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  Sneak Peek on What It Takes to be a Broadcast Journalist

Sneak Peek on What It Takes to be a Broadcast Journalist

 In Blog

This is an interesting look at what it takes to be a broadcast journalist out in the field, covering people's movements - and NO modcons anywhere. You need to be tough, adaptable and fiercely committed to the job. Otherwise, find something else to do. BTW, the writer is an alumnus and she is currently with Mirror Now as. Senior correspondent. This article was originally posted on Mirror Now

Behind the scenes – A peek into the lives of protesting farmers

In the process of delivering news and reporting the woes of the masses, there are often times that the individual’s story is lost in transition for the want of addressing the issue that haunts thousands.

It is a well-known fact that in films, a lot happens behind the scenes that doesn't make it to the screen. The same is the case with TV news. In the process of delivering news and reporting the woes of the masses, there are often times that the individual’s story is lost in transition for the want of addressing the issue that haunts thousands.

On February 20, 2019, a sea of 15,000 tribal farmers from all over Maharashtra started a long march from Nashik to Mumbai. They had done a similar march in 2018 to make the government aware of their hardships. 

The protest was reported extensively. The key issues, demands of the farmers, their deplorable condition was highlighted across media. However, there were quite a few stories that could not find time on screen.

As my cameraperson Uday and I were there with the farmers for two days, we got a chance to take a closer look into their lives. 

It started on the morning of February 20, from a place called Dindori, 28 kilometres from Nashik. The farmers from nearby areas started gathering to walk to Nashik and join the long march. We started speaking to the farmers and tried to capture some moments. When I was taking some pictures, an old tribal farmer asked me to click him. He gave me clear instructions that it should be a ‘good picture’ and he should look ‘happy’.

His words were simple and hard-hitting, “I want to show the government that we farmers smile even in the worst situations.”

Being an average photographer, I had to click 5-6 pictures, and having exacting standards, it was only the sixth picture which according to him, was OK.

We went to Nashik from Dindori with the farmers. On the next morning, the long march started and we also started walking with them. After walking for six hours, the farmers stopped at Rajur Bahula for lunch. As we were continuously reporting, the farmers made sure we were hydrated as it was a hot afternoon. They only had one thing to say 'tey aaple waaste kartey.'

Meanwhile, the farmers' leaders were in a meeting with the representatives of the Maharashtra government. It was taking hours and we all were waiting on the same ground. 

There were no arrangements for makeshift toilets. Once it became dark, my bladder was not ready to cooperate with me anymore. I asked the women farmers about how they were managing. They told me that they had to answer nature’s calls in the open. I was not shocked to hear that. 

I don't know why, but somehow the people (read MEN) of our country are convinced that women don't need to pee. And even if they want to, they definitely don't need washrooms!

Ranjana, Ittha Bai and two more women came to my rescue. They took me near some bushes and told me to get on with my business. I couldn't, as there were people around. Ranjana assured me no one would look, but my bladder wouldn't cooperate. Then those wonderful, generous, big-hearted women used the pallus of their sarees and made a semi-circle behind me. I was never in a funnier situation before this, and trust me, I have been in many of them. Four women witnessing the process, whatever happened to privacy!

Anyway, I finished as quickly as possible. But I laughed really hard once I was done. And marvelled at how women (especially rural women) in this country have to compromise their privacy on a daily basis. I couldn't thank the women enough. After their kind act, they also posed for me, happily.

After a couple of hours, my stomach started begging for food. The story was developing and we did not have anything to eat. Once again, the farmers came to our rescue. They did what they are doing since centuries, they fed us.

The farmers were sitting in groups and eating peacefully. We sat with them and started eating.

The way people were sitting, the way the food was served, the way people were eating… it all was in a beautiful rhythm. Sunita came and sat next to me. She told me that she came to give me company while I was eating. She told me that she saw me clicking pictures and wanted to see them. After that, she asked me to click her picture. I was more than happy to do as requested. Her simplicity was so unadulterated.

At midnight, the march was called off as the government agreed to fulfil the demands of the farmers. While leaving the grounds, we also clicked our heroes in uniform, the cops who walked with the farmers and were with them on that tiring and never-ending day. 

After our last live, walkthrough and PTC, our work was over but the cops were still there and they had to be on the duty until all the farmers left the ground safely.

The views expressed by the author are personal and do not in any way represent those of Times Network.

Santia Gora

About Santia Gora

Santia Gora is a Senior Correspondent at Mirror Now. She completed her Diploma in Journalism at St Pauls Institute of Communication Education. She has over 5 years of experience as a Journalist and has worked for various media channels through the course of her career

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