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Friday, September 29, 2023

‘Redefining Narratives: A BBC Chapter in My Media Journey’

Navigating the corridors of media studies for five years, my innate prowess has always been drawn as the writer, not to forget the technical aspects. Despite my hesitations towards audio-ventures, the appeal of working with an iconic brand, a veritable institution, became an irresistible siren call, no other than the World Press Freedom Day of 2023 held at the university (Tezpur) premise.

I believe it is not just me that says “BBC isn’t just a brand; it’s an epoch in the chronicles of journalism’. Collaborating with Editorial Lead, BBC New Delhi, (Sir) Sachin Gogoi, the very epitome of its ethos, along with the guidance of my mentor, (Sir) Abhilash Bapanasa (currently pursuing his doctorate from Tezpur University), and the adept hands of producer Pawan Upadhyaya, was nothing short of a dream. My gratitude to Tezpur University’s Dept of MCJ for making the dream into a reality.

In an age of digital inundation, the authenticity of storytelling is under siege. With the meteoric rise of self-proclaimed journalists and YouTube newsmakers, the thin line between actual news and mere ideas has become blurred. Every story now faces the existential threat of being reduced to just an ephemeral thought, with genuine narratives often lost in the cacophony of digital buzz. As (Sir) Gogoi expressed, in our quest for immediacy, “happy individuals are productive individuals,” but at what cost?

This BBC experience has been revelatory. Joining the (highly thought of) Nagaland Post has only magnified the imperative to discern between the black and white shades of journalism. The canvas of media is vast, yet the space for genuine, uncolored reporting is shrinking. In places like Nagaland, this becomes even more acute, given the competition and the relative obscurity of genuine local issues against a backdrop of sensationalized national narratives.


 Yes, the media has its glamorous allure. But peel back the gloss, and the stark realities emerge — underpaid roles, security threats, especially heightened for women, and the constant illusion of self-doubt and self-consciousness. The digital realm, while democratizing information, paradoxically also intensifies self-awareness, often morphing it into self-censorship. In such a deafening landscape, how does one ensure that our stories are not mere flashes in the digital pan but genuine narratives with longevity and impact? 

It becomes essential to adapt, grow, and constantly upskill, lest one gets lost in the myriad voices roaring for attention which reminds me of (Sir) Gogoi’s discourse, who shed light on the media’s changing landscape, echoing concerns that are more palpable in places like Nagaland. The rise of informal journalism through platforms like YouTube has democratized news but also raised questions about authenticity and ethics, for instance unverified or poorly reported incidents which wounds you back and there’s the undetectable keyboard warriors who takes back seat – behind hidden names and ID, and while copyright detection is high, it is least concerned about bot accounts who simply appears to not have a conscience or genuine stake in the narrative. These bot accounts often amplify misinformation, drown out genuine discourse, and, in a sense, corrode the very fabric of meaningful digital interaction. They operate in a realm where accountability is negligible, swaying public opinion, muddying the waters of genuine debate, and contributing to an environment where discerning the truth becomes increasingly challenging. The sheer anonymity of the platform provides these “keyboard warriors” with an armor of invincibility, allows them to disseminate misleading narratives, sow discord, or even perpetrate cyberbullying without facing the consequences of their actions.

This digital quagmire, with its bots and hidden identities, has turned the vast ocean of online information into a complex labyrinth. Now, more than ever, the need for rigorous verification, ethical reporting, and a commitment to authenticity becomes paramount though that solution would be around the bushes despite the platform owner clearly aware. In such a scenario, the obligation falls upon both content creators and consumers to navigate this digital realm with heightened awareness and responsibility. While platforms like YouTube have indeed democratized content creation and access, the responsibility of ensuring this freedom doesn’t devolve into lawlessness is shared by all who partake in this digital ecosystem.

As I replay the radio episode, three months since airing, (Sir) Gogoi’s interactions sheds light  on these intricacies underscoring the importance of resilience, adaptability, and the indomitable spirit to persevere amidst the duality of the media world. His words were a call, reminding us of the gravity of our roles and the critical balance between freedom and responsibility. 


Embarking on this next chapter with Nagaland Post while not missing the chance to not complain of Dimapur’s unbearable humid, the weight of these lessons is unmistakable. It’s no longer just about covering events; it’s about etching indelible narratives in the sands of time as Editor-In-Chief (Geoffrey Yaden) would say ‘anyone can play football, but not everyone possess the key skills and what better than here to start off’, few days post my joining and was I assigned a fresh desk in the ‘Press Room’, surrounded with more surveillance of senior journalists (who are welcoming, especially four of them who are closer to my age in polite terms, while MD Sir, keeps detecting my poor spelling (blame my poor eyesight), correcting over the few assignments carried out. 

Amidst the black and white shades of journalism, I am kinda lost, afraid though I am aware I need to  try finding  and highlighting the myriad grays, the nuanced stories that matter, the voices that need amplification. I know not what I am going to be in 5 years, or even 20, but what matters most at present, for a 23 year old – a woman, is the respect my parents have backed me on, in my pursuance of life, the support of my close acquaintance and the mentor who by the way cracked AIR UPSC 1 2023 under Ministry of Mines, (Sir) Keisham Damaru Singh, ensured to travel all way from Dmp to weigh the importance of a first professional experience over my family’s residence in Kohima, of whom I made him pose with my feverfew by the front yard garden because it was practically summer’s best treat of 2023. 

In the digital age where stories risk becoming mere ideas, the journey is fraught with challenges, but with dedication, integrity, and a clear vision, we can redefine the future of journalism. The stage is set, the world is watching, and I hope those reading this will be as poised as I am to make a difference! As Psalm 37:24 on my office desk reads ‘Though she falls, she will not be overwhelmed, because the LORD holds her  hand’ (gender has been replaced), I sincerely hope that this guiding principle will serve not just me, but all of us in this endeavor. For with unwavering faith and the conviction that our work serves a purpose greater than ourselves, may ‘we’ shine a light in the darkest corners, ensuring that genuine stories rise above mere ideas and holding onto our purpose and the guiding hand that promises to never let us fall.

Signed off, 


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