A journalist from India spent a day in the Kane County Chronicle newsroom earlier this week.
K. Karthikeyan – or Karthik, for short – came to the U.S. through Rotary’s Group Study Exchange program.
According to www.rotary.org, the Rotary Foundation’s Group Study Exchange program “is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for businesspeople and professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 who are in the early stages of their careers. ... For four to six weeks, team members experience the host country’s culture and institutions, observe how their vocations are practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas.”
Karthik writes for the Deccan Chronicle, an English-language newspaper that is circulated in southern India. (You can check out the paper at www.deccanchronicle.com.)
While he was at the Kane County Chronicle, Karthik and our editorial staff members spoke about journalism.
Reporter Jonathan Bilyk and Karthik compared the political and taxation systems in Kane County and Illinois to Karthik’s home region in India, near Chennai.
“We had some laughs at the similarity in the systems of graft and public corruption that seems to characterize our respective state governments,” Jonathan wrote. “We both felt civic pride – or something like that. I was struck by how, even across the cultural lines, we shared the common language of public service journalism. It readily helped to smooth over any problems in translating complex topics.”
Reporter Brenda Schory also spent time with Karthik, taking him on a short tour of Geneva.
“He talked about the issues he covers in India, its problems and the efforts to address them,” Brenda wrote. “He said America is a welcoming place to immigrants, and he was thrilled to be here for this exchange.”
After completing his visit with the Kane County Chronicle, Karthik reported back to me that the experience was enriching and insightful.
“Thanks to you and your enthusiastic team for sparing nearly a whole day,” he wrote. “A special thanks to Brenda for the brief tour she took me on. It would be unkind of me if [I didn’t] specially thank you for making the whole vocational day possible.”
We enjoyed having Karthik in our newsroom. And thanks to local Rotarian Mark Allen for helping make Karthik’s visit with us possible.
• Kathy Gresey is editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-845-5368.