Can you be a fan of a celebrity as well as a journalist at the same time? This question had been haunting me for a while. Journalism ethics says all are equal before you. We are not even supposed to address anyone as sir/madam but Mr./Ms. Every human creature in front of you is either a source or subject.
Leaving apart the ethics, I always end up saying “I’m a huge fan of you. I admire your talents so much”. As soon as the interview with a celebrity is over, I sit before computer fearing if I could do justice as a journalist. I must write impartially. The only people I’m committed to should be common readers. They expect a neutral view from my side.
While reporting for Kerala State Youth Festival in January, I happened to meet violin maestro Balabaskar. He was a participant in 1980s. He was memorizing those days. I went straight to him and said, “Balu chetta, njan thankalude valiya oru fan aanu” (Baluji, I’m a great admirer of yours). Just after uttering those words, I was like ‘Oops, again the aficionado in me is out’. I knew every bit of him from his role as a judge of a reality show till the formation of his new band Balaleela.
I’ve always wondered whether other media persons also feel the same. There are reports appearing in news papers regarding royal family at Thiruvananthapuram. Readers would find blind devotion in reports. Members of royal family might be clean or corrupted. But it is the court that gives final verdict. Same is the case of devotional centers and human-gods. Fidelity of writers overpowers actual facts.
At last I’d conclude with a thought that we are also human beings. We do have our own faith that may interpret our thoughts during our work. But I also admit the best journalists are those who’d remain at the middle-of-the-road.