CNN's Maria Ressa in Mumbai to promote Young Journalist Award

MUMBAI: CNN's Jakarta bureau chief Maria Ressa addressed a bunch of budding journalists at a conference held at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai today.

Ressa is in the city to promote the Young Journalist Award (YJA) which CNN had announced in August. The award was introduced to recognise quality journalism among young media professionals in India and was open to journalists between the age of 22 and 26 from the electronic, print and Web media.

The jury comprised the then director general of Doordarshan SY Quraishi, School of Convergence director Prannonjoy Guha Thakurta, Indian Institute of Mass Communication director BP Sanjay and Infotainment TV president Karan Thapar. Although the jury members were Indians, it was mandatory that all YJA entries be in English.

While talking to Indian journalists at the CCI in Mumbai today, Ressa spoke about her experiences as a broadcast journalist with CNN since the last 15 years. She stressed upon the accountability and credibility of one's sources as a journalist. She said that a journalist should know "what he/she 'needs' to tell the people so that they can make educational decisions on those issues. A journalist should never sensationalise news just to sell it".

She said, "The major challenge broadcast journalists face is that of relaying the 'breaking news'. You have to be first but at the same time you have to be right."

She said that credibility was a journalists' biggest commodity. Answering a few queries she said, "A journalist should always have two sources. It is important to work along with other journalists and your outside sources. You are never going to be 100 per cent accurate but you can attribute everything you say in a report."

Comparing television to print media, Ressa said, "In television you've got only two seconds to capture your audience and if you fail to do that, they will change the channel. Whereas in the print media, it depends on the way the story is written and whether the first few lines are impactful enough for the reader to read the whole story."

Ressa was in India in 1999 to cover the Indian Airlines hijacking. She was also CNN's lead reporter, reporting on the three changes of government in Southeast Asia: in Indonesia in 1998, in East Timor in 1999 and in the Philippines in 2001.

She also reported on the Bali bombings in October 2002 which killed almost 200 people.

Ressa is currently awaiting the release of her first book on Al Qaeda which she started writing post 9/11. The book is due to release on 28 November.

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