Tuesday, 31 July 2018

When You Love Your Work More Than Life

For the past three days, a couple of photos are going viral on social media. The photos show journalists having food on the roadsides, sleeping on pedestrian platforms, and standing with minimum support over compound walls and barricades.

All these visual media journalists and photographers have been deputed to cover the news regarding the hospitalisation of DMK chief M Karunanidhi in Alwarpet a couple of days back.

The photos caught the attention of meme creators and a lot of netizens kept sharing and felt sad for the journalists. 'There is so much of struggle behind every one line of news you see,' read a meme caption that had images of three scribes sleeping at midnight on the footpaths near Kauvery Hospital where Karunanidhi is being treated. The meme went viral with over 2,400 people sharing it.

There were a few comments that highlighted the TRP hankering of media houses. Still, there were a number of comments that came in support of the journalists.

"Journalists are the people one who take risk without thinking of their life... their salary is too low even though they are working 24 hours... so don't talk rubbishly... every job has politics...engineer n doctors too... so journalist also doing their job correctly... those who talks want to live in their place... then you should know their pain," read a comment by Pricilla Jeyapaul on Facebook.

Similarly, Aasha R Iyer commented, "Tough job and no respect too, yet public expects best news... or else blame the media. You can't get adequate news if they don't struggle... whatever the situation is... (not only in this case)."

When I was reporting from Kauvery Hospital Monday, a senior visual media journalist said, "It's been 26 hours since I came here. We have been managing with two reporters here. Since it was Sunday, some of our reporters were on week-off. So, only we both are managing the show. Our relieving journalists will soon show up."

As soon as social media went abuzz about the plight of the journalists, it grabbed the attention of senior journalists who asked their on-field reporters to take care of themselves while covering news.

"Journalists eating food past midnight on the TTK Road flyover near Kauvery Hospital where DMK leader Karunanidhi is being treated. That's a journalist's life," tweeted a senior journo, who also advised the photographers not to risk their lives by capturing the events from dangerous heights.

A photo-journalist covering the events near Kauvery Hospital said, "The space provided for mediapersons by the police department is insufficient. So, we are not able to enter the area despite the restrictions of the cops. And, when you would want to capture such a huge crowd of at least 3,000 people, you have to climb to a certain height for a better view. For this, the police did not even set up a watchtower - not even for their own purpose."

The sleepless nights and lack of normal food have become a routine for journalists in this era of breaking news. Pedestrian paths and parking spaces have become their bedrooms and dining halls. However, for them, this has become a norm, as they prefer ethics and duty over comfort and life.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, July 31, 2018.

A part or complete version of this article by Santhosh Mathevan has appeared in newstodaynet.com. This is completely based on the perceptions of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only. Photos/images appearing on the post are sourced from various sites across the web.