A unique masterclass on parliament news

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We attended a few masterclass sessions and spoke to some of those conducting the training and education program for young journalists. One of them was Meghnad Saha, a young follower of parliamentary proceedings who conducted the masterclass – Covering Parliament 101. A former LAMP fellow and a PRS legislative researcher, Saha has worked with more than half a dozen MPs, including those of NCP, TMC and BJD in the past seven years. He was one of the fifty young journalists to be chosen as a research fellow in 2011 by NGO PRS Legislative Research. Fellows are attached to an MP for a year to help them do their research.

Talking about the fellowship work, Saha said, “This was primarily an assignment to assist the MPs do legislative business for one year. It included filing notices, drafting questions, helping them writing speeches, going around with them to their constituency, trying to figure out how to get their constituent notices to parliament, even in cases where lawyers were enlisted to help in drafting bills. I frankly found this work addictive. After finishing my fellowship I worked with MPs of various political parties wherever there was an opening and kept working on parliament news.”

Saha told the audience that the Lok Sabha website gives the latest data on the economy, social and other activities that are not normally available anywhere else. “There is a wealth of information in the questions that are asked by the MPs and the answers given. Normally the data is authentic and well researched because MPs can’t give false information on the floor of the house. Besides this, the websites of the Rajya Sabha and PRS Legislative give all data that have been part of the proceedings in the house.” He showed the audience how to use the search function of the websites for specific information and get authentic updated news that is quoted by many news channels. Parliament focus has of late revived with the high-pitched media battle between the Left and the Right. A dedicated masterclass for news gathering from the parliament was a great experience at the Media Rumble.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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