Glocal Teen Hero 2016: A Finalist’s Story
The journey all started with the willingness to see his name and words printed in newspapers. This willingness turned into his passion and he now has numerous articles published under his name in national dailies and a lot more on other local media including different online portals. Previously worked in a radio for about one year and a half, he is currently working as a Junior Sub-Editor in the Bibechana Daily and the Jhapa district correspondent for Online Khabar.
A young Journalist of Nepal, Gaurav Pokharel has especially been focusing on the issues of child rights, and has been writing research based news-articles, stories, poems and features on local and national level child magazines and newspapers for the last 6 years. His untiring efforts in addressing the issues of the children along with that of poor and marginalized communities of people through the media have been gaining a momentum. It has been his dream to be the voice of the people who are suppressed and deemed voiceless and help them explore their problems and find some rational solutions.
His articles on child rights issu1es, and the problems and prospects of our society have been published in op-ed pages of the Kantipur National Daily, Nagarik Daily, Himalaya Times, Online Khabar, SetoPati and many other national online and printing media.
He has also been awarded with the Best Journalist Award-2015 by Sajha Sabal Media Group and the Youngest Journalist Award by Surunga Press Club, Jhapa.
One can’t imagine that this person who writes hard-hitting articles on various papers and magazines, is just 16 years now. His talent in this small age has become a matter of surprise for all.
In the region, there are hardly any people who have not heard the name Gaurav Pokharel.
A 12th grader, unlike other teenagers, he can rarely be seen at his home or with his friends. He has spent most of his time outside the home, going to the fields for reporting, writing, editing and almost everything that comes into journalism.
Having started writing career through ‘Muna’ a children’s monthly published by Gorkhapatra Corporation, he considers that there is nothing impossible in this world. “If one has strong determination, and willpower, success is sure,” he says.
Having extensively participated in the national, regional and district level trainings, counsellings and orientation programmes concerning to children, he aims to regularly advocate the children’s issues.
He remembers the days spent inside his home reading books, papers and magazine all the time. “My parents didn’t like that habit of me reading and writing all the time. I almost had no friends. People even used to pass a comment to me that I don’t even step outside of my home and socialize. Remembering that, I now feel that my hard work that time has paid me off,” he shares.
He remembers his initial days of publishing his writings. It was challenging in the beginning. Some of my articles even took as long as 4 months to get published in Muna. And, many were simply discarded. And, my parents also wanted me to focus on my study, though they loved my writings.
Evaluating his own works, he says that, many of his works as an investigative journalist have raised debates in the region. He remembers the accounts of nearly being beaten for writing news and opening a secret. “My stories are many a times taken controversial. In the case of Nepal, one needs to fear even to speak the truth,â€ he says, remembering the latest chapter of transferring of the VDC Secretary, as a major triumph of the impactful journalism fighting irregularities. “Many a times, the media themselves fear to publish news. Many of my news are killed as the subject in the news are too powerful or they can escape by tipping off the publication. In Nepal, the editors themselves kill the news eyeing into the advertisements,” he laments.
Remembering the incidents of journalists being killed for writing news, he shares, “Though the public relations and the feedbacks I receive encourage me to proceed further, when I remember these fearful scenes, I feel like leaving the job. But, once you are into the sector, and get addicted, you can’t leave it under any circumstances. Now, I can’t even imagine about leaving the media.â€
Talking about the importance of reading for one to be a successful journalist and a writer, he says it’s extremely essential for one to be a good reader. “You need to read at least three opinion pieces to be able to write an op-ed. We need to have the habit of reading what others have written. Otherwise, we can’t even have any idea on what and how we have written,” he shares.
Reminiscing the journey as the Top 6 Finalists for the Glocal Teen Hero Competition, he jokingly shares, “Euta history chai banaiyo, in a sense that journalists can also be heroes. Through the competition, I got to meet and know new people. Though I didn’t get much to help my career through the competition, I remember it as an achievement to cherish.”
In the future, he has plans to study journalism in some good universities abroad and be even more active in investigative journalism.
â€œI always want to be the voice of the voiceless. I am always trying to raise the issues that are not discussed. Children’s issues are mostly neglected in Nepali media. People still don’t think children’s issues can be news. Through my journey this far into journalism, I have tried to develop the thought in people that children’s news also can be published on the front page of the newspaper,” he shares about the impacts of his works. I want to reach the similar stature as that of some iconic journalists in Nepal including Sudheer Sharma and Rabindra Mishra, And, build a link in international level ultimately sharing about the good works from Nepal internationally.”
Giving a message to those who are willing to come to this field, he says, “Journalism is a good profession though it’s also a very competitive sector. If you are really interested, the field is fertile for you. But, to be a successful journalist these days, one needs to have the capacity to think beyond, and create a different identity and space of oneself. You need to select a particular beat you want to work for. You shouldn’t try your hands on multiple sectors at once. Journalism might not be that good financially, but, the way you have public relations and networks as a journalist is really a thing to cherish for.”
To the youths out there, he suggests, “You should do the things that really interests you. The ultimate fruit tastes better if you do things you love, and walk the trail never traced before.”