My paper on communications

Discovered a couple of days back that my paper on �Communications for Development: Creating a Communications Strategy�, which was first published in my project Newsletter in the i4d magazine, is going to be republished in the Journal of Rural Development published by National Institute for Rural Development (NIRD). It is available online here. After more than a 100 published articles, this paper�s republication in the NIRD journal strangely feels more like an achievement. Clap for me!

I have often encountered people with such a closed attitude when it comes to making some changes in the way projects are usually implemented. New threatens not only the people for whom the projects are being implemented but even the organizations who often tend to prefer a �we know it all� approach. It is hard to get some new or rather different idea or approach noticed. Have seen so many people crib that projects aren�t well documented, but when systems aren�t there, how can documentation take place! Instead of just talking I decided to research and then write. Got to also thanks some feedback I listen to from people who had lotsa problems getting media to pay attention to their work and hence the media relations box. Anyways I'm keeping my fingers crossed now…Read it and let me know how it is.

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Media n Mumbai Rains

Dilip wrote,

I commented: �Interesting that you should pose the same question that I and my friend have been arguing about on chat for the past hour.

I dont think any layperson would take the trouble to let the media channel know, it has been playing dirty by reusing old footage. The ones who do will in all probability never find their letter featured on letters to editor or the channel.

Ethics does matter but only to the few nicompoops like me who wring our hands in despair and crib about how media can be so manipulative and feel ashamed to be part of the bandwagon. Then I remind myself at least I am not like that, read your blog and feel good there are still some for whom ethics matter.

All this sure got me in the mood to write now. Read my blog for more on this.�

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I went to Bombay on Saturday by bus of course. The trains had decided not to venture into unknown waters. Despite a sleepless night aboard the bus, I reached Vashi in record time. The Pune-Bombay Express Highway was strangely at its best; no traffic, smooth roads. Except for the bumpy ride as I neared Taloja road and Kharghar, I had no issues. It continually rained but wasn�t very different from the usual Bombay rains. Once at home I switched the TV on and saw mayhem. Drowned cars, homes and people; loss of lives, livestock, property and mental peace. I looked out the window again, all was well here, but apparently somewhere else in Bombay it was not. Except the brown muddy water that came from the taps (when it did come), and some minor electricity cut hours, nothing seemed amiss. But the images had got to me and I spent the day subdued talking over and over with all about. One family friend came home to a floating fridge, most couldn�t go home, one cousins spent the night walking, another spent the night in the car, some relatives furniture was destroyed. Luckily no-one was the worse off for it.

The next four days I was amazed by the same images flashing repeatedly on the screen.
The rains in Bombay had calmed down by a great degree, but the news images showed no sign of letting up. Mahesh Bhatt wandered around on some TV channel asking people about their experiences, someone�s home in Juhu and a producer who has incurred a big loss. Eh? And then there were others who focused only on the low lying areas which get flooded every single year. News papers and channels mourned about Mumbai�s demise with the rains as the next shangai and golden city. Let Mumbai be please! That much of rainfall could throw Shangai into disarray. Channels kept repeating their footage of people rowing in boats even when the downpour grew into a drizzle. Look closely people, someone was walking in calf height water as these guys rowed by! Are we truly that foolish? Apparently we are.

A friend (J) and me have been having a healthy arguing for the past hour about media and manipulations, about objective reporting and biased journalism. Most people do not question what is being offered to them. They accept what they see as truth. The images in the TV resulted in many offlines/ SMS�s to me asking me if I was ok. People couldn�t believe that Mumbai was ok because the TV stations would give up. It would be wishful thinking wouldn�t it to hope that media moves beyond the moolah. Unfortunately most programming today by news channels resembles a real-life soap opera, which highlights a lot and focuses on nothing.

I asked J to define news for me. Now suddenly I am at a loss about what news is and journalism is. Gangadhar Sir, taught with great emphasis Principles of Journalism and ethics in journalism during my PG. Am reminded of the passion in his voice and the rush I felt. Objective journalism, unbiased reporting, ethical writing: all are mere terms with no real value? Sometimes though it does seem like a futile fight by a few to voice what is easily drowned in the advertising and competing chaos, I beg to differ. I am sure to give a damn hard try to stick to some principles which many believe are useless in this world today. Call me old-fashioned, but can�t change the way I feel.