A Sample of My Reporting

I don’t do that much straight up reporting for the daily edition of NOW, and when I do I don’t usually post it here, since it doesn’t have much interest outside of Sikkim. But today I thought I’d put up a little sample of the kind of stuff I occasionally cover and what my straighter news writing looks like.

Storytelling project to create 100+ meter digital art banner
GANGTOK, 10 Aug: A creative collective called the Indigenous Storytellers Network kicked off a new project in Gangtok today that plans to create a 120 meter long digital art banner — the longest of its kind in the world. The Great Sotry-Wall Project banner will be stitched together from several pieces of cloth and will feature 120 separate tribal stories told with a combination of photography, art and text. The group hopes to display the banner for several days at MG Marg starting 25 September before taking it on a six month tour around Sikkim and the rest of India.

After their kick-off event at MG Marg this morning, the group moved to Rachna Books in Development Area, which will serve as the team’s headquarters as it designs the banner over the next several weeks. The team will be assisted by students from Greendale Secondary School in Tadong, who will contribute photos, artwork and stories. The project is also open to any members of the public that wish to contribute, assist or simply observe the group’s progress. Next week the Network will set up a multimedia exhibition at Rachna Books, including a film festival.

By using new forms of media and attracting attention through the banner’s extraordinary length, the Indigenous Storytellers Network hopes the project will introduce a new generation to a variety of traditional tales and folklore — especially from tribes in Sikkim, whose stories are expected to make up 70% of the banner.

“Folklore is at the heart of any indigenous society. Each story contains a vital message, some moral, some scientific, some spiritual,” said Salil Mukhia, one of the project leaders, this morning. “Losing a story isn’t just losing culture. You lose a great deal of traditional knowledge.”

The project is expected to cost seven to ten lakhs rupees. The Network hopes to find most of this funding by offering space at one end of the banner for sponsors to print photos or logos. Individual sponsors can reserve a spot for Rs. 300, organisations for Rs. 1000.

“We want to do the fund raising in such a way that people feel involved in the creative process,” said Karma Choden Bhutia, the group’s spokesperson.

The Network has received confirmation from the Limca Book of Records that the banner will likely be included in the 2012 edition as the world’s longest piece of digital art. ‘Digital art’ usually refers to images created or manipulated by software such as Adobe Photoshop.

Most of the stories on the banner will be creation myths, many of which were collected at the Confluence 2010 ‘collective-sharing’ event held here in Gangtok last month.

“It is about remembering who we are and where we come from,” said Prakash Chettri, a chief prefect at Greendale Secondary School and part of the student group contributing to the project. “In other words, our origins.”

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