Garage Newsroom captures the spirit of the big

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Sir Anand Satyanand

(Slightly modified)

I was away in Canberra the week of the passing of Ravin Lal.

I have read the article in Indian Newslink (issue dated December 1, 2019) about him and add the thought that the photograph is magnificent.

It always amazed me how he and you (Venkat, with only a very few others) operated the newspaper out of the Howick garage in a way and with a spirit that captured the newsroom of a much larger organisation.

The Fijian charm

Ravin had a charming “Fiji way” which ensured support gathered in those early days.

I know that when we were both participants in public life, that (former Race Relations Conciliator, Chief Families Commissioner and Labour MP) Dr Rajen Prasad and I were frequently in touch with you (Venkat) and him (Ravin) and those connections are really good to look back on.

Sir Anand Satyanand is a former Governor-General of New Zealand. He was a regular contributor to Indian Newslink and visited our office on October 13, 2006, weeks after taking charge of the highest office in New Zealand. The following is an extract of his speech.

Chequebook Journalism

“Chequebook journalism is a much-derided but increasingly common practice of securing exclusive interviews among journalists. The reality is that news organisations operate in a fiercely competitive market and that ratings or readership figures have become a major influencing factor behind editorial decisions.

“Canterbury University Journalism School Head Jim Tully said that ‘chequebook journalism had become almost inevitable.’ In a commentary posted to the members of the New Zealand Journalists Training Organisation, he said that when media organisations paid for interviews, their competitors would find it difficult to resist.

High moral ground

“In taking the high moral ground, a news organisation operating in an intensely aggressive market risks consistently missing out on stories that may hold considerable interest for its audience.

“Chequebook journalism threatens the free flow of information because exclusive deals deny some people access to information in which they have a legitimate interest and about which they rightly feel entitled to be informed.

“Irresponsible journalists are those who forget to look at their work and their craft. And perhaps the one thing that is most important in all of these is that journalists rather than having a pre-set idea of what is right or wrong, retain an open mind.

“He said New Zealand would continue to thrive as a free country with a free press, with organisations such as the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the New Zealand Press Council acting to ensure responsible journalism was practiced.”

Photo Caption:

Sir Anand Satyanand (extreme right) with Ravin Lal and the then High Commissioner of India Kadakath Pathrose Ernest at Indian Newslink offices on October 13, 2006 (Picture by Narendra Bedekar)

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