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Freelance writers gain from workshop on newspapers

For all those who have not really had the chance of going through a formal training in the basics of journalism, the Press Institute of India conducted a journalism seminar that was a sort of an eye-opener to the world of news and reporting for those who attended. Although the eight two-hour sessions may not have covered all aspects of journalism, listening to the insightful comments of veteran S. Muthiah, who handled the sessions, was quite an experience for them. The veteran newspaperman’s candid look at the world of newspapers and journals provided a snapshot of the various aspects of print journalism, which could well be applied to electronic as well as new media.

“Write to be read,” was one of points Muthiah stressed. Covering topics such as the structure of a daily newspaper, he described how ‘features’ and ‘human interest stories’ had grown in popularity. More than wanting to know what is happening nationally or in the world, what happens in your neighbourhood or in your city or state interests most. He emphasised that reporters must try and make news as simple and relevant as possible to reach out to common man, rather than targeting an elitist audience.

The seminar for budding and junior journalists was held from June 16 to July 7, on Thursdays and Fridays, 11 am to 1 pm. Over the course of the sessions, participants freely interacted with Muthiah, who for over 60 years has been associated with newspapers, magazines and features services in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), India, the U.S. and the U.K. and whose articles have appeared in almost every English-speaking country in the world.

The topics that were covered included: The Publisher & You, National vs Local Newspapers, Filling Newspaper Pages, Newspapers & Public Relations Practitioners, The Language of Newspapers, and The Newspaper as a Product. All participants received certificates.