The News Room

Prabha Shankar, our crime reporter entered the reporting section the other day grinning ear to ear. Everyone looked at him with surprise. “I have two murders, a police encounter and an elopement case. My hands are full today,” he said.

The joy on Prabha’s face testifies the prevailing dichotomy in our society. If relatives are grieving over the death of their near and dear, or a father is worried about her daughter’s whereabouts – there is one man (probably many) in a corner of a city who is happy. At least he has readymade stories (the news is generally called in journalistic parlance) and will have an easy day or rather night. (Crime reporters work till late night).

The newsroom is a strange place where an outsider could find himself at all seas. I distinctly remember as how one of my friends suggested me to leave this job as “people in newspaper office were not good.” The suggestion came after he overheard our News Editor giving directions to our crime reporter.

My friend was sitting in guest’s room when he saw our News Editor shouting at the crime reporter: “First complete the rape and then go for murder.”

Rape and murder in an office!

It took me almost half an hour to explain as what exactly our News Editor meant. In the process I had to shelve off money for tea and bund-makhan.

There is another story about as how one of the reporters almost got a sack. One day when the reporter was voraciously working on typewriter (earlier journos used to work on their Remington) when the manager came and asked what was he doing? The reporter dutifully said: “Writing story”.

Within minutes the reporter got a call from Manager’s office that Manager wanted to see him. The reporter went there and found the shock of his life when he was served a charge sheet, which read: “You are being paid to write news not stories. If you wish, you should write stories at your home.”

The Manager, who had earlier worked in a MNC, had recently joined our group so he was not very conversant with journalistic lingo. The poor reporter was able to save his job when Editor explained to the Manager that `news’ for a reporter is `story’.

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