Telling unheard stories and reflecting on infrastructure in IndiaUnheard Training

This morning session is dedicated to the theme of infrastructure. A very concrete theme, that relates to numerous personal stories in Community Correspondents’ live. The Correspondents now should learn that their life is a story material, and how to make story from this special sort of material.

Stalin starts the session reviewing how CCs are managing their work and their videos. It is the last training session today, so it is important to be sure that the CCs are on right tracks. They will soon have to make their video on their own, under the guidance of their mentor.

How to write a story when your life is the material

Stalin wants to hear how story writing is going, and reminds them one more time that story should be focused. Mudassar comes to the front to present the topic he wants to work on. The others give comments and advices. Mudassar wishes to make a story on militancy, but being from Gujarat he is not directly confronted to the issue. Stalin suggests: why not a story explaining the absence of militancy in your region. Others, originating from states where violence is pervading, share their experiences. The discussion mixes journalistic tips, technical advices, and political debate.

Although the discussion is tackling a tough issue, the CCs are relax, and it is clear that they now trust each other. These training weeks did not only teach them to be good community journalists. They also learnt about themselves, as well as to know each other, to form a group based on mutual confidence.

Another topic comes up: labor strikes against the government. Stalin reminds them that in order to find a focus and to construct a story they should ask the five journalistic questions: where, what who, why, when. Margaret provides material for discussion. She tells the other CCs about a strike that takes place in Tamil Nadu against price rises. Together, under Stalin’s guidance, they have to make a story out of it. To decide whose interview they will take, they have to remember that they have to speak out for the underprivileged community. This is the key point to make an India Unheard video. Some CCs mention other strikes going on in their areas, some for years. Stalin tells them that in those cases, they should make a story on what give the people the strength to go on fighting.

Stalin then tells the CCs about a new CNN program, called the Freedom project, which aimed at documenting slavery. In contrast, he asks which would they do if they have to cover slavery and forced labour in India. Indeed, on these topics, Video Volunteers can bring a completely different angle, that risk being forgotten by CNN journalists. VV can ensure that the weakest communities are not only spoken for, but that their voices are heard.

Infrastructure: as discussed by citizen journalists

Stalin then opens the session on infrastructure. As usual, the Community Correspondents have to list the sub-themes that come to their minds. The CCs think about road, water supply, school building, bridge, hostel, hospital, and electricity supply. Here again, Stalin wants them to go behind these simple tags, and to relate them to their daily experiences. They soon open up: many among them do not have 24h electricity. Bad roads and insufficient water (or no running water) are also common. Their experiences are the starting point, the core material of their videos. But to go beyond that, Stalin tells them that they have to do research, they have to know their rights. They have to use the Right to Information, and to know which infrastructures are granted to them. This is what makes a good Community

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