Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beat I Opt For:
Nothing but writing speaks out the true thoughts of a human’s heart. Lifestyle is one such beat, which is purely creativity and inner thoughts that lead to writing articles based on the routine life and amusement. For example, writing out a report on a crime scene-theft, is event-driven- it is written only to let the people get acquainted as to what is happening in their society while an article pouring out the torments faced by people in relation to the services of a gas agency, in its indolence, to deliver the gas cylinders only three weeks later than the billed date is a lifestyle story- it talks about everyday instances faced by the ordinary. While there is ample scope and love to write a lifestyle report on everyday instances, it also includes variety entertainment such as the inaugural/launch of Globus Textile Company in a particular area or the celebration of New Year by a club or a society and its members- it is all purely for the thrill and the spirit of having and living a life just to enjoy it come what may be the circumstance. Thus I feel it is a lovely enlightening beat that is moreover used as a relaxation for the public rather than torture them with hard news occurrences 24*7. I feel I am capable to present myself with the best of such reports and cater to the public as simply yet in a convincing manner so as to grab eyeballs as well as continue to make them relaxed and calm through the art of writing.
How do I show that I am passionate towards this beat?
As a journalism student, I have been given the opportunity to understand what the whole field is about. But pursuing my interest as a lifestyle reporter is more than dreams come true. Lifestyle reporting is a field that I am now familiar with, as I was already trained by the Times of India and the Galatta magazine publications in this specific beat. I will ensure that I give my full 200% to this beat. Besides this to show that I am passionate about this beat, I have pinned down some of my interests and how I feel about the same. It is a brief analysis of my passion towards the beat.
I. My favorite magazines
Frozen Thoughts is a lifestyle magazine that concerns itself with the uplifting of standards of living, not in monetary terms but in emotional terms. It talks about upgrading the personal characteristics, behavioral norms, mannerisms towards individuals as well as society and belief in a superior power which we normally term it ‘God’.
This lifestyle magazine is almost 11 years old and has the privilege of having the founder of Alma Mater- Mr. TT Rangarajan, as its editor. The magazine is published in India and has a circulation range of both within India as well as to the foreign nations around the globe.
The various news formats here include Narratives, Interviews in the form of articles, Profiles in the forms of articles as well as a Profile itself, feature stories and the inverted pyramid format is not followed generally here as it is more of experiences and life style than hard core news. The main attraction or the feature of this magazine is that the editor’s note is written in the format of an informal letter where he addresses his loved one (his readers individually) unlike the other editors where they just give an introduction the knowledge with related to the content inside a particular issue.
The topic selection ranges from voice your views to feature stories that include the Inspirational characters from the past and present, incidents that have been experienced by the writers-incidents that have moral values attached to it, inspirational and motivational quotes that describe the way of life and its method to live in just two or three short sentences but have an ocean of meaning. Besides these, the magazine also includes metaphorical phrases from the Ramayana or Mahabharata, the two greatest epics ever known to mankind. Besides this, the magazine frequents guest writers to share their own experiences with life, experiences that teach a person some meaning of life, lifestyle and living that life.
All are primary sources for this magazine as it is written by writers based on their own experiences. Minor columns like jokes are taken from Google. Also the quotations are taken from the Bhagavad Gita and the other two Sanskrit books of the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. The four major faces of this magazine include Ms.Preeta Krishna, Ms.Megha Bajaj, Mr.Ramaratnam and Mr.A.S.Gopal.
Each story is at least 1000 words long and has at least one image/picture that accompanies it. No particular article is described as the cover story or exclusive. Some stories also have blubs to quote specific values and/or thoughts as provided by the source. The magazine has subscriptions and advertisements as its major funding sources.
Galatta Magazine was established on 2009 as a part of the Dot Com Infoway Ltd. With its head quarters situated in Chennai, Galatta is a lifestyle cum entertainment magazine that is dedicated purely for the Kollywood, Bollywood and Hollywood gossips and spices that is a pleasure for the ordinary to hear.
Being an Ad-Driven magazine, this magazine concerns itself more with photographs and ads and less with the stories and/or other contents. The major news formats used here include inverted pyramid format, straight news reporting and narratives.
One of the most interesting factors that deduce my attention towards this magazine is that the editors, Mr. and Mrs. Girish offer their audience a fun filled and leisure oriented knowledge that no other magazine provides- the editor’s note is more about the experience the magazine had when it was interviewing a celebrity for their cover story. Another crucial factor that grabbed my attention is that the layout designing is extremely flexible and is more and more creative with the publishing of each month’s issue.
The major topics covered in this magazine include interviews, movie reviews, celeb-gossips, book reviews, movie audio launch reports and feature articles. The magazine also has a special section that dedicates itself to the movies that are to be released in the future as well as those who had their cup of tea(lots of them too) in the past. It also includes photo galleries.
The news stories are less in written words and more in pictures. The pictures are usually those that were taken as photo shoots, which is again done by the company itself. The magazine also has a lot of advertisements. It can be safe to say that the magazine is more image-oriented.
The primary sources for the content that go into the magazine include straight news reporting and Galatta.com (the website for this magazine). The major faces of this magazine include Ms. Ambili Sashidharan, Ms. Padma Iyer and Ms. Kanchan Balasubramanian.
Reader’s Digest is one of the most internationally popular magazines that has been in sight since the early 50’s. The Indian publishing of this magazine is headed by senior journalist Mohan Sivanand. This magazine consists of stories and articles that are selected from a variety of other publications and are really eye-catchy to the readers.
The major news formats of this magazine include inverted pyramid format, and paragraphs/essays that are generally not used. It also includes narratives and voice your views.
The major story topics change with every issue. Some of the frequent topics include Inspirational stories, stories on relationships, stories on the upgrading of technologies, health and fitness related stories, crime stories(real life incidents), word games( for the vocabulary), quotations and humor(jokes).
The identifying feature of this magazine is that the magazine not only covers ALL aspects of life style related issues but also includes miniature dictionaries that consist of words, synonyms, antonyms, phrases and idioms, which helps in the improvement of vocabulary. Another outstanding feature of this magazine is that with regular intervals, the magazine comes out with essential supplementary books that are very helpful for the readers-for example Reader’s Digest Encyclopedia, Reader’s Digest Home Decoration Tutor etc.
The stories comprise of an image for each page of the article, but the number of words goes to more than 1000 words per article, which means an article is minimum three pages long. The magazine also has advertisements, but it is not ad-driven like other magazines. The magazine gives more importance to the real life stories, followed by advisory stories then the rest. Humor and word games are a must for all the issues and are given two pages each in every issue.
The major sources for this magazine are other publications that the editor thinks important, personal experiences of guest writers, inspirational quotes are taken from the greatest people of all times, advices given by personalities that include doctors, teachers, psychologists, lawyers etc.
II. My favorite bloggers and blogs
This is a blog owned by Mr. K. Parthasarathi, since 2007. Aged at eighty, this gentleman writes out his thoughts in the form of stories –stories that depict real life instances and incidents, that can happen to anyone and everyone without bias by the incident. He also has another blog- Reflections.
The blog is something that speaks out the reality-both faced by the rich and the poor, the high and the low and the young and the old. With each incident is something that tags towards what is happening right NOW in the Indian society-be it poverty, corruption, love, festival-whatever is the recent is the subject that he chooses to blog on.
The blog has more than 189 followers, and about 17298 viewers for each article that he posts. Very devoted as he is, the blog is filled with interactions and comments, which not only can be part of views, but can also be described as a lively and healthy debate.
He uses the simplest form of the English Language, understandable even by kids. But whatever he blogs about has deep meaning towards the moral value of life. If it is Mr. K.P, rest is assured that he will blog at least thrice a week, with interactions every day.
This blog is owned by Ms. L Krupa. As homemaker, her major pastime is to blog. And she does not have variety of topics to blog about-she just concentrates on one topic- relationships. It can be friendship, affairs, marital, parent-child relationship, student-teacher relationship, employer-employee relationship and so on.
The blog, which is updated almost twice a week, is gaining a lot of popularity as she started blogging only recently. Though only a year old, her blog is contemporary and is spelt out in a language that is informal and casual tone that is an appreciation or rather acknowledged by one and all.
Her approach to the subject is very metaphorical- it means nothing to an idiot, but is a world of meaning to the ordinary, to those who might not be sure of their life.
Yet another superbly presented blog, this is owned by Mr. Arindam Dey. Blogging ever since 2008, this blog is honored to have been chosen over by ‘Patsy Blacksawyer’ as the recipient of the Best Blog Award. This award was originated at the Will Oaks Studio, a great blog itself.
Not a frequent writer, he updates his blog almost on a monthly basis. This blogger also has a website to his credit. With more than 200 followers to his list, this young gentleman blogs in the format of third person story telling rather than narration.
His blogs are more towards suspense and thrilling ends that one cannot imagine while reading the story. He keeps his readers in the dark till the climax speaks out the final verdict, which is impossible to take a wild guess either!
His tone of language is simple yet elite. His stories speak for itself- pure and true. Unlike other bloggers, this man has given space not only for comments, but also for criticism and suggestions for/against his blog.
III. My favorite lifestyle reporter
He is the Principal Correspondent for the Times of India since 2010. He was earlier working with the Deccan Chronicle and was with the editorial team of the Chennai Chronicle and Sunday Chronicle as a human interest interview writer, feature story writer and Sunday Special cover story writer.
Right now, he works with the Times of India, Chennai and has 95 stories to his credit, besides his blogs.
Bijoy is a writer who believes that whatever he gives must be the best. He ensures that whatever he gives is consumable which means the language cannot be too high brow which would limit its audiences He ensures that it grabs people by the throats and doesn’t let go until it’s driven in the point. He writes in simple sentences packed with a punch if it is a serious story. He doesn’t make a joke out of it but if it is something that invokes laughter he loves to use humor. He tries to write in a very informal style as his approach is usually dependent on the nature of the story- human interest stories need to be dealt with sensitivity and tact while critical or such opinionated stories need a different approach. Though his blogs are biased in nature, his news articles and feature stories make the readers want to read more and more of the same.
Young at age and heart, this journalist’s articles are more or less related to the hard news stories that are on the rise. He uses satire as the main form of speaking out his thoughts. He is one who loves to pour out his heart, either through articles or through blogging- right now he concentrates on blogs other than his general reporting.
Few of his best articles include ‘Only one Thalaivar!’, ‘2012, Here we come’, ‘Ramayana, now from a feminist pen’, ‘To sir, with love’, ‘Travel back in life’ and so on. Most of his articles are related the “now” of the time period, rather than dating back to older incidents.
His stories are more of inverted pyramid format and interviews. He denies using the form of a narrative as much as possible. Straight news reporting is also followed at times, when covering an event like product launch. He believes that the only possible way to research for a lifestyle story is to open your eyes and prepare a dog’s nose to catch one as it is happening, occurring every second. The thought to rush out, keep on your feet at all times, is what decides on the lifestyle report story ideas, as it is nothing but one’s own creativity.
His stories are simple to understand- they speak out for themselves. Similarly, his language is more of the active voice, and is optimistic in nature. He writes in English, while he blogs in both Hindi and English.
A well versed journalist, his only condition is to keep the news on your finger tips as you never know when a story will pop up- be it follow up or a feature story.
Learning Experience:
Two important things I have learnt from this exercise-
a) That it is very important to analyze any option before you decide it’s the best one for you and that is only by justifying it after you research thoroughly.
b) This exercise brings clarity in your mind and eases out your future work with the same beat as you are already aware of the ups and downs of the specific beat and the exercises related to it.



KParthasarathi said...

In the recent past there has been a marked growth in reader-oriented journalistic content besides ofcourse the usual hard news.The consumer is the king and he calls the shot is no more evident than in media. Lifestyle journalism has come to stay and occupy a large space in the media especially in areas like travel, entertainment, music, arts, leisure, lifestyle, health,food,relationships and anything meeting the human interest. Nevertheless a small percentage of conservatives amongst the people are not very comfortable with this new trend.But luckily a large number of people are no longer content with hard news.The change in demography with increased youngsters,the increased income, the higher educational level and growth in economy portend a bright and larger role for life style journalism.Specialisation in some aspects of this field is bound to happen.Life style journalism is a growing field and has immense potential.I think your choice is not without its merits.
Let your blog be the medium to hone your skill.Do post regularly what all you write on varied subjects.I have found from personal experience that in writing practice alone makes one a better writer.
Thanks for mentioning about my blog and the encomiums heaped on me.
Best wishes,Annu, for a great career.

Annu said...