Harleen Minocha

Staff Reporter at Deccan Chronicle.

  • Where do you think news went wrong and is there a reason why the profession attracts so much of negative criticism and ridicule today?

    TV news today receives a lot of flak for not being neutral. The unabashed political allegiances based on the popularity wave is where news went wrong. There are those who are still trying to protect the soul of this profession, but the bigger names of news media and a large section of them are the reason for negative criticism and ridicule. Also, the situation is worse in TV media than print or digital

  • Is there a way to identify fake news from what is authentic?

    It is difficult to find that one thing that distinguishes a fake news item from authentic. One must know in today's time the pattern of fake news stories that are doing the rounds these days. Do not believe what you receive on WhatsApp. Not everything on social media is legit. Understanding what are the kinds of news items that are a part of fake news factory. Stories on the lines of religion and country pride are mostly fake news and must be looked at carefully and checked up properly from every source and authority possible before even pitching

  • What are the perks of being a journalist?

    Ah, well! I don't know if it is a perk or a bane in today's time and age but as a journalist you get to know of anything before anyone else does and certain people look up to you if you are doing your work right. Other than that, if I talk about other materialistic stuff, as a journalist, your Press card is your entry ticket into places where most may not be allowed.

  • Describe a typical day at work for you?

    A typical day in my life as a print media reporter would be no segregation of days actually. I finish filing my stories after a full day of talking to people, finding the stories and reactions. I start my day at around 9 in the morning, and sending the list of stories that might interest my boss. I get on a call with my boss at around 10-10:30 am where he suggests some ideas for the day and tells me who I should talk to or where I should go. During corona times, since my beat of education doesn't require me to go out on the field on most days, I get on calls with people, source contacts, talk to authorities, push stories out of people and cross check or further push the authorities. At around 5 in the evening, I start filing my inputs for whatever stories I am able to achieve during the day, make it into separate news articles, send them to my boss to read through and then release it to the editorial team to be published. And then 9 pm, I start looking for potential stories for the next day and figuring out who to call in the morning

  • How did you rise in your role as a journalists, what career hacks can you share?

    There are no hacks really in this profession. Everyone grows as per what they think is good for them. It also has to do with what you want to see yourself doing really. I always wanted to be a reporter so in my first job, I started out as a news producer in a national news channel, immediately after college. I spent over a year there and kept nagging my bosses to shift me to the reporting desk and assign me a beat. But since they didn't want that, to pacify me they sent me on a couple of small projects here and there. I moved out of the first job after a tiff with the management and was jobless for atleast 3 months. I was constantly looking for reporting jobs but there were none at the time. So my father told me to take whatever I get now. I got into another big news channel where they told me that they need an experienced and dedicated desk person as news producer and that they would shift me into reporting a year into the job, to which I agreed but that never happened and eventually my ethics made me move out again after over a year because I was offered a role as a reporter and anchor with a relatively new news channel. I did reporting with them, made full half hour shows but they didn't pay me for 2 months straight and my bills had started piling up. Eventually I was sacked because they said they could not afford me and so I finally made the decision to quit TV altogether and move to print media. I moved cities and now within a couple of months here, people, authorities, my work pals know and appreciate my work as an education and political reporter in an entirely new city and I am happy with my work too even though we have not been paid in over 2 months due COVID financial strains. My point here being that some people choose to move out rapidly, other stick up and stay comfortable in what they are doing and over the years rise up in ranks as has been the case with the older generation of journalists who have been with an organisation for 15-20 years and are now renowned editors

  • How was your experience with your first job?

    I learnt a lot about real TV with my first job, but also understood that it was not what I had always thought of news business as. I got great bosses who pushed me to the edge all the time and it helped me grow thick skinned. It was because of issues with the management that I decided to quit overnight. But then I also learnt professional negotiations with that

  • What training does a news journalist essentially have to undergo?

    No training before you get into the real world of journalism will suffice or justify what you'll learn in the industry. However for you to enter into the news world, a degree in journalism or mass comm is necessary. Also make sure you do enough internships in different streams of journalism and mass comm like broadcast, print, digital, PR so you know what is your calling finally. And work hard on your writing and speaking skills

  • How do you ensure that your news pieces are unbiased?

    It is a difficult task. Because whatever you write, the other party will feel some sort of bias. However to ensure there is as less bias as possible, I make sure to speak to both sides of the news story, take their point of view and then report on what both sides have said and then leave it to the readers to decide where each party stands. After the story is published, it gets difficult for the reporter though in maintaining good relations with either side, for example in case of a school management vs parents

  • How has journalism changed over the years?

  • While the fourth pillar of democracy is expected to live up to high standards, the constitution itself does not give the media any rights or protection. Is that not a contradiction?

  • What is the key to pitching a story that you think is worth publishing?

    That's the thing, you never know what is worth publishing or not. Sometimes what seems to a reporter of a certain beat as an important story and worth its while, may not seem to be so to the editorial desk, and vice-versa. But most times we follow a certain pattern. Newspapers especially during the lockdown have followed themes, ours did atleast. But in general to ascertain whether a story even if small is worth publishing, think to yourself whether it impacts or may impact a significant section of your target audience. Do they need to know this smal bit too? That makes it easier to decide what story may be worth publishing

  • When do you know that a story is ready to publish?

    That's a tough one to answer. I personally know that a story is ready to be published basis what kind of story is it, for example whether is a story of loss, or is it a story for giving some information, among others. Once I have narrated the whole incident in case of a story of loss, and answered the Ws and H, I know that the story is ready to be published. It has a lot to do with your instinct also

  • How do you identify fake news from an authentic one?

    Taushif I have answered this question on my profile. I think going through it may help you. In case you need more details, please reach out

  • Can you share some tricks for being an efficient journalist?

    There is no trick. To become an efficient journalist, one must stick to the basics of ethics we learnt in theory before stepping into the real world of this industry. Stay true to your profession, make news, and authentic news your passion. Remember what and how you want to be recognised as.

  • How can aspiring journalists step into the field of journalism?

    First and foremost you need a degree in journalism. You should be genuinely passionate about journalism before anything else otherwise you won't be able to stick around for long. Get as much training as possible during your college days, by voluntary projects related your course in journalism, and with internships as many as possible and in all streams of this industry, like TV, Print, Digital and PR, even film making, direction, advertisement is part of this. And eventually once you pass out, you either are fortunate enough to be picked up by news organisations or you apply to the places you want to work with. But always remember, you don't choose your first job, your first job chooses you

  • What in your opinion are some incentives of being a journalist?

    There are no doubt, a lot of perks of being a journalist. You develop great contacts and your social standing, and social understanding grows. You get any piece of information before anyone else. You get special entries into areas where civilians may not. Your press card is the biggest prized possession of your life, your entry ticket into no entry zones. The respect you get from people around is great, however that aspect in today's time is not so much because of the losing credibility. Depending on what beat you cover you get great things in Press kits after promotional events

  • What training does a news journalist have to undergo?

    I have answered this question on my profile. Please take a look

  • Can you share some best practices at a preparatory stage that would help aspirants hone their future skills as journalists?

    I cannot stress enough on voluntary participation in projects during college days, other than the basic reading up and honing oratory and writing skills. Practice as much as you can and keep yourself updated in terms of general knowledge. Do as many internships in all the streams of journalism to understand best what interests you most and where you fit better.

  • What is your advice to youth who want to become a journalist?

    Do not lose sight of why you chose this profession in the first place. The way this industry especially TV media works today and the kind of irrelevant work it has for freshers may most times lead you to feel dissatisfied and not happy with your work

  • How do you balance news between reporters & sources?

    I am sorry, I didn't understand this question

  • What is the key to pitching a story that you think is worth publishing?

    That's the thing, you never know completely. Some times a reporter thinks a news report is important, but the same may not feel important to the editorial desk. A newspaper follows a theme most times basis which we carry certain stories. But to ascertain any news story worth its while, you must ensure that your report impacts or may impact a huge population. Ensuring that you are reporting for people, makes it easier to decide on pitching a certain story

  • How do you cope with the stress of tight deadlines?

    You tend to get used to it. That is the adrenaline rush that you then start craving for, and you function well only on deadlines. Not to say that it is healthy way of living because it does its work on your mental health too then. Ensuring you have that support from your bosses as well as back home helps a lot in coping with the stress, especially for working moms

  • How do you ensure the legitimacy of your news sources?

    I make sure I cross check with the authorities or individual concerned, mentioned by my soyrce

  • The race for viewership and TRPs is unlikely to change, so what are the chances of quality television journalism surviving?

    Looking at the situation now, TV journalism doesn't seem to have a bright future. Having worked in TV, I can vouch that there is nothing much for aspiring journalists too in TV journalism.

  • What is your advice to youth who want to become a journalist?

    Do not lose sight of why you are choosing to be a part of this industry and what drives you to journalism. I have witnessed certain roadblocks in my career where I thought, it would have been better if I had chosen something else over this profession. Also, to not feel miserable in the future, I would suggest every new journalism aspirant to not look at TV media to start their career from. It has lost all credibility