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The year 2015 changed a lot of things and it continues to go worse. Not just the political change but also newsroom dynamics.

The news establishments are gradually turning into factories. They want to produce reporters who write the same, look the same, speak the same and think the same. The reporters are not even allowed to go out to the field as freely as they used to earlier (of course there are exceptions, thank god). They are supposed to ‘aggregate’ stories (which basically translate to lifting news from other websites and rewriting them). Armed with their expensive mobile phones, bought with monthly installment schemes, they are supposed to become multimedia journalists. In the name of multimedia journalism, they copy what the ‘west’ is doing. Their pay remains the same. There is absolutely no innovation, no scope to experiment. It has become all about survival now.

I keep hearing about the industry from my journalist friends who are very successful. They are working in prominent media establishments. They are breaking good stories but all of them, hide despair in their heart. They are not free to write what they should be writing about.

We are called ‘presstitutes’ nowadays. But, some of these ‘presstitutes’ we know have taken a considerable risk for themselves and their families for a 500-1000 word story on page 4-5. These foot soldiers exist. No matter how much the government wants you to believe that they don’t or ensure that they don’t.

These foot soldiers are called presstitutes while the owners of these media houses, rich industry barons, who formulate the policies to be followed by the reporters, continue to forge an alliance with the people in power.

We did not become a reporter because it was ‘glamorous’ or a ‘fashionable’ career option or because we could not be anything else. We became a reporter because we wanted to give voice to people who are too far to be noticed. We became a reporter because we feel alive when we are on the field doing the legwork. Because we get the most peaceful sleep at the end of the day knowing our byline made a difference.

We are looking for reporters who don’t suck up to people, don’t patronize bosses and don’t write on something which they know will further a specific political or business agenda. We are looking for people who are not scared of legal notices. We are looking for reporters who were vindicated by their seniors or bosses for not towing the line. We are looking for people who, just like us, are misfits in today’s newsrooms.

Come forward if you think your articles are not being published because of political reasons, because of petty office politics, because you ran into personal troubles. This is NOT a citizen journalism website. This is a community of experienced reporters who know, feel, breathe journalism but unfortunately, their stories are not given space.

We were not given space so we decided to create our own.

Nothing can stop us from writing. Nothing can stop you from writing.

Come and join us as a friend and a fellow warrior. Let us together destabilize the power structures within the media industry and elsewhere. Let us break the hegemony where institution matters more than peoples’ voices.

Thank you for reading this.

Soma

Featured graphic illustration by Suman Ghosh
Soma Basu

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