Fusing journalism and TB – telling the stories as they are

Working with the media – what it takes

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The NGO community wants to be friends with the media. And the media couldn’t care less. Reminds me of myself in school. There was this hugely popular girl everybody wanted to be friends with. I spent a considerable amount of time devising methods to ensure I would be on top of her friends list. I tried everything; gave her chocolates, lent her my notes with greater eagerness than was necessary and hung around her endlessly. Whenever she even deigned to smile at me, I imagined I had succeeded. Till the day I realised, with considerable shock that she did not even know I existed. I was just a face in the crowd! I was too young then to know that I would probably have been better off spending my time finding out her interests, finding out what made her tick if I really wanted to be her friend. Because my need was greater than hers and therefore I had to make all the effort.

Today I can draw a parallel between my clumsy attempts to make a friend of her, with what the NGO community wants to do with the media. The NGO community has tried it all. Trainings with huge budgets, junkets to conferences across the world, special facilities et al – the media without exaggeration is the most pampered entity wherever and whenever. The result? Not much! The media is clever and continues to determine its own priorities despite aggressive wooing by NGOs. Which makes me think that like me when I was a little girl, the NGO community has probably not given too much thought to what the media really wants. And the greater need here too is of the NGO community and not the media.

So where are we? That’s what JATB tried to find out. We got an NGO spokesperson and a media person to speak with each other with no holds barred. The outcome is interesting, revealing and might just give fresh insignts into how the NGO community and the media can understand each other better.

We are pleased to present the discussion as it happened… There were some limitations. The discussion has four discussants, each sitting in different parts of the world. We did not have expensive technology at our disposal. Therefore the sound quality might leave something to be desired. We request listeners to overlook the glitches and internalise the messages instead.

We have with us on this discussion, Nalini Krishnan, Programme Director, REACH, Chennai, India. REACH is an organisation that works on TB. Savyasaachi Jain, our media expert, wears many hats. He is an international media trainer who has trained journalists on reporting better on varied topics including health, human rights etc and is currently pursuing a PhD on media ethics in the UK. He is also Advisor to JATB. Jasvinder Sehgal, a founder member of JATB, is an international broadcast journalist and a media trainer. There’s me, Bharathi Ghanashyam, Founder Member, JATB, currently heading the communications department at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Bangalore, India.

Working with the media

Click on the audio player button below to listen in

From left to right – Bharathi Ghanashyam, Savyasaachi Jain, Nalini Krishnan, Jasvinder Sehgal

Written by JournalistsAgainstTB

January 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Posted in TB and Media

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