‘Important’ is not always ‘Popular’

The news about malnutrition deaths, farmers’ plight and global warming fails to capture people’s attention. Have you ever wondered why? Are these issues not appealing enough? Or are we obsessed with all things sweet and nice. Or are we apathetic towards real issues? Or is it a conscious decision of the media to avoid flagging these concerns?

Whatever is the reason(s), it is an undeniable truth that this is an alarming situation and there is a dire need to spread awareness about these concerns and challenges. Taking a small step in this direction, a US based non-profit media organization Fair Observer in association with the United Nations Foundation, organized Voices of the World Program at IIT Gandhinagar on March 19-20, 2016. The program was launched for training students in narrating captivating stories to a global audience on pertinent issues that are bothering mankind such as health, pollution, poverty and so on.

The overall focus of this two-day programme was to acquaint students with the tools of good journalism. There were highly engaging sessions on critical thinking, factual validation and rigorous analysis that are crucial for developing an impelling narrative. In order to take these ‘not-so-popular’ but highly vital discourses to the masses, there is a need to adopt a moral and pragmatic approach.

The CEO and the founder of Fair Observer, Atul Singh, who is also a guest faculty at IIT Gandhinagar, gave ample examples of ‘good’ as well as ‘bad’ journalism in the form of articles, audio and video. Further, he cautioned how the latter can dominate, prevail and shape the perception of the audience. He very aptly said, “Journalism is history in hurry” and, therefore, it is susceptible to lack of inquiry, rigor and credibility. Poor media literacy is giving rise to this scenario where ‘mundane’ becomes furore and ‘important’ fails to attract attention. Good media practices can help shed light on these ‘important’ yet unpopular areas. 

This article is part of PaGaLGuY’s innovative internship certification programme for engineering students. Currently, two such programmes are on – one is an Internship in Creative Writing, and the other is a Certification in Digital Media. If you are interested in partaking and bagging a certificate, besides learning the nuances of effective writing, write to us at [email protected]