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Guwahati: Alternative digital media may be growing in India, but the conventional and mainstream medium including newspapers still has a future in the populous country. India today emerges as a land of millions of smart phone & internet connected computer users, but there is a sizable population which lacks access to the new medium and continues to depend on print media outlets.

Alan Gray, editor and publisher of the highly followed news portal “Newsblaze.com,” while interacting with scribes at Guwahati Press Club in northeast India through video conferencing from Murray Bridge in South Australia on 12 October 2018, suggested that Indian newspapers in various languages will continue to serve a huge population with news, views and analytical pieces.

Starting his speech with a big Namaste, Gray however asserted that regardless of the increase in digital access, the basics of journalism in all media forms remain the same. Aspiring journalists must do proper groundwork before writing a story, whatever the format, otherwise they might lose themselves in the crowd, he added. Trained journalists should aim for high-quality journalism to clearly separate themselves from untrained citizen journalists and neophytes.

In this context, Gray said that journalists in Australia strive to maintain high professional standards, and enjoy a fair degree of job security and good pay packages. He also pointed out that the Australian press is quite nationalistic, but it is issue-based and scribes do not shrink from constructive criticism. He also revealed that various media forms in Australia, including the press, radio-television and alternative media, all coexist in their own space in a dynamic landscape.

Gray, who has been on the internet since it first started and presently practicing journalism for many years in Australia after

returning home from 15 years in the United States of America, stated that various Indian issues are given due coverage by Australian media. But answering queries from the participants, he admitted that he had not come across any journalist of Indian origin active there.

“We do receive a good number of write-ups from Indian contributors, though the quality is very uneven. A considerable number of unskilled and inexperienced people are entering this field,” observed Gray adding that some media-house managements in India seem to prefer raw recruits rather than experienced journalists to cut down on expenses. He said this is a bad move because the quality of investigation and storytelling suffers and readers will look for higher quality.

It is clear that that more people now turn to their smart phones for fresh news rather than looking for traditional media outlets, Gray cautioned it has finally helped fake news to penetrate their minds. Moreover, it is often difficult to distinguish the real from the fake, which is manufactured with misinformation and even disinformation, he maintained.

Agreeing that fake news is emerging as a major threat to both alternate as well as mainstream media, Gray said that this puts a greater responsibility on working journalists worth their salt. To maintain credibility and retain the trust of readers or viewers, he reminded, editor-journalists have all the more reason to be committed and pursue excellence in their chosen profession. Editors who receive stories from journalists in the field will often edit stories to improve readability, but they should resist the urge to make them fit a particular political narrative.

The author is a senior journalist and Secretary, Journalists’ Forum Assam

2 Comments

  1. N Noren Meitei says:

    I am very much appreciate how Nava Da is taking much steps forward for the scribes of Assam

  2. Ranjit Borthakur says:

    Naba Thakuria. I really appreciate your effort to make us aware of new issues. Very laudable effort