New Delhi. In a millionth such incident since the start of this month, a reader of a weekly magazine genuinely trusted a piece of reportage to be a work of investigative journalism, while in reality it was a work of imaginative journalism.
“Wow! This guy (reporter) risked his life to expose the criminal-police-politician nexus in running an illegal dog-breeding center in the heart of Delhi,” said an awestruck Jitin Singh, a loyal reader of Thenga, a weekly news and current affairs magazine.
Little did Jitin know that the reporter did nothing but to talk to a few of his close friends while having the new year’s party early this month, where his friends, addressed as “sources” in the report, came up with those bits of information under the influence of Old Monk.
“Journalists are really good at networking and uncovering truth. I mean look at the kind of details this guy could extract from his sources,” 27-year-old Jitin told Faking News, “Sometimes I feel I should have also become a journalist. Being a research assistant is no fun.”
Jitin blindly believed everything he read in Thenga, considering it truth and nothing but truth, and felt enraged at the authorities who were allowing an illegal dog-breeding center.
“You know. That Chihuahua or Pug that you buy for thousands of rupees could actually be product of corruption and crime such as kidnapping of male and female dogs from posh localities,” Jitin showed off the wisdom and awareness he had acquired after reading the exclusive and sensational report.
He later updated his Facebook status warning his friends about the risks of illegal dog-breeding and tweeted a series of messages demanding an immediate closure of the dog-breeding centers.
“He (Jitin) read each word of the report with awe and astonishment, marveling at the level of research and analysis put in by the reporter, completely oblivious of the fact that the reporter had just conjured them up while having his weekend whiskey,” Varun Rampal, the Editor-in-Chief of Thenga, candidly admitted.
For some reason, imaginative journalism, which requires powerful creative thinking and decorative writing skills, has not been recognized and accepted as a genuine form of journalism, even though it has been in practice for years. Experts hope that things may change in future.
“It requires coming out of the closet,” Varun Rampal said, “Once someone does that, we’ll follow suit.”