Telling Stories Is The Beating Heart Of Journalism: Naresh Fernandes

Naresh Fernandes, Editor of Scroll spoke about the transition that digital media brings to story telling.


Jaipur, 11 August 2018 — The second day of Talk Journalism 2018, a media conclave that brings together the country’s top journalists here every year, had a packed schedule with speakers sharing their experiences on reporting from far-flung corners of India. But one session stood out for the speaker’s sharp insights into the world of digital journalism and its demands on young journalists.      

Speaker Naresh Fernandes, the Editor for Scroll, had the audience enthralled with his sparkling wit. Here’s a sample: “Long form journalism is little like the gym membership, everybody claims that they have one but only few uses it the way it is intended to.”

He had several valuable pointers for journalism students — over 200 are here to attend the conclave.“Elements of good journalism have changed with time but if you are a young person starting up with the profession today then you do have a one big advantage, you could wear your best shirt to the office and I am sure you would come home clean unless you spill coffee on it,” said Fernandes at his session on transition that digital media brings to storytelling.

He spoke about the transition of the media industry from old printing machines and telegraph to computers and internet. At one point, Fernandes hooked up his phone to the projector and showed old photos of journalists and headlines to make a point about dressing for work and changing newsroom culture.

On writing for web, he said the readers do not want to read a 10,000-word story. According to him, the “best journalism has always been a collaborative effort, not something created by a fat man padding around his bedroom in boxers.”

With the advancement in technology, at a click of a button we can now access government databases, statistics and other information, but reproducing data is not not enough to tell stories.

“Telling stories is the beating heart of journalism,” he said. He also talked about the challenges related to reporting for the web. “One must also keep in mind the interest of readers and what people are looking at, but the terrible tragedy is that readers are often interested in ABC — Astrology, Bollywood and Cricket.”

Text:  Rupali Soni |  Photo: Rupali Soni | Photo desk: Anu Sonia |Editorial coordination: Jyoti Mamnani

This report was filed during Live Newsroom workshop conducted by IIDJM at Talk Journalism 2018.