April 1: My Personal Holiday

Other folks may be playing tricks on each other for April Fool’s Day, but the date has more serious meaning for me. Long ago, my first day as a newsroom intern was April 1.

At the time, I had every intention of becoming an attorney, but thought the news business might be a good way to hone my skills as a writer and earn a few college credits in the internship process. Little did I know I was launching the best possible career for a young woman full of energy and curiosity about…everything.

I was reminded of those early days this week when I watched the Independent Lens documentary, Writing With Fire. An Academy Award contender this year, it’s a compelling look at life on the beat for the reporters of Khabar Lahariya (“News Wave”), the only newspaper in India founded and staffed by women.

Directed by Rintu Thomas (no relation) and Sushmit Ghosh, the film takes viewers along as these journalists face the scorn of just about everyone – their husbands, their fathers, the men they interview, male news counterparts – while covering the important stories in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Along the way, you see their struggles and listen as they confess their frustrations and hopes. Best of all, they persevere, and their 20 years of reporting is making a difference.

Every year, I privately toast my entry into the news biz. This year, I’ll toast the reporters of Khabar Lahariya, who are far braver and more inspiring than I’ve ever had to be.