You know you’re a Naga journalist if…

BY AL NGULLIE| IN Opinion | 03/06/2010
You do a story on Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. And your heading is always that eternal liner: "Rio’s plea for peace and development."
AL NGULLIE takes you down the road Naga scribes travel every day.

You know you’re a Naga journalist if…


    Your salary is thinner than your Press card.

    Your job profile includes everything from reporting to going out to buy your boss' Talab.

    You receive an urgent, top priority call at 11 PM from the police. Zonked out and barely-awake, you grab the cam and sleep-rush to the police press briefing for the big lead story. You find it’s another "itching powder" thief. 

    You receive a dreadfully urgent top-priority phone call from the police at 11 AM. Zonked out and barely-awake, you grab the cam and sleep-rush to the police press briefing for the big lead story. This time, the police have caught a pick-pocket.

    You do a story on Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. And your heading is always that eternal liner:  "Rio’s plea for peace and development."

    You read of the same heading, word-for-word in the other local newspapers as well.

    You forget that you have come across that same heading in earlier older editions as well.

    You have done at least one big, exclusive story but next morning the other papers have the same story – from a press release.

    You have been threatened by an underground functionary at least once for not carrying their press release on page-1.

   No matter the extent of suffering you have endured – and continues to – you still cannot muster up courage to use words other than "national worker."

    You have been threatened at least once by a functionary from all the Naga underground organizations.

    You have been threatened even for reasons that you used "underground" or "rebel" or "militant" or even "activist." – Terminology that any neutral, objective and academic newspaper would have used if it were not in Nagaland.

    You use "national worker" and next day, an opposing faction’s worker rings up and accuse you of "legitimizing" the other faction. And then, threaten you with dire consequences. 

    You have encountered at least one citizen whose press release he’d demanded must be published on the front page, "by tomorrow" because it is "very critical issue."

    In fact, almost all the citizens with press releases have asked you to publish it on the front page, "by tomorrow" because all of their materials seem to be ‘very critical issues.’

    You shove it into page-5’s ass. And they accuse you of being "biased" and "uncooperative."

    You have been threatened with a lawsuit at least once by people of all sorts.

    You newspaper or editor has at least one current lawsuit in process for the shittiest of reasons from a shitty Media-uneducated citizen.

    You have wished at least once that a seminar would be organized by the editors to educate our mostly Press-uneducated Naga public (and organizations). 

    The only "important" occasions you are not called to give coverage are birthday parties.

    You can tell that a guy is being totally sweet and polite because he wants his nonsensical stuff on page-1.

    You call mass cleaning drives "social work." So do 12 lakhs other Nagas.

    You call robbers ‘money-snatchers’ (I hope Naga newspapers won’t start calling rapists ‘virginity-takers’ or ‘sex-thieves’…or something equally weird and Bosti)

    You still cannot get over the terrible habit of asking everyone at a particular event to line up for a picture. The event in question is as shitty as so-and-so-colony-undertakes-cleaning-drive. And you insist the picture must be taken with a large banner declaring the "social work."

    Your most efficient newspaper hawker/distributor is rarely a Naga. 

    Eminent, foreign personalities fly 183, 000 Miles from around the world into the state and the only question you have in mind: "Do you like Nagaland…?"

    Paul Gilbert is in front of you and the only thing you ask him is: "Do you like Dimapur?"

    You are convinced that you have the right to take decisions for every other journalist in Nagaland – because you happened to be based in Kohima.

    For some curious reasons, you expect foreigners to have heard of the Naga political issue. To your embarrassment, you find they haven’t even heard of a Godknowswhere place called Nagaland in their entire lives.

    Your press club or that club hears you’d lost your bicycle. They scream and tear their hair out, shout and write to the CM, Guv and Obama Barak and all – but they don’t sound even a whimper when undergrounds threaten (which is almost every day) or when thugs rough up some photojournalist.



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