Just when I’d made up mind this was going to be about one documentary and the award it bagged, about the danger of mutilated faces being brushed under a red carpet, I was drawn to a catch line that a colleague had used right on top of his website — “Journalists don’t blog”.
Exactly the words I needed to make me skeptical once again. If journalists don’t blog, what am I doing here? Note, please, that this very colleague on this very website had posted a blog that he’d written for a paper abroad.
Probably what he had meant was not that journalists should not blog. He was only making a statement of fact — journalists don’t. He obviously didn’t mean they couldn’t.
Contradictions of journalism come in handy and, so, over to my first!
Blog! The very name evokes a guilty pleasure among those associated with conventional journalism for too long but which they will never admit to. Their lives revolving around structure, objectivity, balance, impartiality, virtual absence of first person singular, punctuation, quotes, and finally the endless wait for what matters most and is the last to appear — feedback.
Truth is that for all the high praise the conventional journalists, including myself, have reserved for their own work, and for all the disdain we may have felt about blogging, people at large took our work as too restrictive and switched to blogging long time back.
It was much later that some journalists started seeing value in blogging, for varied reasons, and took the plunge.
Personally, I have had mixed views about blogs. Just like a conventional editorial, I had worked out the good side and the bad side in my mind. So, just like a conventional editorial, the net result was zero. I wasn’t keen on reading blogs on a regular basis, let alone writing one.
Till one day, I read this brilliant blog posted on Facebook that, unfortunately, was a window into what the piece was all about. Yes you guessed it right. It was called “An Open Letter to Maya Khan”.
I have since developed a kind of sympathy for Maya Khan because she was singled out and humiliated in an industry that is full of people guilty of similar and even more serious wrong-doings, without ever getting the flak Maya Khan did (I must admire her thick skin though for refusing to learn a single thing from the entire episode).
Let’s leave that debate aside for a moment and concentrate on the possibilities that blogging offers to mainstream journalists (Ideally, I could have started my own blog and opted to become somebody like ‘kala kawa’ for instance and left people guessing. Somehow I was too lazy or indecisive).
Now, with this blog, I am hoping to generously use the first person singular that I was always warned against. Soon, I would learn to let go of all restraint and structure and be my own boss, without having to bother about the middleman (or editor if you like). And, of course, I am waiting for the instant feedback that took so long in coming in the other medium.
Why do I have this feeling this isn’t the real thing. Isn’t this just a space offered by a newspaper that likes to call itself a blog? But all newspapers have blogs, they tell me.
Wasn’t my friend and colleague right when he said “Journalists don’t blog”? Only, if only, if he was a bit more specific to have said: “Journalists shouldn’t blog”.