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You are listening to Uncommon Women on Red podcast. She's one of India's most prominent journalists, fiercely outspoken and has been on the front lines of the daily news cycle, covering every major story for almost three decades from reporting on wars at home and abroad, to interviewing world leaders, CEOs, celebrities and regular citizens. But that has literally spoken to them all. Her unending quest to report a story has involved being bitten by a monkey climbing atop a moving car and endless sleepless nights.
Hello and welcome to Uncommon Women. I'm your host guy, Teranga, Tricia and I bring you inspiring stories of women breaking barriers to make the world a better place. Just society but love. Later here today, I'm delighted to have broken the show.
During the covid-19 pandemic, she crisscrossed India, providing exhaustive ground reporting of what was happening to people during one of the most difficult lockdowns in the world. She did this in a small car with the tiny crew. She filed her stories on module, the YouTube news platform she founded in twenty seventeen. And those reports of destitution and struggle made many citizens come forward to help. She did the kind of old fashioned shoe leather reporting that journalists are supposed to do, but so often do not.
Before founding module, Boco worked at the NDTV news channel for twenty one years, including as group editor. She writes a column for the Washington Post newspaper, The Hindustan Times and The Week. She has won numerous awards, been nominated for an Emmy and received the Padmasree in 2008.
Her book, This Unquiet Land Stories from India's Fault Lines, was published in 2016. Many Indian movie characters have been modelled on her. She has more than seven million followers on Twitter, making her amongst the most followed journalists globally. Bokha. Hello and welcome. A pleasure to be on Bokat.
Just how do you manage to be everywhere you've just come back from India?
Well, I guess I guess it's a kind of manic energy, but maybe it comes from just loving what you do and being disillusioned at what journalism is becoming and holding on to the notion of journalism that you believed in and that you still believe is possible.
So I want to come back to you about that question on journalism. But I want to also understand if there's a national news story you're there reporting on the ground or speaking to key players, how do you make that happen?
How and how many stories you report today during this pandemic? I've kind of lost count of that. What I do know from a statistical point of view is that we covered more than twenty five thousand kilometres. We covered 13 states and territories from the dark to Cerrillo from what was happening with the Chinese incursion in the middle of the covid-19 crisis to Canada, which was upheld as a state that had better and better than than other states. We literally traveled through the length and breadth of India in a small Ortego four member crew, a producer, cameraperson, the driver and myself.
And I guess the mantra has always been the same from for me, whether it was a good order. Ninety nine or discovered the school 2020 go to where the story is. Too often reporters have ceased to be reporters. They have become pundits so that everybody's a pundit and no one is a reporter. No one is actually read the events unfolding. And therefore all of your understanding of the issue is second and sometimes flawed, sometimes driven by the Internet or a Google search.
Right. But if you are a reporter by heart, I mean that I remember not being able to speak with a good broke out because I just had to be that and that kind of set the scene and the fact that you have to want it that badly, that needs to tell the story. So where it's happening is what defines a reporter or distinguishes a reporter from a known reporter. So how do I go about making myself just get up and just you just talk can make me Bogarde me up, crook ESADE Burri, Hindustan, The Jungle.
I mean, how did you know. Did you. Is that how you decided to do it? And were you not scared because obviously it was a health crisis and and you know, how did you cope with that and how did you know? Because nobody knew at that time what covid was really about and how you could even there was too much misinformation even about how you could even contract.
It should only go to other people to be sure. That should all go with a sort of a turkey lockdown. Why did the lockdown here, 140 billion people were locked out to Sawchuk, the majority of the borders that go with borders. But I was shocked by what I saw. I saw men, women and. The children living in the hundreds of thousands, it would turn out to be by the millions, it would be the largest exodus of people since the partition of India.
What many of the mainstream media we need to talk a little bit on some is some of what banal humanitarian crises of what age in the studio the humanitarian crisis might even outpace or overshadow the medical crisis and that India dealing with a twin challenge, the humanitarian crisis, the crisis of India's poorest people, which was going to be the big untold story because television networks, they decided to hunker down and not even come out. And on the other hand, you had what was happening with Corbitt or is that as it should work?
We should only make up this issue, head me about this, because even I had no place to stay. No no hotels were open. There was no food on the highway. So we would literally travel sometimes 20 hours a day and we didn't know where to go. So we would say, OK, let's just drive back to get it, no matter how many hours we spend in the car because we have to go. And then one day we just said, what are you going to do this story like this?
Just leave, leave and see what happens. Obviously, because I was responsible not just for myself, but for three other people, I had to take the precautions as I understood them, which is given with this very hard. Three years ago, you must be me. There was nothing to be done. It was considered risk. We adapted to what science kept telling us beyond the point. It was like we just we just realized that we going to war zones so we risk their lives would be weighted to this pandemic.
But I felt it was our duty as journalists. We were listed as an exact essential service by the government of India. I do feel journalists actually did what they were meant to. Some newspapers shun. I think Mumbai's mobile, for example, is still the city report singles and small towns good. Their work still photographers very little money. These small towns do their work and then they will one or two of us, while all the great big media just sat at their homes and sat in their offices and sat in the studio for the abdication by big media also drove me to do what I did.
And we both know what it does to somebody, to me to take a story. Someone mean you make your story, go on appeal. Cosby in America, you know, you you as you said, they may come any minute. I thought you had no place to sleep. I know that you have slept in your car. I mean, it's really commendable up Nakasa reporting here during the pandemic. You see that? You're lucky. Gauld, I had this my mother.
Did you ever feel barcott it in a sense, maybe your preparation in war zones has prepared you? Did you ever feel a sense of danger? Were you ever scared? Of course I was becoming a comedian. Many of them. In fact, how many people or anybody to be me? Or do you think we should meet somebody here, stay at home with me? I think they should be about getting a job. But I to point four square kilometres.
I mean, I think it is uncommon, but usually or often gloomy people hate competition must go go about infection levels of hospitals to specialized hospitals. They talk to us, but they look like they just made it more difficult for me to look. So of course, there was a sense of vulnerability. There was a sense of feel that this can happen to us and they were born, that you get the OK, you'll get that's the opposite of Baikie apples to go off sick and your field gets offset by your commitment, your passion, adrenaline.
The story that you're reporting on duty at that time, like doctors are site nurses on ward boys, shopkeepers are security personnel. And so what we do what you can, but you feel that vulnerability is a constant overhang, but it gets offset by blocking it out, by letting the adrenaline or your commitment to your job. People in these places, the feel. Do you feel you have a sense of duty to the public? Is that how you think of your profession?
I do. And I know it sounds almost fake who seems to be when you see news as entertainment. But then we get the public service job, which is such megalithic, Ajka, the television radio, just the money management. It's money. Well, I came from a journalistic company. Most of that energy is known to be nepotism. My mother died when I was thirteen. So would you go to any social or place? She was long gone by the time I became a journalist, but what I meant was there was an early exposure to the passion to the.
I think about what kind of good news got into fiscal D.C. methods of just people being issues or not, you can hear by or you could Kasuke me or what's it going to be unpopular or Inconvenient Truth or Giani or Loga sitting because people don't want to deal with the inconvenience of truth telling is a is a job that can make you deeply unpopular, it can make you very loved and it can be could be unpopular to both sides of that and continue to do so.
A madman. You made a comment. I feel that if I hadn't stepped out during, I would have been failing in my duty just because many other people who came to the frontline also did it out of a sense of duty. Bilko and Bokat, do you think you reported, you know, on the Cargill war, which you mentioned earlier, you've also obviously reported from Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt, all these conflict zones. Do you feel like those years of war reporting prepared you for, in a sense, going into this pandemic?
I certainly think that, according to me, issues that are issues for young people to be because they worked in organizations and they've grown up in a media environment that has never given them the chance for opportunity shortages of other things. But to do so much because I at the age of twenty six, twenty seven, was in a war zone with Liberia, you know, changing sanitary bags and not having running out of bed, out of clothes, running out of clean undergarments to get it to work, but cleaning it up that we should not judge to these people.
I think more than anything else that I see opportunity in the training. So I find that a lot of people are flabbergasted when they have to deal with a tough situation with traditional media, although they think the this case, against the odds, without privilege, often without the protection that we have at the moment, which I think is equal focus on what is so well present. There are people, reporters in us, all those looking without any of those predictions.
But I think that in big organizations to be that kind of the exposure to conflict reporting, people just don't have it, that people just don't have the temperament also for it. So I totally agree with you that if the economy we maybe be protective it training a robust training the motherfucking naked people with kids or just he would Waterstones the excesses. Is that because in the war zone, you know, the adversity, you know, you have to. Right.
You can always protect yourself from the negatives. But do you want a Web censorship to go to jail yourself or yourself? Of course, you're risking your life as an intense in an intense sort of way. But but yeah. But not science or medicine, for example. You still don't know for sure. The antibodies develop cadaveric of would be ogi vocality, meaning community Acaba lifelong immunity. We just don't know enough to put it all. In my opinion.
You must have got this attributed to Mushnick. That must be W.H Chief Scientist. Then imagine, even though it's not science whether to go in or not understanding of this, though, it does seem that lack of clarity that's not a group over the information made it even more dangerous than waterboarding, right? Absolutely. And Bokha, you referenced the past. You will reference to your mother and then, of course, you reference the way that you were trained at a young age.
But I'd like to rewind a bit and ask you about your mother, who I know is your role model. You lost her when you were just 13, as you said. What was she like? And what what do you what do you think the lessons are that she imparted upon you? So, for one, I think she was much more of a rebel than I was, because you have to measure that against a state like hunger. HUDEMA I like to think of myself as a little bit more balanced growth game and nonconformist decisions making that up or some sort of whipping up journalism for job universities, misallocating or uncuttable.
How could you look at them or to put up things for me or I need to ask, do you have issues with the objective that she was going to actually go to? But she really had to, like women of other women of her generation, had to really, really claw and fight her way into mainstream news and that she went on to become an award winning investigative reporter. And a lot of people think he became the first woman to cover the war.
But that that description that that that sort of distinction belongs to my mother. And I grew up on the story. Nineteen sixty five, may Pakistan impeachment young, we don't by now more established in the newspaper, we don't have any editorial teams of God to cover this war to the bargaining or to the war front door. She decided that if you want to cover the biggest story of the time that she is going to leave and she took time off of the newspaper.
There was no television. Then she went with a bat to the wall herself. One of four cousins was in the army and she went by ourselves and started sending dispatches and said, If you would like to publish them, please do. And of course, the then published those dispatches and she officially became the first woman in India to report from the war front. Now, when you grow up with a role model like that, there were two very notorious child rapists and murderers.
We remember them. You remember them back before my time, actually, she wanted to interview them in prison and the prison would not allow her to do that. So she went to court and entered the annals of court law in India by winning that case and interviewing them before they were executed. That kind of role model, even if you lose it at a very young age, you were saying my exposure was to the need to be tough. The need to sometimes be solitary because I watched could also make enemies.
I watched her also being adored and disliked in a way that I think happens to all strong women. I think strong women make people around them uncomfortable as the back misogyny one battle at a time. So I watched all of this happen to a lot. And I think that she therefore taught me early on that you answered yourself. You ask yourself, you do what you think is right. And in a life that's the best you can do and you will in the end be alone, no matter what structures of support you build.
It says your family, your children, your friends are very important. They devoted to all these other parts of her life also. But don't let that battle that you're left to fight. It's a solitary fight and you have to find the inner strength. There's a there's a strength in aloneness that you have to be comfortable with. So I think those were the lessons that I go to Oracle Buche, BNC.
But Takaaki, you wanted to be a journalist. Yeah, that game little.
We actually just kind of got into office because of the kind of house I grew up in, the committee exports. I like talking to my parents go and I wanted to make movies that I wanted to be a loyal lightbulb go PC based profession, many training to film television production. Me or even if I could do a job like me, do still do to some extent people the sound engineer or the support team. So everyone is expected to. Do you think the magic in a particular order then?
I was. That's how I became. And how old were you? I was like this was nineteen eighty four. So I would have been about twenty two. Twenty three. Right. And it was then after like January is when I started looking back in twenty seventeen you founded the module and you went digital.
What was the thinking behind that. Why not join another new TV channel. Wasn't it a big risk. It was a big risk. But there's a sense that if you don't reinvent and you don't stay ahead of the goals, you're going to not be to become plateau's up. I had climbed many peaks, had prove many points, and television was changing. That vision was going from reporting to more talk oriented. I can talk reasonably well. And I but I found myself getting into a kind of space.
In fact, somebody asked me the other day, how have you changed in the school with reporting? And I said, I haven't changed. I've discovered my own self and I feel like I actually lost my says. I'd also become fat and lazy. I'd also become story about I'd become all the things I now hate about television. I never used to shout and I never used to do polarizing content. But I was polite. But I was still sitting in a studio, not moving out as much as I should have, not going to the story as much as I should, and doing this kind of banal and the same five people have been able to for boxes and that can't be what your journalism is.
So I could feel that Stannis taking over me. Secondly, I feel like I was tired of being an employee. I even if I was going to have a tiny basement up, I wanted something that I could call my own. I, I wasn't sure I could do it. I knew that I was taking the risk of hopeless people, maybe, but I felt like I should not feel that failure because the next book had to be kind. Otherwise I thought I was just looking at a series.
You do what you don't like anyone. Anyone who doesn't reinvent takes the risk of doing out. And it is much better, I think, to climb a mountain, to sit on a plateau. So have you have you have this module that you founded, you self-funded.
It is. It started with me. On Capitol Hill and then our YouTube channel is now monetized, we wasted the because although I started it in 2017, I really got serious about it actually in October or September of 2019, I registered it to 2017, but I didn't really populated with a lot of content. It took me time to figure out what I wanted to do next. It was a big change for me to walk out of television. And so it took me time to find my direction, to find what I wanted to do.
And then suddenly there was this deluge of news know it started with the university campus unrest. Then we went to the deadly riots and then we went into it. And so suddenly I found that my calling as a reporter, there was an opportunity to rediscover my roots and module on those roots. And so that's what we're doing now, is funded in part by myself, that it is monetized. And now we do have other kinds of content and projects that we work on, whether it's a League of women, whether it's other campaigns that we do that do have partnerships, we are beginning to get sponsorships.
So it's a mix of all of those. And we will move, I think, like much of the digital world, to a subscription model soon enough. As soon as we build a company where you left NDTV after decades and it was a channel that you basically, in a sense, grew up in. Was that a very difficult decision? Because I know you helped shape that channel for a very long time because it was like it was a toss up between remaining A and remaining at home and becoming an adult and leaving.
So it was a very protected environment. But I think that while that helped me enormously, at one point I felt that I was still awaiting my adulthood milestone. Like, you know, I just felt like I was just this I was in this very controlled protective environment, which was just more of the same that I was doing. And I was not breaking free because I was not taking enough. So the way I see it is I saw it as a kind of homey environment where you could be very comfortable, but you were not going to go to the next level.
The next level was only going to come with the bungee jump or the you just holding on to the parachute or jumping. Right. I had to jump or I had to make my peace that this was going to be the rest of my life. And I just didn't feel comfortable with that static energy. I needed that shake up. I needed that. I like all jumping. I think initially there was that sense that I'm going to fall, I'm going to hurt myself, or I made a mistake, of course, to have all of those questions any human being does.
But I felt that I could breathe differently. It was like a teenager leaving home. Like in some ways I felt I should have done it much earlier. Maybe the environment was so comfortable that, you know, it just now in some ways. So if there was any mistake, I think I made I think that that teenage leaving home should have happened much earlier in my trajectory that it did. You know, you've touched upon the state of journalism.
And I wanted to ask you, do you believe journalists can be independent or do personal beliefs come into play when reporting the story? You know, this is a debate that is now ongoing everywhere. I think in India we imported that model from the United States. But how objective can one really be in reporting a story? So there's no clinical objectivity because the very fact of editing is a process of selection and elimination. You chose to keep some interviews.
You chose to give someone more space. There is no clinical measurement that says 20 seconds and thirty seconds to it and it's absolutely equal. That said, I believe that if the issue has multiple shades of truth, it is my job to show those, even if I disagree with them. There are very few issues on which I feel that is not another site. Usually they have involved sexual violence. There have been issues that I do not believe there was another side.
I don't think there is another side. But but. But but there are many other stories where I may totally disagree with the other side, but I feel that that voice cannot be the voice of the story. Like it can be the voice of an opinion piece that I like, but it cannot be the voice of the reported story. But I know that I'm a dying breed. You know, I have this can be risky journalism, garbagey, high level job and Nyamata.
But I think it would be a good opportunity to identify because I stood a face to face of God. Lacassine would be more giblett uncomfortable. Look there. I find this stultifying. I find this intellectually satisfying for the principle of it. For a moment. I find it intellectually satisfying to speak Liebeler. Life is more complex and in any case, I believe in engaging with all ideas, even those who disagree with. So this cancer culture is on both sides.
The fact of the matter is that I do not want to be co-opted by a while. Still remaining individual beliefs, I think is is what journalism? Should be about and I also think that opinion and reportage is different in the West. Newspapers have different editors for their opinion pages and different editors for the newspapers, and there is a reason for that. There is something I can do, in my opinion, space. But most important pieces have to have all voices.
And we unfortunately, our distinction, which obviously look, that can be journalism schools, my jacket, what up or down on that? I would like journalism to be able to journalism. Smitty Cudgen, the ghostwriter for the show's name, the bottom of it little. But you have to let the story tell itself. And that's a story itself. And in fact, you know, I read your book, which is excellent. And in that you talk about the gry, that life is not black and white and that there are nuances to a story.
And unfortunately, because of the shrewdness of the environment, we're now operating and it's very hard to share those nuances. People are not willing to listen. But I also want to ask you, in all your years of reporting, is there one story that has stayed with you that you come back to those stories? It stays with me like the was the you know, the fact that I was able to meet a computer, I was able to interview him.
I was able to be the person who chronicled his immortal words. He didn't want anybody to back to that national opinion or technology or what's all about this stuff that he got like a twin brother because of the war experience? Or would you look back with the reporting, which it conveniently took? Just adverse situation may just cut the nikolaenko or just I never spent as much time on the road. I mean, these distances are set up in and ground or ground base.
But just a little game of reporting, is that a good experience? It would be really difficult. So I think it's bookending two decades plus of my of my reporting life that I've got that of conflict and succinctly set up. The India that you grew up in is not the India that you've seen during your covid reporting cannot say what has changed the most in this country. Would it be paradoxical that the will should meet up in epilepticus substitutability or some kind of game changer that will be, have you become the country full of mobs or dialect that had this mob justice, mob driven opinions?
And what can be on either side? It can be surprising that I guess you have the mob decides gone on to take on on the second dishonest. The more besides you can it, but the key behind it. Good luck. We can be very kind. You know, people are also very kind. And I discovered that in my reporting that the Cappellini page will take all good things to social media. But I think I got my shoes broke and understand that people couldn't understand.
You are just one pair of shoes because they need to explain to them that, of course, I don't those lose one pair of comfortable shoes for the for what I needed to do. I need black shoes that I can run in walking within. I'm not going to kind of be lonely, lonely. I'm quality of the paradox, paradoxes, the Ishigaki even maybe if I keep on straight in Baltimore, driven opinions will be you like it? I'll scratch the surface.
Thought that would be it. My ability. Hey, look, let me see you some here. I don't think people care about ideology. Look at people who going to me being the same people said, oh look, we have people who need to help me. So I do think that while there's a lot of ugliness, there's a lot of goodness also. And you could get out again. It's the importance of getting out of the idea of computers from outside of school, because then you meet people who can't build those connections.
And on that note, I also want to ask you about the position of women, because we'll be up now up close or personal. Abby covid reporting may be obviously throughout your career. And I know you're a proud feminist, as am I. You know, in your in your book also, you have a book chapter on the position of women in India, the intersectionality of caste and class. What is your view on the position of women in India today?
So of course. Of course. But then again, maybe but we are one of the first stories I was a young reporter was again, Dalit woman and Rajasthan who about whom? The High Court said that these men could not have raped her because she was a so-called caste woman. And the reason I bring it up is because almost no one in India knows that we all are sexual harassment guidelines that are Chalco. They're called to a poor woman. I just had a baby who was raped.
She was trying to stop the child marriage of a one year old child. And among the men who raped her was the father of that child. So and every time I got out of the story, there's this stunned silence in the rooms that I've got to do because no one can even believe it, because we have forgotten the story and we have forgotten the baby baby still to get justice. But why her case was being heard, the Supreme Court decided that Harvey was raped at work.
She was around. Goodbody will go on child marriage, good or bad, if he cannot campaign. So it was considered a violation of the workplace. And from that was one of the committees that we now all have at our workplaces and so on. The board could be liable, of course, maybe. But let me tell you, it did go awry in some directions, but it brought home much needed conversations. But again, the backlash to women who spoke up, the sort of the easy rehabilitation of some of the more egregious offenders, I think it all tells you how tough it is for women to go public in a small town and behind a woman who spoke up in court was sent to jail and she was a rape survivor.
So, you know, we do have to remember that a lot hasn't changed. And we also have to remember that even for women of privilege will go, well, you know, Hillary Clinton, she may not have always upheld feminism in the way that we wanted her to. Certainly your comments on Monica Lewinsky are disappointing to me as a feminist. But she did say one thing that I still remember in an interview to me on an apology for women in public life.
You have to have a skin because the height of food, I don't see this. And I think that remains true. That probably won't be jumping league. I will ask you about inequality. I got to ask my colleagues about the heat of the game. So I think that this contradictory country where women are now flying fighter fighter jets and women are leading Israel and women are developing the vaccine and women are leading newsrooms, making up scratch yourself women, because back then I look up from the men in the same space.
And so women will still always have to work twice as hard to get to the same place. And then they would be deconstructed and scrutinized in a way that men were not. This remains true even today. Looking back on your career, do you have regrets about the way you reported certain stories? And the reason I ask is because, again, if you do a reasonable search on you know, people have criticized, for example, the reportage of 26, 11.
And so I just wanted to know what you what your take on that is. So my take on that is that I've had to learn the hard way that even if I did a hundred other people present in an environment, I would be deconstructed as if I was the only reporter that that that the media would become equal to that in some ways, which has been very odd. It's been very odd to experience that. So let's talk about six eleven in twenty six, seven, eight.
So it took me a day to get to them. So I missed the first day of the three day siege because I physically could not be there yet. Google searches would tell you that's in some ways I gave away locations that cause he got greedy among those to die. But I was in Mumbai or reporting the story on that. So let's just stop that. Did the media, including myself, make an inadvertent mistake in the reportage? Yes, there was just one mistake we made.
It was an unknowing mistake. And that unknowing mistake was there because there was no communication from the government, the police and the authorities. There was twenty four seven Real-Time coverage that was happening of the events and we were not aware that they were hunters in Pakistan were able to pick up on what we were seeing and direct the terrorists were inside. These hotels did not discover this. I think the seventy second hour would be fine if you got an advisory for the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and every channel and every reporter then went to a different life with a 15 or 20 minute lag, which is now become the protocol.
Right. Was this a learning? Of course it was a learning. Of course it was a learning, but it was a collective learning. It was not an individual mistake. And it was not an individual learning. It was an organizational learning for the entire industry where now we do not have any like report any encounters in any of those situations. But it was it was it was a mistake made by the media industry from lack of information. There was no information.
We didn't know what was happening behind those closed doors. And in fact, I think now it seems common sense if you don't like what you are just reporting like. But it wasn't commonsensical at the time because frankly, annoyed at what was happening and what you were doing your job, but being like twenty four, seven on the spot. And I remember many channels like on the day, including us at Activia, that I. Moving towards deferred coverage, but, you know, once again, I've learned the hard way that you get so maybe this works both ways, right?
So sometimes there are hundreds of people reporting the story and all the credit comes to come tonight. And I become the face of the story. And sometimes all of the media makes a mistake and all those facts come out when it's it is disconcerting because you the mistake is not yours alone. Otherwise, I would totally own up to it. It was a mistake, but it was an industry mistake. It was a learning, but it was an industry that said, well, the story that we should reported differently, many mostly because when you play back some of your own reports, sometimes you have to shell out sometimes what is true, sometimes what is too muted.
Sometimes one is too inarticulate. Sometimes one feels that one for too much emotion. There are always misgivings about stories, but do I ever feel like I essentially betrayed my code, whether it was the audio tapes of this? No, I do not ever feel betrayed because that's what I would draw the distinction.
You know, it's interesting because people love to hate on you. I know that you are one of the most troubled women because any time I've been tagged on a tweet with you, I've seen it first hand. Forget all the stuff that comes your way daily. And you've been given death threats, rape threats, all sorts of disgusting things have been thrown your way. Why do you think that is? How do you cope? What is it about successful women that draws that kind of ire?
So I think of changes in the way I deal with this right. When I was younger, it would affect me a lot more. And I would argue with people that never actually make the mistake of thinking that when you get cold, if you talk to your trolls reasonably, they'll come around. When I realized that these are often bought, this is often organized, there's often a decision taken on WhatsApp with some group or some Facebook page. Let's call so-and-so today.
Let's make this hashtag trend. It's much more deliberate. It's very organized. You're saying it's very, very organized. And actually what gets them more than anything else is to be ignored. And there's great power in just ignoring them and just doing what you have to have done over many years. And that's what I do now. I just simply do not engage and I just don't pay any attention. But as I but I but I also maintain that women who are less experienced and women go to the salon.
I know a lot of young female reporters who went off Twitter, went off social media platforms because they just couldn't deal with the pressure or they felt the need to modulate their opinions to what they thought the dominant opinion would accept at that time, or they couldn't deal with what was said to them when they tried to have a different opinion. So I do think that these platforms need to examine, you know, creating the how to create an enabling environment for those who disagree to also how to see disagree with the dominant narrative.
For myself, I think all women who are fiercely individualistic good for this. I think you also have to realize that trolling is the new version of what the comments section in the old days to be. So if you start reading comments, you think of the most heated posts, you have got to realize that you can be deeply loved and appreciated. The more deeply loved you are, the more he is going to come to be, the better you do it something, the more people actually look up to you or relate to you or show you affection.
There will be a curiosity on the other side. They go bad. They can be your success. They can be your living or domes. I think I don't conform to larger society the idea of what a woman should be and I think I don't apologize for who I am. I don't just see you. I'm sorry I made a mistake if I don't think I've made a mistake. And I think that a lot of times the Marvelettes to be if you see I'm sorry I made a mistake, but I can't say that if I don't think I've made a mistake.
Right. And I think that really bugs people about women. It is. So you you actually would recommend staying on these social media platforms, because I know I am one of those people who feels I get affected by these disgusting comments. So I think it's remarkable. But are you suggesting that we should just block them out? We should continue to persevere? Yes. And just don't engage, because when you start confusing noise for majority, that's one thing this reporting really taught me.
I really want to reiterate how much kindness and love that has come my way, how many people, like just strangers have just gone out of their way to help. And you have to hold on to that. You have to hold on to the fact that there's so much positivity. Why do we pay so much attention to toxicity? Why do we let these comments define our experience of social media just block, block and move on. And I don't engage and you suddenly find your pages and have a different experience.
Barkha, before I let you go, I want to ask you, you've spoken about the state of journalism. You've spoken about that developing that skin of a rhinoceros, about what it was like reporting, you know, in in war zones when you had inadequate infrastructure and very little, by the way, of personal safety and. Also, a personal kind of comfort, are you are you mentoring people, you feed people be put forward in a sense, you know, is there a future generation of young women reporters that you would like to kind of mentor?
I'd love to. I would love to do it my own way and my team to create a new generation of reporters, reporter, producers. That's the other thing. I really believe the new journalism is going to be with multiple skills. You know, we're going to have to learn to know how to shoot with a phone to put a little graphic on it, to put text on it and to tell a story while we're doing it. But I won't deny repetitiously this is the one that I'm a hard taskmaster.
I do see that if you want to work with me, I'm happy to teach you and share everything I know. But if you come up with that can be without passion. I would not be interested in you. I would not be interested in somebody who is in this to be famous or to have their face on TV to look right to where that I go. That is not what I joined this profession for. If you love the news, if you have that hunger in your baby, I teach do everything I can.
But you have to know that I can't teach you to be passionate. That's the one thing no one can teach anyone that fire in the belly. So is the model hiring? The model is hiring and the model is looking for reporters or producers and the social media editors. So please get in touch. Anyone out there who's interested. Wonderful. Thank you so much. That was such an illuminating conversation. More power to you with the reportage you are doing.
And we look forward to more stories from the module. Thank you, guys. Pleasure talking to you. Thank you.
That was Barcott. That on her return to good old fashioned reporting on the state of journalism today on what it's like to finally run her own company and how she deals with trolls and haters. Join me for another episode of Uncommon Women next week.
You were listening to Uncommon Women on Red Podcast.