It was early morning, when I left home to report about Hoskerehalli lake. I got down at Hosekerehalli bus stop and walked for about three kilometres in search of the lake. When I asked the local people to guide me to the lake, most of them nastily answered, “I don’t know Madam,” while others enquired back like why I need to see the lake, where do I come from etc. Once I uttered the phrase, ‘I am from the press, reporting about the pathetic condition of the lake, the public became extremely reluctant to give me information as they feared the local political leaders. This was because the local leaders had allegedly encroached the lake and converted the lake into housing sites at a price. When will people understand that helping and talking to the media will help in resolving their problems?
In an age when information on all and sundry can be had through internet searches, journalists are usually on guard about the veracity of details on websites. Cross-checking facts with sources and verifying claims with parties involved are part and parcel of a thorough scribe’s job. The idiom, ‘From the horse’s mouth’ has never had more significance than today. So it surely does leave a sour taste in the mouth when interviewees ask reporters to please “wiki for rest of the facts” on them. Particularly, when it comes from someone well-established in the field. But don’t go asking anyone famous about this, chances are they’ll say they have been ‘misquoted’.
Anyone who travels by BMTC buses knows that conductors who promise to hand over the change before you alight actually never do. But instead seek refuge in a crowded corner at the back of the bus pretending to have forgotten the issue. Even while this reporter was following up on a BMTC drive to check ticketless travelling, it was no surprise that some conductors chose not to be specially wary of penalties. However, there was a conductor who said that no one has to travel without a ticket on her bus. "I know that sometimes people are short of money to buy a ticket, so I add the remaining fare from my own pocket," was her answer. That's not all, she also said that many regular passengers actually returned the amount they owed her the next time they travelled on her bus.
Sometimes, as a reporter you have the unfortunate task of interviewing people with absolutely no time for research. After covering two assignments, I was asked to interview a fashion designer who was in town to showcase her collection. On my way to the store, rain played havoc and I reached twenty minutes late and was completely drenched. After exchanging pleasantries, we sat down to have a chat over a cup of herbal tea. It was only after thirty minutes of chit chatting, I realised that the designer was running late and that I had been talking to her friend.
(Inputs from Nivedita K G, Aparna Chandra, Chetana Divya V and Akshatha Shetty)