THE TELEGRAPH IN SCHOOLS MONDAY SEPTEMBER 22-SEPTEMBER 28 2008
Gautam Battacharya is a veteran Sports Journalist and is the sports editor of Anandabazar Patrika. He is also the president of Calcutta Sports Journalist Club
Could you elaborate on the employment opportunities in this field?
Employment opportunities have certainly gone up, especially with the advent of so many 24-hours news channels. The number of matches has gone up and these days even for a newspaper. There are so many matches to be covered. Desk jobs have got tougher and all these resulting in greater employment opportunities than ever before.
Your views on the ideal qualities needed to be a sports journalist?
Passion, common sense and willingness to travel the extra distance and most importantly a very very strong competitive instinct.
What are the qualities a media house looks for while recruiting people in this sphere?
Decent academic reports, passion for sports, willingness to work hard and mental consistency.
What according to you is the most satisfying dimension of being a Sports Journalist?
A sports Journalist can see the preparations of a genius before a huge examination. Its almost like watching Frank Sinatra alone in a rehearsal room, before a Madison Square Garden programme.
What really inspired you to become a Sports Journalist?
I always had the passion for the game. Since I didn’t have the ability to be a national level sportsman, nor did I have money like Shah Rukh Khan, to buy a cricket team. So I chose the third option and became a Sports Journalist.
How financially attractive is the profession?
If you can perform, then it’s quite attractive.
When and how did you being your journey as a Sports Journalist?
I began in 1983. 25 years earlier Seven days before writing a management exam. I switched into Journalism. Ultimately I didn’t appear for the test and stuck to Journalism. Initially I started with The Telegraph and later joined Ananda Bazar Patrika.
The most challenging phase or the assignment you have done so far…
Apart from interviewing Mandela, or walking into Daud Ibrahim’s box or chasing Princess Diana with Panarazzi (group of photographers who take candid photos of celebrities), the most demanding assignment remains at home and in the city itself. The most challenging phase is to remain objective throughout Sourav Ganguly’s career. Even though I’m a big admirer of Sourav Ganguly, just like the entire Bengali community, the job demanded neutrality. The admirer in me took huge blows, every time I criticized him. The professional in me rejoiced as I didn’t sacrifice my professional integrity .
Finally your message to all the aspiring Sports Journalist?
Don’t attempt writing a single line, just read, watch television, for heaven’s sake, don’t attempt interviews, rather play the game, play any type of sports. Always remember you have got to watch and read, very very eagerly with a lot of hunger, to be dexterous.