“Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you’re at it.” – Horace Greeley
Something probably all journalists will agree to. Fourteen years into the profession – Special correspondent at Times of India, Rachna Singh can not imagine herself in any other profession but Journalism. Here is her story.
A brief introduction.
After a Masters in English Literature I tried my hand at various professions. I began with an administrative post with a leading corporate house, didn’t like it. Then switched over to Confederation of Indian Industry, however, that too lasted only for two years. Post that, for a few years I tried my hand at landscaping. While I was doing that I also started freelance work thus writing for magazines: Golf Digest, Inside Outside and Society Interiors among others. It was during this time that I found my calling and simultaneously took up a course in ‘Journalism and News Writing’ at the London School of Journalism.
Where did you see yourself 10 years from the date of joining?
The question, ”Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?” was never relevant to me. For me it was always “take one step at a time and put your best foot forward!”
I applied for a job with the Times of India. Today I have been in this profession for the past 14 years and time has just flown past. I loved my job and still love every moment as a journalist.
What was your interview process like?
Per se, 14 years back we didn’t really have such rigorous procedures over job interviews. I still remember, I walked into the editor’s office with my credentials. After just a cursory look, he asked me to take up an feature writing assignment and revert when I was ready with it. I got back to office after profiling a leading political personality. The editor read through it. “When can you join?” he asked and I was overjoyed. I remember having said, “Right now!”
How different was the profession from your expectations?
I really didn’t know what to expect from the profession when I joined. But soon enough, it was like quicksand. Each day was a new beginning, Very absorbing and absolutely fascinating. Beginning with few articles a week, I was soon anchoring four feature pages per week. Unlike other professions, I had the liberty for flexible working, as long as I stuck to the deadlines. But even in journalism a lot has changed. Till few years back journalism revolved around telling the truth and putting the devil to shame. It’s a bit disappointing, but that is not so now.
What kind of difficulties do you face in your profession?
I wouldn’t call them difficulties. Each day is new and you are learning all the time. I think my job has helped me evolve as an individual and a human being. I owe all that I am today not to any individual but to my profession.
One positive and one negative of your job?
Positive: I love my job. Negative: I love my job. Think what you want.
How do you think the profession has change in the past 10 years? And how do you think it’ll evolve in the coming years?
Journalism has changed tremendously over the last 10 years. Earlier print media was only limited to print, but now we have to focus equally on the digital. And not just news feeds but online stories, tweets and online updates. We have to keep updating on social media sites, several of them including Twitter and Facebook.
I really don’t know where we are headed with technology but the coming generations, I guess, will live in cyber space.
Word of Advice?
No sermons. Find your calling, be sure of it and just jump in the cauldron. What you love doing will never burn you out. But if it still does- then jump out. What the heck? There is much more to life. Try something else. But in the end be sure to master whatever you do and be happy!