Monday, July 16, 2007

Reading Room
Lessons in Journalism: The story of Pothan Joseph
T.J.S. George

Joy of the first story

Joseph, a student of Kottayam College, went to attend the annual boat race. The race was a spectacular regatta, crowded and full of excitement, narrates T.J.S. George in Lessons in Journalism: The story of Pothan Joseph (

"Joseph's fertile imagination took over and he spent the night composing a report on the event. As he later described it: `Into the uneventful story I inserted a yarn about a kid escaping drowning by clutching at a twig. No drowning man is ever known to have caught at a straw, nor has any person searched for a needle in a haystack. Indeed, some proverbs are not worth a straw. But the editor of a weekly journal in Madras to whom I had posted my report apparently was fond of proverbs and turned my version into superior fiction to illustrate the saying about the drowning man and the straw. The initials P.J. at the bottom of the four-inch paragraph so thrilled the author, aged 14, that he read and re-read it at least 41 times.'" Entertaining and educating read.


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