[ Ranjit Sinha ]
The journey that I began in the mid-90s as a journalist in Arunachal Pradesh fascinated me in various ways. I still remember how a seniormost journalist who was rushing me towards the pros and cons of journalism, particularly in a developing state like Arunachal in the late ’90s, was working day and night with a few subordinate staffers to keep The Arunachal Times vibrant.
Sans digital technology, printing a newspaper in modern ways was a Herculean task in those days. There was no internet or online media, and most of the media houses depended on satellite-based news agencies. The news desk used to receive press releases via post offices, which reached the print media organisations after 10 to 12 days after a particular event or happening.
In those days, the capital region would be literally exhausted before 6 pm. There used to be no movement of vehicles, except of some vehicles of VIPs and affluent persons after six. Shops were closed down usually between 6 pm and 6:30 pm, and darkness loomed large all over the streets of the state capital.
During the beginning of the new millennium, the print media houses in the state aspired to come up with modern printing technologies, but in vain. Though the arrival of the internet made the processing of news a little easier, printing technologies were not up to mark during the first decade of the new millennium in the state.
It was an almost 18-hour duty schedule for the staff of a print media organisation like The Arunachal Times as it was struggling to give its best with modern printing gadgets. I still remember how the staff of this organisation worked day in and day out, and tried their hands at colour printing. I still remember those days when, after completion of my assignment at the news desk as a journalist, I used to proceed to North Lakhimpur in Assam for colour printing of The Arunachal Times newspaper at midnight and returned back with the printed newspaper before dawn the next day.
In those days, the morning session was more dangerous. The days started with numerous phone calls, and most of the phone calls were abusive and complaining in nature. Some persons who issued press releases used to teach or guide journalists how to make news.
Journalism in Arunachal literally picked up its growth from the fag end of 2010, when a small chunk of young and energetic journalists of this land stepped in, in a professional way. It is not the media houses or the government but the journalists themselves who make the print media vibrant and lively in Arunachal. I did try my hands at journalism in reputed newspapers in Assam for a few years, but I never witnessed the dedicated services of the journos in Arunachal, who are not only working for the growth of their careers but also for the growth of the print media houses, as well, in the state.
In a developing state
Apart from the ongoing process of urbanisation, building infrastructure, construction of roads and dams, I could not see real development in the state despite the rigorous efforts of the journalists to make Arunachal a frontrunner state.
The way I think, real development will take place when there is development of the quality of human life and when the people become self-reliant and need not depend on government jobs for their livelihood and posterity. For that to happen, an industrial revolution is a must in the state.