Birds on a Wire…

Posted: February 19, 2010 in journalist, SIMC, SIMC WIRE
Tags: ,

At SIMC Lavale, Saturday, February 20, is a big day for some students. They are all set to launch their own news website aptly named the SIMC WIRE. That means a news website, which they have designed and edited, and where the content – news, pictures and videos – are all largely their own. So good, bad or indifferent, this is their baby and they have to nurture it and leave it in the safe hands of those who follow in their footsteps. If all the glitches are removed they are looking at a Saturday release.

To start a news website is no easy task, as they have all realized. They have been struggling for the past two months to remove the glitches and rework the design where necessary, to finally come up with a product they can proudly call their own. A lot of them are frustrated and tired by the delay and the bottlenecks. The seniors are upset for a lot of reasons – one of them being a very stubborn faculty who will not take shortcuts and will not allow them to do so either! If given half a chance, a lot of them would probably throw him off the cliffs at Lavale.

But a misconception that students still harbour is the idea of being ‘inspired’ by other newspapers and websites when it comes to rewriting stories. We were always told that external sources of news should be used only to verify facts and for reading up, and not, for what a lot of us refer to as, “lift irrigation”. Lifting stories off the Net is the easiest way out. And we always tend to look for the easiest way out.

Another interesting issue that came up during the work on the website was on writing a desk copy with a roving dateline. For example, can one sit in Pune and write a copy datelined Delhi or Mumbai, with quotes et al? When I was with a newspaper, some years ago, I raised this issue when a well-known editor wrote a copy datelined Georgetown, Guyana, even though the person had not moved from the desk in Delhi! I was always taught that it was unethical to write such a copy. If any of my more experienced journalist friends are reading this, they can help me out with a solution, because I am in a minority, against a majority of students who believe there is nothing in wrong with this practice – unless it has now become accepted practice.

A dummy of the SIMC Wire

If students rehash and pass of stuff as their own, they are no different from the bureaus or desks of some newspapers, which quite often pick up Press Information Bureau and US Information Services press releases and recycle them as ‘exclusive’ byline stories. I should know, because I worked in two newspapers which made such a practice into an art form.

But what is the ultimate aim of such a news site – to promote the news agency or the news? It’s neither. Those are available dime a dozen on every two-bit news site or newspaper. And it is a concept that many students working on the website are still unclear about it. The idea behind the launching of the SIMC WIRE is to showcase analyses, pictures and videos by the students. That way it promotes students as thought leaders & helps in the branding of the institute, apart from the enormous practical training they get. There is a lot of latent talent at both SIMC institutes in Pune waiting to be unleashed and the SIMC WIRE could be the perfect outlet.

The making of a journalist is no easy task and the making of a good journalist, even more difficult. It all depends on what these kids want to be. The future, as the old proverb goes, is in their hands!

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Comments
  1. SIMC UG says:

    Sir, could you please at least give us the link of the website?
    We would like to see it!

  2. mohansblog says:

    http://simcwire.simc.edu
    We are still working on a few things to improve on it…

  3. Nilecemelag says:

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian, Satellite Direct Tv

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