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more than a decade from the 1980s to 1990s, I was a business journalist working
in different newspapers. #Journalists at
that time were known for their ethics, self-respect, high moral standards and
their vast knowledge on the subjects they reported on.
first brush with #autojournalism was
in the late 1990s in #AutoIndia.
Auto journalists are a different breed. They are enthusiasts with great
knowledge about vehicles and everything motorised. But they are absolutely
greedy fellas. The greed has over the
years been fanned and dragged to incorrigible levels thanks to #OEMs and
their PR firms who ensure that you are corrupted one way or the other. You have
to be a yes man. I remember top auto #journalists fawning
before CEOs and whispering into their ears, "The #DaewooCielo is
a marvel", "The #FordEscort is
a rocket" the "#TataNano is
their views meant nothing in the real world. Companies perished and products
disintegrated. And greed continued to spread in our veins like the venom from a
snake bite. I pushed several articles on my site, urging #PRfirms and
OEMs to keep our lives simple. But no one cared. Instead, they put a price tag
on the forehead of every #autojournalist.
Everybody had a price. They could buy us so easily and we were only ready to
oblige, to lay prostrate before our masters like shipwrecked slaves!!
of the Year, Bike of the Year, CEO of the Year, Truck of the Year, Two-wheeler
of the Year.....awards came in droves... and to win these awards, OEMs
and #PRfirms worked
behind the scenes to woo auto journalists. Foreign junkets, expensive gifts,
one on one special exclusive meetings, etc became the norm and the reward. As
long as I was just an auto journalist, I only knew half the side of the real
story. In 2010, when I became an entrepreneur I got to know the other half. If
you got to survive, you have to be good at sucking up and licking, something I
am so miserable at. My business floundered, yet my self-respect remained
few years ago, social media took over. The iota of self-respect and dignity
that I had treasured so much, that too collapsed like a house of cards. It was
not journalism anymore. You had to impress the world with your idiocy and smut
attitude. You had to pretend you were the best puppet on a string! Journalism
was nowhere to be seen. Auto journalists never noticed this change, because
they were never journalists, to begin with. They were simply enthusiasts with a
penchant for sucking up! But for guys like me, we were now like homeless
destitute! Nowhere to go, but to live in this camp called #HELL.
When I look into the mirror, I have a price tag on my forehead. I try to rub it
off, but it does not come off. I look across at my counterparts covering sports
and politics as journalists, I realise they too have bigger tags. I reckon I
have to make peace with the devil!!