Have computers made journalism better?

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: While on a recent trip to Udupi among other places in the Malnad area along with T.S. Satyan, who zealously wanted to ‘test myself if I could shoot meaningful pictures at this age,’ we decided to call on his octogenarian friend, M.V. Kamath, one of India’s best -known editors, now settled in Manipal as the Honorary Director of the Manipal Institute of Communication.

The bespectacled Kamath, with his mop of silver white hair and sunny smile welcomed us warmly in his chamber and straightaway went down memory lane with the equally enthusiastic and voluble Satyan.

Journalism of the days of The Illustrated Weekly of India, of which Kamath was editor and Satyan a regular contributor; the most moving and poignant moment of Kamath’s life as a reporter; the countdown of 10…09…08…07…06… before the Union Jack was lowered and the Indian tri-colour hoisted in Bombay, circa 1947.

‘Tears well up in my eyes even now when I think of that moment.’

Kamath introduced Satyan to his colleagues in the institute as “a man who brought to Indian photo-journalism a certain respect and legitimacy with his astounding range of photographs. One of the most famous and accomplished photo journalists of his time.”

Satyan smiled shyly sipping tea as I sat next to him trying to imagine how wonderful and exciting journalism was at a time when India had just won her independence from British rule.

As the conversation rolled on amidst much old world bonhomie, Satyan noticed an old blue type writer on Kamath’s desk. “So you still haven’t left it,” he laughed.

“How can I, Satyan?” said Kamath. “If you are married to a lady for over 50 years, wouldn’t it become difficult for you to leave her for some one much younger to her?!”

Kamath was referring to his Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter which “has gone round the world with me innumerable times and served me so faithfully!”

Kamath spoke of his trusted typewriter so fondly I couldn’t help but notice the computer in a corner of his room, sitting forlorn and ignored and neglected, ‘Intel Inside’ and all!

Cross-posted on churumuri

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2 Comments

  1. M K Vidyaranya

    Hi SUNAAD RAGHURAM,
    I still have with me a 70 year old portable British typewriter which is in good working condition though it has only three lines where all alphabet and numbers are accommodated.
    My father who was also a Journalist, used it for 30 years and gave it to me when I entered the field in 1966. However, presently, I have kept it as an antique piece after using it till mid-eighties when computers were introduced in the PTI where I was the Bureau Chief. Though I have used typewriters , I find computers are far better for quick filing of error free copies as it has a spell check and font selection advantage. Unlike type writers where you have to go on changing paper, the computer will help in re-writing copies as many times as you like and avoids an operator who is required to feed your typed story into a computer for page making and for further printing process.
    As times change, we have to adjust to the circumstances and acquire skills to handle new gadgets in this digital age, even if you love your antique typewriter.

  2. not sure, but laptops have certainly changed the game. Chuck in mobile access, and it’s report from everywhere.

    ggw

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