There’s still a future for Indian newspapers, Aussie scribe

Alternative digital media may be growing in India, but the conventional and mainstream medium, including newspapers still has a future in the country with a large population. India today has emerged as a land of millions of smartphone and internet-connected computer users, but there is a sizable population which lacks access to the new medium and continues to depend on print media outlets. The was said by Alan Gray, senior Australian journalist and the editor and publisher of the news portal, while interacting with local reporters through videoconferencing in an event organised by the Guwahati Press Club on 12 October 2018.

31 Oct 2018 | By PrintWeek India

Alan Gray, senior Australian journalist and the editor and publisher of the news portal, spoke to journalists in Guwahati via videoconferencing

Gray also added that Indian newspapers in various languages will continue to serve a huge population with news, views and analytical pieces.

He asserted that regardless the increase in digital access, the basics of journalism in all media forms remain the same. “Aspiring journalists must do proper groundwork before writing a story, whatever the format. Otherwise they might lose themselves in the crowd,” he said.

Trained journalists should aim for high-quality journalism to clearly separate themselves from untrained citizen journalists and neophytes. In this context, Gray said journalists in Australia strive to maintain high professional standards, and enjoy a fair degree of job security and good pay packages. He also pointed out that the Australian press is quite nationalistic, but it is issue-based and scribes do not shrink from constructive criticism.

He also revealed that various media forms in Australia, including the newspapers, radio-television and alternative media, all coexist in their own space in a dynamic landscape.

Gray, who has been on the internet since it first started and presently practicing journalism for many years in Australia after returning home from 15 years in the US, stated that various Indian issues are given due coverage by Australian media. But answering queries from the participants, he admitted that he had not come across any journalist of Indian origin active there.

“We do receive a good number of write-ups from Indian contributors, though the quality is very uneven. A considerable number of unskilled and inexperienced people are entering this field," observed Gray, adding that some media houses seem to prefer raw recruits rather than experienced journalists to cut down on expenses. He said this is a bad move because quality of investigation and storytelling suffers as a result.

Agreeing that fake news is emerging as a major threat to both alternate as well as mainstream media, Gray said this puts a greater responsibility on working journalists worth their salt. To maintain credibility and retain the trust of readers or viewers, he reminded, editor-journalists have all the more reason to be committed and pursue excellence in their chosen profession. Editors who receive stories from journalists in the field will often edit stories to improve readability, but they should resist the urge to make them fit a particular political narrative.