July 15, 2016
Students attended a brief workshop on developing Newsgathering and Reporting skills, on Thursday, conducted by Chaitanya Marpakwar , Senior Correspondent for the Mumbai Mirror, and an alumnus of the school.
He addressed a modest gathering of twelve students and guided them to explore the anatomy of a newspaper. They got familiar with common journalistic terms such as headline, byline, the lead, which is the heart of a news story and dateline . They were also introduced to uncommon terms like strapline, sources, kicker and Beat. Students were seen scanning the newspapers to identify Fairness, Objectivity, Attribution, Sources, Accuracy in the stories. These are the core principles of Journalism. News story writing hinges on principles like verification, simplicity and timeliness too . Chaitanya divulged that number of errors sneak into stories, when reporters don’t verify facts. Verification would entail getting accurate names, spellings, age and designation. He said Mumbai Mirror at times could be labelled Mumbai Error. The students were introduced to the Inverted Pyramid, a traditional style of writing a story, where facts are organized on the basis of their newsworthiness.
Chaitanya informed that a reporter needs to be curious and ask numerous questions. This is a skill he needs to develop .A reporter’s senses have to be alive 24/7. The job of a reporter never ends.He also needs to make notes. These he claimed were the attributes of a good journalist. There are only five non publishing days in a calender year.
Aakarsh Nair from IX C, a participant of the workshop remarked at the end of the session,” It was surprising to know how alert a reporter should be to get a story which is newsworthy.” Gautam Oberoi of the same class observed,” Journalistic writing has interesting aspects and it is not the boring and traditional reporting as we know it . Reporting is all about telling a story. ”
The correspondent from the Mumbai Mirror also shared with the students the frenetic pace one needs to keep at the newsroom. He directed a brainstorming session as the students came up with story ideas for the school. The students spoke about covering the school band practices, fencing, a new discipline introduced this year, nature club happenings, writing profiles on newsmakers and also covering sports as it happens. Chaitanya explained that news covered should have physical and emotional proximity. News should affect the reader, only then can it be interesting.
Chaitanya Marpakwar returned to his alma mater after a gap of twelve years. He played Table Tennis in school. He lectures on Reporting, to the students at St Xavier’s college and reports on civic issues and Politics. He said that he would be happy to be back with the students and happier if the students had written news stories and earned bylines.