Suddenly, you know you’ve made the right decision!
By Carol Andrade
As a media professional for more than four decades, there have been plenty of occasions when the sheer effort expended in doing a story has made me wonder whether it is all worth it.On balance however, it has been largely good, the feeling that as a journalist, you can make a difference, bring about a qualitative change in lives, being perhaps the headiest in the whole world.
For the last six months, as a full-time teacher of media, I have begun to think that the rest of my life, what is left of it, is going to force me to showcase what I have learned. And it is bound to be as, if not more, challenging than anything I have done before.
Over the past 15 years I have been teaching in various institutions, always at the post graduate level, and enjoyed it all. But nothing approaches the euphoria of knowing that a former student has actually picked up an award for a story you helped her plan, structure and then deliver.
Shwetha Kannan of The Afternoon Despatch and Courier is one such student, and it is with pride that I let her tell you about it in her own words.
“My entry, “Even Men Are Vulnerable” which was a part of a four-part series titled “It’s Rape”, published in The Afternoon Despatch and Courier (when) was selected as the Best Feature in the Print category for the Western Region “Laadli Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity 2013-14”. The award ceremony was held in Ahmedabad on December 24.
“The story touched upon an issue that is not very commonly discussed and hence not reported. It was about sexual assaults on men. I have based my story on a Mumbai-based case study of a 24-year-old boy who was subjected to this crime by a group of men.
“I thought that it is essential to highlight this aspect of sexual assault so that lawmakers could make the existing laws (Section 375 of the IPC) more gender –inclusive. Generally, sexual assaults are always linked to women and children. But it time that we wake up to the fact that other sections of the society like men and even transgenders, are subjected to this crime.
“While writing this story, my efforts were directed to bringing out the pain and trauma experienced by the male survivors of this crime without letting sensationalism creep in. I wanted to make an impact through an effective and balanced story which is technically sound. Though the thought of this story winning an award did not cross my mind, I knew that I could be extremely powerful, dealing with an issue usually swept under the carpet.
“While talking to people during the research part for the series, a strong takeaway was that it is time that efforts should be made towards making this country safe not only for its women and children but every single person living here, without any gender bias.”(PS: The accolades she showers on me are also nice! But the thought that as a teacher, I can reach out to hundreds of journalism students still keeping the faith, is the best prize of all. You can read Shwetha’s story at http://afternoondc.in/city-news/even-men-are-vulnerable/article_98146 )