In Bangladesh, the reach of business and economic journalism is expanding daily. Business and investing news is frequently published separately in newspapers, online, or on television. Those issues are also discussed on various TV channels in talk shows and business programs. For over a decade, each media outlet has maintained a distinct voice while taking into account the trends of both the domestic and international economies. As a result, the institutions have been hiring reporters and news staff on a regular basis. Women journalists are, nevertheless, extremely underrepresented in economic journalism when compared to the number of men.
Looking at the data of the Economic Reports Forum, the highest organization of economic journalists, it is understood that there are only 23 women who are regularly collecting economic news or doing journalism. While the number of women in newspapers engaged in economic journalism in the field or at the desk is lower, there are only a handful on television. One of them is Kaberi Maitraya. Although she started in the newspaper, she has been running in the field regularly for the past decade. Kaberi Maitraya was born in the Manda Upazila of Naogaon. Her father worked for the government, and mother was a housewife. Kaberi is the 2nd child of her parents among 3. She completed her studies in economics. After graduation, Kaberi’s career began with a private bank. After working there for a year and a half, she decided not to work for a corporate organization and suddenly joined the newspaper. For a few days, She worked as a sub-editor at The Daily News. After that, she joined another newspaper again, where she mainly practiced field journalism. In the beginning, she worked in the banking and financial sector, but now she is working with finance, planning, agriculture, development cooperation organizations, and research organizations. Since 2014, Kaberi Maitraya In the year 2020, she has received awards from two top organizations of reporters, Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) and Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) as part of investigative journalism. She has received numerous fellowships from multiple organizations, including MRDI. She also received “Shaheed journalist Selina Parvin Journalism Award-2020” for her outstanding contribution in the field of Journalism. For the organization, she has covered several programs outside the country in the international environment; even to enrich herself, she has taken regular economic training within the country, covering important events. Today’s event is about her.
Fintech: Since you have been practicing economic journalism for the past ten years, what are your thoughts on this niche industry?
KM: My co-workers ask this question a lot. I respond ironically by saying, “I still haven’t let go of falling in love since middle or high school.” This indicates that, despite getting bad grades, I gave economics a lot of attention in secondary school. The theories, graphs, and analyses were all quite fascinating. As a result, on both of my tests, I scored an A in this subject. My family wanted me to major in English literature, but I wanted to study journalism at the university. But I was unable to do so. When I first started in journalism, my former chief reporter advised me that since I study economics, I should start with the banking and financial sector. I was also relieved to know something about the bank. This is how I came to journalism, my former chief reporter told me that since I study economics, I should start with the banking and financial sector. I was also relieved to know something about the bank. This is how to come.
Fintech: Many individuals think that journalism and economics are boring, so why bother, whether they are or not?
KM: As you can see, every economic indicator, such as growth and inflation, has an impact on how we live our daily lives. Regular folks think and speak like them. The terminology used in accounting is typically a little different in news contexts, where the usage of numbers or statistics is more frequent. You must do some research for this. You must keep an eye out for details concerning regional and international magazines. The majority of our colleagues typically don’t find these appealing. More often than not, individuals are interested in other kinds of news, particularly those that are political, cultural, or even sports-related.
However, people are now becoming more interested in reading and watching economic news due to numerous forms of mismanagement, including money laundering and failed loans. However, none of the journalists who work here have the chance or desire to be well-liked in the traditional meaning of the word.
Fintech: How do you see the increase in the number of female journalists over the last decade?
KM: To be honest, I have had very few female colleagues working in my field since I started economics journalism. This number has decreased more than it has increased. In a nutshell, gathering news from the field of women, protecting and even nurturing the sources, it is a challenge in Bangladesh’s social context. It is not as common for society to tolerate a female colleague who wants to protect a source for a specific piece of news or research. For instance, a male coworker will meet or speak with a source right away after the office closes in the evening, whereas a female will hesitate. Additionally, it has an office atmosphere. Due to family obligations at home, many female coworkers find it difficult to study; they skip events in order to care for their children and eventually get disinterested in their line of work. Most of those who want to work are either at a desk or in a news presentation.
Fintech: There was such a challenge in your case?
KM: Naturally, there were difficulties in my situation, and there still are. I prioritize morale and mental desire above everything else. Though I feel more comfortable reporting in the field in tandem with a male colleague. There have been and will continue to be societal hurdles like those I have experienced since birth. However, the issue can be resolved if you can gather facts while being professional and if you have unbiased thinking. When I realize that I am the only female among ten male coworkers, I announce my existence with pride. My love for my profession grows as a result.
Fintech: You were saying, in addition to the rules of family and social barriers, what are the institutions?
KM: First of all, you must understand that I mean that my position as a woman journalist is mature for me. Family is the key. If there is help available, to put it simply, this type of profession is not traditional, and there is no such thing as a gap between family and profession.
For instance, an accident may happen at night, you might have to work on a day off, leave for work at night or in the morning to get home, or you might have to stay outside the house. By being aware of everything, it is able to concentrate on the career, and the appeal also grows. The family generally displays uncooperative behavior. Due to a number of factors and the uncertainty that she would complete the work, the company also does not value the female colleague. Workplaces and working hours are both difficult.
Fintech: What possibilities do you see for economic journalism?
KM: You might not become well-known overnight if you work in this industry, but being able to think with others in mind or having the chance to interact with people is a huge benefit. If you work here, you will have the option to pursue higher education, degrees, and research at both domestic and international institutions in the future because the reporter can go through studies. There are countless opportunities to improve oneself. can simultaneously serve as a trainer. But since this industry is all about money, there will always be giveaways and temptations. Only if a business writer practices journalism fearlessly, modestly, and ethically can that reporter be financially successful. A business reporter will only be successful if he or she does journalism fearlessly and modestly while maintaining ethics.
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