The Worm sees nuke salesmen crawling all over India!

A free-wheeling look at current events without an editor to hinder me!

Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Monday, October 02, 2006

More muck being raked at the Mumbai Press Club

Members of the Press Club of Mumbai have their knickers in a twist yet again. This time its over the issue of bogus members.

Okay not all of them are non-existent people appearing on voters lists like they do regularly in UP and Bihar. Or rather a few might be since we don't all seem to know some of the guys quaffing the amber liquid at the next table. Most denizens of the Press Club are only found at this drinking hole and seldom at spots where working journos usually flock to get stories, but that's running away ahead of the story....

So it transpires that few of our former colleagues who left journalism for greener pastures cannot really detach themselves from the Press Club. People who joined PR agencies continue to retain their old memberships since there is no live membership review committee to update the rolls on a regular basis. Others simply fall between the gaps since the rapidly evolving nature of the profession and technological changes have made it so difficult for everyone to define a journalist.

So a journalist-turned-businessman running trading websites can continue to call himself a journalist only because some content leaches out of the websites. Another who runs a small publishing company continues as a press club member because he has styled himself as Editor. Both gentlemen could easily call themselves CEOs of their respective ventures, but obviously the title of Editor or Editor-in-Chief carry a lot of 'bhav' in society.

Similarly there are also members who write for the marketing supplements of newspapers. In the old days their jobs were handled by copywriters at PR and ad agencies. Obviously the change has come with the transformation of mere news to content. To journalists, photographers and proof-readers have been added graphic artists, designers employed in the edit department. And television journos, cameramen and people who are called scheduling editors. (Thankfully, they haven't yet recruited ingress/exit editors who salaam the big bosses as they enter and leave the office, but we might as well be getting there!)

So as we can see there is a lot of scope for many people to call themselves journalists.

Obviously, the membership review committee appointed by the Press Club General Body have huge task at hand. Can four men scrutinize the credentials of every one of the 500-odd journalists who are members? I think not.

I suggest the Managing Committee list every single member's name, photograph, affiliation, place of appointment, and date of membership on the Press Club's website. Obviously, the bogus ones can easily be weeded out by the vast majority of members than by four or five busy people.

Should the review committee go about functioning in a secretive manner, the present Managing Committee ushered into office after dirty electioneering campaign would be open to allegations of favoritism and worse.

So guys, buck up and become more transparent.


Blogger Faultless Wanderer said...

If I were to extend your skepticism, journalists are a near extinct species. I would shudder at the prospect of calling those who cover Salman Khan's Ramzan diet as journalists.


7:47 PM  

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