Looking at the distressing pictures from the aftermath of the “Himalayan Tsunami” in Northern India, I cannot but salute journalists on the ground bringing the latest developments to the world. They are in the thick of things, some even at places where rescuers and help have not yet reached.
I remember times as a journalist when I was confronted by mobs, beaten up by police, tear-gassed and threatened but each time I resolved to keep going, excited as ever and looking for the perfect ‘story.’
It’s never easy covering such events though it may seem like a piece of cake to some who say journalists are only looking for the bad news but then, what do readers want?
Surely, they do will never read anything without the ‘masala’, the spice. They will read first about a fire, an accident, an earthquake, the misery of someone in distress and only after that is over, they might go to what the politicians of the day have to say.
It is heart-wrenching to see – and experience – tragedy. True, its exciting at the scene of a disaster but it has an effect on the psyche of the reporter. Back in India, I have had to speak to relatives of an accident victim fighting for life in an intensive care unit, the distraught victims a stabbing spree and the families of people allegedly brutally assaulted and killed by policemen.
All this takes a toll – emotionally and physically. One is uneasy for days – the scenes keep re-paying in the mind. But what it also does is to bring in the accolades and the recognition.
Newspapers and other media have a job to do. After all, there would be no need for them if there were only good news. They would have no work, there would be no readers, listeners or viewers and life would be rather dull.