Friday, April 29, 2011

Separate Fact from Fiction, Reporters Told

DENPASAR

A journalist has criticised the Indonesian press for its imprecise use of language and for reporters’ tendency to editorialise in news stories during a student journalism training forum in Denpasar.

Speaking at the Hindu Students Journalism Training gathering in the Bali capital, PK Yanes, the former chairman of the Bali branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, said that the quality of writing in local print media was often poor. Foreign loanwords and technical terms were often used incorrectly, he said.

“But it’s not only foreign vocabulary; they often use vocabulary which is not suitable for the context in which they are writing, and worse yet, they often use jargon,” Yanes said.

Yanes said that there were guidelines on the correct usage of the Indonesian language, and journalists ought to heed them.

Yanes also criticised a frequent tendency to overt editorialising in news stories.

“Put simply, there are journalists who can’t separate the facts from their personal opinions,” he said, calling on the young would-be journalists attending the training session to learn how report news without bias.

About 70 junior and senior high school students from across Bali attended the two-day gathering, which featured talks from media figures, and training exercises.

Other speakers at the event also bemoaned the lack of professionalism in the local Indonesian-language media.

Head of communication at Bali’s Communications Department I Wayan Sukada said that the rise of mass media had meant that demand outstripped the available numbers of properly trained and professional journalists, with many smaller media organisations hiring people with little or no experience. He said that training, such as that provided during Saturday’s session, was vital to create a new generation of journalists.

“The young generations are the ones who will continue leadership in the future, including in the field of journalism,” he said.

The Hindu Students Journalism Training event is now in its sixth year.

“The aim of the training is to nurture young Hindu journalists who will eventually be able to compete on a national and even international level,” said Putu Sriawan, chairman of the organising committee, adding that talented Hindu journalists would be able to strengthen Hindu culture through their work.

“Many journalists currently working in Bali come from outside the island. With this kind of training session we hope that local students will view the journalistic profession with more respect,” Sriawan said.

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