Daily Winner for: – 10th August 2012
Name of the intern: – Aditi
Institute: – Lady Shri Ram College
Organization interned with: – Inc. India Magazine
As a journalism student, one of the most commonly-asked questions one gets when being asked about an internship with a media organisation is, “So, how many bylines did you manage?” The question has acquired a status somewhat similar to being the be-all and end-all of every internship stint, however brief it may be. And I found myself in a similar position; pushing for a byline towards the end of the internship period, as if everything else I did had no significance without the attribution of that name to an article in the publication, that name that would obviously be replaced by many others in the future, yet one I held so close to as being integral as a vindication of my learning on the job.
Inc. India is a business magazine like many others, but what sets it apart is its focus on the reportage of the mid-size enterprise sector in India. Many people would view it as a relatively small thing to report and write about, but it was in the one month that I worked there that I realised that sometimes good journalism is not only about talking about the burning issues of the day and age; good journalism is not only about holding a burning flame in one’s hand and voicing concerns for what seem to be the weightiest matters of the country; sometimes, it’s also about bringing attention to the smaller things in society, it is about bringing those topics and issues that are usually kept under the radar to the public forefront. And what Inc. India does is write about the smaller entrepreneurial start-ups in the country, all of which together are doing their bit in creating effective and implementable solutions to problems in the Indian and global social landscape.
I started my internship with, if not bigger, but completely different hopes. I envisioned myself writing about things that I thought people wanted to hear; things that I easily assumed were of greater importance and pertinence in the day. From the first day itself, though, I realised that if I was to really understand the working of a magazine news room, it was important to engage myself in every stage of the process of news story making.
That meant scourging the internet for ways to contact various entrepreneurs, doing the job of calling the call centres of the biggest organisations and explaining the “How can I help you?” call attendants as to why it was so important that they forward me to their Chairmen, people that even they didn’t have the access to get in touch with. Then there was the transcription, oh, the most un-looked-forward-to part of the entire process. Sitting in front of the laptop for five hours continuously, listening to audio clips of interviews and trying to make out from the various regional accents of the interviewees, the actual English words that would be understood by the normal human race. Added to that were the numerous processes of going through articles and looking for mistakes and errors as small as an extra gap between two words, or a line in the story having only one word (during my course of the internship, I realised that such an occurrence was termed an “orphan”, and the reason that my boss gave for eliminating such a thing was plainly that it looked, well, unpleasant to the eyes).
That isn’t go on to say that there weren’t fun moments in the process; the feeling of interviewing an entrepreneur and asking him/her about the various hurdles that they faced with in the journey of starting their businesses, and about the sweet success that follows when they see results to the sweat and labour they put into their causes. And the stories that are created out of their experiences are inspiring ones, it is why I guess Inc. India does what it does: that with every story that they write of a small entrepreneur finding a solution to a problem that may seem as small as the lack of a well-placed system for the poultry farmers of India, they provide a motivation, an encouraging push to another budding entrepreneur in the country as s/he struggles to find reason and inspiration in what s/he does.
I did manage a byline towards the end of the internship, but I realised that it wasn’t as significant an accomplishment as the learning I got from being involved in the smaller activities of the news process. It’s the smaller things that matter, things that are as small as being a tad bit more confident the next time one speaks to a professional, or learning that grammar to a print publication is as important as editorial policy, or that sometimes, in my efforts to write and express myself while at the same time trying to weave complex words where they’re not required in a bid to sound smart, it’s just better to stick to the simple. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that make a greater impact than the larger ones.
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