Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu today awarded 27 journalists at the 12th edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards. Like every year, India Today journalists featured prominently among the award winners.
This year, three India Today journalists – Bipasha Mukherjea, Manogya Loiwal and Moumita Sen – were awarded by Naidu for exceptional journalism. Bipasha Mukherjea’s reportage Goal Mizoram won the award in the sports category, Manogya Loiwal’s Young Minds Old Body won the top award in the Uncovering Invisible India category, and Moumita Sen’s Test Kashmir bagged the honour for Reporting from J&K category.
7 Mizo boys were going away to play football in the prestigious Bundesliga. Driving through interior Mizoram, India Today’s Bipasha Mukherjea had to catch up with them before they left for Germany. These footballers served as vanguards of a sporting revolution weaving dreams of glories to come. And along the meandering road everyone knew their names, the names of the boys whose eyes were set on their GOAL.
Goal Mizoram is a story of how sports can build life and help develop a region. Language, terrain and culture all were challenging and therefore exciting. Mizoram is a state highly literate yet fighting poverty, alcoholism, AIDS. It is a land where Bollywood is yet to make its impression but the only thing that connects this remote state with the rest of the country is its die hard passion for football. This sport is the gateway for the youth to build their lives and their families’. The challenge was to tell their story which would tell the story of their state in return and the rise of Mizoram as the new Mecca of football in India.
About Bipasha Mukherjea
Television journalist Bipasha Mukherjea is a senior producer in programming at India Today Television. She is a multilingual reporter, news presenter, producer with nearly 17 years of experience.
At India Today, she has been responsible for weekend long format stories for The Long Story and also produced Good News Today series. She believes in the positive stories beyond the headlines that get lost in the breaking news humdrum.
A mountaineer, a runner and a daydreamer, she is also the in-charge of mentoring two teenage minds to help bring out responsible sensitised global citizens of tomorrow.
As the leaves of the Chinar change colour, the water in the Dal lake waits to freeze, waiting for another winter to wrap its cloak of white around the hurting city – Srinagar. Four months after violence erupted in the Kashmir valley post the killing of militant Burhan Wani, the situation is still grim.
The summer of 2016 was bloody, and the curfew and shut-downs continue, an odd car here and there, furtive looks, the auto-stand with a single auto, Srinagar’s historic Lal Chowk empty except for the heavily armed CRPF personnel standing guard.
The biggest challenge for Moumita Sen was to gain the trust of the locals – especially the children and their parents – who spoke to her about the conflict and how it has affected them.
It required an extra amount of effort, compassion and understanding to reach out to them and then ensure that their story is set in a proper context and perspective, to avoid misinformation and ensure impartiality.
Shot and edited like a travelogue in November 2016, Test Kashmir documents the latest casualty in the Kashmir valley – education and the youth.
Around 32 schools were damaged during the 2016 unrest and most educational institutes remained shut under curfew or strikes called by the separatists.
Test Kashmir voices the fear and aspirations of a generation bereft of freedom. Featuring interviews with students all set to appear for their secondary board examinations, educationists, journalists and parents – of another generation that was forced to forego its youth.
Exploring the connection between Kashmir’s volatile political history and the role of education in the valley’s chant for freedom.
In November 2016, the situation on ground in Kashmir was still tense, shutdown continued and anger coupled with fear was palpable. Some recent news reports from certain ‘media channels’ had created a sense of distrust for the television media amongst the people. Many of the stakeholders in this conflict feared negative reporting about them and refused to face the camera to narrate their stories, many areas within Srinagar were almost off-limits for television reporters, this coupled with the fact that mobile internet services had been suspended by the state government made access and communication a problem.
About Moumita Sen
Features journalist Moumita Sen has reported and produced numerous news documentaries for India Today’s weekend shows – ‘The Long Story’ and ‘Person Of Interest’. A journalist for over eight years, she is a strong believer of the long format. Human rights, education, empowerment of women and children are some of the key areas her shows have focused on.
She was the recipient of the Red Ink Award in June 2017 for her show on gymnast Dipa Karmakar – Girl Unstoppable.
An avid photographer and traveller, she brings her own unique blend of visual reportage to each of her stories. Moumita has previously worked with CNN-IBN and is currently an Associate Senior Producer with India Today TV
Young Minds Old Body
Manogya Loiwal’s reportage Young Minds Old Body narrates the story of two kids suffering from a genetic disorder in Ranchi. The disorder is called Ehlers Danlos syndrome in which the symptoms make the person look old. Symptoms may include loose joints, stretchy skin, and abnormal scar formation. The case of the Ranchi kids was one in a million to happen in India where two children of the same family got affected by it. Their father earned a measly Rs.5,000 per month for a family of five to make their ends meet. It was due to a lack medical knowledge that the family had a second child with the same disorder.
The challenge for Manogya was to narrate the stories of the children without making them uncomfortable at any point of time. People’s comments, such as buddhaa (old man) or badsurat bachcha (ugly child), had left scars on the minds of the kids and their family.
Manogya’s reportage brought assistance from Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (Ranchi) and even AIIMS.
About Manogya Loiwal
Manogya Loiwal is a broadcast journalist with India Today Group and is currently the Deputy Editor of Eastern and North-Eastern India along with Bangladesh. She is conversant in more than six languages and reports extensively from the region. Manogya is the first journalist in the world to have travelled nearest to Doklam, that too alone.