Newslaundry’s report on the Cauvery dispute wins RedInk Award

'I tried pitching this story to other media houses but they did not approve it.'

WrittenBy:NL Team
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A Newslaundry report on the Cauvery dispute has won yet another award in the Environment category. This time it is Mumbai Press Club’s prestigious RedInk Award! Instituted in 2013, the RedInk Awards are aimed at promoting “best practices among journalists, encouraging good-quality writing, fair play and high ethical standards”.

TR Vivek, author of Cauvery: A basin on the burn, said: “I am happy I have received this award from an industry body. It is not a corporate award. So it feels nice when your own peer group and community recognise and appreciate your efforts.”

Earlier, in February, the story was awarded the Indian Institute of Mass Communication Alumni Association (IIMCAA) award under developmental reporting.

Speaking to Newslaundry about the recognition his story has received, Vivek said: “Both IIMCAA and RedInk are journalistic body awards. The IIMCAA award is special to me because it was given by the institution where I studied, while RedInk is one of the most prestigious awards in the journalistic space in the country, so it’s a nice feeling.” He also said the “awards that the story is getting motivates me to do the other part of the story.”

Cauvery: A basin on the burn is an in-depth ground report on India’s oldest water dispute. Vivek travelled to four districts of Karnataka through which the Cauvery river flows to get a detailed perspective. Digging deeper, he looked at the politics and agricultural aspects of these districts as well.

“On the one hand, the flood-irrigated sugarcane and paddy are devastating the Cauvery plains, and on the other, an indigenous super spice and saattvik food star is laying to waste the highlands of the Western Ghats that are the source of Cauvery and all its tributaries,” Vivek had reported. You can read his full report here 

Vivek now plans to travel downstream of the river, to Tamil Nadu, to explore the other side of this bitter battle for water between two states. Speaking of which, Vivek said: “The initial idea was to travel the entire coast of the Cauvery river and conquer the basin. To pursue such stories, you need time and resources.”

In the development journalism space, Vivek feels that with the proliferation of online media, space has increased to cover stories that were earlier overlooked. “But still, not many such stories are being covered because people are interested in increasing numbers and click-baiting,” he added.

And add to this the struggle of pursuing stories that no one wants to run. “I tried pitching this story to other media houses but they did not approve it. And now, the kind of awards this story is getting proves that there is space for such reports. Instead of overlooking such stories, journalists should grab these opportunities. I am thankful to Newslaundry for their commitment to the story.”

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