The School of Communication students were given a peep into the exciting world of Investigative Journalism by Ms Bhavna Vij Aurora, Senior Editor, Economic Times, on April 21.
Ms Vij, who is one of the leading investigative journalists in India with 25 years of experience, spoke about her encounters with people who wanted to hide the truth, and how she had to work hard to dig out the truth.
The interactive talk began with Ms Vij tracing the evolution of investigative journalism in India, and then describing some of the path-breaking investigative stories done by Indian journalists. These included the Bofors scandal that brought down the Rajiv Gandhi Government, the Kamla case where an Indian Express reporter bought a woman to establish that women were being trafficked in India, and the Nellie massacre, where the reporter visited morgue after morgue to establish the number of deaths.
Ms Vij also described the qualities needed to become an investigative journalist. These included patience, determination, courage, and the ability to stay focused on the story. “An investigative story invariably takes a long time to mature,” Ms Vij said. “The reporter should be mentally ready for a long haul. He should also be ready to be stonewalled by officials and politicians.”
Ms Vij also stressed the importance of ethics. “The reporter should not use unethical means to get a story. Honeytraps and entrapments must be avoided. The story must be obtained through legal and above board means.”
The lecture ended with several questions being raised by students regarding the craft of Investigative Journalism.
Besides Economic Times, Ms Vij has worked in The Times of India, Indian Express, India Today, Outlook and The Pioneer.