Posts Tagged ‘journalist’


People getting the vicious satisfaction of seeing so many “presstitutes” (their words, not mine) lose their jobs have very little understanding of how newsrooms and media houses are run. All media houses have editorial policies and every employee – no matter how high or low – has to follow that policy. It’s either that or his/her job.

All those who lost their jobs in the latest round of retrenchments were lower and middle-level employees who were simply making a living. They were workers in the printing departments, district correspondents, mofussil reporters and photographers. None of them were the decision-makers.

How many of those who were perched on the top of the industry ladder or were decision-makers were handed out pink. slips? For that matter, how many highly paid editors lost their jobs? I am pretty sure, NONE.

Like a lot of other lower and middle class people around the country who take the bus or the train to work every morning these people too slog to put food on the table, pay for their kids’ education through school and college, look after their aged parents, and wonder every day what will happen to their families if something were to happen to them. What is the fault of a photographer in a small town who rides on his scooter every day looking for the perfect photograph that will fetch him a pittance? And if the editor of the newspaper tells him he cannot supply that photograph to anyone else. he will have to scour the city for another perfect picture to supply to his next client. All this, just so that he can make a living. I know of stringers living in villages who are still paid per word. Imagine being paid Rs 300 or Rs 500 per article and have just two pieces appear every month. And for many, that is their only source of income.

I’ll give you my own example. I began working in a newspaper in 1985 and today I am embarrassed to say that if it hadn’t been an ancestral property from my maternal side, which we sold to buy a 3BHK, I wouldn’t be able to afford my own home on my salary.

Honestly, there is no such thing as a free press. As an Assistant Editor did I have the right to decide what stories we should use in the newspaper? No I didn’t. Yes, I could make a judgement call on a story that came in late at night, but even there the editorial policy was sacrosanct. I couldn’t just take a story that praised Rajiv Gandhi just because I liked him. I had to keep in mind that my newspaper didn’t believe in praising anyone.

Between 2000 and 2005, I worked for a newspaper that was going national with a vengeance. Did I have the right to decide on the kind of stories I could take? No, again. In neither of the two cities where I headed the news desk, could we carry anything that could hurt the ruling dispensation. Instructions were handed down to us on the kind of stories we could use. We couldn’t speak against the State government because it could hurt the business interests of the media house. Any stories that were against the State or the CM had to be vetted by the editorial department in Delhi.

Resident Editors at most of these mofussil editions are nothing but glorified bureau chiefs. Do they have the authority to take decisions on any stories that were inimical to the State government? Your guess is as good as mine.

There are stifling restrictions vis-à-vis reporting on stories that were inimical to the interests of the owners, various individuals or groups. Time and again, stories are killed or watered down for one reason or another. One cannot do a story about the corrupt practices of politicians…One cannot report on a fraudulent scheme run by a big business house… There were so many such instances.

I remember one story that we had in our pocket. It could have shaken the particular state government. The reporters put their heart into the story. It was a perfect story with not one fact missing, including the names of the big-time politicians involved in a huge scam. It went to HQ for approval. That was the last we saw of the story. When it finally appeared you wouldn’t have known if it was from some state of the Indian Union, or Timbuctoo. Why was the story watered down? Because the management was worried that publication of the story would have jeopardised its business interests. Would you blame the reporter for this? Of course not, but when it comes to cost-cutting that poor kid will be the first to go.

A former editor who I had worked with for a short while, lost his job because he wrote something against a chief minister. The chief minister wasn’t satisfied with the fact that the editor in question had been removed from his post, and wanted him out of the organisation, and he was hounded out. And it wasn’t as if the CM in question was clean as a whistle.

Some years ago a senior editor of a well-known newspaper, during another such retrenchment drive, told me that many of the senior staff who were being laid off by a media house had, in fact, been hired on fat salaries only to ensure they would not write stories that harmed the group’s business interests. Now that keeping these people on board was proving costly they were being shown the door!

While I agree that running a newspaper is big business and not social service anymore, someone in the higher echelons of power has to take a stand. That is something a lot of newspaper establishments never do. And that is where the lower- and middle-level employees suffer. And not just the journalists.

It’s sad, really, because journalists, photographers, DTP operators, designers, and all those involved with the business of publishing a newspaper have nothing to do with the policies formulated by the management. They are just small cogs in the big wheel, but they are the first to be sacrificed when it is time for the management to cut its losses. Think of the poor machine operator in the printing press. All he does is run the machinery that prints the newspaper. Is he a “presstitute”? Can he be blamed for the editorial policies of a newspaper? For all you know, the guy is a Modi supporter.

When The Telegraph announced there would be retrenchments I called a former colleague now working in that newspaper. He was just one of the senior editors, a family man, with wife, aged parents, and a teenaged daughter, doing his job to the best of his abilities. He was understandably worried that he might lose his job. I could feel the worry in his voice and I felt sorry for him. I haven’t had the courage since that day to call him to ask if he still has a job.

After three decades in the media I can honestly say that I have seen many of those in my profession give their blood, sweat and tears for a job which at the end of the day, gave back very little in terms of monetary recompense. None of these people were presstitutes. They just followed orders handed down to them by people who decided on how a story should be done, why, and who to target. Those guys are still around and prospering.

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The other day, I was in the bank queue and standing behind me was a gentleman from Bihar, so we got chatting and he said “Bahut kathin hain, Modi jo koshish kar rahein” (It is very difficult, what Modiji is trying to achieve). I asked him to explain, and he said he had returned from his village in Bihar where no one wants Narendra Modi’s anti-corruption drive to succeed because they are happy with the corrupt way of life.

When you hear such things you know Narendra Modi is facing an impossible, nay herculean task, in ending corruption. His own party is neck-deep in it. It is ingrained in the system and some people don’t want to get rid of it. They will fight it to their last breath because for them, it’s a question of their very existence.

The Bihari gent said that in his village, dozens of fictitious Jan Dhan accounts have been opened by crooked bank officials in which money is being credited and withdrawn every month by nameless persons. The account holders, thekedars and bank officials take a cut and everyone is happy. Why should they want to change a system that fetches such returns without an honest day’s work?

When I told him about the cash being recovered from all over the country, he laughed. He said that schemes such as MNREGA were the biggest financial scams in independent India and even Mr Modi with all his good intentions can do nothing, because the rot has gone too deep.  And this is happening in Nitish Kumar’s Bihar, when he is backing the campaign against black money.

Like me, he too was despondent. “Chor hain sab. Is desh ka kabhi bhala nahin hoga.” (They are all thieves. The country will never improve).

The day before on Twitter I had an argument on the very subject with a journalist who said I could not base my example on one instance. Well, here’s another.

I am no economist, but as a middle-class Indian I see around me the willingness to change but there are three other groups of people who are fighting change. The first is the corrupt lot for whom demonetisation has been an avoidable disaster, and if they can’t save their money they definitely don’t want a system which won’t let them make anymore. Look at the way the bankers and lawyers have circumvented the system to issue trunks full of new currencies to all kinds of dubious people, while the common Indian frets and fumes in a queue.

The second lot is the so-called ‘left-liberals’, who share a visceral hatred for Modi. Irrespective of what he or anyone from his government proposes, they will close their eyes and oppose it. The gates are closed for any debate on the issue, and if there is one, it’s a monologue in which they are right, and everyone else is wrong.

For example. I hear people on TV channels trotting out the most bizarre reasons for not going digital. Some of the more absurd reasons I’ve heard by idiots in the garb of journalists, on why poor people can’t open bank accounts is, that poor people haven’t been inside a bank. Haven’t they been inside a post office or dak ghar as it is called in the villages? In a village in Uttar Pradesh, one man says no one in government told him he could open a bank account. In the past so many years if no one in government told villagers that they could open accounts even in post offices, who is to blame? If there are so few banks in villages, then who is to take the blame?

Then there is the absolutely bizarre justification from people against demonetisation. It would make me laugh if it weren’t so tragic. They will say that daily wagers have been the worst-hit because the small factory owner has been forced to shut down. Why the “small factory owner” was running a cash-and-carry business for decades, is something none of them have cared to ask that guy. And it’s not like he just started it. He’s been doing it for years and his father before him. Has he tried to open accounts for his workers in these last 30 days to solve their problem? No he hasn’t. He has preferred to shut down instead. It’s pretty obvious why.

Just go to some of the busy chowks in a city like Pune on any given day. Among the milling crowds are dozens of labourers. They aren’t all waiting for public transport. They, men, and women with babies, are waiting for a contractor to land up there and pick them out like cattle to herd them into a truck and take them to a construction site. Here they will work in the blazing sun and at the end of the day, they will get paid for a day’s work, from which they have to pay the contractor. You can guess what they end up with after paying that. That is, of course, not a concern of journalists churning out reports about the negative impacts of demonetisation. That’s not the angle they’re looking for in that story.

And finally, there is a fourth group – journalists – who are happy sitting in their air conditioned offices churning out stories from twitter feeds and Facebook updates and calling them ‘exclusives’. I remember joking years ago that some journalists could turn a press release into a byline story, but I never realised it would get so bad! They’ve gotten so used to sucking up to ministers and drinking subsidised booze at the Press Club that they’ve forgotten their primary responsibility – to question those in power, and keep questioning them, until they answer.

Not one journalist is asking this simple question of the politicians in and out of power – What was your party doing all these years?” Not one journalist is throwing up facts and figures in the faces of these politicians and asking them to explain the discrepancies. Some of the politicians have become millionaires and billionaires in five years. Not one journalist asks them how they made so much without any legal source of income, except their MP’s salaries. That is left to the analysts and opinion writers, who very few read anyway. So after a few hours of being stonewalled by the politicians, the journalists go back to the Press Club and order another drink, and move on to their next desktop exclusive.

I am sorry for being such a cynic, but I completely understand what the Bihari gentleman meant when he said, “Chor hain sab….”


Having worked in the journalism for 23 years and taught at various media schools for the past six, I’ve seen a lot of cases of plagiarism and fabrication of news. Some of the instances have been so blatant that I have really marvelled at the writer’s total disregard for ethics. I guess a lot of it has to do with our own mentality and our sense of right and wrong.

If one believes there’s nothing wrong with copying and pasting a paragraph from somewhere or someone else’s work, then one seriously needs to introspect on whether one is in the right profession. I’ve seen reporters picking up entire stories from foreign publications and passing these off as their own, after making the mandatory required changes in place, name and incidents! I once caught a reporter who lifted entire reports thrice! He had me fooled twice, till I went on Google and discovered the truth. Thank God for Google and Fact Checker!

Of course, there have been journalists and editors who have either lost their jobs or have been ‘outed’ in the public domain for doing that. Some of them continued in their jobs after expressing regret for ‘inadvertently’ sourcing their material from somewhere else. Can one really copy a report or even a part of it inadvertently?  But this post is not about famous people and their transgressions.

This post is about youngsters who think there is nothing wrong in copying material from the Internet.  I see some of my media students blatantly lift stuff and try to pass it off as their own. I have often given a zero or sometimes a 1/10 to some who have done that and a couple of them have tried to brazen it out, only to realise that they have taken on the wrong person!  They have complained in writing to the director of a media institute against me, only to have it blow up in their face. Like I always say in my classes – a little exaggeration is okay, but blatantly lifting from somewhere is unpardonable!

And this malaise runs deep – right down to the school level. The newspaper I work for recently started a contributory column for school children. They were given a few topics and asked to write an essay “in your own words”. I was appalled and alarmed to see so many children just copy entire reports from websites and send it to us, as their own. I wonder whether the expression “in your own words”, got lost in translation! I am sure every nine or ten-year-old boy understands the meaning of that. Don’t parents see what their children are up to? Or have we reached a stage where nine- year-olds function without any supervision from parents?

I have turned away quite a few such pieces that have been forwarded to me for publication. We are going to call up the parents and speak to them about it. My editor and I both agree on this point that if they are not told now, their children will continue to think it’s okay to copy. We published quite a few original pieces and some others that had some of the content ‘lifted’, because I understand that it is not easy for children to have all that information in their heads. It is only when the entire content was brazenly copied that I put my foot down.

I remember my son writing a really short fictional story when he was in Class II. Having poured through all the mythological comics we had given him, he invented the names and characters and made up a short story! The journalist in me initially refused to believe he had written it himself! He was almost in tears when he realised I didn’t believe him. Of course, a bear hug at finding that his work was completely original wiped away his tears!


Reading about the German bakery blasts and the terror attack in New Delhi on Monday, brought back a few memories. Some time in early 1986 when I was just a year into journalism, we were sitting around after putting the paper to bed when three clean-shaved young men walked into the then Maharashtra Herald office on Thimayya Road better known as East Street.

They said they wanted to check out some affordable, rented accommodation and asked if they could go through the classified pages of the newspaper, which then was the only local newspaper in Pune, worth its name.

So as they flipped through the pages we asked them what kind of place they were looking for. They said they were looking for something quiet and nondescript, where the rents would be low as they were all college students and couldn’t really afford steep rents.

Salunke Vihar, the AWHO society was still relatively unknown but since I had a friend who stayed there I got to know that rents were affordable and being an Army colony, and still a little secluded there was some semblance of security. We too had decided to move there once my aunt retired from her job at Hindustan Antibiotics in 1987, because it was just a few kilometres from the MH office and would be more convenient for me.

I, being the ‘ever-helpful’ type (!), piped in, “Why don’t you try Salunke Vihar, the rents are affordable and three of you could easily afford to stay there?”

These polite young men chatted with us a little more, thanked us and left. By the next day we had forgotten about them and our life went back to its mundane existence of deadlines, leads and headlines!
Then in August 1986, Gen Arunkumar Vaidya was shot in Pune and like I had mentioned in an earlier blog, our editor S.D. Wagh had also got a threatening letter, so our office was chock-a-block with securitymen.

A few days later, we were standing outside the office in the evening, doing a little ‘bird-watching’ when two youths on a motorcycle slowed down as they passed our office and looked inside. A colleague rudely gestured at them questioningly, asking what they were looking at. The motorcyclists sped away.

Quite a few months later, we were in office when we heard that there had been a shootout in Pimpri, on the national highway and two men had been arrested. The cops announced that they had cracked the assassination of Gen Vaidya and Congress leader Lalit Maken.

A few days had passed when, (I think it was) Taher Shaikh who was covering the case, brought pictures of the three suspects to office, before and after they had been arrested. One set had them heavily bearded and in the other set of pictures they were shaved. I had no recollection of ever seeing these ‘terrorists’, but it was one of my colleagues who exclaimed, “You remember these guys? They had come to our office one night, wanting to go through our classifieds!”

Then another said that these were the same guys on the motorcycle who were looking into our office, that day when we were standing outside. Again, I had no recollection since I had more interesting stuff to watch on East Street than two weirdos on a bike!

Later, of course, I was horrified and a little flattered, because I mistakenly (and pompously) believed that if these were the same three guys, they had actually taken my advice and moved into Salunke Vihar – bang opposite the home of Gen Vaidya. He, of course, soon moved out of there into a bungalow in Koregaon Park, but they obviously kept tabs on his whereabouts even after that, till they finally shot him. Someone suggested in jest that I should go to the cops. When I didn’t even remember their faces I would hardly make a credible eyewitness!

I was then a fresher and too cocky trying to be a ‘journalist’. Now, I might think twice if someone asked me something, even if it’s not remotely suspicious, like the time! That’s what journalism does to people! But bizarre as it may seem, the faces of terror are just like yours and mine, aren’t they? How do you know that the person who asks you for information in the middle of a busy street is not a helpless citizen but a trigger-happy nut-case?

Gautam Sathe a friend who died some months ago had once described to me how he had escaped certain death thrice on the same night when Pakistani terrorists hit Mumbai in 2008. He added rather philosophically, “I really don’t know when I leave home in the morning, whether I’ll be back home alive in the evening.“

That’s the price the ordinary citizen has to pay, for the follies of the political class.


It’s been six years since I quit the print media and floundered into Information Technology, Corporate Communication and teaching – I don’t want to call it ‘academics’ because I don’t think I am qualified to call myself an ‘academic’.

But, recently, I returned to the scene of the crime (metaphorically speaking), which I had left in a state of disillusionment and boredom. And I was as excited as a schoolboy entering the school gates for the first time. I don’t think this could have come at a more opportune moment. So after six years, I guess I am back where I belong – this time as Managing Editor of two automobile magazines.

As for my teaching experience, the media student who endured my classes these past four years will be the best judge. I know there will always be those who thought I was an ordinary teacher and others who believed differently. And I have no issues with either point of view. I am a journalist and never claimed to be an academic. I took up teaching because I thought budding journos needed to know what the media was really like. So whatever I spoke in the classroom was what I had experienced in my career so far.

But coming to the nuances of journalism, editing, reporting and feature writing are still only about the basics. I taught the basics because that is the way I learnt it from my seniors. I learnt it the hard way – on the job. After the basics, it really depended on the practical knowledge the individual got – whether in-house, during internships or college projects – along the way. Then it’s up to the academics with their PGs and PhDs to show students the way.

There’s one thing, however, I’m sure of. I never, ever, glamourised the profession. I gave the kids the real picture – of the grime, cutthroat politics, tough working conditions, long working hours, low salaries, and most importantly, the low expectations. I remember one of the first lectures I gave at a media institute in the city, where I spoke about how difficult it had been as a journalist to make ends meet. The kids listening to me had stars in the eyes, and they all wanted to be M.J. Akbar, Vir Sanghvi, Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai or Arnab Goswami. It was fun to watch their faces as I went about systematically ripping apart the facade of glamour they had come to associate the media with. At the end of the class, one kid stood up and said “Sir, you have completely demolished the image I had of journalists and journalism. I am not really sure now, if I want to get into it, at all.”

I am quite touched, when these same kids come up to me a year or so later and tell me that they are still pursuing journalism only because of what I had told them in my lectures. The thing is, I’d rather they see reality. I’d rather they develop the passion that makes a journalist and accept the warts and ulcers that come with it. I’d rather they understand that journalism is a job like none other.

So that’s that. For the next few months I’ll be dividing my time between managing the magazines and my teaching assignments. The company has graciously agreed to allow me to complete the semester. If all goes well (the eternal cynic!) with the magazines, my visits to media institutes will be restricted to the weekends or a few evenings, if at all.

To the institutions that allowed me to interact with their students, and to the students who thought I had made a difference to their lives and to their understanding of journalism…a big thank you, it was fun!

The fear of flying….

Posted: September 19, 2010 in journalism
Tags: ,

Just the other day I met a publisher who asked me to work on a 50-page English magazine for the youth – a serious magazine which would talk about positive thinking, career, and personality development but with a few ‘light’ features, without any stress on fashion, gossip, scandal or films. The gentleman also has a Hindi magazine on the same lines and suggested that articles could be transcribed from Hindi to English and reworked to suit an English readership.

It’s difficult to bring out a magazine today which doesn’t have anything on who’s sleeping with whom or who’s bitching about whom or who’s wearing (or not wearing) the latest in fashion! But I’m willing to give it a shot. But where do I find the students who will work with me on this venture?

Let me take you back a few years. In the midst of the pressures on the News Desk of various newspapers where I worked, whenever I wanted to show my irritation at some goof up by one of my juniors, I would stand in the middle of the copy desk and say in mock exasperation, “Who the hell hired you bunch of no-hopers?” And everyone at the copy desk would cheerfully shout back, “You did!”

It was said in fun, but I appreciated the hard work (though I hardly ever said it!) the people at the Desk put in. They were willing to work on any of the beats they were assigned. The guy working on the World desk would willingly swap places with the copy editor on the Nation desk. It was another matter that we had moved them to the respective desks after judging their strengths and weaknesses, so they were told to stay put. The point is they were willing.

It’s in marked contrast to what I’ve seen these past few years in the media schools that I have taught. A lot of kids don’t want to try something new. They have already decided they want to write ONLY on politics, fashion, lifestyle, or whatever subject, they find interesting, even before they fully comprehended the term ‘reporting and writing’ in its entirety. I’ve also had students who’ve come to me and said they would love to write but have no idea what they can write on. I tell them to jot down their interests and come back to me. I don’t know whether it’s the fees they’ve paid or the humongous curriculum that stops them for attempting something out of the ordinary. But I don’t hear from many of them after that. Is it that they don’t like the challenge and don’t want to think?

How anyone can become a ‘complete’ reporter if one doesn’t attempt to write on every subject, at least in their formative years, is a mystery to me. I wonder what will happen to them when sometime, somewhere their superiors tell them they just aren’t good enough at what they’re doing – and they realise they can’t do anything else, because they never tried to when they had the opportunity.

The college website and the newspaper published by students of an institute where I teach is probably an exception to this rule. Since its launch last year, the students have worked on both the portal and the newspaper with a passion and commitment that I don’t see in most kids today. Many of them have put aside their personal differences and egos and diligently worked on the magazine and they are now reaping the rewards. Seeing the advantages and the benefits, now even the undergraduate kids of the same institute are all set to launch their own portal and newspaper.

No one – and I mean no one – in all my years in journalism ever told me not to write on a particular subject. And nor did I feel that I could not or should not – at least not in the beginning of my career. With the help of a red ink pen, my seniors showed me the way and left it to me to decide how good or bad how I was! So, there was a lot of crappy and sloppy stuff that I wrote but it was a wonderful learning experience. But that did not deter me. It made me realise that there were certain subjects that I could not write on and should not attempt to. But that came later in my career.

So the publisher has now asked me to put together a team of eight to ten youngsters, who can write, transcribe and design the magazine. I am wondering who has the courage or the drive to take on that responsibility. The thought of forming and then leading a team, is just the ‘kick’ a student requires. Sadly, the answer I get most often is “I am not cut out for this.” Is it the fear of failure that stops them from taking up a challenge?

As Richard Bach said in Jonathan Livingston Seagull, “How much more there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!

Is there anyone willing to prove me wrong?


There was this joke I heard about God some time back and it went something like this:
There was an old man sitting on his porch watching the rain fall. Pretty soon the water was coming over the porch and into the house. The old man was still sitting there when a rescue boat came and the people on board said, “You can’t stay here you have to come with us.”
The old man replied, “No, God will save me.” So the boat left. A little while later the water was up to the second floor, and another rescue boat came, and again told the old man he had to come with them.
The old man again replied, “God will save me.” So the boat left him again.
An hour later the water was up to the roof and a third rescue boat approached the old man, and tried to get him to come with them. Again the old man refused to leave stating that, “God will save him.” So the boat left him again.
Soon after, the man drowns and goes to heaven, and when he sees God he asks him, “Why didn’t you save me?”
God replied, “You dummy! I tried. I sent three boats after you!!”

While I would never put a journalist in His category, they face this predicament time and again. People expect them to ‘do’ everything and if things don’t get done, it’s because journalists are not doing their job. It’s bloody unfair. Why should the journalist carry the world’s burden and expectations on his or her shoulders?

I thought about this last night while chatting with a student on Facebook. She believed that it was the media’s duty to ‘change’ the world. My suggestion to all those kids who harbour this misconception is to join the priesthood, since they (as in priests) believe they have direct access to Him and we all know of His powers and what He can do when He takes it upon Himself. But as the joke proves, even He expects you get off your butt and DO something!

“You Press guys should do something” or “You Press guys don’t do anything!” I’ve heard these two comments for as long as I can remember, and I think these are really stupid assumptions. It’s NOT the journalist’s job to change the world or even attempt to. His or her job is to write about these issues and hope that somewhere along the way the people will bring about the change. A journalist is not a civic official, lawyer or policeman. It is their job to ensure that things get done and not the journalist’s. Yes, there are times that a journalist, out of his or her sense of duty, also goes to court. But that is the journalist’s prerogative and is not, as some people would have us believe, binding on them. Newspapers, time and again, highlight the corruption of politicians. So how is it that people continue to vote for these same politicians, every five years?

Let me cite a very small and common example from our daily lives. My local newspaper carries a picture, now and then, of some overflowing garbage dump somewhere in the city. By publishing the picture the newspaper expects the civic authorities to act and while pictures keep appearing and the civic authorities keep cleaning up, the garbage dumps continue to overflow.

I also sent a picture to a local newspaper, of a garbage dump strategically placed a few metres outside the housing complex where I stay, because I find the stench unbearable every time I walk past the dump. I am, like every other citizen, hoping that the picture will galvanise the authorities into cleaning up the place.


I realised after I sent the picture, that I had committed a mistake. The hard-working conservancy workers come there every morning with their brooms and diligently clean up the area around the garbage bin and put all the rubbish in the bin. A few hours later it’s back where it shouldn’t be – outside. Why? Because, people living in the area walk up to the bin with their garbage, and instead of throwing it inside, just dump it outside and walk away. So you see, the city does not need ten thousand more conservancy workers to keep this city clean. It needs people – the very people who complain that the “Press doesn’t do anything – to learn some basic civic sense.