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Veteran journalist and media educator Malay Mitra passes away at age 79

Veteran journalist and media educator Malay Mitra passes away at age 79

| @indiablooms | 19 Apr 2024, 01:18 pm

Kolkata/IBNS: Veteran journalist and media educator, Dr. Malay Mitra, who helmed the Kolkata bureau of Indian news agency UNI for many years as its manager, passed away recently. Survived by his wife and son, he was 79.

According to his family sources, Dr. Mitra passed away at his residence on April 15 night following a heart attack.

Dr. Mitra, who was also a visiting lecturer in the Journalism and Mass Communication department of University of Calcutta for decades grooming generations of students on the rudiments of news story writing, editing and reporting, later taught at IIMC Dhenkanal and other insitutions.

Dr. Mitra joined United News of India (UNI) in the year 1969 after obtaining a diploma in journalism from CU. He later completed his PhD while working on agency journalism under late journalist and editor Sunit Mukherjee.  In UNI he rose to be the manager of the Kolkata bureau and then a Regional Manager of the eastern region of the news agency.

He also worked in the New Delhi headquarters of the UNI for some years.

A livewire of the newsroom in Kolkata UNI, Dr. Mitra was highly respected for his sharp news sense, speed, accuracy and strong foundation on wire service journalism.


"I worked with him for decades and enjoyed a very cordial relationship. He has a sharp news sense, something required for objective news agency journalism," said veteran sports journalist Manik Banerjee recalling his long association with Dr. Mitra.

Kushal Dasgupta, a former colleague, and one of the former UNI heads in Kolkata, said: "A down-to-earth, very good  human being and one of the most sincere, dedicated journalists I have seen." 

Veteran journalist and former manager of UNI Kolkata Pritha Lahiri in a message said: "I began my journalistic career under Malay Mitra's tutelage. He had a sharp sense of news and was extremely fast in dispensing it, a quintessential quality of an agency journalist. I was struck by his ability to bring to the fore the crux, or intro, from a humongous material." 

Senior UNI journalist Kanika Chaudhury in her condolence message said: "It's shocking. I started my career under his able guidance. He was a thorough gentleman and an excellent editor....Rest in peace."

Dr. Mitra also left behind his countless students who remembered him for his guidance and lessons in the basics of journalism and objective, no frills journalistic writing.

Arindam Basu, a senior sports journalist, PR professional and Assisstant Professor at Sister Nivedita University, said: "He was my first boss. An impeccable gentleman and a fine journalist. He was my teacher at the University. When I joined UNI, he had said, this naughty boy is now a part of Kolkata Bureau. He handed me the UNI manual and said learn it in a month. Memories flood."

Senior journalist and former UNI special correspondent Ankur Bhattacharya recalled Dr. Mitra as a thorough gentleman. "He was such a down-to-earth gentleman despite being in a high position. He was above all a team man," he said. 

Dr. Saswati Gangopadhyay, Professor in Mass Communication and Journalism department at The University of Burdwan and a former student of Dr Mitra, said: "He was my teacher at the post graduate level and I remember him as a no-nonsense person in the classroom who at the same time was ready to help students with any query despite his busy schedule as a working journalist. He would always give you sound advices in academic matters. A genuine gentleman, he will be missed."

Press Club Kolkata condoles the death of Mitra

Press Club, Kolkata, in a condolence message said Dr. Mitra was loved by all for his amiable nature and simple life skills. "He shaped many students to master the craftsmanship of the profession. He was also very popular among his students." 

"Press Club, Kolkata pays rich tribute to the departed veteran journalist Dr. Malay Mitra and conveys deep condolences to the bereaved family and his innumerable students," said Press Club president Snehasis Sur in a statement.    

Former colleagues, students pay homage to Dr. Mitra in memorial meeting

Meanwhile, former colleagues of Dr. Mitra at the UNI news agency, his associates in the University of Calcutta and students, paid heartfelt tributes to the late journalist at a memorial gathering on April 26 in the Press Club, Kolkata.       

Speakers emotionally recalled him with anecdotes from the eastern region newsroom of UNI for decades, effectively turning the memorial function into a mini workshop in journalism that defines any news agency functioning. He personified the best of precise, unbiased, chiselled news writing that nourishes wire service journalism where every minute is a deadline, they recalled. 

(Reporting by Sujoy Dhar)

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