Journalism, as a profession, has come a long way. There has been an explosion of newspapers and news channels in the country. As a result, today’s audience is more aware and better informed about the latest developments around the world. In such a scenario, where an audience is already equipped with the facts, a journalist and a TV anchor needs to be analytical in his/her approach. Unlike in the old days, when news anchors merely read out long press notes or articles from newswires, now it is not considered wrong to express an opinion. You have to engage the audience.
In order to learn that, you need a very strong passion for news — you need a curiosity for things. Can a media school teach all these things? My answer is no; one doesn’t need a journalism degree to become a good journalist. You have to be in the profession to learn it. However, a journalism course from a good and reputed institute does help you learn various skills required to be in the profession. This way, you are not lost when you enter a newsroom.
Most media houses want people who can be trained within a month and hit the ground running. A degree from a good institute can help reduce the learning curve. And what distinguishes a good institute from an average one is the emphasis on work experience. Students interested in pursuing a journalism course should consider applying to institutes that place more importance on handson learning, live projects and reporting. An institute whose curriculum focuses only on theory and ‘studying’ concepts cannot be considered good.
Moreover, recently, there has been a mushrooming of institutes offering degrees and diplomas in journalism. But, these courses are taught by those who have either not worked in the industry or have left it many years ago. How can those who do not know the pulse of the profession, teach it? So, it is very important to track the faculty’s record. Journalism schools must engage professionals working in the media as faculty on a regular basis, rather than just inviting known faces once a year. Hence, it all boils down to one important point — the amount of workexperience you can gather over the length of your programme. After that, one needs to be able to be out there in the grind and most importantly, be patient with career growth.
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