Being a political reporter

Four political reporters come together to discuss covering politics in mainstream media.

Jaipur, 21 September 2019

“ See it, Say it”. This four-letter line has been the core principle by which Marya Shakil, Political Editor, CNN News 18 swears by. Marya stressed that the very point of deciphering a trend and understanding the change beforehand has been the most prominent bit of her career. But then again she also addressed the degree of caution that a political journalist has to surveil.

Marya was speaking on the second day of Talk Journalism 2019 about what it takes to be a political reporter and covering political parties day in, day out. 

Rajan Mohan, Dean, Haridev Joshi University of Journalism and Mass Communication, was the moderator of this engrossing session. He spoke about how journalism is the first draft of history. He went on to ask the panelists (which included renowned journalist Narendra Nath and Politics Editor of The Hindu, Nistula Hebbar) about how easy or difficult is it to speak truth to power in the country. The panelists in question had subtle responses to that very notion.

“Political journalist was the top of the heat, and I still think we are top the heat,” says Hebbar, who is also an occasional TV panelist. She also shared an anecdote where how people on social media used to shoot the breeze during the elections. They used to guess that a particular MLA will be losing by so many votes. It even went about party A or party B winning by a certain margin of seats and at the end how things turn out so differently. She gave an insight behind 48 hours of troll cycle for getting the speculations wrong or right.

Nath threw light on social media temptation of this era, and how news sensation has taken a hit. He also said that journalism ethics plays a vital role when it comes to political journalism because politics is a fragile sector and it has swayed over the population of this country.

Text: Qadeer Ehaab | Copy Edit: Niharika Raina | Photo: Qadeer Ehaab | Photo Desk: Sagar Samuel | Editorial Coordination: Rupali Soni & Niharika Raina