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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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