City Express

Now a bit about work – I have just completed my first week on City Express, which I think is what you would describe as NIE’s “metro” section.

On my first day I scored a bit of a result – I had a front page story as part of a splash on safety for women in Chennai. These stories were inspired by the events of New Year in Mumbai where two women were allegedly molested by some 70 men.

My second story (well, two stories actually) appeared in today’s issue. It was a write up of my trip to the WeCan centre for children with autism. I have made other contributions over the week like suggesting headlines and a couple of NIBs for the education page. I am now working on stories for the education page, including one that may make a lead.

The New Indian Express’s main office in Chennai is on the Ambattur Industrial Estate – a dusty business park on the western fringes of the city. I can get a bus there from the flat in Kilpauk fairly easily, but whenever I have tried to come back on the public buses it always ends in disaster (yesterday I waited about an hour for a bus on a dusty roadside). As a result, I usually wait for the staff bus in the evening.

The building is fairly modern, with the printing presses in a building next door (they still do it in-house here) and a canteen building opposite. My office is quite big with rows and rows of PCs – about 40 in total. Each PC is linked up to back up power supply, in case of a power cut.  Other sections of the paper,  including the news and lifestyle sections work elsewhere in the office.

There’s a staff canteen where I get fed for free thanks to coupons allocated to members of staff. Lunch is rice, daal and a veg dish served with various accompaniments. You can also get a snack later on in the day.

You can buy bottles of water, bottles of pop and small cups of tea from the canteen for just a few rupees. Today we got served tea and biscuits in the office because there was an InDesign tutorial on.

My shift is supposedly 12 – 8pm, but in practice, no one comes in until about 1pm- unless its a news meeting, and we have to wait until City Express is finished before we can go home. The staff bus is an experience in itself. It’s a bit of a boneshaker, especially when it goes on the pot-holed dirt tracks off the main roads.


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