By Nitindra Nath Bandyopadhyay
A few months back, while giving an interview, I was asked by a senior journalist, “Nitin, Will you be able to cope with reporting in interior Punjab?”
My reply was immediate: “Why not Sir!” The confidence displayed in my spontaneous response not only got me this job but also a good position within the organization.
No worthwhile attribute comes easy or automatically; it is often the product of training and experience. Confidence in my ability to report from anywhere was instilled in me by the training I received, in particular the taluk visits, while studying at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM), Bangalore. These visits were a part of the course work at the college where students cover rural parts of the country and report on issues faced by people living there.
At first I was wary of visits to non-urban areas, but soon after the first trip, my outlook changed dramatically. In my enthusiasm, I was able to discover many issues that impacted rural India. Following my second visit and several new stories I wrote, a local reporter complimented me on my work.
The reporter remarked, “I have been staying here since childhood but never saw the taluk the way you do. Thanks for raising important issues that are ailing our small town; I will now make it a point to keep these issues alive.”
The taluk visit illustrates what I now consider as important to the training every student must receive to become a good reporter. It is all about learning from beyond textbook. Theory must be converted into practice. The practical training I received not only changed my perspective about reporting, but it also boosted my confidence in reporting from anywhere in India, which now I proudly mention in my cover letters.
In my three years as a journalist, what has distinguished me are the practical experience and the insight I have acquired. One of my senior professors at IIJNM once told me, “Be loyal to journalism profession and keep your eyes open. If you master the technique through practice, story ideas will be seen floating in the air.”
I am still mastering the technique, but the training I received has helped me hone in my skills as a reporter to a level from where I can confidently move forward.
Nitindra Nath Bandyopadhyay
Senior Reporter, Hindustan Times