Friday, Dec 02, 2022 09:15 [IST]
Last Update: Friday, Dec 02, 2022 03:34 [IST]
PRITAM LAMA |EXCELLENCE IN RURAL JOURNALISM
A SE Feature…
Freelance journalism Pritam Lama was conferred with the ‘Grameen Patrakarita Purashkar’ (Rural Journalism award) at the National Press Day celebration held at Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok on November 16.
Organised by the Information and Public Relations (IPR) department, the theme for the year was ‘Journalism under digital siege’.
Pritam received a cash award of Rs. 20,000, citiation and shawl from IPR minister BS Panth during the celebration in presence of government officials, journalism students, and members of Press Club of Sikkim and Journalists Union of Sikkim.
Thirty-one-year-old Pritam hails from Yuksam, West Sikkim.
A passionate and emerging journalist from West Sikkim, Pritam is presently associated with Sikkim’s largest circulating English daily SIKKIM EXPRESS besides other local news organisations for the past many years. He started his journalism career with The Voice of Sikkim, and has contributed news reports to various media organisations (both print and digital) across the State.
Here is an exclusive interview with TGIF!
What does the ‘Grameen Patrakarita Purashkar’ mean to you?
Pritam: The ‘Grameen Patrakarita Purashkar’ is a huge motivation and the recognition I have received from the media fraternity has inspired me to excel more in the field of journalism, and has offered more energy and enthusiasm to work further. I am thankful for the award.
I started my career in journalism in 2013 and have been working as a journalist for the past nine years.
Pritam: Initially when I first started, I struggled a lot to get into the journalism profession. I struggled to authenticate my news articles and get my news articles published by media houses. Maybe it was lack of resources, guidance and required knowledge, which came as a huge challenge for me. I didn’t give up hope and the zeal to beat the odds and the enthusiasm to keep following my passion were what kept me going. Here I am still in the profession.
Media organisations you have been associated with
Pritam: I started my journalism career as a reporter for The Voice of Sikkim, the first digital media organisation that created digital presence in Sikkim. Gradually, I started contributing news articles and reports from rural areas, where media organisations had no/less access. The unavailability for media organisations to get in-depth stories from rural areas was a boon for me, I think. Since then, I have contributed news articles to various media organisations in Sikkim, both print and digital media organisations.
Pritam: After having worked with many media organisations in Sikkim, I later joined SIKKIM EXPRESS, one of the oldest and the most reputed media houses in Sikkim. It was a long cherished dream to get associated with SIKKIM EXPRESS.
The journey has been amazing. SIKKIM EXPRESS editor Amit Patro has helped my excel in the field of journalism and associate editor Bijoy Gurung has extended all necessary support, especially during my intital days.
After having worked with SIKKIM EXPRESS for nine consecutive years, I also got accredited from the IPR department. It has been more than a decade with SIKKIM EXPRESS, and the overall journey has been amazing.
Journalism- Then and now/Print vs. Digital journalism
Pritam: Journalism now is totally different, because of the digital era. However, reporting for print media is always fascinating to me. I feel I am an authentic journalist when my news reports and articles are carried and published in the renowned newspapers like SIKKIM EXPRESS and other reputed newspapers.
My profession as a journalist sometimes gets more challenging owing to the rise of digital journalism. I keep constantly updated in the field and I also joined numerous training courses to upgrade my skill in digital journalism.
Your favourite news beat
Pritam: I enjoy reporting from areas where there is no or limited media access. I love bringing untold stories to the masses, so I always prioritise reporting from rural areas. Stories of rural villages and public issues, I focus on promotion of rural tourism and through my profession I bring rural uses and hardships of the people residing in the rural backward villages to the notice of the government for necessary support and development.
So, I would definitely say that my favourite beats are public issue, plight of people and promotion of rural tourism.
Journey so far
Pritam: When I initially began my career as a journalist, I found the profession tough. But, I love challenges and I am desirous to bring about the required improvement in my profession. Getting in depth and exploring the exploring the field is what I enjoy the most. I feel journalism is a regular learning process and we should keep exploring new ideas and stories that we come across and tell those stories to the world through our writing.
Did you always know that you would be a journalist? If not, what career options did you have in mind?
Pritam: Since my school days, I had always dream of becoming a journalist someday. However, I was compelled to pursue graduation in Tourism, due to unavailability of journalism degree in my area. Later, I pursued a specialised diploma on tour guiding, offered by the State Institute of Capacity Building by the State government and became a professional and registered tour guide (registered under the Tourism & Civil Aviation department). I worked in the tourism sector as a professional tour guide for many years. I pursued tourism, as my village is a tourist destination and there was high availability of resources and huge employment opportunity.
Alongside my tour guiding profession, I had a quest for my childhood dream of becoming a journalist someday. I started writing news articles on a day-to-day basis. Soon, my news article got published. Due to my active presence on social media, organisations and individuals started inviting me to their functions to cover news. Thus, I was compelled to update and upskill myself in journalism. My childhood dream made me pursue a Master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from IGNOU. I got into the journalism profession with a willingness to serve the society in my capacity as a journalist.
Message to young journalists
Pritam: A quote by Napoleon Hill says, "Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”
Struggle is the pre-condition for growth. Without going through extended periods of hard-work, sweat and difficulty, we cannot move beyond our current level of performance. For me, struggle is a form of training. It prepares us and forces us to be ready for the next step and helps us to achieve our desired goal.
I struggled a lot to get into the journalism profession and even more to get recognised, I suggest young people who are in the profession and those who are aiming to become journalists to be more dedicated and work harder each day.
As a saying goes, nothing is impossible if you are committed and willing to excel in any field.
And most importantly, equip yourself with knowledge and expertise in the field and upgrade and update yourself timely, to synchronise with the digital journalism era, in order to strike balance with netizen journalism and keep pace with the rapidly evolving digital journalism.
Awards and recognitions
Pritam: I received numerous felicitations and appreciations from various organisations and institutions for my untiring and dedicated services in the field of journalism. I was also felicitated by Nehru Yuva Kendra, under the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, West District administration during the Republic day celebration.