TNP correspondent elected to head Hollywood journalists' association
The New Paper's very own United States entertainment stringer, Ms Meher Tatna, is now president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for 2017-2018.
Ms Tatna, who began writing for TNP in 2015, is thrilled to be elected in the year of the Golden Globes' 75th anniversary. The Golden Globes is an annual award ceremony organised by the HFPA to honour the best in film and television.
Said the Mumbai-born Los Angeles-based journalist: "The HFPA is really my surrogate family. As an immigrant with no other family in the US, you have to forge connections with the people around you, the people you see every single day most months of the year, who work shoulder to shoulder with you."
She has served in the HFPA administration for 12 years, including as vice-president, treasurer and executive secretary.
Apart from organising the Globes, Ms Tatna's tasks include planning special events tied to the charities HFPA supports.
She said: "People have no idea that we give away more than US$2 million (S$2.8 million) in grants for film restoration, arts-related scholarships and (to) educational institutions every single year."
Ms Tatna also plans to reach out to film studios for increased access to publicity events.
Content is moving towards digital media, and print access is shrinking in favour of the "so-called 'influencers'".
She said: "Conventional wisdom is that young people are the main movie-going audience, so the influencers or YouTube stars with millions of followers are getting studios' attention.
"But these people have no journalistic training. HFPA members are serious journalists, not just Golden Globe voters, and it will be my job to keep that in front of the studios, and maintain and expand our access."
Ms Tatna has so far contributed more than 230 articles - many of them exclusive celebrity interviews - and opinion pieces for TNP, calling it "the best writing experience" of her professional career.
While hobnobbing with the who's who in Hollywood sounds appealing, the job, which includes travelling around the world on press junkets, "is not as glamorous as it seems".
She said: "You are tied to a coach seat for umpteen miles, very likely to go straight to a screening right off the plane - jetlag be damned - and then have interviews the next day, before returning home."
Ms Tatna added that celebrity articles are "fun to write if the subjects are happy to be there, understand the requirements of journalists and give lively anecdotes".
The most difficult interviewees are those with monosyllabic answers.
"Actors are not necessarily the most eloquent people, but they have a job to do, which is to promote their projects.
"So it helps the journalists if they come prepared to sell themselves and their movie to their fans."
Getting celebrities to talk and scoring exclusives for TNP come naturally for Ms Tatna.
But the one thing adding to her stress level is the speech she will have to give as HFPA president at the Golden Globes, which will be broadcast live around the world on Jan 7 next year.