Fancy, expensive and easy, this is what business journalism is generally cornered as. Less leg-work, ease in ideating stories, varied yet definite availability of sources and rising prevalence of armchair journalism make the sweat less worthy. However, as Mr. Journalist says, “ground realities differ.”
The expected primrose to exclusive news-breaks and asset-moving revelations is rubbished on the very first day when the vast bhawans in New Delhi, housing central ministries do not let one step into the premises without what the reception-office calls a “pass”. The young and enthusiastic reporter who until now dreamt of being the next prodigy is suddenly clueless about how to get hold of this much needed piece of paper. First of the many hurdles that a non-PIB (press information bureau) card accredited ministry reporter faces every single day.
Interestingly, a large chunk of news these days is read online but the government does not provide PIB registration to online portals.
Rules of the ministries prescribe that without a prior appointment with the officials and the reception officer being duly informed, entry is not allowed.
Now, before trying to look for ways and means to get in touch with these officials one needs to know who they are.
Experienced Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers better known as ‘babus’ are stationed as Secretaries and Joint-Secretaries in ministries who virtually run the country.
How to get in touch with these officials and fix an appointment?
Patience hath never come easy.
As the legend says ‘babus’ in our country are only next to angry cats when it comes to ignoring. Though, the official websites contain contact details of personal assistants of officials but one needs to wait till the Banyan grows old for them to reply. That’s where senior reporters and editors have a much needed part to play.
If you thought entry is the only canyon, we still have rivers to surf.
The feeling is surreal when one enters these busy corridors.
National policies being formulated around you, the union minister sitting in the office across. However, the fairytale comes to a crashing end when you are asked to leave on account of everyone magically being busy at the same time. Ego takes a back seat and you are in the most thick-skinned form of yourself.
Everything is uphill from there on. Right from getting an appointment to pricing information out, it’s sheer passion for the profession that keeps you going.
What shall affect the entire country tomorrow, the reporter has access to its stem today. And we thought all a business journo does is transcribe.