Time for Nepali Journalists to Improve Quality

Two years after the royal takeover and censorship we have now democracy and it’s time for Nepali journalists to focus on improving the quality of their reporting. Scribes took out a rally yesterday to mark the black day (Magh 19) and demanded that the Rayamajhi Commission report be made public. Pic via ekantipur

Just realized that Feb 1 (and Magh 19) passed largely unnoticed this year. May be whatever going on in Southern Nepal overshadowed the relevance of the date. Heard that journalists organized a rally in downtown Kathmandu to remember the black day (Feb 1, 2005 or Magh 19, 2061 BS is when, if you don’t have any idea, King Gyanendra went on rampage and dismissed democracy, imposed emergency and installed his autocracy in Nepal). I was too busy in other works than attending the rallies. I was planning to write something about the date but later abandoned the thought. Instead I went on to the web site of New York Times and read a few very good articles. I have always been a very big fan of New York Times and I utterly enjoy reading their coverage. (Though I was utterly disappointed a few weeks ago to find numerous mistakes in an article on Nepali politics. I sent a letter to the correction section of the paper but that never got attention of the editors there. Even we don’t do such silly mistakes here in Nepali journalism.)

I try to learn from their writing but when I sit in front of the computer to write stories like that the poor quality of research in Nepali journalism reminds to me of reality: where I am. I recently read an article about Nora Jones’ new album and, coincidentally, had to write the same kind of article on the new album of Nepali rock band 1974 AD. There I realized the difference between reading New York Times articles and writing for Kantipur. In such occasions I get frustrated and feel bad about myself and my being in journalism. Why am I here if I can’t contribute in some qualitative way? What is my role in Nepali journalism? Be just another reporter in the crowd or do something important and make some significant contribution so that our journalism standard reaches new height? There are so many things to learn. We are not perfect, yes, but the problem is we are not even trying to learn. The way we deal with issues in journalism needs to be changed and reporters’ approach to the stories must be different then that of the current ones. We have done a lot of progress in journalism in the past decade in terms of reporting, writing, presenting stories, circulating newspapers etc. But there is a long way to go.

Oh… why am I lecturing on journalism now? Because I think now is the time for all journalists in Nepal to focus on the quality of their work. Well some can continue with political mission as politics has always been there in the blood of Nepali journalists but there must be some sort of united effort to raise the standards of our journalism.

So days are normal these days; nothing fascinating is happening. Attending a few programs in the city, coming back to the office, and writing. Life is revolving around reporting. Good stories: enjoyable time, not so good stories: just another reporting.

Since I started this post with Magh 19, I think it’s relevant to be nostalgic. Boy that was a damn bad day. As I was watching Gyanendra on TV, phones went dead. Came to office, wrote a blog but found that there was no Internet. No phone in house meant no Internet there too. No Internet meant No life at all. No phones meant life faced hell lot of difficulties in reporting. No stories to translate and fill the pages that were suddenly blank because there were no advertisements. Struggling through wire reports to find useful articles to translate and work under some constant uncertainty (what will happen tomorrow?) was strenuous. Don’t even want to remember those days, particularly that first week of February.

Related Blogs

1. Nepal is closed friends [A blog notice posted from US mission in Kathmandu]

2. Great to be here Again! [First blog after the restoration of Internet]

3. New Kind of Journalism in Nepal- I [Journalism in censorship]