Writing Skill Development Workshop for Rural Reporting, Leh, Ladakh
Charkha organized a four-day capacity building workshop, titled “Writing Skill Development Workshop for Rural Reporting’ in Leh, Ladakh from 20-23 March 2018. This was held in coordination with the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust (SLC- IT) an organisation that works to promote community awareness on wildlife conservation, natural habitats and environmental protection. The workshop was held in a large well-lit airy hall in SLC’s premises –with seating on the ground and attractive low tables embossed with colourful motifs.
the media on development issues, with a 5 W’s and 1 H written for the first time in English,
Hindi and Bodhi (Ladakhi)
Objective of the Workshop
The workshop was aimed at building capacities amongst young people to write for the media on development issues, with a focus on highlighting voices of marginalised communities.
Participants working in groups discussing the various issues faced by the people of Leh, Ladakh
The workshop was premised on the twin pillars of skill development and the promotion of linkages with different stakeholders such as the media, civil society, the administration and policy makers plus of course the community.
The workshop brought together around 15 participants, young men and women drawn from local colleges and civil society organizations. While the participants were presently residing in Leh town, they all belonged to smaller villages of Leh as far off as Zanskar and Nubra.
The workshop was conducted by Charkha CEO, Mario Noronha and Deputy Editor, Mohd. Anis ur Rahman Khan.
The participants were divided into groups of two and were asked to introduce each other in order to make the introduction session interesting.
Mario Noronha, CEO, Charkha taking a session on media
Charkha CEO, Mario Noronha and Deputy Editor, Mohd. Anis ur Rahman Khan introduced themselves and gave a brief introduction about Charkha and its work in Ladakh and other parts of the country.
A short film was shown to the participants to help them understand better the work that Charkha does.
After that the participants were divided into 5 groups of 3 each and asked to write out after discussing among themselves what they felt were the most important issues that affected the lives of the people of Leh, Ladakh. They were asked to divide the issues into three categories:
- Positive Issues / good points of Leh, Ladakh
- General Development Issues
- Issues affecting lives of women
All the issues were first written down on the white board and then each issue was discussed in detail. Ms. Tsewang Dolma, Program Manager of SLC, Leh and a former Sanjoy Ghose Rural Reporting Award winner helped the Charkha team in translating from Ladakhi (Bodhi) to English and vice versa where ever required.
After this they were shown a short film, ‘Dakri Ki Bakri’ which stresses on the importance of writing.
The comments and questions emerging from these interactive activities formed the basis to teach the participants the fundamentals of writing –the 5Ws and 1H; what constitutes ‘News’ and how it is different from ‘Features’; the different kinds of content in the newspaper and how to employ the tools of writing and newsgathering to do a story. Emphasis was laid on the importance of verified information and ground level reportage; the need to have a storyline that leaves the reader with an insight into the issue. The importance of photographs was stressed upon. Not only do relevant and good quality photographs bring a story alive, the chances of the story getting space the media, increases.
Participants were told how to delve into issues, draw out information and develop a format for their stories. These could be positive or negative –but in all, the core issue had to be presented in an interesting and effective way. These could catch the attention of policy makers and lead to action on a particular issue. It was explained that this ‘media advocacy’ forms the crux of Charkha’s work to connect development issues to the media. It was essential that articles had to be well researched, balanced and incorporate current information. This meant that the writer should be updated on current policy and programmes related to the issue, reports/studies by international agencies and reputed social development organisations in the country.
On the second day of the workshop, participants went to the field to interact with the local people of Leh town to be able to get bytes for the issues they had chosen to write about. Each participant returned from the field after having gathered relevant information, bytes and photographs which they would incorporate into their articles.
Tashi Morup addressing the participants
Post Lunch Mr. Tashi Morup, Project Director of The Ladakh Arts and Media Organization (LAMO) who is also a former journalist addressed the participants on the finer points of feature writing and how they could create an impact through their writings
Post Lunch the participants also began to draft out their articles and ably assisted by the Charkha team. They also shared their experiences in the field.
All the participants brought a draft of the articles that they had written and each participant was asked to read out what he or she had written and the other participants were asked to give constructive feedback. This brought out the best from the participants. It helped them to realize how they could make their articles much more presentable.
Dr. Tsewang Namgail, Director, SLC also shared his expertise on writing with the participants and told them the importance of keeping articles short and simple. He also stressed on the quality of articles, especially in today’s present scenario when the media is only feeding the reader with ‘junk’ articles which is not good and that they should concentrate on providing ‘healthy’ articles for their readers.
On the final day of the workshop, the participants worked on finalizing their articles and then typing it and handing it over to Charkha for publishing. All the participants then promised that they will write at least one article every two months on the various issues that had been discussed during the course of the workshop.
Ms. Tsering Dolkar, Editor – in – Chief of ‘STAWA’ addressing the participants
The participants were informed about the various Media awards and fellowships that they could apply for if they continued to write. They were also informed about the Sanjoy Ghose Rural Writers Award which is normally given specifically for Ladakh and if and when Charkha does announce the next Sanjoy Ghose Rural writers award they could certainly apply for it without any hesitation as they were all eligible after having successfully completed the writing skills workshop.
Ms. Tsering Dolkar, Editor – in – Chief of ‘STAWA’, a monthly English magazine which is published from Leh, Ladakh addressed the participants on the importance of writing on development issues and the importance of highlighting Ladakh to the rest of the country and to other parts of the world. Ms. Dolkar mentioned that there are many issues in the villages of Ladakh which need to be written about. She mentioned that people are only shown the beauty of Ladakh and that they should also be shown the harsh reality of the problems the people of Ladakh are facing. She told the participants that her magazine will provide space to them for good articles on various issues. Ms. Dolkar also thanked Charkha for inviting her to the workshop and mentioned that she has also been an awardee of the Sanjoy Ghose Media Award apart from being a student of Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.
All the participants were given certificates of participation