaries while you were still in love”.

The elderly editor had to break a pencil behind his back to suppress a mounting urge to gag her with newsprint but realised that the newspaper had gone digital over the years; everyone worked on desktops and laptops even on rooftops. So with all the cool he could muster he explained that indeed they were in love, in love with their work. Just then when a long-serving busy-looking middle-aged correspondent arrived on the scene, the editor grasped the opportunity to garner support for his cause to which the puzzled guy asked, 'Next week is our what?” The editor was looking for another pencil when the cub continued looking for a suitable LAN location.

Despite such editorial setbacks, bringing out a newspaper is a lot of fun. There is always something happening or else the daily will make its readers believe that something has indeed happened. Its reporters will go to any length to cover a story. That can also land them into some serious trouble. Here's one I found on the net, well almost:

A photographer for a media house was assigned to get photos of the terrible flood deluging the south of the country. Road conditions would not allow him access to the scene, waterway would be too slow, the local reporters at the location were out of circulation, but he had to get some good shots, so he frantically called his home office to hire a helicopter.

“It will be waiting for you at the local heliport!” he was assured by his editor. As soon as he got to the small, rural heliport, sure enough, a helicopter was warming up. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, “Let's go! Let's go!” The pilot swung the helicopter into the wind and soon they were in the air.

“Fly over the north side of the main flood," said the photographer, “and make three or four low level passes.”

“Why?” asked the pilot.

“Because I'm going to take pictures! I'm a photographer, and photographers take pictures!” said the photographer with great exasperation.

After a long pause the pilot said, “You mean you're not the instructor?”

Newspaper people also rely on different sources for information, not all of them are reliable the regular errata will vouch. Here's another from the net that is telling of the goings on:

A reporter was on a beat deep in the forest. One day an old villager went up to the reporter and said, “Rain day after tomorrow!” He made a story and the possibility was published in his newspaper. It rained as predicted. A week later, the village elder went up to the reporter and said, “Storm in two days!” The reporter excitedly cabled the prospect to his news desk. Two days later there was a hailstorm.

“This old man is incredible,” thought the reporter. His news desk called up daily for the reporter to predict, sorry report, the weather. However, there was complete silence from the forest. The old man did not show up for two weeks. Finally the reporter went looking for him. “I have to report the weather forecast on a regular basis,” pleaded the reporter, “and I am depending on you. What will the weather be like?”

The old man shrugged his shoulders. “Don't know,” he said. “Radio is broken.”

They say newspapers sensationalise news to boost its earnings. And easily the hawkers take the cue. Here's another one doing the rounds:

A hawker was standing on the street corner with a stack of papers, yelling, “Read all about it. Fifty people tricked! Fifty people tricked!"

Curious, a man walked over, bought a paper, and checked the front page. Finding nothing, the man said, “There's nothing in here about fifty people being tricked!”

The newsboy ignored him and went on, calling out, “Read all about it. Fifty-one people tricked!"

On a regular basis newsmen and now a increasing number of women are eager to derive news and disappointed if they cannot. One I will always remember is a crime reporter almost begging a police station officer on the phone, “What do you mean? You do not have anything for me? Not even one murder? Or a rape! Please Bhaijan see your file. I have to have a something. I have a report to file...”

Twenty years is a long time. The baby born that day could well be knocking on graduation. The job-seeker of that day could now be looking ahead towards retirement. The retiree of that day could have a lap full of grandchildren. And it is a pleasure to think we were always there. Happy Anniversary!



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