Khabarnegaran.info-Niki Azad: Local journalist Mahdieh Amiri speaks of the hardships of practicing journalism in the southern Iranian province of Bushehr. Amiri has been working as a journalist in Bushehr for years. Since 2007, she has been the editor-in-chief of a few local websites, biweekly and quarterly magazines. She is now the editor-in-chief of hamooniran.com website and Ava-ye Dashtestan biweekly.
Iran’s Master of Journalism Sick
Hossein Ghandi and His Love in a Snowy Day8 December 2011
Translated by Rose Arjmand
Khabarnegaran.info-He is a master of journalism and he is well known among his fellow journalists for his choice of headlines. I am talking about Hossein Ghandi. They say he has become ill with Alzheimer’s; the same master of journalism that loved his career passionately and transferred his knowledge to students at universities. He believed from the bottom of his heart that there is a sunrise after each sunset. He taught his students that they never should let disappointment dominate their soul, especially if they were journalists and lovers.
His fellow journalists feel saddened for their friend and they wrote: “it is a headline; does not matter if it is a straight headline or a question headline, ‘Ghandi will not choose headlines anymore’.”
They stated that would not forget him, they would not forget the man who is battling with Alzheimer’s. They say Ghandi wrote as much as he could and chose the best headlines; he is rooted in Iran’s journalism.
Ghandi was born in March 1952 in Sabzevar, located in Razavi, Khorasan,a province in the north-eastern part of Iran. He was raised in Tehran. Even before starting school, he found newspapers and magazines more fascinating than other games that were common among children his age. He writes in his memoir: “Our house was in Pahlavi Street in Tehran. Newspapers and magazines were the only things that I could find in our neighbourhood without any difficulty. My father was very much into reading and my mother was an educated lady. Such environment and my parents’ life style were encouraging and led to me being fond of reading.”
He recalls the biggest happening in his life was the day the principle of his school evaluated his talent: “back in the days, Mrs Touran MirHadi was principle of our school. Her education policy was to evaluate students’ talents and abilities quickly. It was written in my report card that ‘Literary Taste’ was my main talent.” Thanks to his parents’ encouragement, Hossein always was reading and reading. He learnt about the Persian literature at an early age; works by Mohammad Hejazi (1901–1974) — an Iranian novelist and essayist, Sadegh Hedayat (1903–1951) — Iran’s foremost modern writer of prose fiction and short stories, Sadegh Chubak (1916–1998) — an short fiction writer and novelist, and also alal Al-e Ahmad (1923–1969) — prominent Iranian writer and thinker – all taught him much about the Persian literature. Contemporary Persian literature — like poetries by Nima Yushij (1896–1960) — father of modern Persian poetry, Mehdi Akhavan-Saales (1928–1990) – one of pioneers of Free Verse (New Style Poetry) in the Persian language, Forugh Farrokhzad (1935–1967) — most influential of female poets in Persian literature of the twentieth century, and of course Ahmad Shamlou (1925–2000) — a renowned Persian poet and journalist enchanted the young learner; works by American authors like John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Russian writers and novelists like Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov, French writers like Victor Hugo and Honore de Balzac also fascinated him as well.
After he finished his high school, he used his network to start his first job in a weekly publication. There he started liking the smell of ink, paper and publishing. He used to read all magazines and publications that the weekly newspaper had subscribed to receive every day. Reading on daily bases encouraged him to write and such trend in reading promoted his writing skills. He remembers the first time he admitted that he loved journalism: “It was a snowy day. The snow was so heavy that deliverymen could not send the subscribed magazines and newspapers to our office. I felt like I lost something. I grabbed my jacket and walked the street of our office and started buying newspapers and magazines of the day from one newsstand to another. I felt like a lover who found his lost love. There I found out that I was in love with journalism.”
Hossein studied hard for an entrance exam to get admission in Social Communication Sciences. His hard work was fruitful and he was accepted by a university in 1971 and at the same time he joined the Kayhan (Universe) Media Institute. He worked in Kayhan for 23 years until 1994. He says he actually lived with Kayhan; he learned and taught much in Kayhan. He moved to the US in 1977 to continue his education. After he received his master degree in international management, he returned to Iran in 1980. After he returned to Iran, he worked in a number of newspapers, namely Kayhan, Abrar, Akhbar (News), Etekhab (Choice) and Jaam-e Jam in various positions.
He worked as a columnist, a member of editor-in-chief council and as an editor in chief in the Abrar Newspaper from 1988 to 1994. In 1995 he joined the Akhbar Newspaper. On the sideline of the news, he taught and enjoyed his career fully. Teaching at universities and journalism institutes was more than a job for him. It was one of the passions of Mr. Journalist. New Journalism and Opinion Journalism are books that can obviously reflect his experience in journalism. Specialized Journalism is a collection of his useful classes; the book includes a history of specialized journalism in Iran and in the world, form, theme, and content of such area of journalism as well as comprehensive explanation on publication process. Imagination in Journalism, Six Reports, and a travelogue are among his other works. He expands the idea of using imagination in journalism and story-telling style in writing for papers.
A series of articles under the titles of Press Literature, Element of National Unity, Teaching Journalism, Science and Experience, Must Learn about Terms and Images, Beyond Borders and Seconds, and News Cartoons are among his publications that are considered as a valuable treasure for Iranian journalists. However, the most unique feature, that Hossein Ghandi is known for, is his good choices of headlines for papers. Master of Iran’s journalism still is looking for another sunrise and his colleagues trust that he will write headlines as he once used to.
Journal of Iranian Press History, Seyyed Farid Ghasemi, Pages 187 – 190
Khabarnegaran.info-Niki Azad: How is life for Iranian journalists after prison? Does their attitude toward their journalism – the profession that put them in jail – change? Are they more conservative than before? Or bolder?
Khabarnegaran – Niki Azad: He has been put in jail three times for his journalist writing, though he says that jail has not made him feel disappointed with the profession of journalism.