Do’s and Don’ts for a lady Reporter

Manasi Saraf Joshi

Senior Journalist

Actually, the very statement is gender bias. While reporting I believe there should not be any gender bias. But still when my friend asked me to jot down a few points which may be called as tips for the young and aspiring women who want to enter into the field of journalism, I had to scramble through experiences of my friends, colleagues from this field. Being in this field for over a decade now, one thing I must confess is that though gender bias exists, but I think it should not be seen as a deterrent to carve a niche in this field. Any person be a girl or a boy if is honest, hardworking and true to the profession can excel in the field. Of course, given the societal norms there are a few occasions where there a few limitations for a girl reporter. Safety, working at odd hours and meeting the late night deadline could be among the few. One of my friends who’s working in the field for many years said, “I think more or less beats like covering corporation, crime and court demand more odd hours and it could be one of the limitations for a girl reporter. All these beats are heavy, with involvement from people of all strata of society and thus, it is possible for a male high rank officer to concede better to a male reporter than a female. Similarly, a lady reporter has to make extra efforts to make sources in these beats”, she felt. Safety is another aspect which she has to be alert all the time. Taking cue from the safety aspect, another young lady reporter felt, “I think while working on any beat, we must inform the senior where we are going and whom we are meeting. Sharing personal contacts or details, phone numbers or residential address should be avoided. Secondly, meeting an officer in an open space in his office and during the office hours is better than to meet him in his office after the stipulated office hours. Close or beyond work involvement with sources, partying or outing with the sources, beyond work related should be avoided. One of my male colleague feels that a lady reporter has to deal with the timings of the assignments, geographical locations etc. I have seen that women reporters are unwilling to go for assignments out of the city. This affects their career growth. But then it is not their fault but the society has failed to give them safe and secure conditions. Another aspect is of clothes which gives the first impression of a person. Clothes should be simple and according to the occasion. The reporter shouldn’t be shabby or clumsy and should be full of confidence. Submitting the reports on the given deadline and establishing cordial relations with one and all also can be few of the qualities of a reporter. All said, precision, perfection and listening attentively to what the source is telling is important for the young lady reporters. To the point questions, homework had done before any interview or special assignment help to establish a better rapport with the information source. Avoiding the length, unnecessary conversation saves on time”, feel a few.

Few of the international journalists who have worked in the war torn Afghanistan or other countries, specify on the dress code. According to them, while working in such countries, women must wear a head gear, wear full sleeve clothes and should not be aggressive or get into arguments with male crowd. Luckily in India we are privileged to report fearlessly. Ofcourse, the young brigade of the lady reporters feel that there shouldn’t be any such guidelines or tips for lady reporters. At last I could only say that opinions are diverse. (Writer is ‘Principal’ correspondent for Golden Sparrow weekly. She has worked for Indian Express DN newspapers as senior


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *