‘Journalists shouldn’t try to become teachers’

Suketu Mehta, the author of the acclaimed Maximum City, has just joined New York University as full-time faculty after getting the prestigious Guggenheim fellowship. The South Asia Journalists’ Association (SAJA), of which Mehta is a member, asked him three questions on his new assignment.

Q: Why did you decide to become a professor at this stage? Won’t you miss daily journalism?

A: It dovetails nicely with my new project, a book on New York. I’ll be teaching a course on reporting new york, and another on reading New York.

Q: What made the NYU job attractive?

A: A steady paycheck and an apartment in the Village. Also, I went to NYU as an undergrad, so I’m attached to the place. I hope to corrupt young minds like mine was corrupted, all those years ago.

Q: We will check in with you in the months ahead to see how it’s going, but for now, can you give others who are in a similar place in their careers some tips?

A: I didn’t go looking for this job—I was recruited. I put everything I had into writing my Bombay book, and I got this great job as a side benefit. So I don’t think journalists should look for jobs teaching journalism—they should concentrate on the writing, and the jobs will come to them of their own accord.

Link courtesy Nikhil Moro

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