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<nettime> FEATURE: Journalism Down Under...
Frederick Noronh on Tue, 23 May 2000 19:30:06 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> FEATURE: Journalism Down Under...


goanet-news-digest        Sunday, May 21 2000        Volume 01 : Number 123

JOURNALISM THERE AND HERE: VIEWS FROM DOWN UNDER

Carlos Monteiro is a Goan journalist, who took the difficult 
route. But come out on top he has. He went from Goa to Mumbai. 
Then to Papua New Guinea and, from there, to Australia. Today he 
is night-editor of the Sydney Morning Herald's online edition. 
After working for a range of prominent publications in India's 
media capital Mumbai, Monteiro (36) was Features Editor with 'The 
National', the top daily from the remote nation of Papua New 
Guinea. He held this post from November 1994 to January 1999. 

Goa-educated, Monteiro can be an example of how well equipped 
youth from here can take on the outside world, if given the 
chance and a sound education. He got a First Class M.A. Degree 
in English Literature, and studied via the then newly set-up Goa 
University.

His work has also seen him function as the Deputy Editor and 
Features Editor of India's leading Sunday newspaper, 'Sunday Mid-
Day', the Arts Editor of the classy national daily 'The Indian 
Post', and was also a sub-editor with the 'Indian Express' and 
'The Afternoon'. He also edited the weekly 'Science Express' 
pullout and wrote features for 'Weekend Express'. At one stage he 
was even the overseas rugby league correspondent for a Papua New 
Guinea newspaper.

Monteiro, whose brother is a prominent cardiologist in Miramar, 
was in Goa recently. Below are extracts from an interview given 
to FREDERICK NORONHA: 

***************************************************************
What is journalism like Down Under? In what way does it differ 
from that back home?
***************************************************************

Journalism in Australia is cutting-edge stuff -- in terms of 
technology, treatment and technique. We are talking of a highly 
developed country where English is the first language. Attention 
to detail is paramount. And professionalism is the key.

Opportunities for a journalist are tremendous. Every bit of life 
goes under the microscope. Of course, the sheer breadth of human 
interest detail and living colour that the subcontinent provides 
cannot be matched here. 

But journos in Australia probe every possible story, from every 
possible angle. And do it with a lot of humour and understanding 
of the deeper issues involved -- something that is largely 
lacking in India.

***************************************************************
What does your job require you to currently do?
***************************************************************

I am currently a night editor on the online edition of The Sydney 
Morning Herald. It is a fascinating experience for me, straddling 
a new medium that  delivers news and analysis to a larger, global 
audience in a creative way. After clocking 13 years in mainstream 
journalism, I thought it was interesting to venture into this 
brave new world of information processing. 

I design and supervise parts of our gigantic portal site -- which 
carries within itself scores of specialised subsites -- every 
night. That involves choosing stories and pictures from the print 
edition of the Herald as well as outside sources and wire 
services to which we have online rights.

And with our Internet production, it isn't just news reports and 
columns. We do picture galleries, video reports, audio features, 
special graphics and so many other multimedia things.

As a newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald is published every 
morning. But as a Website, it is updated every few minutes, round 
the clock.

***************************************************************
What would you consider to be the high points of your career?
***************************************************************

Editing Sunday Mid-day in Bombay for two and a half years was a 
big high. I had the freedom to shape the paper the way I wanted 
it. And in my time, it was popularly regarded as India's best 
features newspaper.

As a journalist, you have to be ready to try new things, go the 
distance. My present challenge at The Sydney Morning Herald is 
extremely exciting. The coming 2000 Olympics will test our mettle 
in more ways than one. It will be a huge logistic exercise for 
our group, which runs an extensive network of more than 30 sites 
which attract over 2.3 million page views per day (2.4 million 
visitors per week). More than 200 journalists, photographers and 
production staff will be involved in the Olympic coverage. 

***************************************************************
Do you have many Indians working in journalism in your part of 
the globe? Did you come across any bias or discrimination earlier 
in your career? 
***************************************************************

There are a handful of Indian journos mostly on the regional and 
suburban papers across Australia. It is pretty tough actually to 
break into the mainstream Aussie press. I guess I was in the 
right place at the right time. As for bias or discrimination, no, 
I faced nothing of that sort. Once people see what you can do, 
they respect your abilities.  

***************************************************************
How would you rate Australian newspapers on a global scale?
***************************************************************

Pretty highly. Nothing beats the quality British press. But the 
big-city Australian dailies, like The Sydney Morning Herald, The 
Age (Melbourne) and The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) are up there 
with the best in the English-speaking world.

***************************************************************
If you were running a newspaper in Goa, what would be your 
priorities? 
***************************************************************

I guess one has to improve the quality of the writing and editing 
- -- more the latter. A proper training system that employs 
veteran editors to pass on their skills would be useful.

Local coverage needs to improve. Local news pages are sometimes 
treated as press-release pages. What each paper needs is some 
good pages covering the region. Journalists can be sent to cover 
special stories. 

These stories need not all be investigative stories, because 
investigative stories take time to work out. But at least it 
could be an innovative story. Papers also could write more about 
people. This would liven up Page 3, which is one of the most 
interesting pages in places like Australia. People want to read 
about their community. They would prefer to read about what's 
happening in Goa, rather than in some distant place. 

***************************************************************
Where do you feel are the potential areas for growth for 
newspapers in a region like Goa?
***************************************************************

Newspapers in Goa must look beyond the traditional channels of 
information and explore new avenues. The Internet, in particular, 
is a huge untapped frontier. It can reach out to a whole new 
generation of readers, for whom the traditional format will not 
suffice.  

***************************************************************
An Australian prof, Robin Jefferey recently published a study of 
newspapers in India. He said that while newspaper circulations in 
the West were shrinking, the regional press in India had grown 
phenomenally. Is this true of Australia too?
***************************************************************

Yes, to an extent. Circulations of some big dailies are stagnant. 
The Internet has won over thousands of readers who prefer to 
receive their news via their desktops. That is no wonder, though, 
in a country with one of the highest densities of  home computer 
usage. The regional and community press, however, continues to 
thrive. Most of these papers happen to be free though, surviving 
on the generosity of advertisers.

***************************************************************
Why do you feel so many Goan journalists have been able to make 
it abroad, particularly in the Gulf? What are the skills needed 
to survive in this profession abroad?
***************************************************************

Goans' flair for the English language may have a lot to do with 
their success.... 

As for the skills, all you need is a passion for the truth and a 
love of the written word. And skills, as you know, can only be 
honed by using them over and over again.

***************************************************************
What would be your advice to youngsters wanting to enter this 
field?
***************************************************************

If you have a way with words, go for it. Cultivate a love for the 
truth. Shine your spotlight in every dark corner of your society. 
Capture this moment in time and share it with the wider world.(ENDS) 

NOTE: Monteiro can be contacted via email on csmon {AT} idx.com.au or 
csmon {AT} hotmail.com


**********************************************************
Frederick Noronha fred {AT} vsnl.com Ph 27 14 90 or 27 86 83

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