Advertisement
Tuesday, Dec 07, 2021
Outlook.com
Media

That Eighties Scoop Show: Indian Journalism Needs A Shot Of The Past

Mid-century pontificators, a golden age and today’s torpor. Indian journalism needs a shot of the past.

That Eighties Scoop Show: Indian Journalism Needs A Shot Of The Past
That Eighties Scoop Show: Indian Journalism Needs A Shot Of The Past
outlookindia.com
2018-11-02T13:28:05+05:30

I cherish, among my scatte­red flotsam and jetsam of memorabilia, a note scr­awled to me in barely legible handwriting by the ­legendary American inv­­­estigative journalist Jack Anderson, whose most widely-read, Pul­itzer-win­ning daily column was the nemesis of croo­ked presidents, dictators, judges, oligarchs and politicians. The note—on the inside flap of his bestselling book, Peace, War, and Politics—reads: “To Indy, one of my star reporters who introduced our brand of journalism in ­India.” (‘Indy’ was my nickname in America where I had worked as a journalist for 22 years, the last eight with Jack’s formidable team of ‘muckrakers’, as his senior ass­ociate investigative reporter). He personally gifted this book to me in Washington, on December 31, 2003, as he lay mortally sick with Parkinson’s and bone cancer.

By then I’d returned to India and led the editorial team of India Today for 10 years, and had taken a pilgrimage to pay a last visit my ailing guru (he died two years later). He bel­ieved in the axiom that journalism must “comfort the aff­licted and afflict the comfortable”, and exhor­ted his reporters to write stories “with barely controlled outrage”. Ours was not a profession for the weak-hearted, but a calling—an unabashed crusade against injustice and all forms of aut­horitarianism, especially government secrecy. We exposed crooked defence deals and illegal operations by the FBI and CIA. Some of us went to jail for not revealing our sources, faced tortuous defamation depositions. We were constantly followed and spied on. Jack was even singled out for murder by President Nixon’s Watergate dirty tricksters during that shameful episode in American history.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Nagaland Ambush: Clamour Grows For Revocation Of AFSPA As Death Toll Touches 15

Nagaland Ambush: Clamour Grows For Revocation Of AFSPA As Death Toll Touches 15

Nagaland civilian killings are likely to derail the peace process at a time when New Delhi was fast-tracking talks with several political groups in the insurgency-hit region.

Putin Sends Out A Strong Message By Coming For A In-Person Meeting With PM Modi

Putin Sends Out A Strong Message By Coming For A In-Person Meeting With PM Modi

Prime Minister Modi and Vladimir Putin have a clear vision of the India-Russia relations and are unlikely to be battered by ties with third countries (China-Russia or India-US).

How To Regain Ashes? KP Has Few Tips For Root’s England

How To Regain Ashes? KP Has Few Tips For Root’s England

England’s Test record in Australia is abysmal – nine defeats in the last 10 matches. The Three Lions last won the Ashes in 2011.

Article 370: Can Farooq Abdullah Save His Father Sheikh Abdullah's Political Legacy In J&K?

Article 370: Can Farooq Abdullah Save His Father Sheikh Abdullah's Political Legacy In J&K?

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah paid tributes to his father Sheikh Abdullah on his birth anniversary in Srinagar.

Advertisement