The Sunday Leader

Some Thoughts On “Interactive Journalism” With Particular Reference To Being A Columnist At The Sunday Leader

It’s been a while since Frederica Jansz invited me to contribute a regular column to The Sunday Leader.  Given the fact that that odyssey constituted (yet) another career after the proverbial three-score-and-ten-year Biblical span, I believe I owe myself the indulgence of a column that looks back on a journey that began a shade under two years ago.
Let me first say that The Sunday Leader was not the first English-language Sunday newspaper to publish my scribblings. In fact, the Sunday Times, the Sunday Island and Lakbimanews preceded it, contributions being mostly under various pseudonyms.  I had what I thought was a regular column in the Sunday Times Plus until I began to find it was getting more and more irregular and then it ceased to appear!  And, as a matter of interest, Lakbimanews was the first paper to publish three consecutive pieces I had written.  The difference with The Sunday Leader was that it was a formal on-going arrangement complete with a by-line — Renaissance Man — chosen by the editor even though it was not among the choices solicited from me at the inception.
As a side-bar here I should add that one of those I have since identified as part of the Rajapaksa Sycophancy takes serious issue with my column carrying this subtitle, insisting that I have not engaged in a wide enough variety of professions/occupations to justify a suggestion of a multi-tasking lifetime!  However, I comfort myself with the thought that people who are of the kind that exert their energies to maintain and promote an oligarchy are beyond reproof and are best left to twist in the (whirl)wind that their patrons are in the process of generating, however unknowingly, for them.

Anyway, let me get back to my observations on “interactive journalism”

I refer here to the web edition of The Sunday Leader and other newspapers which generate a significant amount of email, most of it subject to seemingly very little editing by a moderator it seems.  I make that assumption because some of the comments/responses to the paper’s writers’ that reach print leave a great deal to be desired insofar as basic good taste is concerned, leave alone relevance to whatever is the issue under discussion, not to mention that they are prime examples of abominable grammar and syntax.
The virulently anti-Sunday Leader rhetoric and downright abuse spouted by some of those responding via the internet to the material in that paper would suggest that there is a group of people that has been recruited to spend their time and energy in attacking those who contribute to this particular paper which has, let’s not beat around the bush, a viewpoint critical of the Rajapaksa Regime.
This I find quite fascinating: the fact that people who, obviously, cannot abide an editorial line and content that is critical of the Rajapaksa Regime spending an inordinate amount of  time and energy scouring a paper which they dislike intensely and which contains writing which must make their stomachs turn!  All this in order to attack and abuse those they see as enemies of The Regime.  You could legitimately characterise such people as intensely loyal to their masters and ready to give proof of their support in their efforts to reap benefits of an appropriate nature, perhaps?
One of the comments that I shall enlarge, frame and hang on a vacant wall space is one from a person writing under the pseudonym “Gabriella.”   This person, in commenting on a piece I had written about the local media choosing to quote from some of the less reputable news sources in Canada, went on to deliver the “home truth” that newspapers are not in the business of reporting news accurately but merely turning a profit.  This statement spoke volumes in the matter of what the author found acceptable in the matter of journalistic standards.  However, what I found really amusing and deserving of preservation for posterity was the fact that he/she accused me of being “old” and also of being “ugly.”
The “ugly” comment I found enormously amusing particularly because, when one is on the downward slope of a human life span, the question of physical beauty really does lose relevance and one’s vanity goes in other directions for a host of practical reasons.  However, this person, in an obvious effort to hurt my feelings succeeded in generating significant mirth insofar as both I and friends to whom I recommended the comment were concerned.  “Gabriella” dear, thanks so much for giving us the gift of amusement that will last a long, long time!  That, in this day and age and in this country, is a rare commodity to be saved and cherished!
What many of these practitioners of virulent and malicious comment don’t seem to realise is that they reveal a great deal of themselves in their efforts to denigrate, hurt and damage.  Particularly, the racist outbursts that suggested I “Burgher off” to more salubrious climes etc. etc. don’t really have any “fizz value” and amount to energy wasted in that they don’t achieve the objective of getting me down to the passport office to ensure my travel documents are in order.
As someone who settled in and contributed to the life of another land for more than 30 years and then made the conscious decision to return to the land in which I was born and raised, such suggestions have extremely limited validity.
In any event, despite the risks attendant on being critical of a regime that has distinguished itself by its ruthlessness, it has been a most interesting ride and I hope there’ll be room for me on this particular roller-coaster for a little while yet.

1 Comment for “Some Thoughts On “Interactive Journalism” With Particular Reference To Being A Columnist At The Sunday Leader”

  1. Nice photographs. I really like the first one. I have a D300 and I can’t take pics like that ;)

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