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

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Understanding Journalism’s Aporia

Problematic of Practice as Pedagogy

This article offers a critical response to the writings of Indian editors and journalists by interrogating the pedagogical underpinnings of their essays on journalism. Focusing on the Caravan magazine’s “Media” section, which has been increasingly gaining traction as a critical space for discussion, the article is a humble addition to the growing conversation on the subject of the problematic of practice as pedagogy. In doing so, we push for a critique of journalism at the level of principles, values, and the holy, oft-repeated creed of professionalism.

In the summer of 1876, Januarius Aloysius MacGahan, the great rep­orter for the Daily News, arrived in Bulgaria to investigate probable war crimes by the forces of the waning Turkish Empire. Crossing narrow ridges, climbing steep peaks, and walking long distances, MacGahan became a first-hand witness of what could possibly be described as one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies of the 19th century. His dispatches—termed as epoch-making documents, which were to influence great political changes in Europe—powerfully narrate Bulgaria’s suffering: burnt homes, half-buried corpses, mournful cries of Bulgarian mothers, horror-stricken girls, babes impaled on bayonets, martyred Bulgarians, heaped human skulls, crowds of widows and orphans, and an unseen human exploit of honour. Apart from being a witness and chronicler, MacGahan linked his destiny with the liberation of Bulgarians and in performing this role MacGahan sought to fulfil the “duty imposed on him by his conscience” by standing in defence of the victims (MacGahan 1876).

Can a reporter or journalist like MacGahan—or even a semblance of him—be imagined in today’s world of “professional” journalism? Imagine MacGahan being asked by his editors to take a version of the “other side” or being asked to keep his stories “balanced” and “fair.” MacGahan is among those few from an age which is gone-by. It was an age where the “mediated subjectivity” role of a journalist—journalism of attachment—was at its pinnacle inasmuch as the conscience demanded nothing short of complete surrender to a cause.

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Updated On : 26th Dec, 2020

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