Now that I am (almost) officially done my internship, I think it is time that I share with you all what I have experienced here.
First of all, I have to say how lucky I feel that I have been able to come to India and learn about the media here. The Commonwealth Journalists Association (in particular Murray Burt) is to thank for helping me secure a placement. And of course, Mr. Basu at IANS for accepting me.
For the last three weeks or so, I have been interning at the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) in Delhi, India. During my time here, I was able to go out on assignments, photograph news, work on more in-depth pieces and share my perception of Delhi with the entire country.
For those of you how might think that newspapers are dying, you should come to India. Everyone reads the paper here. Everyone gets the paper delivered here. There are over 2000 daily papers and lots of magazines. My roommates got the Times everyday. I don’t even get a newspaper delivered to my house in Canada everyday.
IANS is a news wire. For those of you who do not know what that is (aka Mom and Dad), that means we produce news and make it available to other news sources. To fill their papers and websites, they take our content and send it out. IANS is much smaller than Canadian Press, but it is one of the largest independent news wires in India and Asia.
After talking with an employee of another largest news wire, I am happy I went to IANS. I sat right in front of the Bureau Chief Kavita, and editors and senior staff were always available to help me out with stories, contacts and ideas. In a larger news wire, this does not happen as often.
I was also not the only intern there. In India, most journalism programs require a 3-month internship. There were a couple of other interns. Plus, before hiring a new journalist, they usually make them do an unpaid ‘trial run’ – usually lasting about a month or so.
I always felt like no matter what I did, everyday was an adventure. Whether it was finding the perfect route to my metro station, fighting with rickshaw drivers about the price or getting lost in a city that is home to more than 20 million people.
I found the language barrier to be the hardest thing. People rarely could understand me over the phone and there were times that I could not do my interviews because the guy at the gate would not let me in the door. Also, apparently me showing up at the army base several times caused a stir (opps).
Everyday, reporters went out for assignments or press conferences, and in the down time worked on larger features. I went out on a couple of assignments but only wrote about one. The other times was just getting used to the culture, taking pictures, etc.
I did go to an assignment at India Gate to take pictures. It was fun to interact with other photographers who offered me advice and *clap, clap* let me try out their nice lenses. I now know just how much I want a new lens for my camera. Hint hint.
My time in Delhi was challenging at times, but I did learn to love the city. When we spent a day there on our arrival to Delhi, things did not go well. People were aggressive and compared to the other cities we visited, people were just not as nice. My mom kept telling everyone how much she disliked Delhi. I would always tell her to be quiet, as I had to live there for three weeks.
After I learned to Metro lines and found some interesting spots in the capital, I learned to like it better. I also worked EVERY SINGLE DAY so avoided the touristy areas and focused on the local places. Plus, trips to huge malls, nice restaurants and eventually finding the liquor store made things a lot better.
Before I went there, everyone was warning me about Delhi. Turns out, it wasn’t because I was a foreigner; it was because I am a woman. Delhi is known for not being a safe place for women. They are advised to ‘cover-up’ and not walk alone at dark. I never really had a problem while I was there – except for the starring and an over-zealous rick-driver. I did however, take some of the advice and wore the only sweater and the only pair of pants I had every single day.
Plus, I ended up really liking the place I was staying. Even though it was far away from work, and I always woke up with a cold nose, it ended up being a great place. Plus my roommates were great. They helped me out so much and I am forever grateful to AD, Minty, Su and AJ. And as you probably realized, those are not their real names. Their real names are hard to pronounce so I used nicknames!
My time in India has been a whirlwind. I went from being tourist in the North, to stumbling around with Dean and his friends in Mumbai, to a journalist in Delhi. I want to come back.
Here are the links to the stories I did during my time in Delhi. There will be more as I am still currently submitting some.