Saturday, June 20, 2020

Me, Media and Journalism

I started my career firstly in media marketing & research, then moved into journalism and finally ended in Human Resources. First two careers were short and those were after graduation and post-graduation. However, I gained a lot of experience in those jobs. I dealt with different types of people. In my first job, I was working with a print newspaper. I along with my teammates used to visit door to door to understand the people's taste about newspaper reading, their behaviour pattern while reading the newspaper, their buying habits etc. Based on the findings, inputs were to be given to the editorial team for designing their contents, advertisement for their sales campaign and circulation for focusing where the demand is. It was an extensive job with a lot of travel, asking questions to different people, filling forms and consolidating the research. This was an internal system to support the business growth. In this process, we also used to generate a lot of leads for advertising and circulation of newspapers. I learnt many things about people, behaviour patterns, media commerce and business here. During this period, I also saw two shades of human being, nice and evil. Most of the people treated us very well & at another side, few people insulted us.

After working a year here, I joined as a sub-editor of English edition of one of the newspapers in Maharashtra. This was a local edition. During my college days, I was writing in different newspapers. I also was writing columns on social issues, employability & some political issues around the area. I used to cover political rallies with seniors & was handling education beat that time. This was enough experience for me to start as a sub-editor. While working here, I understood the socio-political issues, writing skills, articulation skills, how to give headlines, how to edit the copy and of course how to get the information from different sources. My job was mainly desk job, coordinating with different reporters and stringers, motivating them, coaching them and getting some good news, and then editing their copy for final print. Editing the first page & editorial page was always a privilege for me. My editorial colleagues working in Marathi edition used to ask me to write for them. I also got the opportunity to write a few editorials. Working in media companies is a big challenge. Media jobs are unorganised. It needs a lot of courage, patience and strong manipulation skills. During this period, I was working an evening shift from 15.00 hrs till finalizing the print. 

There are a lot of hands behind the scene, who work hand, day and night to bring the newspaper to your doorstep. They are printers, designers, proof-readers, circulation personnel etc. They work under a lot of pressure, stress which takes the toll of their health. I used to eat meals with them while dinner and everybody has enough food for others. Today most of the jobs are clubbed together or automated because of the technology.    

Mostly all media companies are dominated by politicians. You also become political while working for them. There are different ideologies, different groups with different mindset where your personal values are compromised. This was the main internal struggle for me.    

It was an enriching experience. I can say I built my personality while working in those 2 jobs. I learn to read people and their personalities. I moved into Human Resources. During my career, I also got the opportunity to establish the HR function in the largest growing media house. I worked closely with the leadership team of media house, got the opportunity to be a part of launches of television channels, web media etc. Media convergence was one of the initiatives that time which is currently working well with integrating same news on different media platforms. I got the opportunity to work with Mckinsey, Garcia design, E&Y etc on different projects in business, editorial and Human Resource while working with this media house. In fact, that experience built my further career in Human Resource.  
"When you work in Media, you get automatic respect irrespective of which department you work. Unfortunately, this respect goes in the head of most of the people."      
Today the media is at a different level altogether. Indian media has created its image, good or bad but it has created a lot of ripple effects in the society. Unfortunately, there are very few journalists who are living with their values. Majority of them have their own agenda. They are spineless & supporting political leaders for their personal gain. Nowadays they are PR agents and spokesmen for political parties rather than journalists. Package journalism is at a high peak now. Still there are few reporters, journalists & others who are trying to bring change in the society and political space. We should recognize and appreciate their efforts.   

However, technology has given the weapon in the hands of common citizens. With the strong social media, every citizen can be the citizen journalist and address the issues they are facing. However, one should be very careful to use it properly, otherwise it may get backfire.   

Unfortunately, the media industry, mainly print media, is hit badly by coronavirus pandemic. The main revenue source of advertisement is in bad shape. People are hesitant to buy the print media because of fear of virus spread. Small media houses are on the verge of closure and large media houses are rightsizing. Unfortunately, those who report news of layoffs are now laid off. Such news will be buried under the carpet of corporate offices of media houses.  

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle; Vitality in Human Resource      

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