I work as a copy editor on the lifestyle and entertainment supplement of North India’s largest selling national daily. And, I am stereotyped by what I do for a living. I also follow supermodels on twitter, not just to know what Heidi Klum is wearing for Halloween, but also because their twitter bios are desperately written to erase the branding of frivolity on their well-sculpted figures, telling that ‘one is not defined by the job they do’. It is comforting and I truly empathize. Like me and those Victoria’s Angels, there are also male designers at my office, who make provocative cut-outs of bikini clad women, but that’s not them – one listens to Pablo Neruda’s poems on Youtube, while another reads Greek classics in-between work.
I wear makeup and heels to work, and that’s me! I mull over editorials, news reports, documentaries, discuss them with my friends, fume over issues of injustice and tweet about them, and that’s also me! I am at the grassroots of the mainstream media – a small fish in a very big pond – and I am not always able to comprehend what comes out in the media, and why? I feel a vacuum. But, I do know what I would want to know and tell the readers.
About to turn 25, I am as shy as a child, also as curious, and feel that I have a right to question. But with an acquired grace of an adult, I also expect that my queries might be turned down, doors might be shut on my face and I might be fired for my audacity to question the ones on the pinnacle of the fourth estate pyramid. Regardless, I muster the courage to knock the doors of senior editors in my office. I have a question, maybe they will answer, if they have the patience to consider a 3-year-old’s insistence to define life?
My question is perhaps as childish, and equally difficult to answer. I want to know from those on the top that what is the role of the media today? Are we to inform, report as journalists and give opinion as editors? Or, are we supposed to play market savvy and build a platform for sensational allegations, belligerence and mockery?