MEET SONAM SAIGAL- From journalism to law and then back to journalismThe Grey Matter Team
We bring you the Dareact story of one of the most impactful legal journalists today. While we have been talking about how people discovered law and then their passion, Sonam’s story works the other way around. Her first love was journalism, while she was pursuing it, she took on law to hone her skills and seek specialization. Let us take you through her legal trajectory, a deep dive into legal journalism for those who want to tread a similar path or have curiosity to discover more. From news matters, commercial matters to public interest litigations, she has covered it all. From Sabrimala to the Salman Khan hit and run case, she has witnessed all the action in the courtroom. Watch all myths getting busted in the most straightforward, honest, no-nonsense manner. Let us take you through our dareact chat with her.
As a kid, Sonam was a disciplined front bencher, a favorite with her school teachers and
principals. While she fared well in academics, she was more of an ‘all-rounder’ who participated in each and every competition and won most of the awards. At a later stage, when a choice had to be made for her graduation between management and media, she heard her parents suggest, “You may not be able to take up media, it is very difficult, and involves a lot of hard work for girls”. Being someone who had never shirked away from hard work, she could not understand how hard would it be for a girl. So came the decision almost instantly to pursue media. She secured a seat in one of the prominent colleges for mass media and her journey began.
In the third year, while making a choice between advertising and journalism, she opted for the latter and topped Mumbai University in journalism that year. A personal validation and realization came to her that she loved journalism. Being a firm believer of ‘Education is the Door to your Future’, she pursued post graduation in Mass Communication after which she relocated . She was convinced that if she wants to be a “solid” journalist, Delhi is the place to be. No doubt the national capital of news gave her oodles of experience. She learnt about “hands-on journalism”, beat reporting, writing, editing and much more. She was beginning to see that she was good at reporting, while also discovering herself and the city. While Sonam started work as a journalist, the perfectionist in her yearned to pursue a specialization that could hone her skills further. What better than law and she thought, since she was always enamored by the idea of justice. Sonam did not know anybody in this field so to her it was like a dark room where no one knew what lay ahead but curiosity often leads one to find out. The legal language and jargon are meant to create an impediment for those outside its world, but she was intrigued by it.
She studied the law while working for her first newspaper, Free Press Journal. When she graduated she was the only legal journalist in English media who had completed her LL.B. Learning the law had definitely helped her create a narrative that educates the readers, that made her feel like a true agent of change. The press is the fourth pillar of democracy, afterall.
In this candid interview, she clarifies doubts, by clearly stating that one doesn’t get paid too well unless one is employed with the big players in television and print and at a higher post. One should not enter the profession for the money, but for the job satisfaction and the passion. Money surely flows as your hair greys, but the growth is slow. One also needs to have the right temperament, stay calm, not lose your cool amidst deadlines and pressure to break stories. A gentle reminder from her, that one will have to file stories every day, there may be no Sunday,
Holi or Diwali!
In the end, Sonam feels it is the satisfaction of effective and informative communication at a mass level that made her marry her loves – law and journalism. She completes 10 years as a
print journalist this month and clearly has a great future ahead of her.