If a reporter reports that a riot is taking place somewhere, should there be an added responsibility on the reporter to stop the riot from happening? Going by the logic of some self-proclaimed humanists, it is the reporter's job to get personally involved. Instead of reporting an incident, s/he is supposed to avert a wrongdoing; journalism be damned! Well, that's what the tone of debate is nowadays. According to the aforementioned humanists, it's morally incorrect of a reporter to take pictures of a man walking, carrying his wife's corpse on his shoulder, because the ambulance apparently refused to help. The point of contention here is the reporter could have done much more to help than take pictures of a desolate man.
This discontent is misplaced on two accounts:
- You may say that the reporter is only focused on TRPs but doesn't that apply to you when you're on your way to office and overlook so many wrongdoings because you don't wish to get late at work? The nature of a reporter's job is to highlight the rights and the wrongs in a society; which in this case, the reporter has done admirably well. With his report, chances are that the health authorities will notice and might expedite their otherwise laggard services. In an ideal scenario, there would be nothing to report at all but we don't have the privilege of an ideal scenario. So, let's deal with our dystopian reality with a bit more maturity, shall we?
- You don't know for sure whether the reporter helped the man by giving him a lift in his vehicle (if at all he owns one). Who knows, he might have done that? We don't know that, now, do we? Either way, it doesn't matter. Who are we to judge a reporter for not stepping up when he's the one who is at least letting us know that something is wrong somewhere. Without his reportage, we won't even know what's going on in a remote area. Like in countries like China, North Korea and Turkey, where freedom of press is a dream for the dreamers and a nightmare for the reporters.
There's no denying that the standards of journalism are nosediving in our country. Thanks partly to influential journos who believe holding a narrative is more important than seeking the truth. We get narratives nowadays, not breaking news. By the time the so-called news reach us, it's already broken beyond repair. Amid such circumstances, i wonder what more should a reporter do; the ones who are away from the luxury of metropolitan cities? It's very easy to smear someone by taking a higher ground—especially when you're basically being a keyboard warrior in an air-conditioned room—but it's only when you in the field that you understand what reportage is all about. I was a journalist for close to 3.5 years and i did my fair share of running under the sun. You get sunburned sometimes. Going by these pseudo-humanists' yardstick, a film reviewer should walk out of every bad film. Well, s/he can't do that. That's the job. You've got to sit through the lamest of films and then if that wasn't tortuous enough, you are expected to write reviews too. Of course, in film journalism, you neither face the dilemma of clicking a grim picture of a vulture waiting for a starving child to die nor do you commit suicide after that picture goes viral in a pre-Internet era.