The year was 1998-99. I was studying in Jawahar Navodaya Vidhyalaya (JNV) Udupi district, Karnataka. It was a residential school. Everyday morning the school would assemble before the classes would start and one of the rituals performed during the same was to read the news headlines. Everyday a designated person had to collect news headlines from newspapers and read it in front of the entire school. The idea being, to keep everyone informed what’s going on outside the school campus.
I always had a feeling that students are getting outdated news. Reason was this… The assembly timing as around 7.15 AM in the morning. Our school was located far from city and English newspapers usually used to reach by 10 or 11 AM. So the headlines read in today’s assembly used to be from yesterday’s newspaper, which in turn reported the events happened the previous day. Effectively we were getting 3 day old news.
With a journalistic instinct in me, I was keen on giving more recent news to my class mates. The school used to allow us watching news on TV every evening. Doordarshan was the only channel those days and news was at 8 PM to 8.30 PM and 8.30 PM to 9 PM (Hindi and English). Whenever it was my turn to read news infront of everyone next day, I used to take notes from the news shown on TV and then share this news next day. This way, I was able to reduce the delay from 3 days to less than 24 hours (Yesterday’s news shared today morning)
After finishing my class 10th I took some computer courses and when our school got computers in 1999, I was the first few people in the campus who knew something about the computers (I was the only one in entire school to have an email ID at that time). Only one computer in Principal’s chamber had internet access and I could get permission to use it.
With internet at my disposal, the quest to share latest news was even higher. If I was to read news at 7.15, I would check latest news headlines on internet by 7 AM, make notes and read the latest news in front of few hundred students. Some of the news I read out were so latest that I had the credit of transmitting it faster than TV and newspaper. (An incident which happened today morning could be seen only by late evening news bulletin or read in next day’s newspaper-there was no concept of 24 hours news channel those days)
Soon this became a standard (Of collecting latest news from internet than relying on newspapers or other sources which give obsolete sources)
This is how we used power of internet nearly a decade ago, though today this may sound like a silly narration-what’s so great in getting news from internet? Thought of sharing this with you on the occasion of one web day.
I blog at http://www.enidhi.net
(ISOC India Chennai)