Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Good to be in the thick of things when you have some authority

When I started my career as an officer in the insurance industry little did I think that one day I’d be changing course and latching on to (no, not at straws) public relations and journalism. Later, when I was heading the PR and corporate communication function for a large South India-based business group and began writing for newspapers and magazines, little did I know that one day in the midst of accompanying oversees visitors and journalists (thank God there were no tapes then) I would once again change course, albeit slightly, to pursue a full-time career in writing and editing, which led me to work, first for India’s top business daily, then for the world’s apex body in the news publishing field, and then for India’s largest circulated English daily.

Today, I wonder whether I’ve taken up more than what I can chew – editing two journals for the Press Institute of India and being a sort of roving editor for two top Delhi-based publications. All this must sound indeed like I’m raving about my performance, but I’m not. It’s just that finally, in the 27th year of my career, I seem to have found my true métier. May be travel has something to do with it, but it’s also being in charge. High-sounding designations without authority mean nothing and I’ve experienced some of it myself and have seen people unhappy without being given the freedom to do what they want. And when you are a writer or an editor without some authority, it can smother you inside.

Well, UNICEF and the Press Institute of India are organising a two-day workshop for journalists on March 23 and 24 in Chennai to sensitise journalists on issues that relate directly to children: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, and promoting gender quality. All part of the UN Millennium Development Goals, which have been set for achievement by 2015.

In Tamil Nadu, under nutrition of children, declining trend in the immunisation rates, not much of an improvement in the use of sanitary latrines, unaddressed child protection issues such as female infanticide, child marriage, abuse against children including corporal punishment in schools are some of the issues that are not highlighted adequately by the media. Here’s hoping reporters and editors, especially those connected with development journalism, will participate in the workshop. There is no participation fee.

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