[UPDATE, June 1, 2008: Check out the more than 60 sets of tips and advice posted from journalists and others in the comments section. Among those added most recently, tips from Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes and Peter Bhatia, executive editor of The Oregonian.]
This summer, many more American (desi and non-desi) journalists and journalism students are going to South Asia for internships, short reporting stints, etc., than ever before. I am tracking several such folks and wanted to tap SAJAforum readers and SAJA friends for tips, advice, websites, etc.
Please answer the following questions in the comments section below: What advice would you give to journalists going to the subcontinent for the first time? A para or two is all that's needed - bullet-points welcome. Feel free to share story ideas, web resources, blog links, people-to-know, books, etc. Be specific when you can, please. If you want to let the journos contact you, you must put your e-mail address into the body of the comment - otherwise, it won't show up.
This is your chance to have your ideas seen by American journalists before they get there and get caught in the whirlwind of reporting, writing, producing.
Check back to see what answers show up - am sure some of the thoughts will be contradictory, some redundant, some counterintuitive. That's part of the fun. We'll make sure this gets seen by those South Asia-bound folks.
Here are some resources to start you off:
- SAJA South Asia Self-Study Guide for Journalists
Created in 2002 by Bruce C. Robertson and Anandashankar Mazumdar, this is a good starting point for everything from geography to history to arts, culture and politics.
It needs updating and if you'd like to volunteer to help out, please e-mail saja[at]columbia.edu (subject line = "Self-study Guide"). Unless we get reliable folks who are able to take on this project in a major way, we will not be able to update this.
- SAJA Stylebook for Covering South Asia and the Diaspora
Created in 1998 by a team led by Krishnan Anantharaman of the Wall Street Journal, this stylebook is meant to provide quick, easy to understand info. From Krishnan's foreword: "It's important to understand that just as South Asia is not monolithic, neither is any one ethnic, racial, religious or other community in South Asia." Amen. It needs updating and if you'd like to volunteer to help out, please e-mail saja[at]columbia.edu (subject line = "Stylebook"). Unless we get reliable folks who are able to take on this project in a major way, we will not be able to update this.
- SAJA Freelance Forum
See list of hundreds of freelance reporters, producers, etc, in dozens of cities in South Asia.
- Columbia Journalism School's India reporting trips:
See India through the eyes of American journalists who took Prof. Ari Goldman's "Covering Religion" class as they go to India for the first time: 2006: "Under the Bodhi Tree: Reporting on the Faiths of India" | 2007: "Namaste: A Journey Through Spiritual India"
UPDATE, Oct. 2008: Read an essay by Robbie Corey-Boulet on what he learned in India
Corey-Boulet, a Columbia Journalism School student who went to New Delhi on a reporting internship, reflects on his summer 2008 internship.
What suggestions do you have? Post them in the comments section below.