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(A five day camp held at Madurai from 26-04-09 to 30-04-09)

KANAL Writers Forum organized a five day camp for the students who are interested
in student journalism. It was held in Britto Hostel, St Mary’s HSS premises at
Madurai. This Young Writers Forum is the brain child of our Secondary Education
Coordinator, Fr. John Kenndy. We wanted to make it as an open-to-all course but
due to financial constraints we made it available for forty five students from
VIII std (5 students each from 9 of our schools). Indeed a very good response from
all our schools. We demanded no fee from the students. Instead it is the SEC
sector which came forward to bear the course fee, Remuneration for the resource
persons. It also provided the students with one way travel allowance.

The multi-talented resource persons (most of them are active journalists)

enthralled the active young minds with their sharing on social commitment of
students. They repeatedly reiterated that the students, the committed soldiers
should be the watch dog of social justice. ‘We ought to report the untoward
incidents to the peoples’ court and bring justice and peace to this nation, only
then our life here will be meaningful’ was their uniform motivational quote.

They also cited that ‘If one is looking for a lot of excitement, prestige and
glamour then journalism has all these to offer and much more. Anyone who has a
nose for news and want to make a difference to the society and work even in
erratic shifts can opt for journalism as a career. The job of a journalist usually
involves reporting, writing and editing reports. The medium could either be
newspaper, television, magazine, radio, Internet. The positions held by
journalists can be varied- like a journalist could be a reporter, a sub- editor, a
magazine specialist, a feature writer, a freelancer, a stringer, a
photojournalist, etc’.

The students learnt that a good journalist should be able to report with candid
knack and have brilliant ideas to churn out exciting new stories everyday. He has
to gather quality news through various sources, do research that would act as a
backup to his report and present it in such a manner that is easily understood by

Though there was much thrust on the impact of journalism, the technical elements
on what is news, how to prioritize, style of presenting a report and so on were
discussed at length. The practical sessions captivated the students which involved
group work and demanded challenges.

The formal inaugural ceremony and the grand valedictory functions added beauty to
the course. The camp was pretty tight since there were 13 resource persons
lecturing and conducting practical sessions from dawn to dusk. The everyday after-
supper talent night programme too was challenging and attention-grabbing. The
students were much contented and felt proud to receive their certificates on the
final day. There will be a sequential follow-up programmes in the days to come
which would be enumerated in consultation with the Coordinator, the HMs and the
kanal in-charges in all our schools.

- Joe Xavier sj