Darjeeling Girl bags Roll of Honour Award for excellence in reporting and writing in print media

Regina Gurung, is a Journalism graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, and is now working with The New Indian Express. She was the winner of "Roll of Honour Award" for excellence in reporting and writing in print media for the year 2015-16, from her institute IIJNM, and received it from the hand sof Mr. Sreenivasan Jain, the managing editor of NDTV.

The DC sat down for a quick interview with her.

Here is her short profile

Name: Regina Gurung
Mother: Rita Lepcha
Father: Jiwan Kumar Gurung
Schools: Loreto Convent
College: St. Josephs College Darjeeling, and Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media

What inspired you to pursue a career in journalism?

Regina: To be honest, I did not know much about journalism. All I knew was that I wanted to write and report. I got started with writing poetries and blogging, irregularly.  However, the appreciation I received encouraged me so much that writing became my passion.

During college days I used to earn a few bucks by being a ghost writer for online websites, but I never took it seriously. After graduation the big question of “what next?” compelled me to take a year off. After considering a lot of options and realizing that I’d never be happy doing anything else apart from writing, I chose journalism.

But that was not it, I realized that being a good writer does not mean you are a good journalist. “If you love writing so much why don’t you be an author instead of a journalist,” said one of my seniors. It was then, that I realized, that being a journalist meant deconstructing all the notions I had of myself as a writer and rebuilding myself anew as a reporter.

I came to know journalism is a challenge and I accepted it whole heartedly to choose it as my career.

Were your parents supportive of your decision?
Regina: The age difference between me and my parents is around 40 years. I am their only child, and both my parents are retired government service employees. After my +2, all my friends ventured out to big cities to pursue their graduation, while I was not allowed to do so. I was disheartened, so I kept whining and complaining for three years.

After graduation I told my parents to let me go and not hold me back home anymore. They agreed, but I know it was tough for them.

When I told them I wanted to be a journalist, their reaction was like “Oh! What is that? Are you going to become a character who wears sleepers and carries a bag?”

Eventually they agreed and supported me all along. My mom especially does not keep well but yet she is so strong for my sake.

Coming from the Darjeeling region, was it difficult or easy for you during the course, did you ever face racism?
Regina: I was the only North-Eastern-looking -person in my college. Many mistook me for a Chinese or a Japanese but I wouldn’t necessary call that racism. Though there were a few people who poked fun about my eyes and nose and tried to make life harder, I regarded them as ignorant people and did not let their taunts bother me. Instead, I came up with an article to silence them all.

Where do you see yourself, five years down the line?
Regina: I really cannot say.  A year back I wouldn’t have guessed even in my wildest dream that I’d be where I am now. It’s still a long way to go. Forget five years, I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow. But keeping it positive, I’d really like to see myself satisfied because in journalism that’s a rarity.

What advice would you give to those who want to follow on your footsteps?
Regina: Be driven by passion and be determined. Do not choose your career on a make-do basis. Journalism will not be easy. You will not get weekends off like your friends, your salary compared to the work you put in will be peanuts, but you will get wonderful stories and anecdotes to share.

I sincerely think that the journalists from Northeast and North Bengal are the need of the hour. To report the truth, to highlight what’s being suppressed, to be fierce and bold and stand up for who we are and what we want to be.

The “ho jaiga” attitude has to take the back seat.

Well said Regina... we are hopeful that your experiences and words of encouragement will go a long way in providing inspiration to thousands of our youngsters to follow their heart, and excel in it.

We wish you GOOD LUCK in your career and look forward to many years of collaborations with you.

Regina receiving the award
Regina with her parents
The Roll of Honour Award


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