LITERARY REVIEW

'Breaking News' revisited

BOOKWATCH

'Breaking News' revisited

IN an age when the media is seemingly obsessed with only "breaking news", here is a book — edited by veteran journalist, B.G. Verghese — which makes out a case for staying with the story even after it has been pushed out of the headlines and into the inside pages.

Breaking the Big Story: Great Moments in Indian Journalism has nine journalists — representing print, visual and even web — reflecting on the major story or "scoop" they have become synonymous with. Representing post-Emergency "new journalism", this selection includes the sting operation of Tehelka, ethnic/communal violence from Nellie to Gujarat, starvation deaths, match fixing, and the Bofors scam.

The essays see the individuals who doggedly pursued the story go back in time to narrate what went into making "The Big Story". Written without the adrenalin rush they experienced while pursuing the story, their narratives reveal that most have been singed in their pursuit.

Woven together by Verghese, his introduction seeks to capsule the evolution of Indian journalism from a vocation to a profession. Though it meanders at points, there is a lesson in here for the youngsters drawn to the media by the "glamour". As for those already in the media, there may well be something in this book for them too.

Breaking the Big Story: Great Moments in Indian Journalism, edited by B.G. Verghese, Viking, Rs. 295.

ANITA JOSHUA

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