Media houses and journalists across the globe often face immense flak from the public for sensationalising stories or harbouring a selective attitude when it comes to covering news.
However, when a story does manage to create a plausible impact in the lives of the people it shed light upon, hardly does the story aggregator or the agency that published it, find any appreciation.
In the age of sensationalism and celebrity stalking, such stories more or less fade away before seeing the light of the day, almost making us believe that the job of a journalist is probably a thankless one.
We recently came across the story of Alan and his mother published by Mathrubhumi, a Malayalam local daily, which will surely reinstate your faith in the power of journalism and how it can change and save lives.
The mother and her son, who are from Ernakulam, had been taking shelter in trains and railway stations in Palakkad, after she left her husband’s home six years ago, on account of severe domestic violence.
Initially, she had been working as a house help to support herself and her son, but had to discontinue, because of her failing health.
Things started to look up when she was able to find a house for rent in Mundur. However, upon noticing a single mother living with a young child, many unruly youngsters started causing nuisance, and this ended up irking the house owners.
When things started getting out of hand, they left the rented house as well, and finally sought refuge in railway waiting rooms and trains running to Thrissur or Coimbatore.
In the meantime, she made sure that Alan attended school and got him admitted to the Puthupariyaram MM School, where he currently studies in Class 6. Fortunately, the school authorities were kind and understood her situation—they have been taking care of Alan’s needs like food, travel and uniform.
To make ends meet, the lady took up selling lottery tickets lottery in the station premises and would wait for her son to finish school every day.
Burning the midnight oil every night, and continuously on the lookout for railway police who could punish them for sleeping on the platform, life had become emotionally and physically draining for the duo until Mathrubhumi published a story detailing their heartrending plight.
The newspaper kept the lady’s identity concealed, as she was worried that her estranged husband would track them back.
The story had a massive impact within two days of being published, and help poured in for the mother and son who had spent many sleepless nights shuttling between trains and railway stations.
Taking the lead were social worker Sainuddin Pathirippala and the Kalyan Jewellers Group, who collaboratively found them a rented house in Nagarippuram.
In fact, the latter even volunteered to support all expenses of Alan’s education. Additionally, the Kerala Legal Services Authority and District Judge KT Indira came forward to intervene in the case and met Alan and his mother.
Because of one journalist’s belief that Alan and his mother’s predicament deserved attention, today a family finally has a roof over their heads, where they can sleep and live in peace, without any fear of being accosted by the police or hooligans.
So, the next time, when you feel disillusioned by what you see on the news, remember that somewhere, some journalist is working really hard to make an impact in the lives of people like Alan and his mother.