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Charles Peter wins Editor’s Guild award

From newspaper delivery boy to award winning journalist

Fourteen-year-old Charles Peter took a Veerakesari newspaper out of the bundle he had to deliver and scanned the front page. His daily ritual was to note the by-lines of the journalists who had scored the top stories that day.

What he wanted more than anything was to see his name on that page one day, and as he made his way to the next paper stand, his determination to be not just another existence but to make a difference and be immortalized in the eyes of the world became stronger.

Thus from newspaper delivery boy to award winning journalist, ten years on, Charles Peter’s dream has become a definite reality. Winning the Editors Guild Award recently for the Social Development Reporter of the Year working for Metro News, Charles said that what really inspires him to write are the less privileged people who are victims of the chaotic political system in the country.

“A journalist is not only a writer but an investigator and also serves the people with his ability. The main concerns are the people of our society struggling to survive a hand to mouth existence. The worst part is that most of them can be found within the parameter of Colombo city,” he remarked. Going back to the past he remembered his childhood days. “Up until I was eight years old I didn’t go to a proper school because of various complications and had my primary education at a learning center run by an NGO close to where I lived,” he said adding that however he got entrance to a Tamil school in Kotahena several years later.

“At around 4 pm after our classes, a few friends of mine and I began taking up delivering papers at the Veerakesari Newspaper as a part time job because we didn’t want to waste our time,”

The need to be a journalist had constantly been on his mind ever since then and as soon as he finished his A Levels he began to pursue his dream, joining the same newspaper as a typesetter, typing out all the articles that other journalists wrote.

“Because I didn’t know the first thing about writing a good story to fit the style of a newspaper I was put to typeset,” he laughed adding that after the Company began the Metro Newspaper, he was requested specifically by the Editor to typeset exclusively for them.

“By this time my constant typing of news stories had given me a good idea of how one should be written, so I spoke to the Editor and got a chance to write small articles,” he explained.

However, as time went on Charles knack for picking up information and his ability to learn fast got him a recommendation by the Managing Director. “I was helped a lot by him to follow a training course in Kerala because I needed qualifications and also at the Sri Lanka College of Journalism,” he continued.

Nominated for the Best Young Journalist of the Year in 2005, Charles said he has been in the field for close to three years at present. He is the crime reporter for the Metro news as well a columnist concerning the underworld, and writes hard to expose the sufferings of the people in rural areas.

“The biggest benefit of being a journalist is unlike a doctor or an engineer who has to stick only to his fields, you can explore all fields in society. Some of his topics he has dealt with range from the people of the shanties and street children under the Maradana Bridge. “Social Development is not only writing but actually working towards a tangible result,” he explained adding that sometimes instead of writing the story he tries to contact the authority in concern to deal with the situation immediately.

“The problem is that government officials don’t acknowledge the suffering or give them any kind of relief, all what they do is use them for their own means.

There are times I have fought with the authorities for the basic necessities of some areas and had to face their wrath as well,” he said.“You have to have a purpose with whatever you write. I want to continue to do the best I can in the field and work towards a better society. This is my dream,” he smiled.

-Daily Mirror By Jeevani Pereira

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July 15, 2006 - Posted by | Media Journalism, News, News and politics, Press Release, South Asia, World News

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