I will not start about the crass way certain Hindi-news channels have covered Arushi talwar's case. One channel showed a decapitated head, another one showed a blurred video of a girl in her school uniform taking off her top. Now, as a very close friend of mine mentioned, while many of us can pretend that we know it is a dramatisation, many viewers of Hindi news channels (especially India TV, I'm afraid) will not. So, while you should take that idiotic IGP for maligning the girls reputation after she is dead (like me sying rajiv gandhi was corrupt, no wait...) the media frenzy which followed the murder, particularly after the botched police investigation is pretty bad. There is no doubt the police have been incompetent, but after watching some Hindi channels, I am beginning to think the idea of a regulator for news channels is not a bad idea. Crass is a serious understatement.
OK, recently I made a now redacted post on plagiarism, I should have read the email more carefully and I removed the post when i did. However, that email raised a few points and I have raised those in a previous post. recently, I was told of a photographer whom I have worked with who is changing jobs claiming that pictures clicked by other people are his. That is not just plagiarism, that is technically stealing. But so then is plagiarism. A writer from ET got upset about these accusations, and sent me a mail. The mail is there for you to read, would like to know your thoughts on this, and particularly in a world where you can check everything online. I would really like people to write in here, because there have rarely been meaningful discussions on the topic, remember an editor of HT lost his job because he lifted entire sentences from other columnists.
Will anyone define plagiarism? Those who claim to be waging a "war against plagiary" seem to be unaware of the basics of journalism. 'Any development is worth a follow-up' is one of the basic tenets of journalism. Even if it is minor, you are updating your reader, after all. Despite having spent over six years in the profession, I fail to understand the obsession behind "bylines". Earlier, it was about whenand how one should take a byline.
Now, the obsession has gripped thereaders (or rather warriors) too, who seem to be taking a keen interest in bylines. The "Why of a byline" is the warrior's dimensionto the byline business. It is surprising that in this fast-pacedworld, there are actually those who have the time to monitor who's taking a byline and who's not. To all those who seem to be keeping track of others' work (at the expense of your professional and personal life), I just have one thingto say: Grow up! Stop passing comments on who deserves a byline andwho doesnt because every publication has its own rules to measurewhich copy should go with the reporters' name and which should not.
Plus, newspapers are chasing news, which is developing everyminute, every second and to expect an update to come without thebackgrounder (coz using backgrounder will be plagiarism) is utterly foolish. Are all those writing for DNA and Mint plagiarists? Of course NOT! These newspapers have the policy of giving byline to all reporters whocontribute. A press release or a press conference copy also goes witha byline. Now who is the plagiarist? Will the warriors against plagiarism explain? Come to ET, a newspaper which breaks the maximum number of news, apaper which most of you can't do without and yet the paper which iscriticised the most.
Like all publications, ET may be having its shareof plus and minuses, but nobody has the right to question its policy of giving byline to its reporters. Those heading ET know better thanthe "warriors" that which story should go where and with or without abyline. Increasingly, the paper is encouraging bylines even in routinestories where there is substantial value addition in terms of analysis, comments from stakeholders, insight for the comman man etc. Plus interviews with senior officials always go with a byline even ifthey are talking about everything that's not earth shattering. These stories may appear to be repetitive, but they are not.
A byline story in ET will definitely give you more than other stories onthe same topic will give. And then to accuse the reporter of plagiary shows that the accuser has an agenda. What repeatedly surprises me is the amount of free time people have on hand to keep a check on whatsomeone is doing rather than setting their lives in order. I say setting their lives in order coz anyone with a healthy professional and personal life will not have the time to sit up and monitor eachand every story someone is doing. So Cheer up! Just look outside thewindow. There couble be a lot more you can do than pointing fingers at others. As for ET, join the paper if you have the guts and, of course, the ability. People out there will surely give you a patient hearing.
Why does formatting go for a toss when you Ctrl-C Ctrl-V from Gmail. And this is not my writing by the way, before I get accused of plagiarism myself. Oh yeah, and people have stolen chunks of text from this blog as well in the recent past.