TV Times

Ashoka's literature, a guide to journalism
By Susitha R. Fernando

Ashoka Kumara, a young journalist has launched his maiden book 'Nuthana Pravurthi Kalawa' (Modern Trends in Journalism), a handbook for journalists and Newsroom operators.

Ashoka's book fills the void of the much needed education for journalists in the Sinahala medium on news and many of its insights like news sense, news reporting, subediting, interviewing techniques etc.
"There is hardly any literature on media and journalism in Sinhala and most of the books are written in English,' Ashoka, a news reporter for Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said. A student of Dharmapala College, Pannipitiya and Ananda College, Colombo, Ashoka is a Science graduate. Having completed a post graduate diploma in journalism, Ashoka is reading for his Masters Degree in mass-communication at Sri Jayawardenapua University.

Joining as a trainee journalist at SLBC, he is at present working as a news journalist and sub editor in Sinhala and English media channels.

"There is no professional journalism in media today. To gain expertise in a particular field one has to learn and qualify himself in the relevant medium. But unfortunately journalism has become a mere job that does not require any qualification today, Ashoka says describing the importance of journalists being educated in the important medium they are involved in.

Through his book Ashoka has shared his knowledge on the new trends in journalism such as sources for news reporting in special circumstances, public service journalism, web journalism and etc.

"Journalism is considered a profession without a personal or family life and a life filled with stress and meeting deadlines. This is not always true. This is actually mismanagement of your job and most journalists forget that and when they are stressed they lose a lot of creativity," the young journalist explained.

"And we have followed a lot of wrong practices and therefore more than learning there is a lot of unlearning to be done among our journalists. This has become a major obstacle to introduce professionalism to our journalism," he said. Among the manifold problems in journalism today, being subjective with regard to races and religion is a big problem.

However Ashoka also noted that many world renowned news agencies become subjective at times.
"The BBC, the world's leading radio channel openly violates this by being very subjective at times. For example the radio channel considers Iranian President as a hardliner which cannot be called journalism," he claimed. There are six multinational companies or Media Conglomerates in the world which govern the media and introduce all new trends to the media field. Starting from soap to cinema all the new trends and products are introduced by them. So they determine the values, life patterns and everything in life.

"I see there is a language barrier among the journalists in Sri Lanka. There is an inhibition among Sinhala journalist towards English. This has become a barrier for them to learn their profession as well," he said.

Ashoka, a multi talented young man is also a lyricist for many renowned singers. He has put out a compact disc 'Mal Pipena Heti' with songs penned by him. The collection is sung by well known singers like Sunil Edirisinghe, T. M. Jayaratne, W. D. Ariyasinghe, Chandana Liyanarachchi and Nelu Adikari.

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