A Teacher of His Own League

I’m retired but not tired.
Prof. P. Kharel

Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication P. Kharel retired from the Tribhuvan University recently. A teacher of his own league, I was among those fortunates to get opportunities to learn from him. During our college days, we had to muster enough courage to face him as he was considered a strict teacher. When I was doing my master’s in journalism and mass communication, I asked him to supervise my thesis on sports journalism for two reason: first, because he had been a sports reporter himself during his career, and secondly, I was writing in English.

In this blog post, I will write some of my interesting experiences with him.  These experience with him probably tells us how his personality is.

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Journalism always has a future

Last year, I attended Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at the Ohio State University learning and honing my digital journalism skills. Not only the course, the program was fantastic as I got to know a few brilliant people there. One of them is Manuel Moreno, from Spain. We became more brothers than friends and spend a brilliant week together. I feel privileged to know him as he has a devoted himself in technology and runs Trecebits – a popular portal and is expecting publication of his first book in 2014.

After we both returned to our homes, he wanted to publish an interview at Trecebits. I couldn’t speak Spanish so he took all the pain to send me English questions, translate my answers and publish it in the popular website. Since it’s in Spanish, I thought I would keep the English version in my blog. Here it is:

How do you think journalism has changed since Internet and social networks became popular on the newsrooms?

When I first joined in as an intern reporter in one of the daily newspapers in Nepal some 14 years ago, there were no computers at newsroom. There were Macintosh computers to design pages in designing section. Since then a lot have been changed. Now newsroom in Nepal can not be imagined without computers and media are slowly getting hooked with social networks.

At a few newsroom, social networks are still blocked at peak work hour but they are slowly getting popular as source of information.

The change that social networks have brought include sourcing information and promotion of the news items. Journalists in Nepal mostly use social network to get tips for news stories and share a lot of things they write.

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Summer Love, read & enjoy!

736245_10151201384991275_779231123_oDo you love reading Chetan Bhagat? Or love stories? Ever wanted to read something similar in Nepali?

If your answers are yes, Summer Love by Subin Bhattarai is definitely a must-read.

The newest publication from FinePrint Inc is purely for a joyous reading, something you may want to take with you while you are traveling; and read, enjoy and forget. Well, may be not all the characters as some of them are not easy to forget.

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#SitaAir #KtmCrash kills 19

The burning aircraft! Photo by Bikash Karki. Used with permission. Please do not reproduce without photographer’s permission.

Sita Air dronier crashed on Friday morning killing 19 onboard. Here is how the story unfolded in Social Media.

Early morning Friday, I received a call from Somesh Verma, Kantipur Television’s journalist, asking to walk up my roof and see what has happened around Tribhuvan International Airport. “Looks like a big fire,” he said and my irritation soon converted into curiosity.

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Six weeks in Oslo

A friend asked me why I haven’t written a blog on my six weeks in Oslo. I pondered on the questions… there was no answer.

Sometimes words just do not come to you and six weeks in Oslo where I attended the International Summer School 2010 at University of Oslo was such an experience that I could not put down in words and do justice to it.

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“What’s ISS for you?” One of my hundreds of friend asked me on camera.

“ISS is six-week of my life that I am never going to forget!” And, they decided to put this small interview just before the end of an eight-minute movie.

It was indeed so. In those six weeks, I met hundreds of friends from all countries imaginable – and talked to them. I met the world at a place.

They not only helped me understand the world, but also filled in me the enthusiasm to work more; work better; study more and help to make the world better.

Some of the friends, I am never going to forget – for their talent, love and compassion!

* * *

The ISS Media Studies 2010 with course leaders!

“What’s best part of Media Studies group?” Our assistant course leader asked me during a lunch. (Yes, our teachers did occasionally join us in breakfast, lunch, drinks and dances – and late night gossips!)

“Friends… like that of teenage,” I told her that once I started my professional career, befriending people for true friendship without jealousy and with the ownership of teenage friends had become very hard.

In my group of 15 classmates, it was friendship that mattered most. There were of course ‘close friends’, ‘good friends’ and ‘friends’ but the way we could talk freely to each other, sometime even making joke of each other, and share a few light moments together was just wonderful!

* * *

In Oslo, we were far and foremost two things – teenagers and tourists!

Teenagers because we attended classes; completed assignments; went out in evenings and nights; and most important were free from any life pressure. Also because we talked how boring the lectures sometimes are and wondered around the city for nothing.

Tourists because we had such a busy schedule given by ISS in the early weeks that we felt like they are not going to give us time even for shopping. They were guided tours including that of Oslo city – all of which no one could attend, and there were an excursion tour (I went to Telemark – that was the only one left for me when I went to register) where we were made to feel like tourists rather than students.

* * *

And, of course, we were also made students.

At ISS, not only did I attend four-hour-long lectures every weekdays but also asked to do assignments that needed visits to library.

Looking at Media Studies schedule which had the last week free for take-home exams, we had thought ‘yes, here we have free time’. But it turned out that nobody from our class was seen around for long time during the week because they all were busy in the 15-page essay. It turned out to be the most time consuming part of our stay; and everyone sighed long and smiled at each other after the deadline passed.

* * *

I have no words to explain, but it was wonderful experience, just perfect!

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Falling in love with Norwegians

After two weeks of stay in Oslo – Norway’s capital – for a six-week study at the International Summer School 2010, University of Oslo (UiO), there are a few things I am amazed about. But one thing that I like most is the Norwegian people.

I have always heard about the ‘smile of Nepali people’ and many foreigners find it amazing that Nepali people are so smiling and hospitable. It’s true [we always tend to smile at people and believe guests as god].
Norwegians are different than Nepalis – they are more happy people.

Why I am saying so? Because I find at least three very good characteristics of those people: firstly, they seem to very simple, secondly, they enjoy what they are doing and finally, almost all of them have a sense of humor.

Yesterday, I attended a Norwegian Cultural Evening. It was an evening to remember – of course more for the performances that were truly amazing – for people displaying all those qualities I like.

A professor at the UiO was the MC and was making us laugh at every sentence. He came up with this brilliant idea of giving away a ‘prestigious award’ to somebody who had helped to save the ‘dairy industry of Norway’. Dressed up as a cow, he brought this empty container with a string and announced the person ‘who had in desperate attempt to save the dairy industry have helped consume 5,000 liters of milk in last few years’.

The award winner was the ISS 2010 director and he received the award; wore it around his neck throughout his closing speech and even later.

This is something unthinkable in Nepal. People like Einar (the director) – professors or directors or something like that – will probably consider such an act as an insult (and I have never seen a professor or people of that level becoming an MC).

And, at Natadal Farm House, where we spent a night during our Telemark trip, the owner (who also happened to be a professor of tourism at Telemark University College) briefed us about the farm, the old life and why houses were built in the way they are (of course with a lot of humorous tales – ‘I tell a lot of lies and I have a license to tell lies’.)

We also had two sisters – from the minority Sami community – who presented us their traditional dresses and chanting. And, I enjoyed watching them talking to each other and smiling (even laughing) shyly. That was always evident whenever there are formal programs – it feels like simplicity (or being informal) is the formality of Norway. I just love it.

And, those seven people who presented us the traditional Norwegian dances were all past their 60s but they were enthusiastic and happy to perform for us. Probably they missed a few steps but who cares of steps – all I was watching was how happily they were performing and how proud they were to do so.

Performing people – musicians and dancers – did perform in front of us but I know they were more playing instruments and dancing for themselves – the satisfaction on their faces (rather than strains) was satisfying to us as well.

And, how can I remain without falling in love with Norwegians?

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Experiences of live webcast / blog

[This write-up includes experiences of live webcasting/live blogging two events in Nepal and a brief review of two most popular live blogging web services – Coveritlive and ScribbleLive.]

Webcast: a conjunction of website broadcast, information dispersed to a large audience via the Internet which could include streaming audio, streaming video, visual aids or live demonstrations.

Live blog (also liveblog): A blog or blog entry that is updated in real time during a particular event.

Live blogging (also liveblogging): The act of writing text and/or uploading photos and/or integrating video/audio for the live blog.

* * *

On April 24, 2010, online teams of nagariknews.com and myrepublica.com ran a live webcast/blog for the Nagarik Republica Summit that marked the first anniversary of their two mainstream publications – Republica and Nagarik dailies.

Umesh, Krishna, Rishikesh, Ashok, me, Bipul and Binita at Soaltee.

There were photos, video and text for the program held at the Soaltee Crowne Plaza that ran for three hours available at both news website live.

This was the first time that a mainstream media’s website ran live webcast/blog although the bloggers in Nepal had already played with live blogging/webcast in the past.

On April 28, 2010, the team ran similar live webcast/blog for the Decisive Debate on National Consensus for Peace and Constitution from Hotel Yak & Yeti. It was a moderated debate of nine top leaders (three each from Maoist, CPN-UML and Nepali Congress). The webcast carried video while the live blog carried text (and a few photos).

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Inspiring citizen heroes

Yesterday, my publication celebrated the first anniversary of Republica and Nagarik national dailies with the Republica Nagarik Summit. The summit, experiences of (and interaction with) five selected citizen heroes (‘those who have worked for others selflessly’), was a new concept that many participants liked (and thanked us for).

For a few of us (the hobbyist bloggers employed in the news portals of the publication), it was the moment of first-hand experience of live blogging (‘the first live-blogging by a mainstream news portal’) and video webcast. I will write later on live blogging experience.

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Republica Photo
The citizen heroes of selfless service at the Republica Nagarik Summit. Photo by Republica.

* * *

The first of five citizen heroes who shared their experiences and feelings was Khairun Nisha, a Muslim female social worker who has worked hard in the conservative communities to spread knowledge about family planning (among others) and fought for social justice to women.

She was straight, loud and frank telling about herself. She had annulled child marriages, fought against social injustice, told women of her community about contraceptives and fought through challenges. She is brave!

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