Unearthing Secrets: A lecture by the Ramnath Goenka Award winner M. Rajshekhar on July 13, 2021

Veteran reporter M. Rajshekhar’s lecture at the Asian College of Journalism was a masterclass in investigative journalism.The author of Despite the State talked about ‘contradictions’ and ‘discontinuities’, the two things that he has found very useful while searching for investigative story ideas.

“What is the one thing that journalism is supposed to do? It is supposed to create a proportionate account of the times we live in,” the award-winning journalist said via Zoom on July 13.

He urged the students to avoid taking giant leaps while chasing story ideas and instead choose to build stories fact by fact.

Rajshekhar urged the aspiring journalists to read books on the profession. He explained how the practice would help the students in benchmarking themselves to the global standards of excellence rather than to those set by the environment that they operate in.

The journalist, who has worked with media houses ranging from the Economic Times to Scroll, also shared the lessons he picked up while covering rural issues and living in India’s villages.

“I stopped seeing people as discrete categories. I am not talking to a small and medium firm when I’m asking them questions. I am talking to a person. I can vaguely imagine what his life might be like,” Rajshekhar said. “Losing the habit of seeing people as categories and seeing them as individuals automatically personalised the conversation.”