I am a much braver man in the morning nowadays. There are no apprehensions (therefore no snapping at anything that can speak) and absolutely no dread of the competition. I pick up the bunch of our bunch of newspapers with an eagerness I stopped feeling many years ago. I am ready for them. I look forward to reading interesting stuff across the range of papers.
An exclusive in the Indian Express, for instance, is not something to read with a rising rage – actually not rage, but a passing feeling of anger, denial pain, agony and acceptance.
I don’t ask myself why we don’t have it. Earlier, I would. I don’t then look for holes to pick in the story.
There is just no need to throw the paper to the ground and stomp on it. Our own stories look a lot different, a lot better.
Don’t go through a story looking for typos and bad reasoning or context. Is this how a reader feels?
Don’t think so. I remember the well-informed activist readers we encountered during focus-group discussions of the paper. Some of them knew the paper better than a lot of our colleagues.
But I guess if someone were to sit me down and ask to critique the paper, I would also look for howlers, bad language construction or just some number with missing zeroes.
For the last some days, I have been neck deep in things that I never had on my table as a journalist. I don’t have to discuss the merit of a verb in the heading, or argue about a certain angle to the story.
I don’t remember seeing a single newspaper in some of the rooms I have been in for hours. Believe me, the people in those rooms look absolutely normal, and not as if they were missing anything.
In all my working years as a journalist, I have never been more than 10 feet from a newspaper. Never.
That’s probably why I actually look forward to picking up a newspaper.