Do journalists really cover India?

P. Sainath. Photo by Neeraj Bhushan.

Apart from some champoo-type media awards, do you know any journalist getting respectable award(s) for covering India?

Yes, The Hindu newspaper’s P. Sainath is one. He was given the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2007 in the category ‘Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts’ for his “passionate commitment as a journalist to restore the rural poor to India’s national consciousness”.

According to the citation accompanying the award, Sainath’s authoritative reporting had led Indian authorities to address certain discrete abuses and to enhance relief efforts.

“Sainath discovered that the acute misery of India’s poorest districts was not caused by drought, as the government said. It was rooted in India’s enduring structural inequalities — in poverty, illiteracy, and caste discrimination — and exacerbated by recent economic reforms favouring foreign investment and privatisation.” R.K.Laxman who always drew ‘The Common Man’ had also got Magsaysay.

Lydia Polgreen

Lydia Polgreen, South Asia correspondent for The New York Times, says the last Pulitzer from India went to Chicago Tribune team covering famine in India & Africa. “That was in 1975 and as far as I can tell no one has won a Pulitzer for covering India since then.”

William Mullen (reporter) and Ovie Carter (photographer) of the Chicago Tribune were awarded Pulitzer in 1975 for their coverage of famine in Africa and India.

Who else? Why not?


  1. Dear Neeraj,

    This is tough one that you have posed. I have my personal favorites.

    1. Mr. Arun shourie.
    2. Ms Tavleen Singh.
    3. Mr. M.J Akbar.
    4. Ms Nalini Singh.
    5. Mr.Kanchan Gupta.
    6. Mr Swapan das gupta.

    Many may not agree with me.

    Anil Kohli


  2. You example of Sainath is flawed. While he is entitled to his views, it should be noted that he is a pushing an extreme left wing agenda. The only problem with it is that it should not be mixed up with journalism. In India, we have far too many “journalists” using news as a way to peddle an ideological agenda. Instead, what we need are people with an open mind – who present all sides of a perspective. What Sainath writes these days is just plain rhetoric, with little logic and very little respect for other opinions and perspectives.


  3. barring a few in India there are hardly anybody who could be called a true journalists . All these persons are darbaris and chamchas of one or the other politicians, bureaucrats and business tycoons


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