THE stories came from everywhere — from the frontlines of conflict to the invisible corners of the country to regions ravaged by natural disasters. The stories are varied but they all come with the qualities that inform the excellence in journalism: Integrity and courage. On Monday, these stories will be honoured at the eighth edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards in Delhi.
This year, the awards will be given out for outstanding work in 2013 and 2014. The winners have been chosen from nominations in 15 categories from print and broadcast whose works underline the values of good journalism. Union minister for finance, corporate affairs and information & broadcasting Arun Jaitley will be the chief guest and will hand out the awards. Capping the ceremony will be a conversation with one of Indian cinema’s most popular and influential actors, Aamir Khan.
The finalists were selected from a large number of entries by five prominent jurists — former Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna, HDFC Ltd chairman Deepak Parekh, Sashi Kumar, founder, Asianet TV Channel and chairman of Asian College of Journalism, former chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi, and journalist and senior fellow, Indian Council of Social Science Research, Pamela Philipose.
“I personally found the range of stories fascinating. Overall, the Indian entries represented the state of Indian news media. The range and approach was refreshing too. It’s a terrible job to choose one over the other, and this always happens. This is indeed a contest of excellence,” says Kumar.
“Many criteria were laid down and we pored over what the social importance of the story is. We reflected upon the manner and the language of it and considered individually each of these aspects for the purpose of the award. The scale of the stories was the best, and some of them were beautifully reported. We read about the shenanigans from all corners of the country on a daily basis, but these stories talked in depth about people suffering or getting harassed by the authorities from remote corners. That is the type of journalism that is required. Not the shenanigans of the cream of the society,” says Srikrishna.
“What struck me was the range of the works I had to assess. Even one single event was covered in so many dimensions. Take the Kashmir floods, for instance. The way it was covered from all sides was fascinating, especially by new talents in journalism. This new lot are trained in ways that perhaps my generation is not,” says Philipose, “I was also impressed by regional work. Not just urban-centric journalism, but one that came from distant corners of the country — that was good journalism.”