9 lessons in Journalism from Tweets

Peter Griffin is Editor, Special Features, at Forbes India and ForbesLife India. He always considers himself as a student. He also handle social media for both publications. Last week the magazine carried a cover story on Flipkart and created a “HO HO” !! Based on the last week’s brouhaha on the cover story and that Peter being a late convert from advertising into journalism, he has listed nine lessons he learnt about Journalism practiced today. He writes in his column in Forbes India magazine :

Being a late convert from advertising, I’m probably the least experienced journalist in the Forbes India team aside from our interns. So I’m always grateful for the lessons the world can teach me.

• It is possible to pronounce judgement on an article based purely on a headline and/or tweets about it.

• A critical cover story must be a marketing gimmick by the subject of the article in collusion with its “critics,” because, after all, as Mr Barnum said, bad publicity is still publicity.

Read the full piece by Peter in Forbes 10 lessons on #journalism from Twitter

Note from Jeetu Shah: Yesterday the full text of the post was published here, but the author objected to that terming it as unethical and directed me to just include part of it and give the link to read the remaining post, which I did. However, I think how grave the crime was it, if the full piece was posted? So, I wrote back to Peter and tried getting some education from him.  ” Lesson # 10 in Journalism”.

Below is, what I wrote back to an Editor, Special Features of a globally acclaimed publication:

Peter, It depends on how we interpret ethics in a certain profession. However, since you are the author and I have committed a sin of letting know the readers of my blog about the 10 lessons you learnt, I shall honor your wish.
I still do not understand though, what difference will it make if I go back to the post, edit it, just include a short excerpt and a link and tax the readers to click the link and visit your whole post? If blogging was my profession (money making) it would be 100 % unethical to earn my livelihood on somebody labour (here writings). And is it really unethical that on a non-money making blog even after I have extended all due credits (authors name/fame, picture, magazine’s name, its link, etc) to the related post, even tendering an unconditional apology, for the “sin” I have committed, instead of just taking it lightly, you are so insistent on making me edit the post and update it again? What will one achieve out of it? Can’t we, as a fellow journalists, just be cool about it? Forbes & you are now globally acclaimed identity and people already know you and admire your work.
Even though you are an Editor, you are so down-to-earth & modest to write that you are ‘always a student’, I was inspired to include the full text of your post (instead of making the readers travel on the net), so that people who know & do not know you, can also admire you (especially after the brouhaha about your Flipkart cover story). In many of my other postings, I normally do what you ordered me to do with your post. But this was a relatively small piece, so I thought an honorable journalist of your stature won’t mind.
But, now I know it’s not you, the designation after your name who is hurt. Thanks for teaching me lesson # 10th.
But, my dear friend remember, it’s always good to get respect by one name and work, as the “belt”(designation) doesn’t remain permanent. Though, I am also a journalist (25+ years), I am also from the trader community being a Gujarati. We usually have a signboard in our shop which says,” These days will also Pass” (whether good or bad). I wish you well, Peter. ~ Jeetu

Open “Bars” – Dozen more reason why Journalism is ‘The Best’ !!!

Old-fashioned journalist newsman.

Old-fashioned journalist newsman.

CareerCast survey about Journalism being one of the worst job has been contested “rigorously” by past & present journalist and non-journalists all over the world, making it a survey of least relevance. (at least in case of Journalism.)

In 1968, the late Dr. Russell J. Jandoli, founder of the Journalism Department (now the School of Journalism and Mass Communications) at St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, NY said:

“Journalism is about everything and everybody, and it’s got to be the most exciting pursuit of them all.”

Jeff Bercovici, Staff Writer, Forbes

Jeff Bercovici who,  in his original story published in Forbes listed eight reasons, has added a couple of more reasons ( marked as bold character below)  and made it a list of ten reasons why that’s not true, despite the low salaries,the long and irregular working hours, etc.

# You’re always learning

# You get paid to read a ton

# You get paid to meet interesting people

# You get to meet celebrities

# Maybe you even get to enjoy a little celebrity

# “Stress” is excitement

# Journalists get around

# And then there’s the small matter of self-expression

# working with other curious, open-minded creative people;

# open bars

Others who read this news-story have also added very genuine reasons and have recognised a career in journalism, The Best out of the lot..

# Once in a while you get to be a part of history. You even get to contribute to the historical story line. Some of those events are hard to cover.

# You learn every day. You can work very fast. You get paid to be creative. You are never bored. You can discern a situation quickly, put together information from many sources and make it accessible. You get a byline. 

# Journalism leads to books, speeches, panels, multimedia, collaboration across platforms and all other forms of nonfiction storytelling where others value your ideas and insights. No two days are ever the same.

# And when you are having dinner or drinks with non-journo friends, you’ll always have great stories to tell.

# Being a journalist is rewarding and fun.

# A hardcore journalist minus journalism is like a fish minus water. This is called obsession with profession.

# Every day is an education.

# broaden our minds: engage, provoke, inspire, and ultimately, connect us.

# journalism corrects social injustices, rights wrongs, and makes the world a better place. Clark Kent actually may do more good than Superman. It just isn’t as showy.

# It is the ultimate expression of a society’s culture. A record of the times.Journalism today plays the role of what literary prose played in the 19th Century and street theater played during Shakespeare’s time – engaging people by telling good stories.  Surely, money-lending should have been the most coveted position during the Bard’s age and government employ the most precious pursuit during Charles Dickens’ days? But who is remembered the most today?

In other words, the ultimate joy of journalism is the experience of shaping up the identity of our times. And if it means working 13-hour days at half the pay, so be it.