ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Substantiated Storytelling

Poverty Matters: Covering Deprivation in India by K Nagaraj (based on lectures)/Nalini Rajan (ed), Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2017; pp x + 172, price not indicated.


Some day in the foreseeable future, news may no longer live in a binary world of social media versus mainstream media. YouTube channels are already the chosen medium of many chroniclers of the current world, some with greater finesse or wider reach or sharper narratives than others. Tik Tok videos, Insta stories and many more hybrid models of storytelling will be de rigueur journalistic practice. And, while I am happy to report that good journalism in India does not expect to be rendered redundant any time just yet, the newspaper or television channel as we know it is already in the throes of metamorphosis. Whether you see it as journalism under siege or news-reporting 3.0 being liberated depends which side of the debate you are occupying, but, either way, one thing that is not difficult to agree upon is that books such as Poverty Matters: Covering Deprivation in India by are going to be important, key additions to the discourse on how journalism will stay relevant in the coming decades. 

The book, part of the Studies in Journalism series of monographs, textbooks and edited volumes, is a distillation of a series of annual lectures delivered by visiting professor K Nagaraj at the Asian College of Journalism (AJC) in Chennai between 2001 and 2016. The series editor is Nalini Rajan, also professor and dean of studies at the ACJ. According to the editor’s note, the book has also used contributions, in the form of lectures, by P Sainath, Utsa Patnaik, C P Chandrasekhar, Jayati Ghosh, Balaji Sampath, Madhura Swaminathan, Kalpana Sharma, and others. While that makes it a book for practising media professionals and especially those starting out at this delicate juncture in history, the subject actually appeals to a wider audience, including those consuming the news with any discernment, as well as those with more than a passing interest in understanding deprivation in India. For the last set, the book is, additionally, a sort of guidebook on how to take a deeper dive into a range of associated topics ranging from population theory to neoclassical economics, from Amartya Sen to Thomas Piketty. 

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Updated On : 16th Aug, 2019
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