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REPORT ON

WORKSHOP FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS FROM VARANASI, MIRZAPUR & SONEBHADRA
DISTRICTS OF UTTAR PRADESH & JHARKHAND

On October, 27, 28, 29, 30 & 31, 2009


at Kamesh Hut, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Theme:
CAPACITY BUILDING IN WRITING AND PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS

Organised By:

People’s Vigilance Committee for Human Rights (PVCHR)


SA 4/2A, Daulatpur, Varanasi- 221002, Uttar Pradesh
Phone: + 91-542-2586688, +91-9935599333
E-mail: pvchr.india@gmail.com, web: http://www.pvchr.org

In collaboration with

Copenhagen, Denmark
WORKSHOP ON CAPACITY BUILDING IN WRITING & PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS

RESOURCE PERSONS:
1. Tarun Bose
Journalist & Trainer,
C-2/92A, Keshavpuram, Delhi-110035

2. Sam Litin
Intern
Leap now
USA

ORGANISERS:
3. Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi
PVCHR
SA 4/2 A Daulatpur, Varanasi -221002

4. Shirin Shabana Khan


Near Old Police Station
Kachhawa Bazar, Mirzapur

PARTICIPANTS:
5. Upendra Kumar
Jali Company (Ashmashan Road), Chiragora,
Hirapur, Dhanbad, Jharkhand-826001

6. Anupam Nagvanshi
D 33/59 Khalispur,
Dasaswamedh, Varanasi – 221001

7. Satyaprakash Dev Pandey


Near Mini Stadium
Ambedkar Nagar
Robertsganj, Sonebhadra -231216

8. Jai Kumar Mishra


Village: Gosaipur, Post – Bhaithauli
Varanasi

9. Rajeev Singh
13 –B Kasturba Nagar
Sigra, Varanasi

10. Jagriti Rahi


Vision
Sarva Sewa Sangh, Rajghat, Varanasi
11. Pawan Upadhaya
Village: Ajao, Post: Chaubeypur
Varanasi

12. Anup Kumar Srivastava


68 E, Tilak Nagar, Allahpur, Allahabad

13. Anand Kumar


Village & Post: Sarai Mohana,
Sarnath, Varanasi– 221007

14. Praveen Kumar


Janmadhyam,
H/O Ambrose Baxla,
At-DooAmba,
Khora Toli, Kokar Ranchi

SPECIAL INVITEES
15. Siddique Hasan
Convenor, Bunkar Dastkar Adhikar Manch
Varanasi

16. Shruti Nagvanshi


Managing Trustee, Jan Mitra Nyas
SA 4/2 A Daulatpur, Varanasi -221002

17. Lal Bahadur


Trustee, Jan Mitra Nyas
SA 4/2 A Daulatpur, Varanasi -221002

18. Ajay Rai


Deputy Editor, Amar Ujala, Varanasi
Background

People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) was started in 1996 as


a membership based human rights movement in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, which
is one of the most traditional, conservative and segregated regions in India.
PVCHR works to ensure basic rights for marginalised and vulnerable section in
the society, especially children, women, dalits and adivasis. It aspires to instil
human rights culture based on democratic principles among the broader section
of the masses. PVCHR upholds the ideological principles of father of dalit
movement, Dr. BR Ambedkar, who struggled against Brahmanical caste
hierarchical system, which still exist even after 62 years of Indian
Independence.

PVCHR is working on the grassroots level in 45 villages in Uttar Pradesh. While


working in close collaboration with human rights activists, PVCHR documents
cases of human rights violations in the rural areas, such as cases of
malnutrition and starvation, police torture or unavailable medical treatment,
especially during custodial torture. It also provides legal assistance. For
raising public awareness, PVCHR lobbies with the media as well as national
and international human rights organisations and urges local authorities to
act for preventing further human rights abuses.

PVCHR has been fighting police torture and creating public awareness for
‘Prevention of Torture in India' and it had developed the testimonial model for
survivors of torture and organised violence with support of Danish organization
Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims(RCT)

Human rights activists drawn from various places of Varanasi, Mirzapur and
Sonebhadra districts of Uttar Pradesh as well as Jharkhand were imparted with
the basic skills of journalism and photography in a 5-day workshop conducted
from 27th to 31st October 2009.

Based on the manual developed by Tarun Kanti Bose, the Resource person was
used to teach reporting and interviewing techniques, on-the site coverage,
format and layout designing of wall newspapers and newsletter. Sam Litin, an
American photographer taught the participants with the basic skills of
photography. Trainees took appropriate photos required for the stories.

Capitalising on the skills garnered during the workshop, the trainees as human
rights defenders would use the techniques of writing and photography for
giving voice to the survivors of torture and organised violence. Wall newspapers
as an independent media vehicle, without being dependent on the market
forces, would strengthen the campaign against torture and organised violence.
WORKSHOP ON CAPACITY BUILDING OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS FROM
FROM VARANASI, MIRZAPUR & SONEBHADRA DISTRICTS OF UTTAR PRADESH &
JHARKHAND

WRITING AND PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS


Kamesh Hut, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 27th to 31st October 2009

PROCEEDINGS

While conducting workshops such as this one, in a classroom style the


participants’ interest was kept intact. Seeing the intensive nature of the
training participants was restricted to twelve, which helped in quantifying the
level of success and the workshop achieved in imparting and bolstering the
skills of the participants.

The trainer, who harnessed the skill of the trainees in writing skills, has
managed to accumulate and cull over the years led him to design and format
this workshop in a way he felt would benefit the PVCHR in an optimal manner.
Thus the workshop was residential to accrue maximum benefit of the teaching
techniques.

The workshop was held over five consecutive days, each day comprising two
intensive and highly interactive sessions. Not only were writing and
photography skills imparted to the participants, but discussions on many core-
issues and problems also took place. This was followed by the participants
putting out designs and formulated content for wall newspapers ably assisted
by the resource persons who had assembled at the venue to guide them
through the process of skill acquisition and the deployment of skills by
launching the wall newspapers for wider dissemination through pre-testing.

We give you here a graphical and succinct account of the workshop sessions in
the narrative format, along with the impressions, observations and
recommendations that emerged out of this entire exercise.

27.10.2009, First Session:


The workshop began with Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, Convenor, People’s Vigilance
Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) introducing Tarun Kanti Bose, the
Resource person. Then, the participants introduced themselves, formally and it
was done know each other informally. All this was accomplished in a mood of
open bonhomie and good humour. This served as a tool that gets the
participants into a perceptive mood. This state of mind, we feel, also
encourages the transmission and reception of new concepts, ideas and skills
not only from the resource person but also from one another.

Then, Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi said a few words on the importance of such
initiatives and how effective such skills as those imparted by Resource person
would provide the human rights defenders with an effective medium of
communication for bringing fore the voices of survivors of torture and
organised violence.

After the introductions were over, Tarun Kanti Bose launched the activities of
the session by explaining the five-day schedule to the participants.

Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi beginning the workshop

Then, the Resource person started with orientation of participants with the
techniques of reporting. Beginning with the essentials, he told the trainees to
remember 5 Ws and 1 H
5 Ws are
 Who: This is whom the action is about. Who is talking
 What: What happened. It usually includes a verb.
 When: Simply the day of the week, usually. Like where, it is a reference
point for the reader. Sometimes more specific time is important to include.
 Where: Leaving out where an event occurred confuses readers to no end. In
covering news, you may be expected to include an address. Often it helps
to include a landmark as well.
 Why: Hard to answer sometimes. It usually involves some discussion in the
second or third paragraph of why the event seems to have occurred or why
it is significant.
1 H is
 How: And sometimes how, which usually takes care of the story’s
middle.

He asked the participants that whenever they go for reporting or interviewing


they should write the 5Ws and 1 H in their notebook with lots of blank space
between 5 Ws and 1 H. Before finishing an interview or reporting, go down that
list and make sure the blanks are filled.

Post to this, the Resource person then led the participants to the tips of
reporting. The tips are as follows:
• Taking Notes: While reporting whatever information you gather do write
down in your note book. Don’t let the jargon get into your notebook.
Avoid words, expressions and phrases that are known only to people with
specific knowledge or interests. You have to keep in mind that most of
your readers are either unlettered or semi-literate. You have to use
simple words and expressions so that you are able to build up a rapport
with the readers.
• Keep the colours in: Keep the colourful details that would give life to
the story. It’s not only what people say that’s important, but also how
they say it. Consider this: Asked how he would handle council members
who disagreed with him, Chairman Sunder Mohan looked his questioner
straight in the eye, grinned and formed his right hand in the shape of a
gun, letting his thumb drop like a hammer. He didn’t say a word.
• Do not forget people: Remember that people like to read more about
people and their issues than about things. Such as, “Critics of the
government housing project say it would pollute the river water and
undermine the livelihood of the residents” has less impact than “critics
of the government housing project it would kill the fish in the river and
put fishermen out of work.”
• Report both (all) sides: Every story has more than one side to it. In the
interest of balance and fairness, talk to all parties concerned and report
their views.
• Identify the issues: Prior to the reporting a meeting needs to be
organised so that you know what you have to do. In this meeting all the
activists should be called so that they deliberate on all the issues of the
area, where you had planned to go for reporting. It would also help you
to know the issues, necessities and aspirations of the area so that you
take a concrete step towards resolving the problem. Even through
regular meetings helps in acquainting you about the progress.
• Prioritising the issues: Prior to the reporting, in the meeting you could
choose the most important issue out of the compiled issues. It means
that the issue needs to be prioritised in tune to the ground realities of
the area. It should like that in the area, there is outbreak of malaria or
other disease taking an epidemic proportion due to filth and dirt but you
take up some other issue. Always you have to remember that you have
prioritised the issue and choose the most important one. It helps in
giving pace to your work.
• Prepare your questionnaire: Before going for the reporting, prepare
your questionnaire on the issue, which you want to raise in your story.
Your prepared questionnaire, prior to the reporting helps you to
understand the issue compared to others.
During the reporting, following things needs to be remembered:
You have to keep in mind that your work is to dig out the true facts and
inform people about it so while during reporting following things needs to
be remembered:
• Readers are not interested to know your personal views so while
reporting do not impose your views on the readers
• Use simple language, which people understand and report in such a
manner, which enhances their interest.
• Do not use words, expressions and phrases which are not known to the
people. Use the words, expressions and phrases in a very interesting way
so that readers enjoy while reading your story.
• You should have full grasp of the topic on which want to develop your
story.
• Do not make any baseless allegations. Do corroborate it with facts.
• Use correct figures.
• Do not gather wrong information if there is paucity of time.

Cross check the information gathered for ironing out the mistakes: Its
responsibility of every reporter that whatever information they give it should
be balanced and fair. It should be free from bias and mistakes so that the
readers get correct and accurate information. It’s possible that for the readers
some of the information might be quite new so in this situation, if any
inaccurate or wrong information is given to them, then they would think it to
be true. If it is cross checked within the team then the mistakes or inaccuracies
could be ironed out.

Sam Litin of USA introducing photography to the participants


Sam Litin, an Intern associated with Lean Now of USA, present during session
introduced photography to the participants. He said photography is one of the
most commonly used and effective methods of visual documentation and
communication. He was happy to note that the digital cameras given to all the
participants would help in bring fore the realities confronting the lives of the
people among which they are working.

It should record the fact, which touches us and jolts our sensibilities.
Photography is the art of recording images, which we find attractive, amusing,
or thought provoking. And, unlike many other mediums, it provides us with a
"true-to-life" image, which is not too much different than to what our own eyes
would see. Photography can only record that our eyes saw.

He explained that while taking the photos there should be more to framing a
photo than just making sure everything is inside the frame. If you want to take
a photo, you should also consider how the objects in your photo, called the
subjects, are placed.

Then, he asked the participants to take photos and then he promised to come
the next day and show the participants the photos taken by him during his visit
to India and other countries.

Participants were busy in taking photos in and around the room. Some of them
went outside the room and took photos. Showed it to Sam Litin, who
appreciated it and asked them to continue it with much of effort and
enthusiasm.

The session came to end and broke for lunch.


27.10.2009, Second Session:
The second session began immediately after a lunch. Then, Tarun Kanti Bose
asked the participants to gather at the training hall.

After that, the Resource person wrote on the board and explained to the
participants the ten tips for better interview to the participants. The tips
explained are as follows:
1. Be prepared: Always read up on the subject you are reporting about and
the person you are interviewing. Your source will appreciate your effort,
and you will be able to skip questions that can be a subordinate, book or
document. When scheduling the appointment, ask your source to suggest
documents or other sources of information about the topic you will
discuss. The interviewee will appreciate your interest and often share
valuable documents before the interview. Make sure that your tape
recorder has batteries that work. Bring an extra tape as well as pens and
notebooks.
2. Set the rules of the interview right up front! Be sure your subject
understands the story you are working (this will keep the interview on
track). Additionally, the interviewee must understand that everything
they say is “on the record”. It is best to establish these ground rules
when making the interview appointment. Remember that upfront
clarification may be required (especially when your source or life could
be endangered by being quoted).
3. Be on time: The worst impression you can make on a source is being late
for the interview.
4. Be observant: Observe details of the place and of your interviewing
partner: this can add colour to your story. You may start an interview
with assumptions about a person and leave with a completely different
impression. However, this may be exactly what your sources intended.
Perception is a tricky business! Try to talk to others, colleagues or
friends of your source, to get a bigger picture.

Resource person explaining the tips of interviewing

5. Be polite, Do not rush your source: It is important to establish a polite


rapport and a level of comfort for the interviewee. Some interviewees,
on the other hand need a couple of minutes to become comfortable
talking to reporters. Even though you may only have 30 minutes for an
interview, you should not rush your subject. If you sense the interviewee
is in hurry, adjust your timing accordingly. Keep in mind everyone is
different. Taking the time to get to know your sources will prove
valuable, especially when you need to call with follow-up questions or
use them as a source for future stories. If the interview goes well, it may
even go beyond the scheduled time. Give yourself plenty of time
between appointments to avoid scheduling conflicts.
6. Listen but don’t be afraid to interrupt when you don’t understand:
Keep your readers in mind. One reason you are conducting this interview
is to explain it to your readers. If your subject uses scientific jargon or
explanations only his/her peers would understand, politely interrupt
and ask for further explanation. Never be embarrassed about not
knowing something.
7. Silence is golden: Sooner or later you will have to ask the tough
questions that your subject may be reluctant to discuss. When you start
asking those provocative questions, the answers most likely will be
short, useless or carefully worded. You may get an answer at all. If this
occurs, look your source in the eye and don’t say a word. In most cases,
your opponent will begin to feel uncomfortable and begin to share
information again. If this doesn’t work, ask for sources who might
answer your question.
8. Maintain eye contact: A reporter who spends most of the interview bent
over taking notes or looking into a notebook can be as disconcerting as a
tape recorder in an interviewee’s face. While taking notes and recording
the interview, maintain as much eye contact as possible. Learn to take
abbreviated notes looking down only once in a while so you can focus
on your interviewee. This will make the interview like a conversation,
and enable everyone to be more relaxed.
9. Before you leave ….ask your source if there is anything that you might
have forgotten to ask. Perhaps the interviewee is burning to tell you
useful information but you did not even think to ask that question.
Don’t leave without getting a contact number or e-mail address and a
good time to call up with follow-up questions. Always ask for other
sources. Colleagues or friends of the interviewee may be more
knowledgeable or willing and able to speak to you. Thank your source for
spending time talking with you before you leave.
10.Review your notes right after the interview: Don’t wait until the end
of the day or later in the week to review your notes. Go over them right
away, while everything is fresh in your mind, filling in your short notes
and elaborating on your observations. Review and organised your notes.

Then, the participants were asked to write a story within 600 words for testing
their aptitude in writing. Participants gathered after an hour and everyone
submitted their assignments to the Resource person. After that, participants
were divided into three groups and following places were selected for the on-
the-site overage:
• Nakhi Ghat
• Dhakarbasti
• Bajardiha weavers colony

The first group was asked to develop their questionnaire and cover the
functioning of anganwadi, basic facilities such as Public Distribution System,
distribution of mid day meals in Government schools, Auxiliary Nursing Mother
(ANM) in Nakhi Ghat, a slum colony and even to interview the local corporator
pertaining to his role in the colony. The group comprised of Anupam Nagvanshi,
Dr. Rajeev Singh, Anand Kumar and Upendra.

The second group was asked to develop their questionnaire to cover eviction
drive, police repression and the problem facing the Dharkar families living at
road side for the last four generation. Dharkar families earned their livelihood
by making basket and other article with bamboo. On 29th January 2009 at
midnight hours, over 50 policemen armed to the teeth unleashed a reign of
terror over the impoverished slum dwellers with a purpose of eviction at
Hukulganj. Even they didn’t spare the sleeping children or elderly people.
Police brutally assaulted women, when they failed in their attempt to molest
them. The group comprised of Satyaprakash, Anup Kumar, Jai Kumar Mishra,
Pawan Kumar and Praveen Kumar.

The third group comprising of Lenin, Shabana, Jagriti accompanied by Siddique


Hasan was asked to interview the victims of police firing at Bajardiha weavers’
colony in March 2005. On 11th March 2005, Holi revellers tried to engineer
communal riot in Bajardiha. These miscreants threw colours on the mosque;
write filthy invectives on its wall targeting the minority community. Without
taking any action against the miscreants, police fired indiscriminately on the
weavers and killed two youths and incapacitated eight people. The group was
asked to develop their questionnaire and interview the family members of the
youths killed in police firing and those injured by the police bullet.

This done, Tarun Kanti Bose asked the participants to come with the
questionnaire on the issues selected them for reporting and interviewing. With
this, the day’s session came to an end.

28.10.2009, Third Session:


The second day began with Jagriti Rahi summing up the first day’s progress.
This done, the participants showed their questionnaires to the Resource
person. Then, he suggested to some of the participants to show it to Lenin and
Praveen Kumar. All of them suggested some changes, which participants
followed diligently.

Tarun Kanti Bose helping participants to develop their questionnaire


After this, three groups comprising of three to five participants each and these
groups were asked to go to the colonies to gather information and interview
people on the issues selected by them.

28.10.2009, Fourth Session:


After gathering information the participants came back and assembled at
around 7.30 pm at the workshop venue. Then, Tarun Bose asked the
participants to write down their stories during the night by incorporate all the
information they had gathered during the interviews and interaction with the
people.

After this, Tarun Kanti Bose gave tips on effective writing style to the
participants. He also told if they adopted it then it would help in developing
good stories for newsletter and wall newspapers. The tips are as follows:
1. Emphasise the most important item in the ‘intro’ or ‘lead’ in the first
paragraph.
2. Proceed from the most interesting to the least interesting.
3. Don’t clutter your lead or intro with too many details.
4. Write one idea in one paragraph
5. Give your source or authority when necessary.
6. Identify all persons. Write their full names the first time they are
mentioned. Sometimes, a surname/title is not always sufficient.
Explain what the person does.
7. Explain all technical terms, and avoid using too many in a story.
8. Use quotes sparingly. Ensure they always add something to your story.
9. Avoid clichés and sloganeering:
• Use concrete, specific words and phrases, rather than general, abstract
ones.
• Use the active rather than the passive voice.
• Strive for coherence by using connecting words, phrases, clauses and-
sometimes– sentences or paragraphs.

Resource person giving tips on effective writing style


Then, he introduced the participants to ‘inverted pyramid’, which meant, that
you lay out the facts in descending order of importance. It is the standard
narrative, inverted. So while writing a story they should start with important
information and end with least important information. The inverted pyramid
form for the story has three key parts:
• The lead or intro: The lead or intro is the first paragraph of any story.
The lead or intro tells everything that needs to be known, as well as the
most relevant details.
• The middle: This includes paragraphs to support the lead/intro, to add
details that are significant but not essential. In the middle you probably
will want to give the quotes of village heads, officials and people
pertaining to the issue.
• The expendable ending: A major reason for writing stories in the
inverted pyramid form is so the bottom can be cut without eliminating
some crucial detail Stories almost always are cut a little – often from the
bottom ---- to fit the space. The expendable end should include
background information.

This done, the Resource person then cleared doubts the participants and
brought the second day’s session to a close.

29.10.2009, Fifth Session:


The third day of the workshop began on a crisp note, as participants assembled
for the fifth session. Then, Anupam Nagvanshi summed up second day’s
activities.

Anupam Nagvanshi recapitulating second day’s activities


Having done, Tarun Kanti Bose had all the assignments collected and then he
went through it and evaluated it.
Then, he explained each and every participant and wrote down intro/lead of
every story in the white board. He was helped by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi in
checking the assignments and developing the stories. While writing down the
intro/lead of the story, both of them stressed on the following:
• From the mass of information available to you, you are expected to
select the most important and significant details and present it as
intro/lead of your story. If you write in an interesting way then it will
immediately grab the reader’s attention and hold it. As you become
more experienced, you will find that there is more to be discarded
than to be saved in your intro/lead.

• As the inverted pyramid form requires that you deal with the facts in
descending order of importance, the best way to establish what is
important is to summarise it at the outset.

Tarun Kanti Bose writing the ‘intro’ while developing the Shabana’s story
Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi writing the ‘intro’ while developing a participant’s story

This done, it was now proposed that the participants now apply their creative
energies to rewrite their stories, keeping in mind the intro/lead written in the
white board. The Resource person then cleared any doubts the participants
had, also told them how to put intro/lead, middle and ending of the story in a
more presentable manner.

Then, the session broke for a lunch.

29.10.2009, Sixth Session:


Break over, the participants assembled at the workshop venue. In the post-
lunch session, the Resource person continued writing down intro/lead of
participants’ stories on the white board. Few among the participants were
asked to write down their stories on the white board. Anand Kumar, Upendra
and Jai Kumar wrote down ‘intro/lead’ of their stories at the right earnest.
Further, it was polished by the Resource person to enhance its readability for
making it popular among the readers.

Upendra writing the intro of his story on the white board


Anup Kumar trying to develop the intro of his story

When ‘intro/lead’ of all the stories written by the participants was developed,
the Resource person asked the participants to rewrite their stories and submit
it next day morning.

Before the session broke for a day, the participant groups were asked to select
the title of wall newspapers, which would be in its masthead.

30.10.2009, Seventh Session:


The fourth day of the workshop began as participants assembled for the
seventh session. Then, Anup Kumar Srivastava recapitulated third day’s
activities.

Next in line, reparations were soon underfoot to get ready for a session on
photography. Sam Litin took the centrestage and showed the photos shot by
him. While participants were viewing the photos, he told them, when you take
photos, you have to remember the following:
 Field : The main subject, which plays an important role in composition
 Foreground: The area between the camera and the main subject.
 Background: The area behind the main subject in a photograph
Whatever you shoot, more importance needs to be given to the subject than to
the background. While taking photos, it’s necessary to capture the facial
expressions.

He explained that photos should have the following characteristics:


• Facial expression
• Light and shade
• Colour
• Texture
• Depth
• Shape
After that, the 3 groups showed the photos shot by them during the on-site
coverage. Quite appreciative of the photos taken by the participants, Sam Litin
discussed how much more practise needs to be done for taking photos
synchronising with the stories. Participants appropriate photos were chosen,
which would be pasted in the space left in midst of their stories.

Next in line, participants submitted their stories and then, Tarun Kanti Bose,
gave many new insights into the planning and making of wall newspapers. Some
excerpts from his interaction with the participants are given below:

I would say that you have so far done an admirable job in writing and then
rewriting your stories based on the information, which you gathered from the
field. But it now needs to be placed in the wall newspapers to be designed by
you.

My express suggestion to you is to keep the community within which you work,
the main nodal point of the wall newspaper, and I suggest you build everything
else that goes into your wall newspaper around this main focal point. In the
wall newspaper, problems/issues grappled by the local people need to be
raised in the language which has more readability and popular too.

The difference between a regular newspaper and a wall newspaper is that a


newspaper you do not have much of control over what will ultimately get
published. You write for it and an editor decides what will finally go into the
making of the paper. In a wall newspaper, you have full control over the
content, that is, you decide what will go into it, and how it will look like. You
are both the writer as well as the editor. You also have full control over the
frequency, or rather, the periodicity of the wall newspaper. You may choose to
put it out daily, weekly, or monthly, and you may even put up special
supplements whenever you feel there is a need for one. Your wall newspaper
structure and content would be as follows:
• A card sheet, chart paper or tabloid sized paste sheet is most
appropriate for preparing a wall newspaper
• You must also give your wall newspaper an appropriate name, which
should be prominently written out middle on the top of the sheet in bold
letters, so that it stands out and creates a distinct identity for your
work. Do decide about its logo, periodicity and edition number prior to
launching of the wall newspaper.
• The lead story/article in the wall newspaper should be topical,
interesting and in tune with the needs of the community.
• The stories should be with clear headings and photos.
• Five to six stories which updates the readers about the issues, which are
topical and relevant.
• One amongst in your group who has the best hand entrust the job of
writing the text to him/her. Calligraphy is important, as it will ensure
readability.
A wall newspaper is also an excellent medium to use as an organiser and you
can use this as a means to mobilise people on the issues that concerns you, a
newspaper does not lend itself to this sort of use.

I strongly feel that bringing out a wall newspaper regularly will have far
reaching effects on the people, with whom you are working. As it is a
community effort and it is your very own paper. Secondly, regularly bringing it
out will contribute enormously to your own self development, as active
members of the community who are concerned about it.

It is of paramount importance that you first build a small dedicated team to


bring out the wall newspaper. You may expand as you go along, as you will find
that more and more people will eventually get interested in contributing to it
as you go along putting it up regularly. Who knows, soon your wall newspaper
may get to be big enough to outreach your areas of operation.

Wall newspapers should be pasted at the vantage point, where people


assemble or it is easily accessible.

Then, Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi introduced the participants to Ajay Rai, Deputy
Editor, Amar Ujala, a Hindi daily newspaper. He told that stories which you
would write need to be crisp and in short sentences, which makes it
interesting. Regular effort need to be made. Photos should be taken so that it
synchronises with the story. Photos should be intrinsic link with the stories.

With this the session came to end and the lunch was served.
30. 10.2009, Eighth Session:
Break over, the participants assembled at the workshop venue. Now participant
groups were asked to start working on their wall newspapers. Groups chose the
following titles for their wall newspapers:
• Dastaan-a- Bunkaar
• Dakhin Tola Times
• Awaaz-a- Bazardiha
The first and second wall newspapers carried Hindi stories and the third was bi-
lingual, which had stories in English and Hindi.

Upendra involved in dummy exercise of wall newspaper


Anupam assisting Anand Kumar in writing their stories on the wall newspaper

Participants worked till midnight hours for developing their wall newspapers.

It was decided that the wall newspapers would be taken to Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Ghat, on the banks of Ganges, which is popular for traditional, religious and
cultural ceremonies organised by the government and civil society
organisations for pre-testing.

31.10.2009, Ninth Session


The Ninth session of the workshop began at 10 am on 31 st of October with the
participants presenting the wall newspapers that they had created as part of
the assignment. Participants pasted it in the wall of the workshop venue. Then,
Upendra summed up the 4th day’s progress.

Awaaz- a- Bazardiha, a bilingual wall newspaper


Dakhin Tola Times

Dastaan-a- Bunkaar
After that, preparations were afoot to take the wall newspapers to Dr.
Rajendra Prasad Ghat, and paste the 3 wall newspapers at the entrance of
huge dais for pre-testing.

Readers glancing at the stories of the wall newspapers

Seeing the wall newspapers pasted, people gathered around it and thoroughly
read the stories carried in the wall newspapers. Readers were of the opinion
that wall newspaper is most effective tool for communication to amplify the
voice of the excluded community. In the days to come, it can emerge as a
forum for interaction.

Appreciative of the innovative medium, the newspaper correspondents and


channel reporters were of the opinion that the wall newspapers is the most
economically viable medium, where writers have full control over it without
being dependent on the market forces.

Trainees who developed the wall newspapers were busy seen interacting with
the people, who had thoroughly read the stories placed in the wall newspapers.
Seeing the public response it was decided to launch the wall newspapers for
wider and larger viewership of people living in Varanasi.

At 12.30 noon the session decided to wind up and break for lunch.
31.10.2009, Tenth & Last Session
The tenth and last session of the workshop began soon after the participants
gathered at the workshop venue, coming back from a successful pre-testing.
Shruti Nagvanshi, Managing Trustee, Jan Mitra Nyas and Lal Bahadur, Trustee,
Jan Mitra Nyas graced the occasion for giving final touches to a new beginning.

Brimming with confidence, trainees put forth the views expressed by the
readers, who had gone through the contents of the wall newspapers. Anand
Kumar came up and spoke, “I am happy at the outcome of the workshop.
During the pre-testing at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Ghat, one Sonia and Ramesh
Prajapati expressed that wall newspaper is the most effective medium, where
there are no hindrances in putting fore the people’s views and reports on their
issues. Readers were of the view that at the bottom of the wall newspaper,
address and phone number of the organisation should be carried.”

Dr. Rajeev Kumar said people had shown their inquisitiveness in knowing
threadbare about the issues carried in the wall newspaper. People want that
wall newspapers should be a continuous affair.

Next in line was Anup Kumar said photos enlivened the wall newspapers.
People were quite amazed seeing a new innovative medium such as wall
newspaper. Wall newspaper carrying a story on the corporator should be pasted
in his area, which falls in his jurisdiction.

Taking the cue, Satyaprakash said youth had shown their enthusiasm and they
could be involved in taking it ahead.

Siddique Hasan of Dastkar Bunkar Adhikar Manch, the wall newspapers is an


independent media vehicle carrying the voice of the unheard.

Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi concluding the workshop


Lenin Raghuvanshi of PVCHR, who was the main organiser of this workshop,
then, spoke a few words it is a new beginning which has an immense future
ahead. Please continue writing and your crusading interest in digging out the
truth, which would help in bringing fore the issues of people with whom we
work.

That brought an end to the activities of the workshop, and the participants
coming from Varanasi, other districts of Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand dispersed
to gather their belongings and ready themselves for a journey back home.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. We recommend follow up workshops.


More workshops in the PVCHR’s areas of operations, if and when conducted,
will help enormously in consolidating gains garnered during this workshop.

2. We recommend geographical broadbasing of such workshops.


Workshops such as this may be planned to cover people from more states.

3. We recommend quantification of results.


The skill acquisition by participants in these workshops, we feel needs to be
quantified further. This presupposes the participation of one more resource
person, who will work at statistically quantifying the results.

4. We recommend a special workshop for rural journalists.


A workshop focusing on fine tuning the writing style and imparting photography
skills, specially designed for activists from rural areas were PVCHR is working,
we feel, will also be of immense help in launching wall newspapers and
generating stories for mass media. This sort of exercise will also help PVCHR in
getting their points across.