Beginning to blog after thirty two years of journalism
I want to begin my first post on this weblog with greetings for the new year in my mother tongue-Thamizh.
“Vanakkam! Puthaandu Vaalthukkal!!
Let’s hope the advent of 2009 will see a bright future emerge for us all.
As for me the dawning of the new year heralds an exciting new venture.
After considerable thought I have launched my own blog under my own name.
My by-line will be the name of the blog with of course the mandatory “dot.com”
So friends , you have to click on www.dbsjeyaraj.com
Hopefully the new year will see me blogging away as much as possible.
A friend somewhat unfamiliar with the word asked me “What is a blog”?
Well , this word is derived from “weblog” which itself is a conflation of two words “web” and “log”.
A weblog is a kind of an internet log book. It’s a collection of writing posted publicly on the world wide web . Gradually weblog got popularised and shortened as blog.
Persons posting blogs are bloggers and the art of doing so is blogging.
My writing has been appearing on the web for many years now. I’ve also been associated with some websites like www.tamilweek.com, www.transcurrents.com and www.federalidea.com for the past few years.
In that sense I do have been on line for quite a while. Yet, there’s a reason for this blog.
Upon reflection I find that most of the stuff posted on these websites were actually not intended for the web. Most if not all were written for newspapers, newsmagazines and journals.
These articles and news stories were posted concurrently on the websites. So these were not really “blogs” meant for the web but actually re-productions from the print media.
Now I want to write specifically for the web instead of posting print media articles.
Blogging requires a different approach in writing.
Many of those who read me on line are under the impression that I am writing exclusively for those websites. That’s not correct.
Except for a few pieces most of those articles were for publication and not posting.
I will of course continue to write for the print media. The DBS Jeyaraj column for example will continue to appear on Saturdays in the “Daily Mirror” of Colombo.
The fact that newspapers in Sri Lanka are publishing what I write on Sri Lankan affairs from Canada is indeed gratifying and self-satisfying.
Receiving mail from readers in all parts of the world is a happy but humbling experience.
What I intend doing now is to branch out a bit and write specifically for the web on my own blog.
April 2009 would mark the 32nd year of my entry into mainstream journalism. It was on April 9th 1977 that I joined the Colombo Tamil daily “Virakesari”.
Despite many up’s and down’s and facing many difficulties I’ve managed to stay on course.
I’ve been detained at the notorious fourth floor by the CID in Colombo over my interviewing former LTTE deputy-leader “Mahattaya”.
I’ve been produced in courts by the Police in Colombo and barred from leaving Sri Lanka for my alleged pro-Tamil writing.
I was fired as Colombo correspondent by the Chennai-based “The Hindu” for exposing the atrocities of the Indian Army in Jaffna.
When running an independent Tamil weekly in Canada, pro-LTTE goons assaulted me in the presence of my wife and broke my head and leg.
Later my paper published in Toronto had to close down as the tigers in Toronto Intimidated newspaper vendors and advertisers.
Media rights organizations had to issue a public appeal when I was subjected to death threats on a gigantic scale by tiger and pro-tiger elements.
Even now I continue to get hate mail, anonymous telephone calls of a threatening nature . I also get vilified in sections of the media on either side of the ethnic divide.
Why I persist with writing and journalism despite many opportunities to lead a safer, comfortable lifestyle by switching professions is simply because I LOVE TO WRITE.
There is also the commitment as a Tamil of Sri Lankan origin to do what I can to help resolve the conflict by promoting better understanding and awareness through providing accurate, reliable information.
There is also this inherent characteristic of fighting for the underdog and speaking truth to power.
But fundamentally I continue to write because I LOVE TO WRITE No force can stop me from writing as long as I am alive.
After decades of writing for the print media I feel it’s time to plunge into web journalism, using perhaps all the advantages of the internet.
When I started www.transcurrents.com , only my articles were posted on it. Later its scope was widened to include interesting and informative pieces written by others also.
Until very recently the postings were not regular.
Still , the website has proved to be quite successful with over a million visitors and over 1. 6 million hits or pageviews for this year.
So I guess that this blog too would get quite a lot of hits. I do hope that happens.
This blog would be one where I post my thoughts and views on different subjects It would not focus on politics and current affairs much.
This does not mean that I would not write on such topics. I will.
But my main focus would be on other subjects and themes.
Sometimes I feel that I’ve short-changed myself by focusing on politics greatly. Nowadays politics disgusts and depresses me.
As a person I have a lot of diverse interests. I’m passionate about films and some film personalities.
I also read books, magazines. Avidly!
I am also interested in things like music, dance, drama, sports, foreign affairs,Human rights,wildlife, history, literature, nature, architecture, archaeology, travel, places of interest etc.
So my blog would reflect these wide-ranging interests in the days to come .
People, places, events, ideas etc would be a recurring agenda in the blogs.
Nostalgia for the past will be a dominant theme as I am rather sentimental.
So I think there would be a variety of posts as time goes by. Eclectic!
The underlying thread in all these would be my thoughts, impressions and experiences. MY TAKE on these matters
The good thing about blogging is that there are no restrictive rules on form and content. You can write what you want and in any way you like.
However the blogs are expected to be comparatively short, varied and topical. Brevity, multiplicity and immediacy are the three watchwords.
Another integral part of a blogging is reader comments.There will be a comments section. But bitter experience necessitates some monitoring. That’s the sad part of the blogosphere.
I will welcome your comments but you do not have to post for the sake of posting or confront me or each other.
There will be many readers who will definitely have more knowledge about or fresh insights into the subject matter of the respective blogs.
Please share your knowledge and perspectives. Let’s make it informative and interesting.
The idea is to have an amiable conversation not an indecent confrontation.
I think I’ve said enough for now.
Blogging is an evolving art. A blog is a creation information.
So let’s progress together in the coming days and learn from each other.
My heartfelt gratitude to my loyal readers.
I invite you all to embark on a new blogging journey along with me.
With Best Wishes
David Buell Sabapathy Jeyaraj