TEN YEARS OF JOURNALISM ONLINE

By Nirmaldasan
(nirmaldasan@hotmail.com)

Journalism Online is an amateur ezine with a professional touch. It doesn’t pay its writers; it doesn’t receive subscriptions from the readers; and it doesn’t have any dealings with advertisers. Yes, Journalism Online is not a business but a service. It has always laid emphasis on ethics, substance and aesthetics.

The first issue appeared in March 2000 with just five names on the mailing list, including two email addresses of mine. Now with over 900 members, Journalism Online has indeed come a long way in its 10 years of existence. Since it functions from two free domains, readers need to bookmark these urls:

Journalism Online website (launched in May 1999):
http://www.angelfire.com/nd/nirmaldasan/journalismonline

Journalism Online newsletter (launched in March 2000):
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/journalismonline

Rather than the website, it is the monthly newsletter’s 10th anniversary that this article wishes to highlight and celebrate. Journalism Online has had little successes. Subhash Rai’s Indian Online Journalism published my ‘Confessions Of An Editor’ in its update of November 12, 2002. In March 2003, Sevanti Ninan’s The Hoot listed my name as one of the key persons in Indian new media. In September 2004, Journalism Online was one of the sites featured for a week in Yahoo! Groups Editor’s Picks.

Journalism Online has been cited even in print. A couple of its editorials have been reproduced by other publications. Some websites have found the site good and, therefore, linked to it. And a thrill of pleasure rushes through the editor’s spine on those rare occasions when someone wishes to get an article published in the newsletter.

The ezine has been a primitive venture right from the start. It is plain notepad journalism. No audio. No photo. No video. Just chunks and chunks of text. And that is how it wishes to remain; the online medium itself being an accidental and perhaps necessary evil for communication.

Media students, if they use the separate search engines at the aforementioned urls, will find a lot of material about journalism and its related fields, not necessarily from an examination point of view. There are articles on academic journalism written by experts. There are over a 100 editorials (all written by yours truly) with pungent remarks about the state of the Indian media. This is not to say that Journalism Online specializes only in diatribe. It has praised The Hindu, Times Of India and The Indian Express when praise was due, but it has not hesitated to treat itself to a hunting crop (as Sherlock Holmes did with two swift steps in ‘A Case Of Identity’) when it became absolutely necessary.

Journalism Online thanks its writers (the list is long) and its readers (usually silent) for keeping alive this newsletter that offers less of news and more of ideas.

(Appeared in the 10th anniversary special issue of the Journalism Online newsletter, February 2010)



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