The guest shouldn’t be god in the newsroom

“Guest editing” is catching on like a virus in Indian media in the name of making journalism more exciting and reader-friendly. One day, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is dropping his pearls of wisdom in the editor’s chamber. Another day, actress Ramya is giving newsrooms an oomphy look. And on a third, actor Vishnuvardhan is going out with a mike and notebook to interview people.

Presidents, industrialists, Nobel Prize winners, politicians, wicket-keepers… all have sat in the editor’s chair in the year gone by. This may be a welcome of spot of humility the media can muster, that anybody, not just editors and journalists, can bring out a paper. But is it any more than cheap Atithi Devo Bhava (the guest is god)?

Rem Reider, senior vice-president of the American Journalism Review, calls them the unwelcome guests. Guest-editing, he says, is a buzz-inducing gimmick that should be returned to its rightful home in Oblivion.

“I’m all for the notion of openness, of citizen voices, of listening to new thinking and new approaches. There’s no doubt journalism needs them in abundance in these wrenching times. But the ultimate decision-making needs to rest with the journalists. To do anything else is a mammoth abrogation of responsibility.”

Read the full article: An unwelcome guest

Related link: Los Angeles scraps guest editor program

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