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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Electronic Transaction Act #Clause47 & Journalism

On Monday, 30 September, news came through that yet another journalist has been arrested under Clause 47 of Electronic Transaction Act 2008. Dinesh Acharya, editor-in-chief of Share Bazaar Weekly, was arrested as a case against him was filed by Nirvana Chaudhary, a heir of Chaudhary Group of industries and son of Nepal’s only Forbes billionaire.

At the Kathmandu District Court, where he was to be brought that day, I saw police bringing in people handcuffed together. A thought of a journalist being handcuffed alongside those accused on cases of drugs and violence horrified me for a few seconds. But Acharya was not among those dozen who were brought in an open truck. A police van later brought him – handcuffed but alone and in a better way.

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Rajpal J Singh & The Nepal Digest

In this another part of the History of Online Media in Nepal Series, I present two old interviews with Rajpal J Singh, who created a history in Nepal’s online media by founding The Nepal Digest. 

The Nepal Digest, began in April, 1992, is Nepal’s first e-magazine distributed on email. It was established by Rajpal J Singh, when he was 26 and had finished masters degree at the Northern Illinois University. The Nepal Digest is predecessor of Nepal’s online media and hence historically important to understand history of Nepal’s online media.

Rajpal J. Singh currently lives in New York.

I’m republishing two historical items related to Singh. The first is an interview as published on December 10, 1998 on The Nepal Digest itself; second interview published in The Kathmandu Post in January, 1998. Those interviews gives an idea of his life, beginning of The Nepal Digest, its status then and other related matters.

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How Kathmandu Post went online? – II

In this part of the History of Online Media in Nepal Series, I present the news that was published in the front page of the The Kathmandu Post to announce the newspaper being available online. The Kathmandu Post was put online from September 1, 1995 but the announcement was only made on September 8’s edition of the newspaper through a front page news.

Also, the small notification on The Nepal Digest by Rajendra Shrestha to announce the beta release of the Kathmandu Post on September 4, 1995 and an advertisement published in The Kathmandu Post on September 9 and 11 announcing the feat of being ‘the first Asian daily to be available free of cost on Internet.

TKPfront

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Nepal’s first online editor

In this another part of the History of Online Media in Nepal Series, I present a page (copied and pasted) from history.

When The Kathmandu Post went online on September 7, 1995, it has a link called “General Info”.

The Kathmandu Post

This is the text of what contained in the page that was linked (the text is however taken from December, 1996 archive after it moved to Mercantile’s server from Rajendra Shrestha’s college webspace):

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How Kathmandu Post went online? – I

In this part of the History of Online Media in Nepal Series, I present an email interview with the man who made it possible for The Kathmandu Post to become first South Asian newspaper to have online presence.

When I was trying to write a brief history of online media in Nepal for my blog, I tried to find out the exact date when The Kathmandu Post went online. There was claims that it’s the first South Asian publication to have online presence but I could not find the exact date so I looked the archive of Kantipur Publications and found a front-page news published to announce it.

It was September 1, 1995 (edited on September 5, 2013 after finding out that The Kathmandu Post started uploading on September 1, 1995 but only announced it on September 7, 1995). The Kathmandu Post news said it went online on the University of Illinois website (http://www.cen.uiuc.edu/~rshresth/ktmpost/news-home.html) as a result of joint effort of Mercantile Communications, the publication and Rajendra Shrestha.

Rajnedra ShresthaThe first question that stuck me was who is Rajendra Shrestha and how was he helping. I found out that he was an engineering student who uploaded the news on his personal page provided by the University of Illinois.

After some hard work, I finally found him and did an email interview with him for reference. I never used much of this in any of my researches, so I’m presenting it here:

Are you the Rajendra Shrestha who helped in 1995 to upload The Kathmandu Post on web?

Yes, that was me. I created the first “Nepal Home Page” back in 1994 just after Mosaic (first web browser) was released. Soon thereafter, I put The Kathmandu Post in my web site – this was when there was email access in Kathmandu but they didn’t have the infrastructure yet to host their web site.

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Quotes from Online Media Seminar

These are notes I have taken during the “Recognition. Responsibility. Road Ahead. A National Seminar on the State of Online Media in Nepal” organised on August 7, 2013 by Federation of Nepali Journalists’ Digital Media Committee, which I chair, and Online Journalists Association of Nepal and supported by Alliance for Social Dialogue.

In part 1 of some blog posts from the seminar, I will note down statements expressed by the speakers that I really liked.

20130807_090537_Richtone(HDR)

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Girl at Delhi Airport

Dai, will they put me in jail?” The girl, probably in her mid-20s, asked me after I showed her the gate that would open after a couple of hours for her flight to Kathmandu.

“Who? Where?”

“Indian police here. Or Nepali police in Kathmandu.”

I looked at her. She was pretty; dressed in worn-out jeans. “Have you studied in college?” I asked her.

“No. I got off with a boy when I was in last year of my school; he turned out to be a drug-addict and I left him to go to Gulf.” She said, now more frank and honest with me. Earlier, when I asked her name and address in Nepal, she stared at me a couple of minutes before uttering a name and an address.

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Responsible Social Media

(This write-up is published in April 2013 issue of Samhita – a quarterly publication of Press Council Nepal.)

Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai, during his speech to mark the Press Council of Nepal’s anniversary in September 2012, talked critically about social media and its content. He said:

“Social media have become very useful and effective for quick dissemination of news, quick feedback & quick response, but we are seeing indications that the content & language uploaded on social media are becoming challenge to society, social harmony, national unity, national integrity & individual’s privacy.”

The Prime Minister’s comments were not unfounded given that most of the politicians are criticized heavily on social media. He also proposed that the scope of the Press Council should be expanded to the Internet and that the quasi-governmental body should actively facilitate print, electronic and social media to ensure decency in content & language.

Earlier in February 2012, PM Bhattarai’s comments on social media during the program to launch ‘Beginning of Digital Signature’ were harsher and naturally it met with a lot of criticism.

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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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Shankar Lamichhane Quoted

Shankar Lamichhane
Shankar Lamichhane

I had long heard Abstract Chintan: Pyaj (literal translation: Abstract Discourse: Onion) is one of the finest books ever written in Nepali. Shankar Lamichhane at his best, but somehow I had distanced myself from it for long time. That was possibly because I see life as beautiful and don’t want to get into reading something on absurdity and emptiness of life.

Last time when I went to the book exhibition, I could not help but ask one of the attendants to find me the book. It took more than 15 minutes, and costed Rs. 73 (there was a discount I don’t remember) but as soon as I read the first essay on it, I felt ‘wow, how could have I missed it’.

I have collected and translated some of the best lines I found in the essays so that you could feel what it’s like. I highly recommend reading the book that was first published in 1967 and had won the Madan Prize in Literature!

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(Social) Media Predictions 2013

It’s not easy to predict but in the coziness of warm bed, I decided to predict how Nepali media, especially in connection with social media, is going to change in upcoming year. Feel free to add your own predictions in comments!

I’m prediction that 2013 will see introduction of mobile news applications (for iPhone/iPad/Android) by mainstream media, more social media integration by mainstream media and more media outlets!

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Unethical Misinterpretation by Rajdhani

On Wednesday, Dec 19, Rajdhani national daily newspaper published a front-page photo of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Chief Justice Khilraj Regmi. The five-column photo shows Regmi standing while PM seems to be bowing to CJ with his hands joined together.

The captain says: “Need Support Your Honor: Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai who is also the Minister of Law greeting Chief Justice Khilraj Regmi during his participation in a program organized to mark 22nd anniversary of Justice Council.”

Rajdhani

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