Objective of the Workshop
The workshop was aimed at building capacities amongst the participants to write for the media on development issues, with a focus on highlighting voices of marginalized communities. Since all the participants were already associated with NGOs / CSOs working on one or more issues in the field, it was only a matter helping them to articulate their work. Charkha through its feature service provides them with the ideal platform to highlight all the issues which till now were only known to either them or the people they worked with. Through Charkha’s feature service the issues will reach not just the people, administration and policy makers in the State of Uttarakhand, but also people, administration and policy makers at the National level.
22 participants from various NGOs such as Sewa International, AT India, SURYA, Uttarakhand Jan Jagriti Sansthan, HARC India, Adarsh Yuva Samiti, etc., attended the 3 day writing skills workshop. The participants were from the districts of Tehri Garwhal, Uttarkashi, Haridwar, Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Pauri Garhwal and Dehradun. There was also one participant from Uttar Pradesh.
The participants were asked to introduce themselves.
Charkha CEO, Mario Noronha gave a brief introduction about himself and resource persons Mr. Shams Tamanna and Ms. Sunita Bhadauria, about Charkha and its work.
After that the participants were divided into groups and asked to write out after discussing among themselves what they felt were the most important issues that needed to be highlighted.
The groups identified the development issues that Uttarakhand is facing.
Issues highlighted by each group after lengthy detailed discussions
When all the groups had identified the issues, they made their respective representations. The major issues that each group identified and discussed were:
Participants shared their concerns and views, and what the people and the organizations they are associated with are doing to address the above mentioned issues.
In the day’s final session the participants were shown a short film on Charkha and the work that the organization does across the country.
Day two started with some of the younger participants singing a ‘Lok Geet’ (folk song) in praise of their state – Uttarakhand.
The second day sessions were conducted by Mr. Mario Noronha and Mr. Shams Tamanna. They talked about different forms of communication, media and its types, and the importance of print media. They talked about the importance of 5 Ws and 1H – 5Ws & 1H – What, Where, Why, When, Who & How in news. Participants were also made aware about news reports and features.
Moreover, they were taught how to identify the issues and write about them. The importance of facts and figures, verification, collection of data, and bytes in the articles so that the readers would find them credible and trustworthy was also stressed upon.
The participants were also made to sit in pairs and interview each other with each participant being given only 5 minutes to interview the other. They then had to present their findings in only 2 – 3 minutes. The purpose of this exercise was to help the participants understand the art of interviewing.
Many of the participants mentioned that they live in remote areas where Newspapers do not reach. Mr. Mario Noronha therefore decided to introduce them to the concept of “Wall Magazine” where they can prepare a sort of “Newspaper” of their own which would highlight local news, important issues pertaining to the village, important telephone numbers, information about government schemes, etc. He informed them that the wall magazine is a very good tool of communication where there is no other media. He also told them that they could make it interesting by adding cartoons, photographs, some competitions, etc.
Before the second day wrapped, all the participants were asked to identify the issues that they would write about. Once they had identified their topics, they wrote on various development issues that the people in their societies are facing.
A short video on the importance of mobile photography and its various techniques by an expert was also shown to the participants. Mr. Tamanna talked about, “A picture says a thousand words”, and why photography is important in news.
The last day began with the participants sharing about their experiences of the workshop. The importance and far reaching capability of writing through print media, and how it could bring about positive changes in the society was discussed. The participants were also informed about various awards that rural writers are awarded with, and how they too could aim for such awards and fellowships.
Two of the participants decided that they would make a sample of the “Wall magazine” for the benefit of all the other participants. They surely made a very good attempt.
Certificates were given to all the participants who attended all the three days of the workshop.