An important attribute of media persons is the aptitude for drama. They should have the knack to capture the human element in daily events. Early newspapers and periodicals had only printed texts before the invention of photography. It was the act of the journalist to portray news and other stories in a dramatic fashion to capture the readers' attention and loyalty.
The script writer of plays that are enacted in theatres, is not the only one who ought to study drama. The principles necessary to convey the moods of the story that an author wishes to convey has been enunciated thousands of years ago both, in the Orident and Orient. The Greek trilogies, Rama sagas, Shakespeare and the whole body of literary works are based on the basic principles of dramatic presentation, which govern the principles followed by journalists in the modern era.
With the advent of photography, the photo journalist, with an aptitude for drama, was the most sought after of the media persons. Invention of photo engraving and painting of photographs enabled famous photographs to be mass produced in newspapers.
Then came the invention of the wireless, and the radio broadcast medium transmitted presentations of drama, along with news and views, presented in an imaginative manner. The invention of television went ahead and brought moving images to the sound effect, thus heightening the dramatic presentation.
A pioneer in film studies, Father Gaston Roberge has made it his mission to spread awareness and broaden the horizon of his students worldwide. Father Roberge, who is called the ‘Father of Film Studies’, has had a ‘dream’ of setting up Bharat Movie Studio (Bharat stands for both India and Bharat Muni, who had authored ‘Natya Shastra’). However, the environment has not been conducive to translating that dream into reality and it took the shape of a book instead.
Like Bharat Muni, Father Roberge has faith in popular opinion. To quote from his book titled ‘Movies the Indian way, enter the cave of your heart’, “In matters of performing arts, the ultimate theory is the public, not the expert” (a saying by Bharat Muni).
Father Roberge quotes these words in strong reaction to the negative attitude of the academia towards popular theatre and movies. He says he has been fascinated with films since school, when cowboy films used to be screened on Saturdays. The first Indian film that he saw was the Apu Trilogy in New York on the eve of his journey to India. “I was very impressed, particularly with ‘Pather Panchali’,” he said.
Father Roberge is right. All journalists must have a sense of drama, at least for the sake of their readers.