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‘Journalism requires courage’ The Wire chief tells young journalists



“Stick to journalism.” Siddharth Varadharajan, founding editor of the The Wire, gave this piece of advice to a crowd of budding journalists entering the “working world of journalism.”

Speaking at the annual graduation ceremony of Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media on May 1, 2017, Varadharajan warned the trainee journalists of the difficult times that they are invariably going to encounter in their careers.

But the only way to survive it was to “stick to the fundamental traits of journalism,” said the former editor of The Hindu.

Addressing the graduating batch of 2016-17, he summed up the problem facing this profession and his solution, using the oft-used journalistic framework of Who, what, where, when, why and how.

He said the problem that confronts Indian journalists today (The What), is largely due to the culture perpetuated by the media owners (The How), because of their increased reliance on advertiser revenues (The Why).

He said that Indian journalism of today is as bad, if not better than that in the 80s, that there was never a golden era of journalism (The When). The new journalists (The Who), in his view, were lucky to have new story-telling platforms to tell stories effectively and engage with readers. (The Where)

Reinventing business models, using social media effectively were certain things that could alleviate this problem, said the winner of the Ramnath Goenka Award for excelling in journalism.

“Journalism requires courage,” said Varadharajan, adding that the students had accomplished their first act of bravery by having completed their course in journalism.

He warned that the governments and private establishments alike will use all means, fair and foul, to suppress good journalism. The trend of “SLAP litigations, where corporates have increasingly taken to the law to silence any uncomfortable questions, was another tactic he warned of.

 To thrive in their careers while overcoming these obstacles, he advised the students to: “Be passionate but objective. Be interested in people, their stories and their problems. Learn how to ask questions, especially to those of authority. Learn how to write well.”

In his address to the graduating batch of 2017, Dean Abraham George asked them to remember that a free press is the voice of the people in a democracy.

At a time when national leaders have not lived up to the challenges facing their countries, and are many times the cause of the problems, the press needs to be strong enough to expose the truth to the public. Unfortunately, that is not the case, he said.

Pointing out that prosperity for a few cannot be the yardstick for a nation’s success, he said that it was for the young journalists to inform and bring about positive change by impacting public opinion.

At the Convocation students who excelled in certain areas were given awards.

Graduating Class of 2017

Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the

Distinction

Broadcast

Abilash Mariswamy

MM

Jenika Kishor Shah

Print

Rishiraj Bhagawati

Roll of Honor

Covering Science & Technology

Aaditya Narayan

Multimedia Reporting

Anjala Farahath V K

Newspaper Production

Chainani Yogita Mahesh Bhavna

Magazine

Cherry Agarwal

Magazine Production

Phalguni Vittal Rao

Political Reporting

Prabhakar Kumar Thakur

International Reporting

Romita Majumdar

Broadcast Reporting

Sahana M R

Multimedia Production

Shubhangi Shukla

Newspaper Reporting

Tambe Bhakti Rajendra

Development Reporting

Vishal Chawla

Deans list

Aishwarya S Iyer

 

Arunava Banerjee

 

Azmia Riaz

 

Damini Dhanraj

 

Ilona Dam

 

Poorbita Bagchi

 

Siddharth Chakraborty

 

Vivek Dubey

 

 


'​The best of times, the worst of times for media​'

BENGALURU Borrowing the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities, Samar Halarnkar, editor at IndiaSpend, began by saying, “It is the best of times, it is the worst of times,” at a panel discussion on the changing landscape in news reporting in India, in Bengaluru on Saturday.  

Titled "Independent media: Opportunities beyond the traditional newsroom", the discussion explored issues that traditional media houses are facing at a time when organisations like Hindustan Times and The Telegraph, among others, have sacked several hundred journalists and closed down a few editions.

The session, moderated by K. Giriprakash, Bureau Chief of The Hindu Business Line, also included journalists Dhanya Rajendran, editor-in- chief of The News Minute, Gangadhar Patil, founder of 101Reporters and freelance journalist Debashi Dasgupta. It was part of the annual alumni reunion seminar at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media ((IIJNM), Bangalore.   

Halarnkar said that the recent sacking of journalists has more to do with doing away with the old guard, and getting fresh workforce on board who can adapt better to the digitisation of news reportage. “A whole lot of new jobs are also being created at the same time,” he said.

“These are exciting times to be a journalist- there are way more subjects to report on than what traditional news media allowed for,” Rajendran said, giving examples of how The News Minute has created a niche for itself “News organisations have to create a character for themselves, something that readers will come to them specifically for, like the data stories of IndiaSpend,” she added.

Speaking about long-form print reporting, Dasgupta said, “These are certainly more challenging times for print magazines to operate.” He said that the reason most Indian magazines are finding it difficult to thrive is, “the Indian reader doesn’t want to pay for content”.

“But forms of writing like long-form cannot shut down. As some portals are closing, others are starting up,” Patil said, adding that “ultimately, the story matters”. Dasgupta agreed, and said that there is no alternative to good writing, reporting, analysis and presentation.

The speakers also agreed that the independence of a media house is tested when their revenue models come into the picture. “One can depend on advertising only for so long- you hardly find three page jackets in newspapers anymore. You have to discover alternate sources of revenue,” Halarnkar said.

Addressing the fact that most of our population still has no access to the Internet and smart phones, he stressed that these hurdles wouldn’t stop the digitisation of news in India, giving the example of CG Net Swara, a voice-based online portal that allows people in the forests of central India to report and access local news through a telephone. “The complete transition from the traditional methods of news reporting will only take another five or six years.”

Moderator Giriprakash concluded the session by saying that the way for journalists to deal with this transitioning phase of the media in India is by equipping themselves with modern tools and portals of news-telling. “Good times are ahead,” he said. 

Awards for Alumni:

Winner, Print: Nivedita Niranjankumar (2011-2012), for her story ‘Donor’ denies donating kidney to sister

Runner-up, Print: Abhishek Angad (2010-2011), for his story Six-year journey of a family in search of their missing daughters: ‘These are our kids’

Winner, Broadcast: Aswin Kanumarath (2011-2012), for his story ABHINAVBINDRA – INDIA’S ONE IN A BILLION

Runner-up, Broadcast: Harish Upadhya (2011-2012), for his story Fake travel claim scam - An RTI investigation that exposed BBMP's head honchos

Winner, Multimedia: Prabhu Mallikarjunan (2010-2011), for his story The Villages at the Heart of India’s Water Dispute 

Runner-up, Multimedia: Sandeep Pai (2009-2010) Groundwater Levels Plunge, Contamination Rises, Crisis Grows

By Rishiraj Bhagawati


Conversation with Sandeep: A Report

Bangalore: The key to Sandeep Pai’s success is “persistence, method and hope,” the award-winning investigative journalist told a crowd of journalists and students yesterday.

An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM) and winner of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Investigative Journalism Award, Sandeep, who is widely known by just his first name, discussed the evolution of his five-part investigation of politicians’ alleged use of public sector undertakings (PSUs) as cash vending machines.

“A Conversation with Sandeep,” was held in the auditorium of Alliance Franciase with K.S. Dakshina Murthy, an independent journalist who was a part of the editorial team that launched the English version of Al-Jazeera website and who is currently an adjunct professor at IIJNM.

In the hour-long discussion, Sandeep talked about his use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act to request information for his stories. (See links to the stories below.)

Sandeep has worked with the special investigative teams of bothethe Hindustan Times and DNA and is now an independent journalist pursuing his masters degree via the European Commission’s at Erasmus Mundus Scholarship programme.

“There were a lot of challenges that I faced when I started researching and writing this story. A lot of discouragements from various people came my way; some of my editors knocked down the story,” said Sandeep. “But persistence, method and hope were the keys to my story being successful and being published.”

Sandeep also said that there are many who might discourage the idea of doing an RTI story but there are also many who encourage it as well. “So, never lose hope!” he said.

On Nov. 6, 2016, Sandeep received the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Investigative Journalism Award, presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi. The investigative award is given to a journalist “whose report investigates an issue of public interest to reveal and aspect/element which has not yet been covered/explored in the media,” according to Indian Express Group, sponsors of the annual awards named after its founder.

During yesterday’s event, Sandeep also spoke about hardships faced in the world of journalism and how one has to push through their stories in order to get them published. “Pushing your story and believing in your story is really important,” he said.

After the talk, the audience engaged in an interactive question-and-answer session. One audience participant, who identified herself as an aspiring journalist, noted that “digital media is sometimes not able to keep up with print media” in terms of providing up-to-date and accurate information.

By Cathline Chen


IIJNM Alumnus wins prestigious Ramnath Goenka award for investigative journalism

IIJNM alumunus, Sandeep Pai (2009 - 10 batch) has won the very prestigious Ramnath Goenka award for excellence in journalism in the investigative journalism category.

Below is the first of a five-Part RTI investigation series​ Sandeep did​ on how politicians use public sector undertakings (PSUs) as cash vending machines. The investigation details how leaders across party lines use their official position to cull monetary favours from PSUs to fund organisations with which they are directly or indirectly associated. After the story was published, several PSUs issued circulars saying that money should not be released on the request of MPs unless it directly benefits the PSU.

It took Sandeep six months to get all the RTI replies from various PSUs and that too after numerous first appeals. Once he got the replies, he investigated further and found connections between the politicians and the organisations for which they were seeking funds

Part 1: RTI Investigation: How politicians use PSUs as cash-vending machines 

Part 2: RTI Investigation: How Vijay Darda used power ministry to further his business interests

Part 3: RTI Investigation: How ministers milk PSUs for ads and sponsorships

Part 4: RTI Investigation: Corruption allegations surface against a BJP MP

Part 5: RTI Investigation: PSUs are an easy pool of money for politicians to dip into


Freedom of press is very important: Dr. Souag

Countries that do not encourage freedom of press are afraid of telling people the truth or are hiding the national problems of the country said Dr. Mostefa Souag, acting Director General of Al Jazeera Media Network.

He was speaking to students at Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media  via Skype on Wednesday, September 28, 2016.

“Freedom of press is very important in today’s time, in reporting actual fact and truth and informing the nation who depends on the press for the truth; we are medium that connect the masses,” he said.

Dr. Souag said that since 1996, AlJazeera had faced several challenges. The role of the media is to give the truth, and not to take sides, he said, adding that the media should act like professionals and prove their credibility.

He said that some of the main challenges journalists face while reporting in war-hit countries included accessing data for stories, not getting visas on time and not being allowed to use phones and cameras while interviewing extreme groups.

He encouraged the students to do good journalism, commenting that “the new generation have better facilities and technology and can be even better at providing the information to world.”

By Mrigakshi Dixit


'Spotlight' journalist focuses on objectivity

‘Stay neutral and focus on objectivity’ said Michael Rezendes, investigative journalist at Boston Globe newspaper and popularly known by the Oscar-winning movie ‘Spotlight.’ Mr. Rezendes was talking to students at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media via Skype from Boston.

“I became a journalist to make the world a better place to live in,” he said. He said he believed young people should practically experience journalism by talking and interviewing people, covering societal issues rather than learning theories. “You learn journalism only by doing, being there and experiencing,” he added.

Journalists often get carried away emotionally while reporting on sensitive topics such as child abuse, sexual assaults and people’s plight post natural calamities, he said. People often forget that reporters are humans, too. He added that such incidents are best platforms for cub reporters to hone their life skills.  

Discussing his work on the Spotlight team, Mr. Rezendes said that beliefs and pre-conceived notions about a religion that reporters come with get shattered when you work on such stories. Many of his colleagues did not get a chance to work on the Pulitzer-prize-winning stories of child abuse committed by church clergy because of their religious biases. 

Stating the importance of sources in any journalistic endeavour, Mr. Rezendes said, “Everybody wants to talk and it’s the journalist who needs to make them comfortable to talk,” he said. “You need to make them believe it’s not just for the sound byte but you are genuinely listening to them,” he said. “It’s a matter of sincerity.”

By Aishwarya Iyer with inputs from Aishwarya Patnaik


IIJNM Trainee Journalists Scoop up the Bylines, Collaborate with Media Houses to Cover the Cauvery Unrest in Bangalore

Trainee journalists studying at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media assist the main stream media in their reportage of Monday’s unrest over Cauvery water sharing.

Students of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) were pressed into action for the first time in their journalism careers by the civil disturbances that took place across the city on Monday.

The students, who are trained to deal with just such situations, provided on-the-spot reportage and footage to various media channels such as Firstpost and the Asianet News Network. Other media to credit IIJNM’s trainee journalists were Entrepreneur India and international news agency, Newzulu.

The students are currently enrolled in a one year PG Diploma in Journalism offered by IIJNM, Bangalore in three streams: Print Broadcast and Multimedia. They spend two days every week reporting from Bangalore city and producing various in-house publications.

“It was a great experience,” said trainee broadcast journalist, Neha Bhan, “It gave us the opportunity to work like real journalists.”

Previous batches of trainee journalists have covered other outbreaks of violence in the city such as that seen on the death of Dr. Rajkumar. IIJNM students have also worked with media houses such as U.K.-based Channel 4 to cover events in the city.


Pulitzer prize winner tells students to follow their passion

Young journalists must follow their passion and gain experience in all mediums said Keith Alexander, a 2016 Pulitzer Prize winning reporter from The Washington Post.

He was speaking to students of Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media from Washington D.C. on August 23, 2016. His talk was the first of a series of interactions IIJNM plans to hold with journalists from across the world.

Mr. Alexander said that people depended on journalists to speak for them. So, he said that the tradition of journalism holding government agencies accountable and being sceptical was a very important one.

Mr. Alexander was on the team of Post reporters who were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their groundbreaking effort that documented fatal police shootings in the U.S.A. They created a national database which investigated every fatal shooting by an on-duty officer in 2015.

He emphasised the need for cultural reforms in society before expecting the law to place checks on those accountable in the government. Talking about the prejudice against African-Americans, he said judgement often gets blurred when bias turns into fear and it is a gap that needs to be bridged.

Mr. Alexander emphasised that young journalists should dabble in all sorts of news stories while using social media as a weapon to get noticed by editors.

“I am passionate about this industry. It’s all I ever wanted to do,” he said, encouraging students to approach sources with empathy. “Smile!” he said, “tell them ‘You can help make my story fair, balanced, accurate. Give me your voice, for otherwise your opinion will be missing.’”

By Shannon RidgeCourt


Tech disrupts journalism, but improves it

Bangalore, July 11, 2016—Technology today is disrupting journalism, but it is not destroying it, it is helping us do a better job, said Edward Kerr, senior Editor-in-Charge, Reuters.

He was speaking to the inaugural class of the batch of 2016-17 at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media this morning.

Mr. Kerr said that while journalists should be familiar with technology, the key ultimately is the journalist. People need unbiased news and deep analysis, he said.  Pointing out that data journalism is the future, he said that it is a data-driven world, but the challenge is for journalists to ‘fight your way out of the clutter.’

He quoted surveys that showed that 90 per cent of journalism will be done by computers in the next five years. However, he pointed out that the same surveys also show that people prefer stories written by humans as they add much colour to the story.

He didn’t think that journalism is in danger. In fact, computers help journalists to explore more and report on various topics, he said. Data could save journalism, said Mr. Kerr, as a lot of stories are done with the help of data.

However, Mr. Kerr emphasized that the core values of journalism—fairness, accuracy and news judgement—do not change.
He exhorted students to go beyond the regular. “One journalist with one good idea can change everything. At the end, real journalism and real journalists save journalism.”

Dr. Abraham George, Dean of the Institute urged the students to uphold the ethics of the profession. “Our hope is that over the years you will make a difference to democracy,” he said. He said that it was the job of the journalists to unravel the truth, be a strong fourth pillar of democracy and ensure that policy makers are fair to everyone.  “Journalists can keep our politicians honest,” he added.


Nuance, vigour and the vagaries of our new media landscape


Sreenivasan Jain, the managing editor of NDTV 24/7, advised young journalists to look beyond the obvious in order to emerge as professionals to be reckoned with in today’s media industry.

Jain was speaking on the occasion of the annual convocation of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bengaluru, sharing nuggets of wisdom from his two-decade-long career in journalism.

“The government’s propaganda machine is slicker and more corporatized than ever,” said Jain. “Keeping your head above water is important, and not easy.”

He advised journalists to approach stories with a nuance.

“Don’t go for what is right and wrong. Always be looking for nuances. Those are the real stories,” he said. “Be wary of the “powerpoint-presentification” of governance and politics,” he said.

He said that in addition to the propaganda machine, abuse on social media and the rise of communal red-herrings also posed big challenges to journalists. To counter that, Jain asked students to cultivate an investigative bent, questioning everything, and showing rigour in their reporting.

Despite a career spanning over 20 years, Jain said that the pervasiveness and interconnected nature of the different news media (online, print and broadcast) ensured that he constantly learns from peers in the industry.

Jain’s prescribed survival tactic for budding journalists in today’s news industry: “Always be on your toes. Because of the interconnected nature of news, you are being audited 24/7,” he said.

Graduating Class of 2016
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Sesa Sen
Outstanding Multimedia
Journalism Student

Shubhangi Sinha
Outstanding Broadcast
Journalism Student

Tanay Sukumar
Outstanding Print
Journalism Student
 
Roll of Honour


Aditi Mallick
Excellence in
Magazine Writing & Production


Aparajita Khandelwal
Excellence in
Newspaper Production


Hardik Worah
Excellence in
Sports Reporting


Harsh Soni
Excellence in
Reporting for Broadcast


Mansi Joshi
Excellence in
Reporting & Writing for Multimedia


Maqsood Ahmed Maniyar
Excellence in
International Reporting


Mimansa Verma
Excellence in
Broadcast Production


Mithun Moosa Kutty
Excellence in
Political Reporting


Mridula Ramadugu
Excellence in
Multimedia Production


Parvathi Benu
Excellence in
Investigative Reporting & Production

Rangoli Agrawal
Excellence in
Business Reporting

Regina Gurung
Excellence in
Reporting & Writing for Print

Tanay Sukumar
Excellence in
Opinion & Editorial Writing

Shraddha Singh
Excellence in
Documentary
 
 
Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)

Nihareekaa Kaur

Oindrila Sarkar

Priyanka Roshan

Sri G Payal

Vivek Ananth
 

IIJNM workshop opens Bangalore's students' eyes to Multimedia Journalism

IIJNM hosted undergraduate students from colleges across the city including St. Joseph's College of Arts and Science, CMS Jain University, BMS College and Christ University for a multimedia workshop taught by Prof Rachel Sauer. The workshop was an introduction to social media for journalists and involved practicals related to interviews, photography and new media techniques.

“I loved the campus. It's huge and peaceful. Before coming here I thought I was good with my stories that I have been doing in my college which involved creative writing, but after attending the workshop I realised that there is much more technicality involved in finding stories,” said Maya Phillip, a final year student from St. Joseph’s College

The afternoon session involved the students learning digital technologies for collating stories using tweets, videos and pictures from social media. “It was interesting, we learnt how to look journalism from different perspective. What interested me was the way journalism is taught in this college and also it gave me a wider picture about how news can be read from various mediums,” said, Varkey Parakkal, a first year Journalism student from CMS Jain College.


Taming the beast a job for a journalist

Trained journalists bring order to the chaotic global news beast, and help make sense of news, according to Arun Subramaniam, a senior journalist.

With citizen journalism growing amid an information explosion, the media industry brings a sense of method and framework, he said.

Addressing journalism students and fellow professionals, he spoke of a profession that “pays you to learn”, adding, “You can’t find a better adult education programme than journalism.”

Subramaniam was part of a panel discussion during the Alumni Reunion of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, a reputed journalism school in Bangalore. With a rich history of churning out industry-ready journalists since 2001, the event was attended by dozens of alumni, working in media houses across India.

The discussion on the topic “The media makes no difference to a person’s life” was moderated by Prof. Dakshina Murthy of the college, who is a founding team member of the Al-Jazeera English news website, and author of "The Anopheles Sting".

Pooja Prasanna, a senior correspondent with Times Now, cited examples from her own channel to explain the impact of the media. “There has been change because of media coverage. Today people (the government) are scared, and there is a change in attitude. People are far more aware because of the media.”

She added: “From a time when everything about governance was opaque, today we are all part of governance. This is the best thing that the media has done.”

Recalling how newsrooms earlier often had people from all walks of life working as journalists, Subramaniam said: “It requires (professional) journalists to hold it all together. Journalism is a training which teaches you how to put a method into the news, to present the information and help make sense of the news.”

Deepu, co-founder of Pedestrian Pictures, a media activist organization, observed how the media can make the society think a particular way. He gave the example of the 2014 general elections, and asked why “a person responsible for the Gujarat riots suddenly became a chaiwallah” and why the media calls a certain person "a terrorist".

He also said that bombardment of information alone cannot do any good, and there are many other factors too within the social system which make it meaningful.

Fielding questions about the coverage by her own channel, Prasanna said: “Form and style are debatable, but content is important.”

Another panelist, Krishnakumar Padmanabhan, deputy editor of Mid-Day, and an alumnus, said that media bashing discredits all other work done by the media. “There are problems, and solutions have to come from within,” he said, referring to words like “news traders” and “presstitutes” being used for the press.

He said that there are media organizations not “holding those in power to account”, or “fighting for the downtrodden”, and that we should let them do their work. He said: “The market will decide what place it gives to serious news and other news.”

Talking about the trend of “trial by media”, Padmanabhan said: “We report, and then we keep waiting for those in power to do something about it. When there is no progress, we follow up. Editorialization comes in because you have done your job but someone else hasn’t.”

After the panel discussion, awards were given to alumni for outstanding work in journalism. The college had also held an essay writing competition for undergraduate students.

Awards for Alumni:

Winner, Print: Punita Maheshwari (2014-2015), for her story “Edge of Tomorrow: Shattered, Molested and Back to School

Runner-up, Print: Sankar C G (2011-2012), for his story “Malayali Students Being Used As Guinea Pigs For Drug Trials

Winner, Broadcast: Akhila Premchandran (2009-2010), for her story “Amaravathi’s changing face”, the journey of a woman sarpanch who made her village free of open defecation.

Runner-up, Broadcast: Ashwin Kanumarath (2011-2012), for his sports story, “Sons of the Soil

Winner, Multimedia: Monica Jha (2006-2007), for her story “Jaitapur—a fight without an end

Runner-up, Multimedia: Sandeep Pai (2009-2010), for his five-part series for Newslaundry about politicians taking advantage of and abusing PSUs for personal gain.

Part 1: RTI Investigation: How politicians use PSUs as cash-vending machines

Part 2: RTI Investigation: How Vijay Darda used power ministry to further his business interests

Part 3: RTI Investigation: How ministers milk PSUs for ads and sponsorships

Part 4: RTI Investigation: Corruption allegations surface against a BJPMP 

Part 5: RTI Investigation: PSUs are an easy pool of money for politicians to dip into

Aspiring Journalist Essay Writing Contest:

Winner: Sarah Geevarughese (St. Claret College, Bangalore)

Runner-up: Aniruddha Saha (School of Communication, Manipal)

By Tanay Sukumar


Citizens have role in keeping media honest, says editor who dared Indira

The media can only be as good as what the middle class wants it to be, said senior journalist Surendra Nihaal Singh in a lecture in Bangalore on Indian media trends.

The public lecture, organized by Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, was titled "Indian Media: Sheep in Wolves' clothing".

Singh said not only journalists, but citizens are also responsible to ensure an honest media. "Citizens should ensure we do what we should do, and shame us if we do not," he said.

Singh won the International Editor of the Year award in 1978 for his response to the media gag during Emergency in India as chief editor of The Statesman.

He said that the media's surrender during the 1975 Emergency showed that the depth of "our (media) community to democracy is not that great". He called it a “lack of depth of freedom of expression”.

He said: "The values of modern democracy are very shallow. If you cannot write about the Emergency as a journalist, where your whole career is dependent on expressing freely, there is something wrong."

Based on his experience as a foreign reporter, Singh also talked about international reporting in India today. Calling Indians a very "insular people", he said: "We do not see the world for what it is. The Indian angle predominates everything else."

There is a dearth of war reporting in particular, he added. He agreed that there has been a revolution in foreign reporting, but it is limited only to economic reporting, and not politics and war.

Talking about lack of funds for journalists earlier, he said, "Journalists could not live on their earnings. What we got at the end of the day was tame news, which was at the mercy of local administration."

This, however, changed with the advent of television, when channels had to actually send "reasonably trained people" who could go on the spot and were "capable of looking at problems and giving discourse to them."

Singh acknowledged that the social media presents great possibilities, and it collectively influences public opinions. But he said there are "great pitfalls" as well.

He said that the danger of social media today is that everyone thinks he can be a journalist. On social media, we have only views, and some of them very prejudiced, he said.

He added that there are some web media outlets which are "excellent", and the "worthy ones should receive full rights and accreditation" from the government, like the traditional media.

Referring to the current outrage against the government's perceived "intolerance", he said that it shows "there are enough people in India conscious of their ability to be a good citizen."

After sixty years in the profession, he told journalism students: "It is a fulfilling profession. It has tremendous scope to experience yourself and learn how the world ticks."

By Tanay Sukumar; Photos by Aditya Mehrotra


IIJNM students win the Bangalore round of The GREAT Debate 2015

Two IIJNM students could soon be winging their way to the United Kingdom after winning the Bangalore leg of a debate series sponsored by the British High Commission.

The GREAT Debate, 2015, celebrates and promotes the UK and India's shared culture of vibrant discussion and intellectual debate.

The event, held on 28 August, 2015, was open to all city students under 23 years of age. Broadcast student Shubhangi Sinha, together with debating partner Mridula Ramadugu, a multimedia student, defeated St Joseph's College of Commerce in the final.

They spoke against the motion that freedom of the press was more important than privacy.

British Deputy High Commissioner Ian Felton handed the girls their certificates and trophies.

Our IIJNM winners will now head to New Delhi in January 2016 to compete in the all-India finals.

The grand prize is a week-long, all-expenses paid study tour to the UK.

Well done and good luck from everyone at IIJNM!

Pic credit: British Council

Here's the official press release from the British High Commission:

Bengaluru, 28 August: 
The GREAT Debate 2015 was launched in great style at St. Joseph’s College in Bengaluru on Friday (28 August 2015). Shubhangi Sinha and Mridula Ramadugu from the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) were judged winners of the competition. Organised by the British High Commission, India, and British Council, the GREAT Debate competition is the biggest since its conception. This year’s debating topics were inspired by moral dilemmas found in Shakespeare’s works and adapted to reflect modern themes. The topic for the final debate was "Is right to privacy more important than the freedom of the press." During the pool stages of the debate in the morning, 16 teams from Bengaluru based colleges debated topics such as social media, climate change, compulsory voting, modern marriages, among others.

In its third edition, the competition will be organised in 10 cities across India and it’s being held in Bengaluru for first time. Sixteen teams participated from Bengaluru-based colleges participated in the competition and the winning team from Bengaluru’s regional heats will participate in the grand finale in New Delhi in January 2016. The winners of the national finals will be offered a week-long study tour to the UK, which will include visits to historical sites, academic institutions and cultural events, as well as meetings with British students.

The winners of the Bengaluru heats, Shubhangi and Mridula said that they are looking forward to the opportunity to represent Bengaluru in the GREAT Debate in New Delhi, and square off against the best debaters from across India. Speaking at the GREAT Debate 2015 in Bengaluru on Friday, British Deputy High Commissioner Ian Felton said: “The GREAT Debate competition is a unique opportunity to celebrate the UK and India’s shared culture of vibrant discussion and the debate gives us an opportunity to celebrate the UK and India’s shared tradition of lively, reasoned debate and our close educational ties.”

The British Council, the Chevening Scholarships programme, Virgin Atlantic, Premier Explore and Luxury Hotels Group are partnering with the British High Commission to organise the GREAT Debate 2015.


From voters to reporters: journalism students cover city polls

IIJNM students faced rain, rants and rowdies as they covered the elections for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) city council yesterday.

The roving reporters — just five weeks into their postgraduate journalism training — were sent to cover all wards during Saturday's polls, returning to campus wetter but wiser after a day on the election trail.

“I got to witness closely how journalism is important, as a fourth pillar of democracy, to add transparency,” said Mithun Moosa Kutty, a student of multimedia journalism.

Batchmate Regina Gurung said she learned to be independent as a journalist while covering such events.

For many, the day began with poll officials refusing to answer questions as students did not have permission letters from the BBMP.

“They surrounded me and started asking questions,” said Irien Joseph. Parvathi Benu, among others, eventually found other officials willing to talk.

Interestingly, Sanskriti Talwar found the election beat better than her other days of beat reporting. “Today officials are really comfortable talking to me, as they think they will be on TV or in newspapers,” she said.

“Chaotically amazing,” said Prakriti Jash to describe her first experience of live-tweeting elections. “It was chaotic because I had to double-check everything before posting on Twitter, and amazing because it was fun.”

The challenges kept coming as did some interesting experiences. Sutanu Guha recalls meeting a candidate being referred to by people around him as the “mayor”.

“I also met some party workers who looked like goons, and I didn’t know what to say to them.”

Maqsood Maniyar met voters who thought they were voting for Narendra Modi, while Apurva Prabhakar talked of a college student who voted but did not know what the BBMP is.

To add to the experience, it rained in many parts of the city throughout the day.

While Maniyar was lucky to have a raincoat, some found shelters to talk to voters. There were others who embraced the journalistic challenge. Guha said, “I walked through the rain to the polling booths.”

Before the coverage started, “nervous” and “excited” were common words students used to describe their feelings. “I don’t know how people will treat me,” multimedia student Sohini Ghosh said before leaving for the city. Later, she recalled how a man who generously guided her to a polling booth turned out to be a candidate.

The final voter turnout for the BBMP elections was 50%, according to reports.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is the municipal corporation of Bangalore’s metropolitan area. It serves over 78 lakh people in 198 wards over an approximate area of 800 sq. km.

Each ward elects a councillor to the city council, which is headed by the mayor. The current mayor is N. Shanthakumari from the BJP.

BBMP is the current form of what was once Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, which was established in 1949.

By Tanay Sukumar, Photos by Sana Husain and Parvathi Benu.


Forget holidays, embrace truth, Editor Mahesh tells young journalists

Bangalore, July 13, 2015—Young people entering journalism ought to have a fire in the belly for the profession and have to constantly better themselves, said B Mahesh, Resident Editor, Bangalore Mirror.

He was speaking t the inaugural class of the batch of 2015-16 at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media this morning.

Mr. Mahesh said that the challenges for young journalists are different today, but they cannot forget that integrity is very important in the profession. “You cannot rest on your laurels,” he said, adding that young journalists should learn as much as possible about the beats they cover.

He warned them that there was no such thing as a work/life balance in the profession and that they should get used to the idea that there are no holidays.

Dr. Abraham George, Dean of the Institute urged the students to uphold the ethics of the profession. “Our hope is that over the years you will make a difference to democracy,” he said. He said that it was the job of the journalists to unravel the truth, be the watchdog and play the adversarial role.  “Journalists can keep our politicians honest,” he added.


'Stay clean and fresh' Newslaundry chief tells journalism grads

Can you make money out of a career in journalism? Can you be objective while reporting on a sensitive issue? Is it possible to stick to your principles throughout your career?

Madhu Trehan, founding editor of newsmagazine India Today and online portal NewsLaundry, posed and answered all these poignant questions with one word:

“Yes.”

Trehan was speaking at the annual convocation at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media on May 2, 2015.

To achieve all this and more, Trehan, one of the earliest entrepreneurs in the media industry, urged the diploma holders to be relentless in their story-telling.

“Be different. Stick to your style of writing. Go where others are afraid to go. You will succeed as long as your path is led with principles, honesty and integrity,” said Trehan, stressing that good professionals who are dependable will always be sought after in any field.

Trehan is also the author of Tehelka as Metaphor: Prism Me a Lie, Tell Me a Truth, examining the 2001 Operation West End exposé and its aftermath.

Trehan was also immensely practical about surviving in the industry today. While it is important to steel oneself, and write the difficult stories, it is equally important to be smart about it, she said.

“It’s like guerilla warfare. You have to strategize and then publish your story. Speak with lawyers, and close any loopholes,” she added.

Trehan candidly admitted her own regrets: Apologizing for a story only to protect her colleagues from the wrath of decision makers, spiking a story to not damage the morale of young children, among others. In hindsight, she said, she would do things differently, because important stories have larger consequences that few can predict.

Drawing from her wealth of experience at India Today and India’s first video magazine NewsTrack, she asked the young journalists to give equal time to all sides of a story, especially the sensitive stories.

She also attempted to dispel the common myth that becoming an anchor in a news channel was a step to stardom in the acting industry.

“Hustling for interviews, having doors slammed in your face, being kicked out of places, putting in hours of painstaking research, there is no glamour in journalism,” said Trehan, mincing no words to put the thought across.  “What you see on the TV is just the tip of the gigantic work that they have put in,” she said.

In his address to the graduating batch of 2015, Dean Abraham George asked them to remember that a free press is the voice of the people, and one of the main pillars of a strong democracy. For India to endure as a democracy, he said, there must be a real Indian collective and for that, we must begin with empathy for the larger world. He likened journalism to housekeeping where you have to perform a series of tasks over and over again without losing sight of the larger picture. He urged graduates to be honest; “twisting a story to get reader attention is simply not right,” he pointed out.

At the Convocation students who excelled in certain areas were given awards.

Graduating Class of 2015
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Shruti Suresh
Outstanding Print
Journalism Student

Noah DMello
Outstanding Multimedia
Journalism Student

C Sai Nidhi
Outstanding Broadcast
Journalism Student
 
Roll of Honour


KS Aditya Rao
Excellence in
Multimedia Production


Gaurav Sarkar
Excellence in
Reporting & Writing for Multimedia


Shadma Shaikh
Excellence in
Reporting & Writing for Multimedia


Kimaya Vikas Varude
Excellence in
Newspaper Production


Saheli Sen Gupta
Excellence in
Newspaper Production


Nikhil M Babu
Excellence in
Investigative Reporting


Nikhil M Babu
Excellence in
Reporting & Writing for Print


Paul Oommen
Excellence in
Reporting & Writing for Broadcast


Sooraj Rajmohan
Excellence in
Broadcast Production

 
Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)

Kedar Deshpande

Nikunj Ohri

Pavitra Parekh

Samreen Tungekar

Shubhang Saurav

Yoganand KN

IIJNM Trainee journalists look beyond the cities

Every year, IIJNM’s students spend two weeks living in villages in rural India, uncovering issues that have not been mentioned by the mainstream media. The batch of 2015 visited taluks in North and West Karnataka to experience what the India that is Bharat lives like. For most of them it was an experience of a lifetime and they returned with a plethora of stories.

Students covered everything from farmer suicides, how traditional livelihoods like pottery were now being replaced and even exposed the working of the local sand mafia.

You can read all their master’s projects here.


IIJNM Investigations: Aiming high, digging deep

IIJNM offers an elective on investigative journalism, where students use tools such as the RTI to dig up a variety of hidden stories. The magazine, Insight, is a result of the students wanting to get out of the classroom, explore, and bring out stories which are buried several layers deep under the surface. From villages in rural Karnataka to the dark corners of urban spaces, this edition covers stories from all spheres of life.

The cover story is on children in Jamkhandi, in rural Karnataka, working as contract labourers. The edition also carries stories on abortion pills being sold without prescriptions and fake university mark sheets being bought on the open market. Read on for many more insightful stories. >>More  


Editorial Judgement? Yes. Self censorship? No!

Common sense and trusting your own values are the only tools required to counter self-censorship in India's journalists, according to a leading panel of experts.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Prem Panicker, former managing editor of Yahoo India, talked about how the media self censors in India and why it should not.

The topic for the discussion, held today (SATURDAY) at the college's Bangalore campus,  was – “Is the media under pressure to censor itself?” Professor Dakshin Murthy of IIJNM, also a consultant editor with the Deccan Herald and formerly an employee of Al Jazeera, was the moderator.

“For young journalists, it is important for editors to keep the newsroom insulated from external pressures,” Sharad Vyas, an IIJNM alumnus who is now Senior Assistant Editor, Investigations, for Mid-Day, told the gathering.

He pointed out how self-censorship had always existed, and it was only in recent times that it had become such a widely-debated issue, due to increased funding from government and due to the general elections.     

Panicker, in a humourous talk, narrated a fascinating instance of the media fighting censorship during the emergency, when he said, “They slipped in bits of significant information in between innocuous news pieces, like movie reviews.  "When journalists wanted to resist, they resisted. One of the reasons that the emergency got over was this resistance.”

Panicker added: “Beyond a point, journalists accept censorship as a way of life. The real threat is that of breeding a culture among journalists of not writing stories which they know should be told.” He mentioned the book The Red Sari – on the life of Sonia Gandhi - as an example of unwarranted censorship.

Maya Sharma, a bureau chief with NDTV, gave numerous examples of cases where censorship was uncalled for and cited the All India Bakchod roast, usage of the word ‘Bombay’ in songs, stories on politicians and business organizations. She added; "Censorship for me is not always a bad word.”

K.M. Rakesh, Telegraph associate editor, added: "For me, censorship per se is a bad word. Government censorship is bad, self-censorship is dangerous. Self-censorship gets into our system. It’s like an addiction that you won’t even know about. What is left (after censoring) is just pure pulp, he said, adding, "Editorial judgement?  Yes. Censorship? No!”
After the panel discussion, awards were given to IIJNM alumni who had done exemplary work in journalism. The stories produced by the IIJNM alumni ranged from investigative reports on the Maharashtra Government’s welfare scam, to heart-rending stories on acid attacks. IIJNM had also held a country-wide essay writing competition for undergraduate students on: Modi and the Media. These awards were given away, too.

IIJNM Alumni Awards for Exemplary Journalism:

Print: Winner: Nitin Bandhopadhyay of The Pioneer; runner-up: Sharad Vyas, Mid-Day, Mumbai

Broadcast: Winner: Kalden Ongmu, ANN7, Johannesburg, South Africa; runner-up: Harish Upadhyay, News 9

Multimedia: Winner: Shreya Pareek for a feature in Better India; runner-up: Prabhu M. for a story in India Together.

Essay competition:

Winner: Simran Varghese, from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore.

Runner-up: Rajvijaya G from Stella Maris, Chennai.


Bangalore students have fun at TV workshop

"We learnt a lot which will help us in the future," said Deepika Burli, a third year student from Christ University, one of the students who attended the IIJNM Workshop titled: “Being a TV Journalist”.  

The workshop taught participants the fundamental concepts behind TV news and how to implement them in studio sessions while working with professional equipment. Surekha Deepak, and Venkata Ashwath, broadcast faculty at IIJNM conducted the workshop.

The IIJNM Workshop series is an initiative that invites students from colleges across Bangalore to experience the craft of Journalism in a hands-on manner. "I like that we were trusted with the equipment and could come up with our own shots," said Sagar P. of Christ University. "I also love the IIJNM campus," he added. 

We were introduced to new techniques and software in the studio, which was interesting," said Sanjana Sudheer of Mount Carmel College, "It was a lot of fun."


Be the change, HT editor tells aspiring journalists.

BANGALORE, July 14, 2014--“Be credible, engaging and impactful, then you can make a difference,” young aspiring journalists at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM, www.iijnm.org) were advised by Sitaraman Shankar, Deputy Managing Editor, Hindustan Times, Delhi. Mr. Shankar was inaugurating the new academic year at IIJNM.

Mr. Shankar said that the class had made the right choice of career because journalism is the only profession where you are paid to tell the truth, where you are never bored and where cynicism is a useful tool.

Journalists, he said, made “a difference, with a difference,” by not getting directly involved in the change, but by reporting on it. While the profession had its current pitfalls like paid news, and issues like corporate ownership of the media and a debate on integration between online and print media, Mr. Shankar pointed out that it always helped to explore new ways of telling the story. He suggested that journalists should also consider going hyperlocal with their stories, be constantly trained and engage in more long form journalism.

Dr. Abraham M. George, Dean of IIJNM pointed out that a better press leads to better checks and balances in the country’s governance. He suggested that the journalism aspirants think about whether India is an economically and socially inclusive country that allows for dissent and ensures speedy justice.

He added that journalism was changing because of the internet, and that change is unstoppable.


Journalism will thrive in internet age: Goenka

BANGALORE, May 3, 2014. “Don’t let old school journalists tell you that the internet is the end of journalism,” said Anant Goenka , Director of New Media at the Indian Express Group.

Mr. Goenka was speaking at the convocation of the graduating class of the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media in Bangalore.

Mr. Goenka said he takes his inspiration from his grandfather Ramnath  Goenka who founded the Indian Express group in 1932.

Mr. Goenka said India has developed a new cynicism and mistrust for its news media and increasingly journalists are cast as the bad guys, alongside cops and politicians.  Mr. Goenka said #PaidMedia  is a phenomenon most practising journalists dismiss as the “noise” of social media but the fact remains that it reflects the current state of the industry.

Goenka, feels that journalists today are lucky to be armed with the internet and tools of digital media, tools to help a new breed of journalists challenge the general air of mistrust the industry faces today. He added that the internet would help journalism to grow like never before allowing journalists to tell more stories and improve story telling at the same time.

Taking about the advantages of social media, Mr. Goenka said that networking sites like Linkedin and Twitter are great tools to find valuable sources and Youtube gives us a platform to share creative content and add value to our stories – without any cost to the employer.

He said the situation of India media is very different from the global news business, which has been threatened by disruption. “Print, digital and TV all have a lot of potential for growth,” he said.

In most commoditized environments, there are opportunities to stand out. “The pornography industry really has been a flag bearer in monetizing content in the digital world,” he added.

Referring to the outbreak of various digital media formats, Mr. Goenka said that this goes to show that with every disruption there is an opportunity. “I think news is only just getting started to innovate and really take full advantage of the potential the internet brings,” he said.
Mr. Goenka said in today’s age anyone can be a publisher and what sets a journalist apart are skills like consistency, accuracy and good writing. Mr. Goenka said that an obsession for the quality of our content and credibility of our name is the easiest, and maybe the only way to thrive in the digital age of journalism.

In his address to the graduating batch of 2014, Dean Abraham George asked them to remember that a free press is the voice of the people, and one of the main pillars of a strong democracy. He said that it is for the press to uncover all forms of injustice and ensure positive changes occur in the society.

At the Convocation students who excelled in certain areas were given awards.

Graduating Class of 2014
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Nirupa Vatyam
Outstanding Multimedia Journalism Student

Nishitha I.M.
Outstanding Broadcast Journalism Student

Prutha Subhash Bhosle
Outstanding Print Journalism
Student

 
Roll of Honour


Aditi R.
Excellence in
Investigative Reporting


Anand Jain
Excellence in Newspaper Production


Aurosmita Acharya
Excellence in
Reporting & Writing for Print


Bhavika Bhuwalka
Excellence in Opinion and Editorial


Bhavika Bhuwalka
Excellence in Business Reporting


Rashmi Ramesh
Excellence in  Reporting & Writing for Multimedia


Rishika Sadam
Excellence in Reporting & Writing for Broadcast


Sakshi Gupta
Excellence in Sports Reporting


Sneha Bengani
Excellence in Master's project

 


Sneha Ghosh
Excellence in Magazine Writing & Editing

 
 
Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)


Apurva Venkat


Bhaskar Dutta


Chetan Midha


Raju Peethala


Sharmistha Maji


Tera Sneha Reddy


Tulana Nayak


Vaishnavi J. Desai

University of Salford, U.K. to offer an MA degree program in journalism for IIJNM graduates

Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM) and University of Salford, Media City, UK ( www.salford.ac.uk) have agreed to a Continuing Education Program whereby IIJNM post-graduates may extend their academic work toward an MA degree in journalism from University of Salford, U.K.

IIJNM students who complete their post-graduate diploma program with above average performance (over 65% average) may further study for a semester in the U.K. toward the MA program offered by University of Salford, U.K. IIJNM alumni who have graduated from IIJNM less than three years ago are also eligible. Tuition fees toward this program will be far lower than those for regular program.

University of Salford is an ambitious and prestigious institution, with an enrollment of over 20,000 students, transforming individuals and communities through excellent teaching, research, innovation and engagement. Home to major BBC and ITV departments, over 80 businesses across the creative and digital sectors add to the culture of the university. The campus is at the heart of a £650m regeneration scheme in MediaCityUK, recognised as one of the most innovative developments in Britain.

Students will be invited to apply with a proposal for a Journalism
Practical Research Project. This can be either in a radio, television, print, multimedia format, based on different themes, for example, sport, business, politics, or entertainment.

A large element of the major project is news innovation, whilst being encouraged to experiment with technologies to innovate emerging current practices. As an example, students may engage in social television, audience interaction or data journalism.

Students will visit industry professionals at the BBC, ITV, radio stations and online media organisations. Students will be invited to pitch ideas to industry specialists from the BBC and ITV and gain valuable feedback on their projects. Students will then work on their projects, supported with tutorials, at the state of the art facilities at MediaCityUK.

This Continuing Education program now available to IIJNM graduates offers an added opportunity to avail further training at one of the most prestigious media institutions in the U.K. While IIJNM graduates are well-accepted by recruiters for employment at media organizations throughout India, a degree from Salford might be seen as a symbol of further accomplishment.


Media watchdog spotlights incident after exclusive expose by IIJNM newspaper

A classroom exercise which snowballed into a special edition of the Weekly Observer has been featured on one of India’s most popular media watchdog websites.

As part of an exercise in fair and balanced reporting, students from the print stream were asked to examine coverage of the strike by medical students in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

Mainstream media houses were reporting the strike but the students’ viewpoint seemed to be missing.

What the print stream students uncovered was a shocking catalogue of abuse by police acting on the orders of a local politician.

Local MLA Irfan Solanki and his armed guards had been involved in a fight at a petrol bunk with some students. He then ordered police in the town to attack the hostel of GSVM Medical College.

Students were thrown from balconies and one has been left paralysed. Police fired on students and arrested 24 boys – some of whom had fractured legs and arms. Students from across the state then staged a strike in protest.
The students from IIJNM gathered footage and documentary proofs which exposed events on the night. In one clip, a senior officer is heard shouting “break their backs!” as cops with assault rifles storm the hostel.

None of this was reported. Newspaper s like the Times of India and the Hindu instead ran stories, without attribution or proof, that patients in hospitals across the region were dying as a direct result of the strike the students had organized.

They also ran, without fact-checking, the version of events given by the local MLA, who said he was hit on the head so severely the wound required six stitches.

IIJNM students obtained the medico-legal report from the hospital he attended which clearly states he was treated for “grazes”.

The students prepared a special edition of the in-college newspaper and published it online. Within hours it had been shared over 100 times on Facebook.

Media watchdog website The Hoot  then picked up the story and ran an exclusive feature on how mainstream media houses in the country were “shown up” by our J-school students.

Media commentator Prem Panicker, managing editor of Yahoo in India, said: “It was a more professional job than most of the rest managed.”

The MLA in question, Solanki, has now been charged with attempted murder and the students have been released without charge. The cop in charge on the night, who said his actions were justified, has been transferred.


IIJNM Alumni Seminar hears Foreign Direct Investment in media “inevitable”

Foreign direct investment is already penetrating the Indian media market, according to panelists at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media’s annual alumni debate.

Magazines like Hello, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan have already entered into financial agreements with various media groups, according to Sugata Srinivasaraju, editor of Vijay Karnataka.

V. Krishna, resident editor at The New Indian Express, said the march to more direct investment from abroad was “inevitable”.

At the debate, on whether media should be an institution or a private business, Sugata Srinivasaraju spoke forcefully at the seminar organised by the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media where he also raised concerns on the survival of media houses.

He said: “A social message will survive only when the business survives. The cost of printing newspapers is high.  If a media house can’t survive commercially then the social message can’t survive either.”

Mr. T. M. Veeraraghav, independent journalist, formerly with CNN-IBN raised the question of whether there could be any way of controlling who could own a media house. Questioning the interference of advertising and influence of ownership on the editorial content of a news organization, he asked: “Is the owner answerable to the public if an editor is fired from his job?”

The debate also had journalists like V Krishna, resident editor at The New Indian Express, Bangalore, N Bhanutej, former bureau chief at The Week, and Itika Sharma Punit, principal correspondent at Business Standard discussing ownership of media and the consequences on journalism.

V. Krishna said: “You are paying people to buy newspapers and so newspapers lose money on every copy that is printed. To do good journalism, you need more money and so media houses make a profit to do good journalism.”

Itika Sharma Punit, said: “Is making money wrong? There is a scope to run a clean business in media. If a media house is business why is it a bad business? Why can’t it be a clean business?”

The audience also questioned the panelists on their views about foreign direct investment entering the print media in India. Some of the panelists thought it would be a good move and would make space for healthy competition in the industry.

At the same time, Mr. Srinivasaraju pointed out that the wage board that was announced on Friday would result in squeezing out smaller newspapers. A move that is seen to be egalitarian would actually restrict the freedom of the press he said.

After the seminar, awards were given to IIJNM alumni who had done exemplary work in journalism. The stories produced by the IIJNM alumni ranged from investigative reports on the MNREGA to features on the Oppari singers and the Rohingyas in Hyderabad. IIJNM had also held a country-wide essay writing competition for undergraduate students on: The media hides more than it reveals. These awards were given away, too.

By Shweta Nair

IIJNM Alumni Awards for Exemplary Journalism:

Sandeep Pai
Winner of the IIJNM Alumni Award for Exemplary Journalism in the Print Category.


Janani Sampath
Runner up for the IIJNM Alumni Award for Exemplary Journalism in the Print Category.
Akila Premachandran
Winner of the IIJNM Alumni Award for Exemplary Journalism in the Broadcast Category.

Harish Upadhya
Runner up for the IIJNM Alumni Award for Exemplary Journalism in the Broadcast Category.
Tejaswini Pagadala
Winner of the IIJNM Alumni Award for Exemplary Journalism in the Multimedia Category.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Award winning documentary 'Silent Screams: India's Fight Against Rape' screened at IIJNM

The Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union – Perspective Award 2013 winning documentary, Silent Screams: India's Fight Against Rape, was screened at the IIJNM Campus on Thursday, the 28th of November.

The documentary, directed by Pria Somiah Alva, is a response to the brutal gang rape of a 23-year old student in India’s capital city, New Delhi, that shook the conscience of a nation. The brutality of the crime led to widespread street protests demanding stricter laws against sexual violence. The government responded by setting up a judicial commission and adopting many of its recommendations in an amended law that was passed in March this year

Through the story of three rapes - the Delhi gang-rape, another in rural Haryana and a third that came to be known as the 'Park Street' rape - the film explores how and why justice eludes victims. It looks at inherent biases within society and the police and asks what can be done to change this.

The documentary is seen through the eyes of journalist and columnist Namita Bhandare who spearheaded an online campaign, Stop Rape Now, that went on to collecting nearly 675,000 signatures worldwide. It recounts the protests and her meetings with rape survivors in Haryana and Kolkata, and includes an exclusive interview with the family of the 23 year old.

“The Park Street story portrayed a horrifying truth about the legal system’s indifference,” said IIJNM student Sushmita Sen.

 IIJNM's students are in the process of interviewing journalist Namita Bhandare about her experiences while filming the documentary.


Unbiased reporting a must for young journalists

Sensationalism is now the norm in the frantic daily news cycle, according to Champika Liyanaarachchi, Sri Lanka’s youngest ever female editor.

Addressing trainee journalists at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media in Bangalore, the Daily Mirror editor said the four main features responsible for this new reporting trend are immediacy, drama, ethno-sensitivity and simplicity.

The Daily Mirror became the first Sri Lankan newspaper to break news via the web when Liyanaarachchi took over as Chief Editor in January 2007. In 2009 she launched the Mirror’s Tamil news website.

She gave an informative and lively talk about media ethics, sensationalism and the need to remain unbiased.

She said she believes sensationalism has become a trend, adding: “We do not go into details. You want to break the news before anyone else. Because of this trend of instant news we do not know the damage we cause. We tend to become the destroyers. Responsible journalism involves double checking facts.”

She added that journalists tend to be biased towards their own castes, subconsciously supporting their own ethnic groups, communities, countries and continents. But this should be avoided, she said.

“The media generally dramatizes. Even if it’s a bullet we will portray it as a missile,” she told students.

She believes the media plays various roles and if one channel sets out to educate while another wants to entertain, people have a tendency to lean towards the media outlet which entertains.

She said it was true that one cannot be completely detached from the story but insisted a journalist should know how to balance. “Try looking at both the sides. Your introduction to the story shouldn't be such that it establishes a bias then and there. It should have the punch but you need to be careful,” she added.

People who aspire to be good journalists should learn to be patient, faithful to the job and read a lot, according to Liyanaarachchi.

She narrated how a book about Marie Curie had inspired her at a young age. “I came to know the hardships she had gone through. That was a time when I was not sure what I would do in my life but that book had a big impact on me.”

She added that the biggest stories in Sri Lanka currently were Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s absence from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, the United Nations debate on human rights and a potential casino plan in Sri Lanka by James Packer, son of Australian media mogul Kerry Packer.

Talking about the future of journalism, she said, “Readership has doubled after the Daily Mirror went online. I believe print and online media should complement each other. One should promote the other. But I feel the generation above the age of 30 still prefers reading a newspaper over reading it online.”

She concluded the discussion by saying, “In journalism it’s very important to work hard and stay focused but also spare some time to enjoy life. Do not move around from job to job when you leave here. Have patience. If I had moved around I would not be editor today.”

By Tulana Nayak


Reuters South Asia chief tells trainee journalists how to stay safe in war, disaster zones

BANGALORE (Nov. 26)—Planning, accountability, communications and exit (PACE) are the four necessities for keeping reporters safe in hostile environments, Reuters News South Asia general manager Phil Smith told journalism and communications students Tuesday.

“The most important ability required to successfully report from a hostile environment is planning,” Smith said in the two-hour talk he gave at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media.

Reporters working in war and disaster zones need to consider factors such as mobility, proper access to communication systems, such as satellite phones, and the skill required to interact with officials such as military personnel and police forces, as well as securing an exit route, Smith, a 34-year Reuters veteran, told students from IIJNM and Mount Carmel College.

The talk was based on Smith’s experiences covering two events in hostile environments: the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, on whose fifth anniversary the talk took place, and the nuclear disaster in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

The principal aspect Smith highlighted was the necessity of having proper tools of communication in potentially dangerous and volatile reporting situations.

Speaking about his experiences while reporting the terror attacks in Mumbai, Smith told students, “If you don’t have communications as a journalist you are useless.”

He added that during his vast experience of reporting from such environments he had developed techniques that were essential to provide timely, accurate reports of situations as they unfolded. Most of these revolve around being equipped with the necessary technical aids and the ability to process important facts correctly.

Another aspect of reporting and writing that Smith laid stress on was the use of color and detail in describing specific situations.

“Start observing meaningful details before you start the process of reporting and then gradually drip these into your story,” he said.

Shradhha, a communications student from Mount Carmel College said: “This is an extremely valuable point. The proper use of color is so obvious, yet we don’t apply it. I think this would help me in writing more complete, detailed stories.”

Commenting on his experiences while reporting the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Smith provided an insight into the methods that were used by the Reuters team to obtain videos and pictures of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant when they exploded.

“We set up a powerful camera very far away from the nuclear plant and kept feeding a steady stream of video into a computer with an enormous memory capacity,” Smith said. “You don’t need to be sitting there for hours as long as the camera is trained on the subject. This is how we did it.”

Smith also brought up “parachute journalism” and the issues raised by critics who feel that journalists ought not to assume expert roles for themselves in situations that are wholly or fairly new to them.

“Sometimes in journalism you have to become an expert very fast,” he said.

According to Anannya from IIJNM, the discussion was of great relevance as this was the first time that many of the students had received a direct account of the experiences of a foreign correspondent reporting from a hostile environment.

“Today’s lecture gave us an understanding of the practicalities involved with covering events in difficult environments,” she said.

By Bhaskar Dutta


Three events at IIJNM this week

The Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media invites students of colleges in Bangalore and the general public to take advantage of three unique events taking place at the IIJNM Campus this week.

Tuesday, 26th, 9.30 a.m.:

1) Phil Smith, general manager, Reuters News South Asia will speak at on Reporting in hostile enviroments. Phil has a wealth of experience as an editor and correspondent, having worked across the world for Reuters international news agency for over 30 years. His presentation will draw on his experience overseeing the Reuters coverage of the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Incidentally, please note the date tomorrow

Thursday, 28th:

2) Ms Champika Liyanaarachchi, the editor of Sri Lanka’s largest selling newspaper, Daily Mirror will speak at IIJNM at 9.30 a.m. She was the first woman to be the editor of a daily newspaper in Sri Lanka. Taking over as the Chief Editor in January 2007 she became the youngest editor ever to head a national newspaper in the country. Under her stewardship the Daily Mirror became the first Sri Lankan newspaper to break news via the web and in 2009 she started the Mirror’s Tamil news website, of which she remains the Editor in Chief.

3) Screening of ‘SILENT SCREAMS: India’s Fight Against Rape’ at 11.45 a.m. The documentary won the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union’s Perspective Award. Journalist and columnist Namita Bhandare, through whose eyes the film is recounted, will speak at the post lunch session at 1.45 pm.


IIJNM Certificate Course in Journalism and International Affairs hailed as unique and valuable

The final class of the IIJNM certificate course on ‘Journalism and International Affairs’ taught by Ilan Greenberg, Journalist and Professor at Bard College, New York, took place on Saturday, the 19th of October. The course covered contemporary discourse in international affairs and examined ways in which foreign correspondents report.

As part of the course, Mark H Bergen, a freelance foreign correspondent from the United States participated in a Q&A session with Ilan and the students. Mark spoke about how he became a foreign correspondent in Bangalore, how he finds and sells stories, and about journalism, India, and international affairs.

The certificate course saw a good response from the students of IIJNM and other colleges in the city as well as the general public and working journalists who took part. Arvind G.R., a journalism student from Presidency College, said "It was a great experience. Interacting with an established foreign correspondent gave me a new perspective on reporting techniques. The experience has strengthened my belief that journalism was the correct career choice for me."


"Students from Long Island University, New York and IIJNM discuss media stereotypes"

Students from the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media had an interactive session with a group of American students about the way both countries and their cultures are portrayed by the media.

The discussion was moderated by Prof. Ilan Greenberg and consisted of students from the India Center of Long Island University and IIJNM.

The hour-long discussion started with students exchanging thoughts about social and cultural stereotypes that they had been exposed to.

Nikki Higgins and Mikaela Houghton of California and New Hampshire respectively, began the session by talking about how India was perceived to be an unsafe country for women.

Anannya Sarkar of IIJNM spoke about the skewed representations in the western media which portrayed India as the rape capital of the world, especially in the context of the recent Delhi gang-rape. She backed up her argument by citing statistics of rape in developed western countries.

The discussion then moved to why certain stereotypes exist and the role played by the media in propagating them. Jace Cherwin of Manhattan, New York emphasized how the media in the USA essentially functions like a business enterprise and how certain kinds of stories attract more readership.

Bhaskar Dutta of IIJNM moved the discussion along by speaking about universal selling points and how they define media output across borders. He also talked about how certain clichés are superficial and the need to look beyond them in cultural representations.

Prof. Greenberg kept the discussion alive by asking pertinent questions about the impact of negative American social phenomena (such as high divorce rates and racism) on Indian society. This was justified as being the inevitable consequence of a globalized world by Adaku Owensby of Brooklyn, New York.

The discussion then moved on to the role of American pop-culture and the influence it has had on the urban Indian youth. This was elaborated by Aditi Iyer of IIJNM, who spoke about how American television shows and movies had a thriving Indian viewership and how that has managed to create strong opinions about American culture in the minds of the Indian audience.

At this point, Prof. Greenberg asked one of the IIJNM students to speak about growing up in a liberalized India, post 1991. In response, Pranay Lakshminarasimhan of IIJNM talked about the opening-up of the Indian markets to foreign investors and how perceptions of the youth began to be shaped by the consumer-driven American lifestyle.

Clarissa Gordon of New Jersey, New York ended the session by talking about how we should strive to use cultural exchange as a means of “making the world a better place.”

By Pranay Lakshminarasimhan


IIJNM Alumnus stresses use of RTI

Gangadhar Patil, Reporter, DNA and an alumnus of IIJNM Bangalore, addressed students on the importance of the Right To Information Act for journalists and how to use it as a tool to get information.

Mr. Patil, having worked for The New Indian Express and DNA Mumbai, where he headed the paper's RTI cell, shared his experience of finding information through the RTI.

He said the Act has  become a powerful tool in journalism and helped guide students through the process of filing a RTI.

During the talk, he highlighted the importance of asking the right questions and having patience,  emphasizing that journalists should stick to the point when filing the RTI request.

"Frame simple questions within 150 words on one subject and send them," he said, while explaining how the Act works across the country.

"Make it a habit to ask the right questions, to get the precise answers," he added, while answering questions on the validity of information provided by the RTI Act.

Simultaneously giving tips on journalism in the field, Mr. Patil told students the importance of friendships, relationships and contacts in the city.

Mr. Patil is currently working on creating software which will explain to people how to file a RTI.


“It is important to push yourself hard”

“It is important to push yourself to deliver the best copy in the next morning’s edition,” Mr. V. Sudarshan, Executive Editor of the New Indian Express, said here today.
Mr. Sudarshan, who was speaking to the latest intake of students at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media in Bangalore, added, “It’s important to get to the core of the story and write it well.” He said that reportage should look beyond simply writing colorful copy with no substance.
As a literature student at Loyola College in the 70s, V  Sudarshan’s idols were the usual suspects from the classic post-war generation: Hemingway, Greene and Marquez. These idols of his were former journalists and men of letters themselves, with many of them reporting from the front. This left an indelible mark on the current executive editor at the New Indian Express reinforced his decision to pursue a career in journalism, he added.

Mr. Sudarshan looked back on his long and illustrious career as a journalist, using anecdotes to give the new batch a sense of the profession.  Like every other student, Sudarshan faced the big existential question after graduating: what was he to do with the rest of his life? A chance admission in the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in Delhi solved that debacle, and Sudarshan soon found himself learning the ropes in a profession he would go on to excel in, both as a reporter and an editor.

Recounting his early years in the field, Sudarshan mentioned that his first job as a desker at the Indian Express just after the Emergency taught him the ropes. Moving on to work at the Pioneer as the foreign affairs correspondent under the tutelage of Outlook’s Vinod Mehta, he soon rose to writing for the editorial desk on issues of foreign policy.
Looking back on this golden age of journalism, in the post-emergency period, he narrated the experiences of his colleagues in the field, from Ashwini Sarin’s expose on the flesh trade in MP to HT’s BG Verghese adopting a village to promote development in the hinterlands. Ethics, he said, are sacrosanct and having a strong moral compass to guide a budding journalist through stories is indispensable.
“Be true to your convictions and remember that our job is to change the order,” Sudarshan said, adding that an argumentative spirit was necessary when pursuing the establishment on a story.

Preceding Sudarshan’s address were a few words from the Dean of IIJNM, Dr Abraham George, who underscored the importance of the media as a pillar that props up democracy. The press, he said, is the voice of the people and effective in bringing to light the excesses committed by those in power.

IIJNM in New York Times

The Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media has been listed among India's more popular graduate programs in journalism. In an article on current journalism standards, IIJNM features among the established and reputed journalism schools of our country. Here's a link to the article.


Editor tells students to go deeper to report facts

OPEN magazine editor Manu Joseph, advised young journalists to let go of ideology. “Ideology is usually borrowed conviction,” said Joseph. When reporters follow a popular opinion that is espoused by majority of the society, they absolve themselves of the responsibility to go deep into society and try to report facts.

“We are happy with our own righteousness we don’t see the entire story,” he said.

Mr. Joseph was speaking at the convocation of the graduating class of Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media here today.

He told the graduating class to develop ethics, saying they will encounter situations where there are multiple ways of doing the wrong thing with only one the right way. A society or a human being that generates within itself a set of codes which logically drive you to the right conclusion gives you peace of mind and is ethical. He cautioned the batch not to mix morality with ethics.

The writer of the celebrated book, Serious Men, narrated a few instances in his reporting life which besides being hilarious had important conclusions.

One of the examples was when he had to accompany the photographer of an eminent publication for photographing the model, Milind Soman in a Parsi sanatorium in Mumbai. The shoot was in progress when an old lady appeared and led Soman away silently. Baffled, all three followed – when she ended up in a dingy space, pointed to a light bulb that needed changing, “I was waiting for a tall man for so long to change the bulb.”
The conclusion: each individual has a different way of observing the world. The story may not be what you think it is and the reader may derive a different conclusion.

The winner of The Hindu literary prize 2010 then regaled the graduating batch with his encounters with Dolly Thakore, a brilliant but absent-minded theatre personality who taught him that he is not the center of the universe; Sachin Tendulkar, a notable cricketer who showed that the celebrity is different from the individual, the notorious Bal Thackerey, who taught him that thugs are often cowards in disguise, and survivors of the Bhuj earthquake whose morbid yet frank interviews made him realize that human nature is defined by situations.

He also spoke of his rather dismal attempt at undercover reporting to find a story in a nudist colony in northern Kerala—only to realize that we search for a keyhole when the door is wide open.

In his address to the graduating batch of 2013, Dean Abraham George asked them to remember that a free press is the voice of the people, and one of the main pillars of a strong democracy. He said that it is for the press to uncover all forms of injustice and ensure positive changes occur in the society.

At the Convocation students who excelled in certain areas were given awards.

Graduating Class of 2013
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Anesha George
Outstanding Broadcast Journalism Student


Manjusha Gandham
Outstanding Multimedia Journalism Student


Udita Chaturvedi
Outstanding Print Journalism
Student


 
Roll of Honour


Kakoli Mukherjee
Excellence in Opinion and Editorial Writing


Manjusha Gandham
Excellence in Business Reporting


Purvi P Radia
Excellence in Investigative Journalism


Purvi P Radia
Excellence in Science & Technology Reporting


Rekha Soman
Excellence in Television Documentary


Rohan D Premkumar
Excellence in  Newspaper  Reporting & Writing


Rohan D Premkumar
Excellence in International Reporting


Sakshi Saxena
Excellence in Multimedia Production


Udita Chaturvedi
Excellence in Magazine Production

 


Vintu Augustine
Excellence in Magazine Writing & Editing

 


Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)


Anupika Khare


Debasree Purkayastha


Krishnaprasad S


Shruti Tiwari

 


Social media undermining journalistic credibility?

The line separating journalists and bloggers is being increasingly blurred due to the growth of social media, according to Nelson Moses, who was a panelist at a discussion on the credibility of social media as a journalistic tool.

The talk titled, “Is social media credible?” comprising a panel of professionals from various media houses from across India, was held as a part of the alumni reunion at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM), on March 2, 2013.

The panel included Snehashish Ghosh, a policy associate at the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, Nelson Moses, who has had stints with numerous media houses and now works at Yahoo, Subhash Rai, the web editor of the Economic and Political Weekly, and also Tresa Morera, the deputy editor of the global online desk at Reuters, Bangalore.

The discussion, moderated by Professor Mark Austin of IIJNM, revolved around the crucial issues surrounding the Indian media industry and the use of social media. Talking points included the role social media like Twitter and Facebook played in populist movements across the Middle East, such as the Arab Spring, and also the exodus of people of Manipuri and Assamese descent from Bangalore last year, due to a series of phone messages which purportedly threatened them with violence.

Other issues covered in the discussion were whether bloggers could be cited as credible sources of information and also if their roles in shaping public perception was influencing how media houses and journalists function.

During the course of the discussion, which centered around the drawbacks of a digitally interlinked media landscape, Subhash Rai, said that though it was clearly the work of “fundamental elements” which led to the circulation of provocative messages against people from the north eastern part of the country, the incident also pointed to the failure of neoliberalism in the Indian context.

“Journalists are one of the beneficiaries of neoliberalism,” said Shubash Rai, while arguing that often, urban concerns take precedence over more pressing issues occurring outside the big cities, leading to these issues either not being reported or not given the same importance. “For example, nobody is reporting the agrarian crisis,” he said.

Tresa Morera, an IIJNM alumna, said that she believed that “transparency” in the Indian media, and a series of “checks and balances” within media organizations could help in better reporting by the media.

IIJNM Alumni Awards: The IIJNM Alumni Awards for Exemplary Journalism were given to two broadcast and  print students each, and one multimedia student. The awards, given for the second year in succession were based on entries sent by alumni of their work done over the past year.

Independent judges—journalists—decided the winners and the runners-up. The first prize in broadcast went to Akansha Pradeep of the 2007-08 batch, who now works with CNN-IBN, Delhi, for her story on a rape survivor: “The trauma of the two-finger test”. The second in broadcast went to Akhila Premachandran of the 2009-10 batch for her story on khaps. She works with Asianet.

In the print category, Gangadhar Patil (batch of 2009-10) of DNA won for his series on ICICI Lombard and Sandeep Pai, of the same batch, and of DNA came second  for a series on Dharavi .

In the multimedia category, Tejaswini Pagadala was given the sole prize for her story on Child Marriages and the Law.

Gangadhar Patil
Winner of the IIJNM Alumni Award for Exemplary Journalism in the Print Category for his story

"ICICI Lombard cheated govt of crores of rupees."

Sandeep Pai
Runner up for the IIJNM Alumni Award for Exemplary Journalism in the Print Category for his story

"Why there willl never be a new Dharavi"
Akanksha Pradeep
Winner of the IIJNM Alumni Award for Exemplary Journalism in the Broadcast Category for her story

"Trauma of the 2 Finger Test."
Akila Premachandran
Runner up for the IIJNM Alumni Award for Exemplary Journalism in the Broadcast Category for her story

"Khap panchayat in Haryana"
Tejaswini Pagadala
Winner of the IIJNM Alumni Award for Exemplary Journalism in the Multimedia Category for her story

"Child Marriages: When Laws Betray Children…"
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Defense journalist Hardy:  India doesn’t want to be America’s anchor

Jane’s Defence Weekly Asia-Pacific editor interacts with IIJNM students.

BANGALORE, Feb. 8, 2013—India would be spending close to $100 billion in the next 10 years and is one of the most open defense markets in the world, Jane’s Defence Weekly’s Asia Pacific editor, James Hardy, said Friday.

“America wants India to be its democratic anchor in Asia, but does India want to be America’s anchor is a moot point,” Hardy told a gathering of about 60 students and faculty members from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media and others.

Topics covered in a Q&A discussion format included U.S. military ties with both India and China, if China’s interest in Sri Lanka should be a concern to India, the South China Sea islands dispute between Japan and China, Indo-Russia military ties and the Arctic region becoming an area of interest.

James, who took time out from visiting the Aero India air show at Yelahanka Air Force Station to speak to IIJNM students, spoke about how the Indian government, while signing defense contracts with suppliers from abroad, still makes sure the technical know-how is transferred.

He also said the political cost of causalities in modern societies are high, which is why governments are looking at private contractors to fight wars, though it might not be entirely ethical.


Certificate course on Journalism and Rural economics

A unique opportunity has been afforded to Bangalore students and public alike. The second Saturday of January saw IIJNM host the inaugural session of our certificate course in “Rural Economics and Journalism.”

Eight sessions spread over as many Saturdays are scheduled, and during these sessions, participants get to interact with a faculty member from an American university. This course is offered free of cost and we have seen a tremendous response from college students across Bangalore, journalists as well as our Alumni.


We are gearing up for our third Alumni Reunion

Continuing a tradition established in 2011, IIJNM will host its third annual Alumni reunion on Saturday, the 2nd of March 2013. The reunion is an opportunity for our current batch of students to meet, network and socialize with their forerunners while also allowing our strong alumni body to reconnect with their Alma Mater.

During the reunion, a seminar with prominent personalities, a few games and of course a sumptuous lunch are planned. The event is wholly organized and conducted by our current students, and the rest of us will have to wait and watch to see how the event will transpire this time around.


IIJNM faculty at partner institutions

In addition to the classes and projects that keep them busy, IIJNM’s faculty members have been active in Journalism Outreach Programs across colleges in Bangalore and Chennai. Our Print stream head Charles Lavery delivered lectures on “Why Journalism? Why now?” and our head of the Multimedia stream Mark Austin has spoken at various venues on “Digital Media: An overview of life in the Post—PC era.”

Mount Carmel College, Jain University and Christ University in Bangalore and Madras Christian College, Ethiraj College and Stella Maris College in Chennai are some of the institutions we have partnered with this year for our lecture series. If you think your institution would like to host our lecture, do let us know!


We are now completely online

IIJNM students have made all of their production available online from this year. In an ambitious project to maintain maximum visibility of work they are proud of, our students worked hard at making sure all their publications and bulletins were available online. IIJNM is the only Journalism college in India that publishes all of its students’ work online. Our Print publication, The Observer, online newspaper, The SoftCopy, and video newsmagazine CityCast are now live with access to archives available as well.


We want you to contribute!

The SoftCopy, the online newspaper our multimedia students produce, invites undergraduate students to contribute essays, videos, slideshows and podcasts related to the theme of digital media for a new space in our publication titled You. You can email your submissions to mark.a@iijnm.org.

Sri Sri Sri Balagangadharanatha Swamiji passes away

January 14, 2013: IIJNM regrets to announce the death of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sri Sri Balagangadharanatha Swamiji, one of the founders of the institute, who passed away yesterday after a brief illness.



'Media ethics under paid news shadow' says Philip Turner, CNN International

Bangalore, August 21, 2012: Ethics in Indian media are in danger of being overshadowed by “paid-for” news and the ever-growing commercialization of the industry, said Phillip Turner at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media today.

Turner, a 30 year CNN veteran and CNN International’s New Delhi Bureau Chief for the last seven years, was speaking to students of IIJNM and other participating colleges on ‘Making News,’ as part of a special campus connect program at IIJNM. In this interaction he covered the various aspects that go into being a successful journalist.

Speaking to aspiring journalists, Turner emphasised the importance of accountability and why news is always about responsibility. Credibility of off-record sources, ethics of reporting and “paid-for” news were other topics touched upon by him, along with his observations on the change in the development of good writing skills over the years.

Talking of live TV coverage and the importance of doing it in a meaningful manner, Turner said:  “I was in Mumbai at the time of the terror attacks and I saw the Indian media make a lot of mistakes while live reporting. They showed the commandos about to go in to look for the terrorists.”

He spoke of journalism being an unforgiving field which people should not join if they aren’t passionate about it, and stressed the need for journalists to develop a thick skin. Speaking about his passion for journalism, Turner said: “Journalism is in my bones and CNN is my DNA. It is a wonderful profession and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

While talking of the wide range of issues in journalism today, Mr. Turner recounted personal experiences such as covering the collapse of the Berlin Wall from the East German side, and joked about the day he missed his wedding because he was on a story for the network. He added:  “Journalism brings the unexpected for journalists. You often have to do things you don’t expect and never know where work will take you or when you reach home after work.”

There were a range of questions posed at Turner towards the end of the session. He was glad to answer them as he believes, “Until one asks questions, one can’t be a journalist.”

When a student asked Turner whether he felt any political pressure while reporting in India, he replied, “Shiv Sena doesn’t like me, but no, I’ve come across no political interference.”


Journalism continues to be relevant in the era of social media: Parvathi Menon

Bangalore, July 16, 2012—Technology is fragmenting news and social media is delivering new challenges to the media industry, but journalism continues to be relevant today said Parvathi Menon, Associate Editor and Chief of Bureau, The Hindu and Frontline, Bangalore.

Though several of journalism’s traditions in India have been eroded over the years, it continues to provide credible information and conductcritical investigation, she said.

Ms. Menon was speaking at the inauguration of the new academic year, 2012-13 of the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media on Monday, July 16, 2012.

Unlike in the developed countries where newspapers and television are in a crisis, in India the media is still in a growth mode. Journalism graduates quickly get jobs, she pointed out, and readership is still on the rise as Indian Readership Surveys have shown. She quoted World Press Trends brought out by the World Association of Newspapers to show that India and China are the world leaders in the newspaper industry.

But, she cautioned that India and China will soon face the full force of the digital revolution and must be prepared for it. Further, this growth also had negative factors like the manipulation of news to serve marketing and advertising goals, the dumbing down of news content and the corruption and lack of accountability in the media.

Journalism, she said, was a calling and realize its potential, young people must develop a social consciousness and must adhere to the truth. They must ultimately work for change and the larger social good. Only then can they become good journalists.

Dean of IIJNM, Dr. Abraham M. George, said that all three pillars of India’s democratic system – legislative, judiciary and press – are not functioning properly. Even the media is not playing its role in ensuring good governance in the country. The media must strengthen investigative journalism, and display the courage to uncover and report misdeeds.

Emphasising the need for social justice in the country, he asked the young journalists to find the facts, be truthful and get the story out.


Journalists must signal the weakness in the society: P. Sainath

BANGALORE, May 5, 2012—The job of the journalist today is to signal the weakness in the society, said Mr. Sainath, rural affairs editor of The Hindu.

Mr. Sainath was speaking at the convocation of the graduating class of IIJNM here today. He said that journalists must describe the state of the society faithfully.

Speaking about the changing face of the media, its corporatization and commercialization, Mr. Sainath said that unlike earlier, journalists entering the media today have to find their space within the existing paradigm. "You are selling your labour, not your soul", he said.

Remarking how difficult it was to inspire young people entering the profession, Mr. Sainath spoke about the phenomenon where the media does not "mess around with beautiful people". He cited the example of how a story on the expenditure incurred by deputy chairman of the planning commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia on his foreign trips was downplayed. This, was at a time when Mr. Ahulwalia drew the poverty line even lower than the Rs. 32 for the urban poor, he said.

He also spoke about paid news which is becoming more and more prevalent in mainstream media. He condemned the media for not taking any initiative in self-regulation and questioned why several guilds have not taken definitive measures to ensure that they do not carry paid news.

He said the media has today changed from the "fourth estate to real estate". Unlike in times of the freedom struggle when a tiny media served a gigantic social function, he said today's gigantic media is serving a very minuscule one. Mr. Sainath said this sort of a hypocritical media which caters to the sham elite exists today and any newcomer to the profession must find their way through it.

The 2007 Magsaysay award winner said in order to survive in this sort of a media one must be multi lingual, well-equipped and ready to multi task. He also stressed on the need to read books and primary sources of information. He told students to not be stenographers.

Sainath told the graduating class not to lose their idealism and that they should figure out where they want to be in today's moral media universe.

In his address to the graduating batch of 2012, Dean Abraham George asked them to make a clear distinction between facts and opinion. He said that the young journalists must be persistent enough to dig into the story and uncover what is important and inform and engage readers and viewers on issues that are really important to people’s lives and the country’s future.

As part of the Convocation, students were given awards for excellence in certain areas.
Graduating Class of 2012
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Harish P P
Outstanding Broadcast Journalism Student

Pallavi Ail
Outstanding Print Journalism Student

Rutvick Mehta
Outstanding Multimedia Journalism Student
 
Roll of Honour

Ancy K Sunny
Excellence in Development Reporting

Ankita Lath
Excellence in Multimedia Production

Deepashri Varadharajan
Excellence in Multimedia Reporting

Jvin Tootu
Excellence in Broadcast Production

Krithika B K
Excellence in Business Reporting

Krithika B K
Excellence in Science & Technology Reporting

Nandita K
Excellence in Print Production

Pallavi Ail
Excellence in Investigative Journalism

Rashmi Guha Ray
Excellence in Political Reporting

Sankar C G
Excellence in Print Reporting


Shikha Kumar
Excellence in Magazine Writing & Editing


Sneha Jaiswal
Excellence in Radio Journalism
 


Tej Pattison Sapru
Excellence in International Reporting

 


Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)

Abhijit Singh Bhambra

Dipika Pillay

Radhika Mehrotra

Shraddha Choudhury

2012 campus job placement gets off to a great start

Job-placement activities are now in full swing at IIJNM. The period between early March and the end of May is the time when companies come to IIJNM looking for good talent, and they undoubtedly find what they want.  

With the end of this academic year around the corner, corporations and media houses have been beating down the now familiar path to IIJNM in search of the ideal candidate. Some of this year’s visitors included DNA, Reuters, CNN-IBN, The Indian Express and Deccan Herald.

Aditya Sinha, editor-in-chief of DNA Mumbai, voiced what many other media houses have experienced when he said that “a lot of feathers in the DNA cap are due solely to IIJNM alumni.”  Asked his thoughts on this year’s batch, some of whom he had just finished interviewing, he said: "I’m impressed. Most of them are articulate, they speak clearly, and several of them have very good insights—they have good ideas about journalism.” After a year of vigorous, practice-oriented training, IIJNM graduates are well prepared and ready to hit the road. They are a highly motivated bunch, with the right journalistic background to make any employer happy.

The recruitment process starts with review of the work each candidate has accomplished while at IIJNM. It includes stories written in IIJNM and mainstream publications, including newspapers, magazines and online, as well as video and audio segments for TV and radio. Students are ready with their portfolios put together to impress the recruiters. They have been trained by IIJNM faculty on interviewing techniques, and practiced among themselves. Dressed appropriately for the occasion, every one of the candidates is ready to impress.

By the end of March, several students have already received one or more job offers. Depending on the company, salaries range from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 40,000 per month. By graduation day in June, 100 percent placement is expected as before.

So here is our message to companies who haven’t yet sent their recruiters to IIJNM: This is your last chance this year to tap the best batch of well-trained, highly motivated graduating journalism students anywhere.


IIJNM alumnus shortlisted for Amnesty journalism award

Bangalorean Paul Dharamraj in running for prestigious student prize

BANGALORE, April 3, 2012— IJNM alumnus Paul Dharamraj has been shortlisted for Amnesty International’s Student Human Rights Reporter Award 2012 for a story he wrote about Tibetans living in exile and the recent civil unrest in western China.

Paul, from Bangalore, who graduated with distinction as Outstanding Print & Online Journalism Student in the 2010-11 batch, is studying international journalism at Cardiff University. The 24-year-old hopes to make a career as a foreign correspondent.

Run in association with the National Union of Students and The Mirror newspaper, the Student Human Rights Reporter Award recognizes the best in student journalism.

The shortlist of three journalism students was whittled down from a longlist of 10. The three have been invited to attend the prestigious Media Awards ceremony in central London on May 29, at which the winner will be announced. Some five hundred of the UK’s top media names will be in attendance.

Paul told IIJNM when he made the longlist, “While Cardiff’s given me great access to libraries and academic stuff, I learned all my journalism fundamentals from IIJNM.”

IIJNM students and faculty wish Paul the best of luck in the final stage of the competition.


Editor-in-chief, DNA, advises young journalists to break news

It's recruitment week in IIJNM and Aditya Sinha, editor in chief, DNA came to recruit and shared his views on the newspaper industry in India.

He explained that he had personally evinced an interest in IIJNM was because two of our alumnus were a part of the investigative team in DNA and they had, in fact, first broken the news of military bribes that is making headlines today.

Commenting on the state of journalism in the country today, Mr. Sinha said that newspapers do not set up investigative teams because they either don't want to upset the ruling party because the newspaper's corporate owners need to keep them in good humor or they don't want to lose their advertisers who will withdraw the minute they learn of any perceived slight.

Losing advertising would hit newspapers hard because a newspaper would cost anywhere between Rs. 12-15 if it had to cover costs by sale profits alone, as against the Rs. 2 or 3 it does now.

He said that newspapers today were "full of stuff, never anything to read" and that they seek "not to break news but to validate news," a view that has to change.

He added the example of info graphics. While info graphic is a useful visual aid, it is abused a lot by newspapers just to make a point. After the union budget, a newspaper had used some bytes of the finance minister and created a graphic from it, which Mr. Sinha claimed was unnecessary.

He pointed out nowadays there is a trend of long-form journalism or narrative journalism and that should be what young journalists should be aiming for excellence in.

Mr. Sinha signed off by saying that he is a reckless person and will continue to print stories that will ruffle feathers. He grinned and said, "And one day it will get me fired."


Free speech, yes, but with accountability

Bangalore, March, 3—Today, ‘freedom of expression’ has become a magnet for controversies in India and is increasingly becoming an oft-used slogan in every sphere, especially with the rise and diversification of various media platforms.

Speakers at a seminar addressed this subject by mulling over the question “Should reasonable restrictions be imposed on freedom of expression?” The seminar was organized at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bangalore, as part of their Second Alumni Reunion and featured eminent panelists from the field of journalism and law.

Talking about the burgeoning role of media in society today, Aditya Sondhi, lawyer at the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court, said that the media needed to be sensitive to the caliber of its viewers.

Referring to the coverage of the press on the clash between lawyers, the police and the media on Friday, Mr. Sondhi said that a lot of half-truths were presented by the media. In particular, he took offence to the fact that no media mentioned that a sitting judge, Mr. Budihal was assaulted in court. It is not good for the media to be partisan and unethical, he stressed.

Mr. Imran Qureshi, Editor, TV Today network however, defended the media stating that there was no lopsided reporting. An effort was made to cover the whole story, but the challenge of verifying facts might have resulted in some parts of it being left out.

The discussion moved on to the accountability that the media owes to its audience and the rising role of social media in a democratic society like India.   

“If you don’t read the paper, you’re not informed. If you read the paper, you are misinformed.” This point was stressed by K Subramanya, associate editor at the Deccan Herald.

Sondhi echoed popular sentiment when he said, “If Kapil Sabil thinks Facebook or Twitter need to be regulated, that cannot be the law.” This was reiterated by Jeanette Rodrigues, contributing writer for Bloomberg and IIJNM alumnus. She said that no one was waging a war against social media.   

Rodrigues also said that “restriction” was a negative connotation and she would prefer “regulation”, something that the media did need.

K.S. Dakshinamurthy, editorial consultant at The Hindu and faculty member at IIJNM, moderated the discussion.

The engaging discussion ended with all the panelists ageing that while the press should be free to do its job, it must be restricted from kowtowing to business houses and political parties. Imran Qureshi had the last word for the aspiring journalists present when he said “Enter the profession with an open mind.”

IIJNM Alumni Awards: The IIJNM Alumni Awards for Exemplary Journalism were given to two broadcast and two print students. The awards, given for the second year in succession were based on entries sent by alumni of their work done over the past year.

Independent judges—journalists—decided the winners and the runners-up. The first prize in broadcast went to Abhirr V. P. of the 2004-05 batch, who now works with CNN-IBN, Bangalore broadcast went to Abhirr V. P. (2004-05) of CNN-IBN for his story on manual scavenging. Second in broadcast came to Vaishnavi Vittal of the (2007-8) batch for her story on an orphanage. She works with NewsX.

In the print category, Sandeep Pai (batch of 2009-10) of DNA, Mumbai won for his series on the cricket scam and Gayathri Vaidyanathan (batch of 2007-08) came second for her articles in Nature magazine.

Debarshi Dasgupta (batch of 2002-03) of Outlook got an honourable mention for his story on genital mutilation as did Sudheshna Chowdhry (batch of 2008-09) of Mid-day Mumbai for her series on the travails of people from the north-east.

More: Nostalgia takes over alumni reunion


IIJNM students collaborate with NIMHANS on Mental Health and Awareness conference

Working real-time and learning to be a part of the Indian Media by participation is the key behind the many successful endeavours undertaken by students of the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media. Continuing this trend of active participation, 35 students studying Documentary & TV news features arrived at the conclusion of a month-long project in collaboration with NIMHANS, Bangalore at the Emerging Voices Conference held yesterday at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro -Sciences.

During the symposium, the need for media to play a pivotal role in spreading awareness about mental health disorders was a point highlighted by the experts present including Dr. Sanjeev Jain and Dr. Suresh Bhiram.

During the latter half of the conference films made by the studentts of IIJNM were displayed along with other films. A total of 5 films by the young film-makers covering issues such as Schizophrenia, mobile phone addiction, and Obsessive Compulsive disorder among others were presented.

The main emphasis of the collaboration between the two institutions was to produce material for information, education and communication. The organisers believe the videos will help change attitudes of and help sensitise the general public towards the challenges faced by the affected individuals.

A welcome consequence of the process involved in creating the different stories was the education received by students of IIJNM. Apart from applying their skills to producing professional videos, the students became more aware and sensitive - through their interactions with the people these stories are based on - toward a section of society that doesn't usually see much light in the media.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sanjeev Jain, H.O.D. Dept. of Psychiatry said that if mental illness is understood and if the mentally challenged people are treated authentically, then society will move in the right direction. A point further underscored by the experiences of the students of IIJNM during the making of these films.

"While making our films, we realised how society views people with mental illnesses. As we tried speaking to people, we saw them unwilling to come on film for fear of the stigma associated with their illness. Clearly there are issues of perception that need to be addressed in what claims to be an educated society." said Desiree Alemao, a Multimedia student at IIJNM. Christopher Isaac, another student said, "We thought we knew what the term Alcoholism meant, but once we met members of Alcoholics Anonymous, the meaning of the term changed forever for us."


IIJNM students cover Metro launch, live

Photo: Rishabh ChakravortyStudents from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM, www.iijnm.org) once again showed that they were a step ahead of everyone else.

All student publications of IIJNM (the newspaper, The Weekly Observer; the television bulletin, Bangalore @ 5 and the website, thesoftcopy.in) covered the launch of Namma Metro, live.

The Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (www.iijnm.org) is an independent journalism school that offers a post-graduate diploma in Journalism in three streams: Print (newspaper and magazine), Broadcast (Television and Radio), and Multimedia Journalism.

The Institute's mission is to educate students in a broad range of skills and concepts, and prepare them for a career in journalism. While there is a strong emphasis on the "craft" of journalism, the curriculum is designed to equip students to handle intelligently the fundamental issues of the day. They are exposed to the principles and ethics intrinsic to the profession, to enable them to hone their journalistic skills. The hope is that IIJNM journalists will not only be competent practitioners by today's standards, but also that they will help raise those standards.

Photo: Rishabh ChakravortyIIJNM students bring out weekly editions that produce real stories covering real issues from in and around Bangalore. Every week, students are out in the city and face the same challenges that seasoned reporters face. 
From the issue of dealing with security personnel who were unwilling to take youngsters seriously, to the exhaustion of staying on their feet from 9 a.m. to well past midnight, our trainee journalists ran through a raw day of competing with reporters and cameramen from other news agencies and channels for the perfect angle, the perfect sound byte and the perfect publication.

Sushmita Iyer a broadcast journalist who covered the event from Byappanahalli said "It was amazing, I have never realised that live reporting would be this much fun. This event along with a host of others has convinced me that I am no longer the introvert I thought I was".

Photo: Rishabh ChakravortyIIJNM students usually have a span of four to five days in which to prepare for a story and produce it. Being part of the Namma Metro inauguration, where all their training so far was tested without the usual student’s safety net of time on their hands, brought home the reality of working with deadlines set in stone.

Meghana Bhat and Christopher Isaac, cameraperson and reporter for the event at C.M.H. Road and M.G. Road realized that dealing with a live event was exciting, but the challenges involved were very important lessons for them to learn from.

“The Soft Copy team with 19 year old Bhanu Teja Garapati as the editor worked till half-past midnight getting podcasts and slideshows ready. I am very proud of them being determined to produce good content for an event that is so important for Bangalore”, said Prof. Mark Austin Head of the Dept. of Multimedia.  Prof. Ron Feemster appreciated the way in which the photographers worked beyond the boundaries of their respective streams and contributed to both The Soft Copy and The Daily Observer.

Harish, reporting from the M.G.Road station for Bangalore@8 got a byte from cabinet minister Shobha Karandlaje and discovered that other reporters were asking him for his video clip.

At the end of the day, however, with wide but very tired grins plastered across their face, our journalists put IIJNM Namma Metro special edition to bed. 


Janaagraha reiterates need for platforms for citizen participation

BANGALORE – The problems that exist in a modern day democratic setup cannot be dealt with without effective platforms for citizen participation. And, this participation is possible only if accountability came down to the level of the polling booth, according to Janaagraha, a non-profit organization that tries to empower citizens and help them discover their rights and responsibilities.

Kavita and Shruti, from Janaagraha, explained their Area Sabha programme at IIJNM recently. The programme seeks a single permanent platform for participation and tackling of various issues. They also explained another Janaagraha initiative, the WISA (Ward infrastructure and services assessment) program. WISA conducts research on the 198 wards in the city and publishes the information thereby ensuring greater accountability to the peopleThe volunteers also explained the role that students  can play in tackling issues that concern society.

The organisation works with citizens and the government to improve the quality of life in Indian cities and towns. Kavita explained that the term quality of life had two aspects to it – one, the quality of urban infrastructural services like roads, drains, traffic and transport; and second, the participation of urban citizens in civic issues.

The students were particularly intrigued to know about the origins of the name “Janaagraha”. Kavita said that the term is inspired by Satyagraha, which means moral force of the truth. Since Janaagraha involves people participation, Janaagraha stands for moral force of the people.

“Citizen participation is not the only requisite for solving problems. This is the precise reason why Janaagraha has expanded its sphere to cover voting and elections, urban planning and infrastructure,” she added.

She gave details about REED – the framework for systematic change that Janaagraha follows. REED stands for four defining aspects of urban governance -

Regional perspective to urban issues 
Empowered citizens and local governments 
Enabled citizens and local governments with 
Direct accountability of the government to the people

The Bala Janaagraha programme undertaken by the organisation captured the interest of the students. Through interactive classroom sessions and project work, the programme helps school children to know the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy.

Other popular programs run by Janaagraha are the Jaagte Raho campaign and the website ipaidabribe.com

By Shikha Kumar


Yours Truly played it back spectacularly

BANGALORE—Five people, in white kurtas and blue jeans stood expressionless against the grey wall as Nandini, the director, asked the audience about how they felt.

Words from excited to sleep-deprived suddenly turned into real emotions as the actors took over the stage mirroring the audience’s feelings.

Yours Truly theatre, a Bangalore-based theatrical group which uses impromptu acting to showcase drama was playing at IIJNM on Saturday morning. This form of theatre is based on Playback theatre founded in 1975 in New York by Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas, and audience participation is an integral aspect.

Three forms of playback theatre were displayed: fluid sculpture, fluid perspective and conflict. The idea was to draw on audience mood or experiences, hand them over to the actors and split seconds later have the audience enjoy an act which dramatically portrayed what they’d put in mere words.

The initial questions from the director ranged from “Why did you choose journalism?” to “What comes to your mind when you see your campus?” Even an abstract word like “green” changed dimensions as the actor portrayed a snake enchanted by the greenery in Kumbalgudu after experiencing the crowded confines of Bangalore city.

Soon the group moved to stories where two members of the audience were asked to recount any significant incidents in their life which caused an impact on them.

Manu Bhan and Rupsa Chakraborty’s experiences invoked extreme responses from the audience as the actors enacted them in perfect chronology and synchronization.

For Manu Bhan’s depiction of his serious road accident, colored dupattas were used to portray mental state and physical elements like “stagnancy” and “blood”. However, Rupsa Chakraborty’s strength in face of a trying situation was a realistic portrayal of events with sequential theatrics. The timeline of the incident took precedence over the emotions in this case.

The last portion of the play depicted conflicts wherein two people each standing in four rows acted out the pro and con of each situation handed to them. 

The entire two hours was all the more mesmerizing because the audience saw a dramatization without any rehearsals and that based on a script supplied by them. The spontaneity of the entire act was refreshing and gave a new dimension to theatre.

By Pallavi Ail


Strategic use of social media can help journalists—Columbia Prof

BANGALORE—Strategic use of social media can help journalists connect with their audience while building a brand for themselves, said Sree Sreenivasan, Dean of Student Affairs and Digital Media Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York City.

Sreenivasan was speaking on social media trends and journalism at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM, www.iijnm.org) on Thursday, July 21.

Calling social media the future of journalism, Mr. Sreenivasan, however cautioned that tools like Facebook and Twitter could only amplify a story well written and reported, but they could not turn a bad story into a good one. Instead, posting a bad story might just backfire on the journalist, he said.

Sreenivasan said that journalists in several countries have used social media to help them find new stories, ideas, trends and sources of information. Social media also came in handy during the Arab spring, post-disaster Japan, and post-blasts Mumbai. He added that young journalists should start using these tools and build a network so that it can come in handy when they really need it.

Pointing out that Indians were nearly the third largest users of Facebook, Sreenivasan remarked that people would use technology only if they had a compelling reason to do so. While the Internet was not so big in Indian media and in the country, cell phones had helped connect Indians because people of all income levels and classes have discovered their tremendous utility.

Further, he added that creators of social media platforms were trying hard to ensure that users were authentic, and this could help journalists get credible sources of information.


TV’s hysterical coverage drowns real issues—HT Editor

BANGALORE— Indian media’s hysterical coverage of the Mumbai blasts has drowned out many of the real issues facing the country during a terrorist attack, said Samar Halarnkar, Editor-at-large, The Hindustan Times.

 While time and again the National Broadcaster’s Association has promised to bring sobriety to their coverage of such incidents, even the best-known television anchors succumb to hysterics, he said. For instance, he said, no one has discussed the collapse of beat policing in the country, or for that matter, the need for police reforms in the context of the blasts.

Halarnkar was speaking at the inauguration of the new academic year, 2011-12 of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media on Monday, July 18, 2011. 

Indian journalism, he said, today stands in a moment of great opportunity and great crisis. Unlike elsewhere in the world, India is experiencing a media explosion.  New opportunities have grown out of India’s increase in literacy and the country’s current epochal changes. But, at the same time, India faces a media crisis because standards have fallen to a new low and the media have become more shallow in coverage and story selection than ever before. 

Giving the young journalists a few things to remember, he asked them not be unfair and biased in their reporting. He also suggested that they should not trust authority. The media should take a more adversarial role than it typically does in India. He also said that student reporters should not be arrogant, but instead should see for themselves how Indian of all classes live.

 Describing journalism as a calling, he asked them to fight for what is right and only that would help dispel the darkness that still pervades India.

 Dean of IIJNM, Dr. Abraham M. George said that all the four pillars that supported democracy were broken in India. Even the media is not playing its role in ensuring a good democracy, he said.

 Emphasising the need for social justice in the country, George asked the young journalists to find the facts, be truthful and get the story out.

 IIJNM is an autonomous journalism school that offers a post-graduate diploma in Journalism in Broadcast, Print and Multimedia.


Indian media needs reporters with integrity: Prabhu Chawla

BANGALORE, May 2, 2011—Journalists today have forgotten that they must report violations and not commit them, said Mr. Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express.

Stating that there was something rotten in the state of the Indian media today, Mr. Chawla said that journalists have forgotten to ask tough questions. Instead, they prefer to be supercops, judges and hangmen, all rolled in to one.

Mr. Chawla was speaking at the Annual Convocation of the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media here this morning.

Mr. Chawla was of the opinion that a mix of negligence and ignorance was ailing Indian media today. Journalists, he said, no longer seemed to have curiosity or a hunger for news. Instead they seem to be losing their credibility because their stories were not based on facts, but were manipulated by politicians and corporate houses.

Journalism in the country also suffered from a lack of good training and poor or no mentoring, Mr. Chawla said. With over television 500 channels soon to be broadcasting across the country, there was a dearth of good journalists, he said.

Most journalists are not looking for a good story any more, he said, and neither were editors pushing them for better stories. Instead, he said that television channels had found the easy way of producing content—giving opinions instead of giving viewers information.

It was the journalists’ responsibility to put news in a perspective, but most often, they did not write a lot of what they could because they were afraid that they’d lose their sources, he said.

He also pointed out that with a broken business model of paid news and private treaties, advertisers had begun to dictate a lot of what went into the news. Mr. Chawla also felt that good journalism needed support from consumers. He wanted to know if consumers were willing to liberate the media from the clutch of advertising by paying for what they read or viewed.

He asked the young journalists to fear none and favour none. He said that they must expose the corrupt and promote good democracy.

In his address to the graduating batch of 2011, Dean Abraham George asked them to make a clear distinction between facts and opinion. He said that the young journalists must be persistent enough to dig into the story and uncover what is important and inform and engage readers and viewers on issues that are really important to people’s lives and the country’s future.

As part of the Convocation, students were given awards for excellence in certain areas.

 

 
Graduating Class of 2011
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Mattia Michielan
Outstanding Multimedia Journalism Student

Paul Richard Dharamraj
Outstanding Print & Online Journalism Student
Roll of Honour

Alexina Donald Correya
Excellence in Business Reporting

Alexina Donald Correya
Excellence in Multimedia Reporting

Ananda Siddhartha
Excellence in Master’s Project

Anjali Mangal
Excellence in Broadcast Reporting

Deepa Ranganathan
Excellence in Magazine Writing

Moulishree Srivastava
Excellence in News Reporting

Paul Richard Dharamraj
Excellence in International Reporting

Prabhu M
Excellence in Investigative Reporting

Tejaswini Pagadala
Excellence in Development Reporting
 


Vidya Kishore Kumar
Excellence in Opinion & Editorial Writing

 


Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)

Avanish Tiwary

Namrata Nandakumar

Prajwala Hegde

Subarna Talukdar

'Women must get 50 per cent reservation': Justice Nayak

Justice S. R. Nayak, Chairman of Karnataka State Human Rights Commission, called for 50 percent reservation for women in Parliament today in a speech to students at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media.

 “50 percent of the seats should be given to women straightaway in Parliament,” said Nayak.” Women have always been denied the right to represent.”

Women have to be empowered before they can enjoy their rights, he added.

“95 percent of crimes committed against women and children don’t get reported and if women come out to speak, as there had been cases in the past, they get raped and tortured in police station itself,” he said.

Speaking further about the violation of human rights by police, he listed other illegal acts he said they perform. These include refusal to register crime and registering false cases, illegal arrests, custodial torture and extrajudicial killings.

He explained the psyche of police behind the atrocities. “Police think the only way to ascertain truth from the accused is to torture them .Sometimes people themselves come to police to settle the disputes, then the policemen themselves assume the role of judge and the court,” he said.

Sometimes the police don’t register a case because of increased workload and many times under some political pressure, he added.

 “Police take bribes to register a case,” he said. “And police also take a bribe to not register a case.”

“Three percent of violations of human rights take place in the police stations and rest 97 percent outside it,” he said.

He also pointed to malnutrition and India’s high infant mortality rate as human right violations.

Millions of newborns don’t see their own first birthday. This is due to the inadequate food that lacks in the nutrition value, provided to them, said Nayak.

Mothers have not been provided with nutritious meals. This affects the mental health of the fetus, which cannot be cured after a child is born, he said.

He also disagrees with the Indian government’s strategy of trying to eliminate Maoists. Killing them will not work, he said. Instead the government must provide basic necessities to people in the affected regions and gain their trust.

Speaking more generally about the human rights, Nayak said, “It is believed to be linked with civil liberties and physical integrity, but actually it refers to the right to life, liberty, equality and dignity of all the individuals.”

He said other rights follow from the right to life. Right to basic land, shelter, clean water, food, education, development, training, social security. The right to live with dignity and liberty has been a human right for the people of India since January 1950, when the Constitution came into existence. But these rights are not being provided to all the people, even now.

“There are still some areas in Bangalore, where people have to drink poisonous water,” he said.

By Moulishree Srivastava


IIJNM study-abroad program for Earlham Students

The Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bangalore, will conduct a study-abroad program for Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, USA on Globalization in the Indian context. The program will run at the IIJNM campus from October 10, 2010 to November 3, 2010.

This course will help Earlham students process the concept of globalization in the Indian context. Using Bangalore, its rural surrounding, and other nearby taluks as a geographical laboratory this course will attempt to understand the important economic and social changes that have occurred over the last two decades.

Rajaram Krishnan, Associate Professor of Economics at Earlham, and the College’s India program point person said, “It is no mystery why Bangalore is a good place to center such a course. What we are very excited about is that our students will have the opportunity to interact with IIJNM’s faculty and students when they are in Bangalore.”

The course will be anchored by IIJNM faculty member, Prof. Nagesh Hegde. Eminent researchers and journalists will be resource persons for the course. They include, Mr. Ashwin Mahesh, Dr. Solomon Benjamin and Prof. Arun Subramaniam.


Journalists must watch what they tweet

Journalists need to be able to clearly distinguish between their professional and personal personas on social networking sites in order to be objective, said Abi Sekimitsu, Editor Reuters, Bangalore.
Ms. Sekimitsu was speaking at the inauguration of the new academic year 2010 – 2011 at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM), Bangalore on Monday, July 12, 2010.

Citing several examples of how senior journalists had run into trouble simply because they had tweeted the news before embargo time or had tweeted their opinions, Ms. Sekimitsu said that we need to remember that we represent the public interest.

Journalists, just like celebrities, were now under microscopic scrutiny, she pointed out.

On the other hand, she said that there was little difference between local and global news. Local news is sometimes picked up by international agencies and becomes global news, thanks to technology, Ms. Sekimitsu said.

Ms. Sekimitsu urged the young trainees to be objective and accurate. She added that journalism was a profession like no other and they ought to be glad that they have taken it up.

Dean of IIJNM, Dr. Abraham M. George said that though the press does a lot of good, it also tends to miss stories. No media house had been able to predict the economic recession in the US though several experts had seen it coming, he said.

He urged the young trainees to ask uncomfortable questions of the powers-that-be and to find the truth.
IIJNM is an autonomous journalism school that offers a post-graduate diploma in Journalism in Broadcast, Print and Multimedia.

This year, the Institute has on its rolls two international faculty—Ron Feemster who has written for the New York Times and other newspapers, and Mark Austin who was with Japan’s biggest newspaper, The Yomiuri Shimbun, until recently. Their profiles are on the Institute’s website (www.iijnm.org).


Young Journalists Face an Ethical Challenge: Rajdeep Sardesai

BANGALORE, May 8, 2010—The real challenge for young journalists today is the ethical challenge, said Rajdeep Sardesai, President of the Editors Guild of India and Editor in Chief of IBN 18 Network. If they can measure up to this challenge, they can find a way of changing the profession, he said.

Mr. Sardesai was speaking at the Annual Convocation of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM, www.iijnm.org) here this morning.

What we have today is the journalism of short cuts, he said. It was a journalism of who got it first and not who got it right. “Get the story right,” he told the students, and it didn’t matter if it was ten minutes late, he added. It was for the young journalists to put the profession back on track he said.

There was so much information available in the world today, but no knowledge, Mr. Sardesai said. “More media does not necessarily mean better media,” he said. It was unfortunate, he pointed out, that we live in an era of sensationalism where “people like me, who should be giving you the right information are under pressure to hype up the information.”

He also condemned the media for declaring people guilty even before any court declared them so. Other challenges included the business of paid news, he said.

The real problem, he said, was not with young people who entered the profession with hope, but with the top people who end up compromising the ideals they themselves set out with. They are the ones who forget to tell young people things about privacy, about the truth, about telling the story as they see it, he said.

IIJNM Dean, Dr. Abraham M. George called the Graduating Class the future torchbearers of the free press. He urged them to report in a truthful, impartial and balanced manner, while at the same time, making it interesting.

He said that they must give importance to matters of national interest instead of telling stories that were sensational. He urged young journalists to be vigilant and not to be caught napping like the US press was during the sub-prime crisis. He said that they must question all governance—whether it was that of the official governments or of the private sector.

“Do not be afraid to challenge the politicians and bureaucrats, you should not be note-takers, but should ask them questions,” he said.

Seventy six students graduated this year, of whom 13 received honours and awards.

 

Graduating Class of 2010
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Akhila Premachandran
Outstanding Broadcast Journalism Student

Parimal Vijay S S
Outstanding Print & Online Journalism Student
Roll of Honour


Divya Suryanarayan
Excellence in Development Reporting

Gangadhar S Patil
Excellence in News Reporting


Mrinmoy Bhowmick 
Excellence in Television Documentary

Saumitra Ranjan Chand
Excellence in Radio Production

Sethuraman N R
Excellence in Business Reporting

Shravya Jain
Excellence in Magazine Writing
 



Siddharth Kotian
Excellence in International Reporting

 


Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)

Chandan Singh

Rienke van Nieuwland

Roshan Kumar Mogali

Sneha Menon

IIJNM students work for Channel 4 on prestigious project

“It was an experience to reckon with as it helped me understand the diversity of opinions people have in the city on one issue,” said Bansi Mehta, a print student at IIJNM. Bansi was one of the 22 students of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM), Bangalore who worked in collaboration with UK based Channel 4 to produce a special programme on India.

The students had to find out what Bangaloreans think of certain topics in the news on a given day. These ranged from issues of the day to the hot sports topic of the day to the celebrity of the day. The results were then uploaded on Channel 4’s website.

“The students were really enthusiastic about the whole thing. Indeed it was a great opportunity for them to work with such a reputed channel like Channel 4. The programme was meant for the international audience, so it was a different kind of experience,” said Surekha Deepak, IIJNM faculty who coordinated the project.

Channel 4, too, appreciated the work done by the students. “Your students’ work was greatly appreciated and I would like to thank you and all the students and staff at the Institute for your help and participation in this experiment of cooperation. While we we're time restricted by events in Haiti on how much made the TV bulletin your students work greatly aided our website,” said Oliver King of Channel 4 news.

For the aspirant journalists, it was a great opportunity to showcase their talents before an international audience. “I enjoyed every moment of the job assigned by Channel 4 in interviewing people of Bangalore as part of India Winter season. Being a part of one of the leading TV News channel of the world, was a matter of pride,” said Mrinmoy Bhowmick, a broadcast student.

However, for a few, the experience was challenging. “It was tough to find people and make them talk during the office hours. One of the worst experience was to ask students to talk on camera when they had exams to appear for,” said Arnab Lal Seal, a student.

Some others, however, found the challenge exciting. They said that this would help them prepare for real-life situations. Chandan Singh, another broadcast student, said, “It was all about meeting strangers. At times I had to give them newspapers to read and they were willing to participate. The whole exercise of briefing, convincing, shooting was a fun-filled learning experience,” he said.

This experience with Channel 4 was indeed a learning experience for the students, especially the print students of the institution who are usually accustomed to a monitor, mouse and page-making software. “As a print student, I was a bit wary of using a camera. In the first few shots I took, the faces were distorted and there was no audio. But, it was a steep learning curve and soon my vox pop captured people walking horizontally (rock climbing) and tall people (the state volleyball team),” said Parimal Vijay S.S, another print student.

Chandreyee Bhaumik

Press Coverage:

http://news.oneindia.in/2010/02/02/iijnm-students-work-on-international-project.html

http://celebrifi.com/gossip/IIJNM-students-work-on-International-project-3020888.html

http://www.in.com/news/entertainment-news/iijnm-students-work-on-international-projecttuesday-february-2-20101447-ist-12645075-e8d3a1d8750e51d38d99563ad9975481f5380e1a-rhp.html

http://mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=broadcast&broadcastid=167506

http://www.hindu.com/edu/2010/02/08/stories/2010020850590400.htm

http://www.silobreaker.com/loving-the-experience-5_2263216325310545924

http://sanyuinfo.com/2010020220761/news/india_news/iijnm-students-work-on-international-project.html?Itemid=0

http://databases4sale.net/results?search_query=Bansi

http://justsamachar.com/search?c=1&q=amnesty+international


IIJNM Students participate in Global Media Monitoring Project 2009-2010
 
On November 10, 2009 IIJNM students joined monitors from 105 countries in a global effort to collect data on selected indicators of gender in their local news media. The GMMP is the largest and longest longitudinal study on gender in the world’s news media.  It is also the largest advocacy initiative in the world on changing gender representation in the media. 

The Fourth Global Media Monitoring Project took place this year involving participants ranging from grassroots community organizations, researchers, and media practitioners and for the first time, graduate students from selected colleges. IIJNM students from Print, New Media and Broadcast specializations were earlier trained in the research methodology and guidelines for carrying out the monitoring exercise.
 
November 10 was D-day when monitors across the world got down to mapping media representations of women and men in news stories of the day in print and broadcast media. Our students were a part of the Karnataka contingent assigned to monitor English and Kannada newspapers and news channels in both languages.
 
The study is designed to provide gender and communication activists with a tool to lobby for more gender-sensitive communication policy in their national and regional contexts. The results of the Fourth GMMP will be published in time for key global processes scheduled for 2010, including the Beijing +15 review and the Millennium Development Goals Review Summit.


RTI more revolutionary than taking up a gun: Aruna Roy

Though India’s Right to Information Act is approaching its five-year anniversary, the campaign to push for government transparency and active use of the system must run parallel with each other to achieve the greatest effect, according to one of the initiators of the RTI movement, Aruna Roy.

As a guest lecturer at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM, www.iijnm.org), Roy narrated anecdotes from her campaigns in rural Rajasthan, where she continues to work for Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS). The non-party political organization was in the forefront of the movement in 1990s that inspired the RTI Act. Roy emphasized that the right to information is linked to the right to life; it is more revolutionary than taking up a gun and fighting.
  
Five years after it became a law, the RTI act has created unprecedented dialectics between the individuals and government officials, and has created a climate in which honest and enabled people can step out and say something in the public domain, Roy said.
      
Roy is currently working with other national groups in the campaign against Special Economic Zones, or SEZs. The SEZ act, which she pointed out was passed without debate by the same parliament that passed the RTI, has allowed lands to be taken away from farmers and tribal people, subsequently denying their rights as citizens. In addition, once created, the SEZ are exempt from many labour laws and tax laws, creating a deficit in the state treasury, she said.  As a result, many SEZs have even grown into land estate development projects, benefiting only the owners, Roy added.       

Just as the public was amassed to push for India’s Right to Information act, the country must also mobilize to fight against the corruption of SEZs, she said.


Students must use the RTI

Bangalore, August 14, 2009 : "Students should make use of the RTI," said Shekhar Singh, co-founder, National Coalition for People's Right To Information, at ‘State of the RTI,’ a seminar organized by the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) here this morning.

Students from various colleges attended the seminar. Dr. Singh talked about safeguarding the right to information and described how the law was drafted to catch corrupt people in government departments. He presented the findings of a recent, nationwide survey conducted by his group. The survey tested the knowledge and use of the RTI by more than 35,000 citizens in 10 states, and filed more than 800 RTI requests to determine government responsiveness.

The seminar had several panelists discussing the state of the RTI. Mr. Virupakshaiah Commissioner, Karnataka Information Commission, responsible for handling RTI appeals and complaints by citizens against government officials pointed out that the state has only two Information Commissioners. “With the number of cases pending in the files, we need more infrastructure and more people to handle it,” he added. He said that almost 6000 cases were still pending. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had the maximum cases filed against them.

Parvathi Menon, Bureau chief of The Hindu, Bangalore, talked about the role of media in the context of spreading awareness regarding RTI. "The media today needs to change its mindset,” she said, adding that daily deadline pressures left little space for long-format investigative stories.

Y G Murlidharan, Consumer Advocate, Director, Consumer Rights Education and Awareness Trust (CREAT) shed some light on the efforts of bringing about some transparency at the village-level by two model villages.

Pointing out to the statistics that showed how the English language media was more active in propagating RTI then the vernacular media, another panelist, Theodore Bhaskaran, a historian mentioned how it took two years to get the Tamil version of the RTI act.

"One has to fight for their right to get information at every step, you just can't give up at any point", asserted Jayashree JN, Founder of "Fight Corruption Now", who made use of RTI to root out corrupt officials in the administrative offices.

IIJNM alumni who had produced investigative stories using the RTI talked about their experiences with using the Act. The seminar was moderated by IIJNM Visiting Professor and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Ralph Frammolino.


Media vulnerable to ad pressure

Bangalore, July 20, 2009— Mr K N Shanth Kumar, Director, The Printers (Mysore) Ltd and Editor-in-Chief of Prajavani, said the heavy dependence of the media on advertising support was making it vulnerable to pressure from the government as well as the corporate sector. Launching the new academic year (2009-10) of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) in Bangalore,  Mr. Shanth Kumar told the new batch of students that keeping the price of newspapers low forced managements to depend on advertising revenue. “This makes newspapers sensitive to needs of advertisers,” he said. 

The Prajavani Editor-in-Chief stressed on the importance of journalism training. He said untrained citizen journalists could supplement professionally trained journalists but never replace them.  “Citizen journalism has its limitations,” he said.

Mr. Shanth Kumar lamented the fall in standards in the knowledge and use of language among journalists. He said unless journalists had a good command over language they would find it difficult to report comprehensively and convey information effectively.

Welcoming the new batch of students, Dr. Abraham M George, Dean of IIJNM, said journalism these days pays well but carries enormous responsibility towards society.

The Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) is an independent journalism school that offers a post-graduate diploma in Journalism. IIJNM offers diploma in four streams: Print, Television, Radio and Online Journalism.
Students at IIJNM are given hands-on training in journalism, regardless of the stream they choose. Print students bring out a weekly newspaper, broadcast students a weekly news bulletin and online journalism students maintain their own news-based website. The students have a real-life experience of the world they plan to enter on graduating from the portals of the IIJNM.  The new batch consists of 82 students.


An exciting time to enter journalism-Shekhar Gupta

Bangalore, May 2, 2009- There couldn't be a more exciting time to be entering journalism than the present one, said Mr. Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-chief of The Indian Express at the convocation ceremony at IIJNM this morning. He added, real-time media is a tyranny for those in power.

Recalling that the emergency had been called the worst time for young journalists, he said that there was a journalism boom immediately after the Emergency. That, he said was the golden age of the Indian media.

The second golden age of the media will be out of this crisis, Mr. Gupta said. This crisis will wipe out the large amounts of space that we have for the average, the mediocre and the below-mediocre. Competence levels will go up, he said, adding that journalism has as many incompetent people and scamsters as has any other profession.

All talk of the demise of print journalism as we know it today is all noise, Mr. Gupta said, adding that the newsroom was going to be redefined with the introduction of competent, digitally-savvy journalists.

Exhorting young journalists to be curious, he rated curiosity as the essential quality for a journalist. He also asked young journalists to be more opinionated in the news room, than in their stories, to see everything as a story, and to uncover what those in power don’t want to cover.

Accuracy, fairness and credibility have become all the more important today, he said, calling citizen journalism ‘baloney.’"Show me a citizen lawyer or a citizen doctor and I'll show you citizen journalists," he said, adding that journalism is as much a profession as any of the other two.

In his address, Dean Abraham M. George asked the students to make the clear distinction between fact and opinion; be persistent enough to dig into the story and uncover what is important and inform and engage the reader as best as possible.

After the graduating students received their post-graduate diplomas in television, radio, print and new media, some of them were honoured for having excelled in various fields.

Graduating Class of 2009
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Manasi Milind Phadke
Print  &  Online Journalism Student of the Year

Brenton Joseph Cordeiro
Television Journalism Student of the Year
Roll of Honour

Anirban Sen
Excellence in News Reporting


David William Besseling
Excellence in Covering Arts and Culture

Deepika N. Bharadwaj 
Excellence in Television Documentary

Dilraz Kunnummal
Excellence in International Reporting

Manasi Milind Phadke
Excellence in Development Reporting

Samarth Saran
Excellence in Political Reporting


Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)

Krishna Merchant

Pavan Kumar Hubli

Sudarshan Kumar

Tasneem Balapurwala

IIJNM students use RTI to find BMTC recycling deadly drivers, the cost of CM temple visits, other stories

BANGALORE, April 30, 2009—Less than one per cent of the Lokayukta corruption cases close with convictions. Government school teachers go on leave for years without being replaced. BMTC fires only 10 per cent of drivers who’ve caused fatal accidents and puts the rest back behind the wheel. Chief Minister B. S. Yedyurappa spent close to Rs. 11 lakh of public money for his personal spiritual endeavors.

These four seemingly unrelated stories were bound together by the Right to Information (RTI) Act used by student journalists belonging to the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM, www.iijnm.org). They were revealed at a press conference this morning and are available on the Institute’s website, www.iijnm.org/investigations.

The student projects were completed under the guidance of Ralph Frammolino, visiting professor for print. A veteran Los Angeles Times reporter and co-finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, Frammolino came to IIJNM in July for one year. He conducted the investigative reporting class as an “I-team,” taking students through projects that examined major Bangalore institutions.

These investigative efforts showed how difficult it still is to get information from the agencies under the RTI Act.

The Chief Minster’s office was most uncooperative with the requests. Eighteen officers made the students go from one table to another 72 times before they gave the information.

In the case of the BMTC, an RTI request had been filed in November with the Assistant to the Principal Information Officer. When no response came within a month, the students had to file another, which again got no response. They then filed an appeal which got things moving. After that, however, they had no trouble getting access to information.

The Department of Public Instruction, too, took about three months to give the information the students were seeking. Eventually, they got the names of only 10 absentee teachers, when they had asked for about a hundred. 

The corruption watchdog, Lokayukta, was probably the most cooperative under the RTI. The students were given all the information they sought.

The student projects and their findings:

  • While promising to weed out reckless drivers, BMTC officials have quietly recycled their most deadly ones, responsible for nearly 370 fatal collisions since 2000. In 28 cases, drivers given another chance went on to cause a second, even third fatal accident before they were fired. BMTC officials say they don’t immediately fire drivers because, among other things, it would hurt employee morale.

  • Karnataka education officials responsible for overseeing government schoolteachers have allowed some to go AWOL for years without purging them from the employment rolls. IIJNM Students found one ghost teacher in three hours.

  • The public paid Rs. 11 lakh to send Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, on eight “official” temple visits during the first months of his tenure.

  • Lokayukta Santosh Hegde whips up the publicity when he traps or raids public officials. But he is silent about the track record of his office: Less than one per cent of all complaints and traps result in verified punishments.

  • The RTI was introduced to help the public track the functioning of government bodies. But the studies show that the governing bodies are reluctant to give full disclosure, though they are legally bound to do so under the act.

For more information on the stories, and for videos, please see www.iijnm.org/investigations.


Shekhar Gupta to speak at IIJNM Convocation

IIJNM’s Annual Convocation will be held on May 2, 2009. The convocation speaker this year will be Mr. Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, The Indian Express.

IIJNM will be happy to host Mr. Gupta once again. He had inaugurated the Institute in 2000. In his inaugural address, Mr. Gupta had, like any good journalist, displayed skepticism about the quality of journalism schools. A decade later, we’re sure, Mr. Gupta will be happy to see that IIJNM is undoubtedly the premier journalism institute in India with the best infrastructure, excellent faculty and a vibrant, dynamic curriculum.

Mr. Gupta has been with the Indian Express for several years, off and on. He has been responsible for breaking several stories in the Express. He exposed the Nellie massacre in Assam as a young reporter before moving on to join Indian Today, where he again covered path-breaking stories like the role of the intelligence agencies in what came to be known as the ISRO spy scandal. He also uncovered LTTE training camps in India.

Mr. Gupta hosts a weekly programme on NDTV 24 x 7, called Walk the Talk where he interviews personalities on the topic of the time. His weekly column, National Interest deals with an eclectic list of subjects and is widely read.

He has been a regular speaker at the World Economic Forum. The Indian Express won the Vienna-based International Press Institute’s first India Award for Outstanding Journalism in the Public Interest.

The convocation marks the end of a hectic academic year at IIJNM. Graduating students are given diplomas. Students on the Roll of Distinction, Roll of Honour and the Dean’s List are given awards.


Global Experience in Journalism Studies

As the sweep of “Slumdog Millionaire” in this year’s Academy Awards amply underscored, the story of modern India is a riveting and inspiring one.

With a teeming population of 1.1 billion people, the world’s oldest culture and its biggest democracy embraces the worst and best of humanity. But most of all, it has become a land of personal and economic miracles—miracles that are already remaking the subcontinent one of the dominant forces of the 21st Century.

And one of those fields of dominance is the media. India has not only become an incredible news story, it is pushing the frontiers of print and broadcast journalism. While America’s newspapers are downsizing and dying, they’re proliferating in India, where a dramatic rise in the literacy rate is creating millions of news-hungry readers every year. Meanwhile, broadcast channels are multiplying even as cyber entrepreneurs launch Websites to tap into the zeal of citizen journalists, many of whom have turned into local Woodwards and Bernsteins by using the country’s new Right to Information Act to watch over government spending and misdeeds.

All facets of the media—print, broadcast, the Web—are robust in India, where a steady increase in literary rates and the recent economic boom has created millions of new readers and viewers. Meanwhile, the ties are growing stronger between the media industry and academia in India and the United States. Indian media houses are starting to hire students from American universities, while Indian journalism schools are inviting American professors and professionals to teach.

As never before, India needs highly trained and aggressive young journalists. And the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media has dedicated itself to meeting that need through its unique one-year, Master’s level residential program. The strength of the IIJNM program is that it uses its hometown of Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, as the real-life laboratory for all reporting assignments. As a result, IIJNM students and graduates are prepared to rise quickly to the top of the profession.

For instance, four out of the ten students who qualified for the prestigious CNN Aspiring Journalist Awards last year were from IIJNM. The Institute also boasts the first graduate of any journalism college in India to be hired for a New York Times internship as well as the Scripps Howard internship in Washington D.C. Many have found jobs with such highly respected media outlets as the United Kingdom Press Association, Reuters, the Times of India (the world’s largest circulation English daily), and CNN-IBN, the nation’s premiere 24-hour news television channel. These are just a few. You see IIJNM alumni all the time on television; you read their bylines in newspapers, magazines and websites; and you listen to them on radio.

“What I liked about my year at IIJNM was that I was given the freedom to choose news stories I wanted to work on, and excel in whatever I was doing,” says Deborah Grey, now at CNN-IBN, India’s leading 24-hour news channel.

Prospective bosses are very pleased as well.

“We are happy customers,” declared Piyush, Executive Editor at ANI, which has employed five IIJNM students. Added A.V.S. Namboodiri, Senior Associate Editor at the Deccan Herald of Bangalore: "Your students are well-trained."

IIJNM offers first-rate facilities on a modernist campus, equipped with broadband, a television studio, video editing labs and a computer lab. The curriculum has been developed in association with Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Most importantly, it offers personalized instruction from a cadre of full- and part-time faculty members that have included Fulbright scholars; Knight Fellows from the U.S., Europe, Cambodia, Egypt and Bangkok; a Pulitzer Prize finalist; the lead business journalist on the Union Carbide tragedy in Bhopal; one of India’s foremost experts on developmental issues; the creator of Al-Jazeera’s immensely popular Website and a number of former print reporters, editors and broadcasters with decades of experience in the Indian media. Guest lecturers have included Thomas Friedman, columnist for The New York Times, and Susan King of the Carnegie Foundation.

Under the faculty’s guidance, students are drilled on the practical aspects of newsgathering, a decidedly daunting task in India. Unlike other Indian journalism schools, which teach mainly theory, IIJNM shuttles students two days a week to Bangalore for on-the-ground story assignments. Upon their return, they churn out stories that find their way into the campus newspaper and, in a few cases, into the mainstream press. In 2008-2009, IIJNM print students had articles in The Hindu and the Deccan Chronicle. Publication isn’t limited to students; one of IIJNM visiting faculty members wrote about India’s Right to Information Act for the Jan/Feb 2009 Columbia Journalism Review.

The results of IIJNM’s approach are obvious. The school has enjoyed nearly universal success placing its students in professional jobs. For American students, that would translate into a second chance to work, a chance to enter a media market that is expanding rather than contracting. But there are other rewards, as well. In addition, American students would enjoy a year-long, cross-cultural feast, one that will help them build an international network as they pursue their journalism careers in tomorrow’s interdependent world.

Celebrated as it was, Slumdog Millionaire was sheer fantasy. But journalistic opportunities at IIJNM for the adventurous foreign students are reality at its best.

For further information or admissions, visit www.iijnm.org. Tel.: +91-80-2543 2565 / 2543 2575


WHAT'S THE MEDIA UP TO NOW?

PosterPlenty. As the country prospers and gains global clout, the next generation of Indian journalists will face challenges beyond covering crime, broken sewers and Bollywood.

Tomorrow's reporters will have to understand and interpret sophisticated issues dealing with the environment, political reform, poverty and communal equality. And they'll have to tell their stories at lightning speed across new technological platforms reaching audiences steeped in visual literacy.

Whether you are a future journalist or a consumer of news, you will be affected. Find out how through a series of free public lectures given by faculty from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media. Find out what the Indian media is up to now.

The right to know in a warmer world
Prof. Nagesh Hegde
Date: Saturday, November 29, 2008 : Time: 10.30 a.m.
Venue: Mount Carmel College Auditorium

RTI: The People’s Movement
Prof. Ralph Frammolino
Date: Saturday, December 6, 2008 : Time: 10.30 a.m.
Venue: Christ University Campus, Hosur Road

Go to the Web!
Prof. Dakshina Murthy
Date: Saturday, December 13, 2008 : Time: 10.30 a.m.
Venue: Christ University Campus, Hosur Road

Contact:
Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media
Telephone: 91-80-2543 2565 / 2543 2575 / 2544 0164 / 2544 4995
Mobile: 0-99809 22204; Fax: 91-80-2544 0210
Website: www.iijnm.org | Email: admin@iijnm.org


Business journalism is exciting today

Bangalore, July 14, 2008-The emergence of news networks run by journalists has resulted in a big change in journalism in the country, said Senthil Chengalvarayan, President and Editorial Director, TV18 Business Media.

This could help bring greater credibility to the media and enable it to withstand pressures from various interests, he said.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the Academic Year 2008 - 09 at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) here this morning.

Giving the example of the network that he worked with, he said that they recently lost several crore-rupees of revenue in advertising because they did hard-hitting stories about a company. However, the network decided to take the stand it did because it wanted to put journalism first.

Indians are doing a lot of business today and business journalism is a good place to be in, said Senthil. A business channel today was the biggest channel in the country, beating even popular, regular news channels, he pointed out, explaining that business news was not just for the business person, but for everyone.

Young journalists, Senthil said, are entering the profession at an exciting time, given that technology has opened up opportunities that were hard to come by a few years ago.

IIJNM Dean, Dr. Abraham M. George regretted that the press in the country was not always asking the tough questions it ought to. He said that a democracy could be strengthened only by its media and the Indian media needs to rise up to the challenge.

The IIJNM began its new academic year with nearly 60 students.

The Institute has on its rolls two international faculty this academic year. A Fulbright scholar and a Pulitzer Prize finalist will teach at the IIJNM. View their profiles here.


IIJNM ANNUAL CONVOCATION 2008

The media enjoys public confidence: Vinod Mehta

Bangalore, May 3—All our democratic institutions are in disrepair, but the two that still enjoy public confidence are the media and the higher judiciary, said Mr. Vinod Mehta, Editor-in-Chief of the Outlook group.

Mr. Mehta was speaking at the Annual Convocation of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM, www.iijnm.org) here this morning. Addressing the students, he said that they were privileged to be journalists, especially at a time when people thought that the media was one of the pillars of democracy.

Mr. Mehta urged the students to be professional journalists and to become familiar with the basic rules of the game. These included a need to correct what is wrong and to be skeptical while avoiding cynicism.

While journalists cannot avoid having to work with politicians and public relations people, they must not get friendly with them, Mr. Mehta said. A journalist can still be professional while dealing with these people on an every day basis he said, adding that being friendly with them could lead to the journalist becoming corrupt.

It was a good time to be in journalism just now, Mr. Mehta said. He explained that working conditions of journalists had improved tremendously, they got better salaries and newer technology helped them work faster. The economic growth had fuelled more opportunities for journalists today, he said.

Advising the aspiring journalists to take up print, Mr. Mehta said that they could learn a lot in print. Television journalism has no time for detailed research he said because there is a need for instant gratification and instant scoops in television in India today.

Describing sting journalism as a double-edged sword, Mr. Mehta said that it should be used only when no other way could be found to do a story. All the best scoops in the world were not stings but well-researched stories, he said, giving the example of the Watergate scandal.

In his address, Dean Dr. Abraham George told the students to remember that a free press was the voice of the people; it was one of the main pillars of a strong democracy. He said that they must strive for the ideals of social justice and economic fairness that India had embraced when it became independent.

After the graduating students received their post-graduate diplomas in television, radio, print and new media, some of them were honoured for having excelled in various fields.

 

Graduating Class of 2008
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Gayathri  Vaidyanathan
Print  &  Online Journalism Student of the Year

Vaishnavi  Vittal
Television Journalism Student of the Year
Roll of Honour

Akansha Pradeep
Excellence in Radio Documentary


Amiteshwar Singh
Excellence in International Reporting

Dielle  D'Souza 
Excellence in Magazine Writing and Production

Divya S Gojer
Excellence in Television Documentary

Itika Sharma
Excellence in Business Reporting

Shalu Yadav
Excellence in Televison News Reporting

Sneha Jha
Excellence in News Reporting

Snigdha Poonam
Excellence in Development Reporting


Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)

Debasis Mohapatra

J Jagannath

Komal Chaudhary

Supriya Khandekar

 


Spotlight - 14 Jan, 2008, EducationTimes.com

Alleviating poverty and journalism education

Abraham M George, Dean, IIJNM, wants to churn out professional journalists with integrity. He tells Poonam Jain about issues plaguing the educational sector and the future of journalism, among many other things.

A professor, a social activist and a philanthropist, Abraham M George has been a force to reckon with. He migrated to the US over 30 years ago, but larger issues that needed redress brought him back to India in 1995. The importance of democracy and free press led to the creation of Indian Institute of Journalism& New Media (IIJNM), Bangalore. He also founded The George Foundation, a non-profit organisation, for the welfare of economically and socially disadvantaged people. His work in the field of environmental health was instrumental for the removal of lead from gasoline throughout India.

A graduate of the National Defence Academy, Kharakvasla, and an MBA, MS and PhD in business administration from Stern School of Business, New York University, Professor George, wears many hats. Apart from his work in India, he is also the chairman of eMedexOnline LLC, a medical diagnostic software company in New Jersey, USA. ,and Visiting Professor at NY-Stern Graduate School of Business. Authored three books in international finance, his most recent one is on the experiences of working in rural areas of Tamil Nadu, titled “India Untouched: The forgotten face of rural poverty”.

One can’t help but wonder if he is secretly bestowed with more hours packed in a day. He also serves on the board of International Center for Journalists, Washington DC, and also on the US board of Christian Medical College, Vellore. He is a member of the New York and South Asia Committees of Human Rights Watch.

How did you foray into the teaching profession?
The main motivating factor in my decision over eight years ago was to start a good journalism institution. It was my conviction that a free and independent press is essential for strengthening India’s democracy. Only through an investigative and fair press can the nation address issues of good governance.

What are the issues plaguing the education sector today?
In my conversations with owners and senior editors at media organisations, the impression I get is that there is a serious shortage of good reporters and editors. Further, many lack a clear understanding of the role of the press, the ethical standards that must be adhered to and the necessary skills required to be a great journalist. At IIJNM, we are striving to turn out our graduates who meet those requirements. We want our graduates to acquire something more than being good reporters– we want them to be professional journalists with integrity.

Can you comment on the importance of industry participation in the educational sector?
Journalism is in the great traditions of liberal arts education. Well trained journalists are able to make significant contributions to the society. Journalism education did not receive sufficient attention until recently. IIJNM is the first (and probably only) non-profit journalism college that is run privately and dedicated to quality education in the field.

What are the new developments taking place in the field of journalism?
Journalism today is an exciting field. It offers many new opportunities as more media organisations have sprung up in India. Hopefully, it will become even more competitive in the near future. Consumers of news are demanding better and fairer coverage of events and issues. As the profession receives more recognition, its stature is also improving. Practically all our graduates are absorbed by media organisations well before they graduate. Starting salaries have increased from barely Rs 5,000 per month in year 2000, to Rs 10,000-24,000 per month today, again depending on the media organisation and its location.

What are your contributions to IIJNM?
My main role as the Dean and founder of IIJNM is to provide IIJNM all the required financial resources and support to conduct an excellent academic program. To-date, there has been over Rs 8 crores in investment toward IIJNM. IIJNM has the best infrastructure, media labs and faculty of any journalism college in India. Further, we have established an association with Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism whereby Columbia has assisted us in developing our curriculum and provide guidance.

Can you give us more information about the courses offered?
Our goal is to improve on what has been accomplished in the past eight years. Today our program covers all journalism fields– print (newspaper and magazine), television, radio, web and multimedia. Our media labs are equipped with modern computers, advanced software and high speed Internet connections. Our studios and editing stations employ the latest technology and hardware. Our faculty comes from the industry with wide experience. We want to build on these strengths and offer programmes and activities that will enhance the quality of our curriculum.

What is the student strength and the student-teacher ratio at IIJNM?
In the current academic year (2008), we have 54 students. We are building additional residential facilities now to accommodate up to 100 students in the next academic year starting July 2008 (ours is a residential programme). There are 14 full-time and part-time faculty members– a ratio of less than four students per faculty member. In addition, we have 2 foreign faculty members with wide media experience. We plan to maintain a ratio below five between students and faculty.

Can you mention some prominent guest lecturers visiting the institute?
There is a steady stream of guest lecturers at IIJNM. Among them some recent ones being Thomas Friedman, columnist for the New York Times, Nidhi Mahesh - Principal Correspondent, Times Now and Naazreen Bhura- Resident Editor of Asian Age.

Tell us about the placements IIJNM provides. How have the placements shaped up this year?
Campus recruiting usually starts in March. Our students have been recruited by practically all major English dailies, Google, ANI, Reuters, CNN-IBN, and others. Starting salaries have ranged from Rs 10,000 to Rs 24,000 per month (in 2008). One of our graduates was recruited by the New York Times– the first among any journalism college in India. Several alumni have won major awards.

What are the innovative teaching methods used at the institute?
Our main focus is in offering the craft of journalism– how to become a good reporter and editor. Hence, we require our students to go out to the city and elsewhere to cover the news two to three days a week. They return with their stories, radio recordings and TV tapes and work on them until late night to produce the news story for our internal publications. Many stories find their way into mainstreams newspapers. They use state-of-the-art technology, and explore cutting edge advances in media.

What are the future plans for the institute?
Our goal is to improve our curriculum offerings, attract good teaching staff from within India and abroad (we have had several Knight Fellows from the US) and keep up with modern technology in editing, video shooting, recording etc. We want to build closer associations with the journalism community in India and increase the job opportunities for our students. We are constantly working to meet the needs of the industry and improve the quality and stature of the profession.

You may read his blogs at http://www.abrahamgeorge.blogspot.com/


Seminar on Digital Photojournalism

Bangalore, January 12, 2008: “Be down to earth and realistic. Unless you experience the moment yourself, you will never be able to capture it on your camera,” said Dr T S Sathyan, the renowned photojournalist, at a seminar of digital photojournalism, held by the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, here, today.

Senior photojournalist from The Hindu, K Gopinathan, and Editor of the Bangalore edition of the Kannada daily, Udayavani, Dr R Poornima, were also present at the seminar. The editor of Karnataka Photo News, S Ramaswamy, also the professor of digital photojournalism at the Institute, moderated the event.

Dr Sathyan told the students not to play gimmicks with photos. He said that a photographer should never get his subjects to pose for him. “Lay emphasis on the composition and the lighting- even in the case of street photography- unless it is a fleeting moment,” he said.

“Show your photographs to senior and experienced photographers for their critiques and also readily accept them. Review your own old photographs,” he added.

K Gopinathan tipped the students on photojournalism. “Make the photograph as simple as possible. Let it be direct and convey the message easily. Emphasize on your subject. Have a news sense necessarily,” he said. Gopinathan also advised the students to be photographers first and then try to be photojournalists.

Dr Poornima too insisted on the importance of having an interest in photography as well as a news sense. “You should have a third eye, to be a good photographer and capture the mood right,” she said.
All the three journalists agreed that art is an integral part of photography.

The seminar was followed by a question and answer session, between the present and future journalists.
The Institute had an exhibition as well as competition of the photographs captured by the students. The guests at the seminar gave away the prizes for the winners of the competition.

The seminar concluded with enthusiastic students queuing for an autograph of Dr Sathyan on his book, “Alive and Clicking.”


IIJNM faculty gets Rajyotsava Award

Prof Nagesh Hegde, who has been associated with IIJNM since its inception was recently awarded Karnataka’s highest honour, the Rajyotsava Award, for his work in Environment.

Prof. Hegde has been a consistent champion of environmental causes all his life. Born in the extremely biodiverse sphere of Karnataka, the Western Ghats, Prof. Hegde has an M.Phil in Environmental Science from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He taught at the Kumaon University, Nainital before joining Prajavani (Deccan Herald group) as Development Correspondent.

He wrote a series of feature articles on environmental and ecological issues coinciding with and contributing to the nascent environmental movement in Karnataka. Many of his writings have become text book lessons in high schools and universities.

Prof. Hegde has authored more than a dozen books in Kannada on various facets of science, environment and development. He was honoured by the State Sahitya Academy and his work was selected for an anthology of the best childrens' stories of the century.

Prof. Hegde participated in the first Earth Summit at Rio, contributing as a delegate.

Though he has retired from active journalism, he continues to write columns and contribute to Kannada journalism.


Good journalism: the need of the day

The Class of 2007-08 started on July 23 with Dr. Narendra Pani, former Editor, Economic Times exhorting the students to do good journalism, no matter what the circumstances.

Tracing the history of journalism in the world and the country, Dr. Pani pointed out that while journalism had its high points and nadirs, what stood out finally were the good stories done over the years.

Fifty-three students have joined the Indian Institute of Journalism’s year-long diploma program in Journalism, in the four streams-Television, Print, Online and Radio. The students come from all over the country, from places as far apart as Gangtok and Tirvanthapuram and Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

The inaugural boot camp had several activities and lectures by eminent people. Among the speakers were Ms. Parvathi Menon, Chief of Bureau of The Hindu, Bangalore, Vijay Grover, Chief Editor, Zee TV Kannada, Bangalore, Gauri Lankesh, Editor, Lankesh Patrike, Bangalore, and Dr. Unnikrishnan, Emergenices and Human Security Advisor (Asia), ActionAid.

The students’ field trip to Bangalore lasted a little over two days. It was structured like a treasure hunt, where students had to go to different places and find answers to a list of questions they were given.

The students enjoyed their first “beat” into town and overcame bad weather, indifferent officials and tight security arrangements to get the information they were supposed to. At the end of the activity, they were treated to a scrumptious lunch at one of the City’s famous traditional restaurants.


Journalists must find a balance, says Sir Mark Tully

Bangalore, June 20, 2007. Journalists must find a way of imposing some sort of control on themselves if they are not to become the "feral beasts" British Prime Minister Tony Blair called them, said Sir Mark Tully, former Chief of Bureau, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), New Delhi. Sir Mark was speaking at the Annual Convocation of the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM) here this morning.

The media is behaving like a wild beast, Sir Mark said, pointing out that reporters are running wild, because they are under pressure, with no time given to them to respond in a balanced manner. They show the bloodiest pictures, the angriest people they can find, all to hype up news, he said, adding that they resent the thought that they ought to be censored.

Making it clear that censorship did not work, Sir Mark said that while one must not give any quarter to the government to censor journalists, the media must not behave in a manner to force the government to censor it. The editorial function, Sir Mark added, had been surrendered today to a large extent to commercial interests who care little for balance. "If we stood together like a proper profession, we could fight them," he said.

He had little to say about interactive news and television. It was a little like "riding a donkey and getting kicked," Sir Mark said, adding that while it was a good thing to have readers involved in the news, allowing them to dictate news values was another altogether.

Warning against the unimpeded use of technology, Sir Mark said, that it allowed for far too much irresponsible live broadcasting which left the viewer confused.

Exhorting the Graduating Class of 2007 to continue learning while they are in the profession, Sir Mark said that while journalists must report in a balanced and accurate manner, they must also cultivate the crucial virtue of humility. They must remember that the story was not their story but the story of the person they are writing about. They must also remember that that person is a human being and it is not up to them to sensationalize or crucify him or her. Journalists also need courage, a simple style of writing and a culture of reviewing their work in daily meetings, Sir Mark said.

In his address, Dean Abraham George told the students to remember that a free press is the voice of the people; it is one of the main pillars of a strong democracy. He said that they must strive for the ideals of social justice and economic fairness that India had embraced when it became independent.

After the graduating students received their post-graduate diplomas in television, radio, print and new media, some of them were honoured for having excelled in various fields.

Graduating Class of 2007
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Anna Issac
Outstanding Television Journalism Student

Vaishnavi Murali
Outstanding Print & Online Journalism Student
Roll of Honour

Aditi Shah
Excellence in Business Reporting

Akshata Rao
Excellence in Television News Reporting

Deepa Kurup
Excellence in Development Reporting

Monica Jha
Excellence in News Reporting

Om Bajpai
Excellence in Political Reporting

Shlesha Salvi
Excellence in Television News Editing and Production
 
Vaishnavi Murali
Excellence in News Editing and Production
 
Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)

Anamika Nandedkar

Charu Joneja

Priya Randhawa

Tree planting at IIJNM campus

On a hot afternoon with temperatures soaring above thirty degrees, what would you imagine a bunch of soon-to-be journalists doing - typing away on word documents, making pages, shooting bulletins or running helter skelter to meet dead lines? Not even close. This bunch of almost-there journalists came together to sweat it out and plant tree saplings in the stretch of road between the college and the hostel.

Professor Nagesh Hegde inaugurated the event by planting the first sapling, followed by enthusiastic students who spent all day digging holes and preparing the ground for the saplings. Post- lunch everybody gathered and guided by Ms Shobha from Alt tech Foundation and her team, students planted one tree each. The avenue trees were planted along the road divider and the spacing was planned in advance. Teachers and students all worked together, and were helped by the gardener Muthapa and the other administrative staff (a.k.a the akkas), who were delighted to see everybody huff and puff while working under the scorching sun. All the students planted a tree each, and promised to take care of it till the end of the semester .

Some people say that earth day, environment day, earth week and the likes are all just excuses for people to give speeches and organize pointless programs but this Earth Week inspired a group of teachers and students at IIJNM to plant trees. While journalists and common people are all talking about the possible effects of global warming, this bunch of enthusiastic students decided to take that a little further. For all those who are all enthused with the front page broadsheet coverage that the environment is getting, and the all new event of a green story running as a flyer in several national dailies- going ahead and planting a tree meant that we can do all that we seem to preach in our development classes.


Dean George is recipient of NYU Stern’s Satter Social Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2007

“Social entrepreneurship offers society the perfect marriage between tough-minded, bottom-line realities and the passion that goes beyond creating an economic profit. This is a marriage that excites me and has inspired me to support this new program at Stern.”

These are Stewart Satter’s words in NYU Stern’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies magazine, The social entrepreneurship pipeline: educating and accelerating emerging social entrepreneurs states. The Satter Award honors a Stern affiliated social entrepreneur who has leveraged his or her Stern education to create innovative solutions to the world’s most intractable social problems.

The magazine goes on to say, “We at NYU Stern think a great deal about how business can be a transformative force for social good.” This is what Dr. Abraham George has always shared with the officers and staff of The George Foundation and particularly, with the children of Shanti Bhavan.

On the evening of April 12, 2007, at a well-organized Cocktail Evening in a hall at NYU Stern’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, New York, Dean Thomas Cooley’s opening remarks stressed the universal desire of everyone present to build better societies. He applauded Stewart Satter’s personal interest and support of this humanitarian cause. Against a backdrop of slides of the children taken during Dean Cooley’s visit to Shanti Bhavan, Dean Cooley mentioned that visiting Shanti Bhavan was “a great moment in my trip to India.” He went on to say, “It was the most inspiring, memorable and exciting part of my trip.” Dean Cooley related his personal experience of the “energy, warmth, openness and intelligence of the children.” He said the other projects of The George Foundation “displayed a range of ideas” and that the whole mission was “a creative undertaking.”

Stewart Satter said, “It is with great admiration and respect” that he presented Dr. George with the Satter Award in the presence of Dean Thomas Cooley, and assembled guests, including Mrs. Mariam George, wife of Dr. George, and their sons, Ajit and Vivek, Lalita Law, Principal of Shanti Bhavan. Professors, students, social entrepreneurs administrators and supporters applauded Dr. George on the occasion. This well-deserved recognition of Dr. George’s work through The George Foundation in Southern India could not have occurred in a better setting. There is no greater feeling of accomplishment than to be recognized by one’s Alma Mater.

While thanking Dean Cooley, Stewart Satter and the invited guests, Dr. George’s response also embodied his belief and conviction in the empowerment of the rural poor by providing job opportunities through business. He said the rural poor do not need handouts. They want work. It is the responsibility of the business entrepreneur to ensure their workers’ safety and fair wages. Dr. George said only vibrant economic activity can solve the problem of poverty. The rural sector offers opportunities for businesses to make money while doing social good. With rural economic activity and employment, the poor will be able to afford food, shelter, healthcare and education.

As a closing remark, Dr. George shared four of the Shanti Bhavan children’s insights about the symbolism of common objects in relation to their individual lives. One child said a piece of stone symbolized her mother’s love for the family because the mother broke stones to earn a living. Another said a bicycle represents the means to traverse a path that may go in any direction, just as the opportunity to be educated at Shanti Bhavan provides an opportunity to make something of their lives. A third child said a weed represents the tenacity of sticking to one’s convictions or holding one’s ground even if others try to uproot you. A fourth child showed a handful of sand that represented the poor millions but also the many who reach out to help and support them in the background, and whose faces might never be known.

The Satter Award ceremony at NYU Stern was memorable for its gathering of genuine people who strive daily to support innovative ventures that make the world a better place.


IIJNM celebrates Annual Convocation 2006

Go the extra mile, says Sevanti Ninan

Media Critic and editor of thehoot.org, Sevanti Ninan advised young journalists to go the extra mile in getting a story.

Delivering the Convocation Address at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media here this morning, Ms. Ninan said, that going the extra mile is conscientious journalism. “There are often more than two sides to a story in a society as complex as ours,” she pointed out.

She also suggested that if young journalists did not see an outlet for the kind of work they wanted to do, they must create it. The Internet, she explained, “makes solo publishing eminently possible.” She recalled that she was forced to create the Hoot because the outlets for writing on the media were limited.

Film makers with oppositional viewpoints who could not find a space for their films ought to create a cooperative and launch their own channel she said. The cost of hiring a transponder had come down, she pointed out, adding that national and international NGOs were ready to fund alternative media. “With a little gumption, film makers in India should have been able to create a documentary channel which cable or DTH bouquets will be willing to carry,” she said.

Exhorting young journalists to be aware of ethical issues, Ms. Ninan pointed out that technology was creating new ethical dimensions for the media. “You can digitally change the background on televised news stories,” she explained.

Media, she stressed, had a responsibility to keeping a window open on the less palatable realities of the hinterland. It had to be oppositional and it had to shun the business of narrow coverage. If it did not, it had no business taking advantage of the different kinds of concessions given to the industry because of its public service nature.

Current journalism, she criticized, was soft. And, that meant that the PR industry in the country was doing its job well while journalists were failing somewhere.

In his address, Dean Dr. Abraham M. George hoped that the students would maintain personal integrity, ethics, discipline, hard work and determination in their professional lives.

Vice Dean Thomas reminded the graduating class that there was nothing worse for a journalist than losing credibility. “The society you serve, places often unrealistic expectations on you to tell the truth,” he said, adding that purveying a lie, even a little lie, is no escape. “You get caught for what is wrong, however small,” he warned.

After the graduating students received their post-graduate diplomas in television, print and new media, some of them were honoured for having excelled in various fields.

Graduating Class of 2006
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Anusha Jha
Outstanding Print & Online Journalism Student

Nishu Chaudhry
Outstanding Television Journalism Student
Roll of Honour

Amit Bhosale
Excellence in Television News Reporting

Anusha Jha
Excellence in News & Feature Writing

Jeanette Rodrigues
Excellence in Business & International Reporting

Madhurima Duttagupta
Excellence in Magazine & Feature Writing

Sophia Kikon
Excellence in News Editing & Production

Vishank Choudhary
Excellence in Television News Reporting
Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)

Vaishnavi Ramakrishnan

Nimish Pratap Singh

Appointment of Vice Dean at IIJNM

Prof. John Thomas, until recently Editor-Operations, Vijay Times, and Visiting Faculty, IIJNM has just taken over as Vice Dean.

John comes to us after 34 years of practice in India at Deccan Herald, Indian Express, Statesman and Vijay Times, and Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Business Times abroad. His past work has taken him through a variety of roles from sub-editor, reporter, foreign correspondent, news service head, commentary and editorial writer to being a special projects man and media technology evangelist. He has also had brief academic involvement with two other journalism colleges in India, in addition to his recent part-time association with IIJNM. John brings a wealth of journalistic understanding and practical experience to benefit our student body and faculty.

We welcome him aboard.


Make a difference! One-Minute Video Contest

IIJNM Television faculty Nikhat Aslam has edited a 1 minute video, 'Vanaja's Story' for the CWC (Concerned for Working Children, Bangalore) and has been chosen as one of the ten finalists in the Voices of Youth ' Make a Difference' one- minute video contest. This contest, which was organised by UNICEF, aimed to find the video that best captured the mission of Voices of Youth - to promote and protect every child's right to know, say more and do more about the world they live in. The video is a gripping account of how Vanaja, a poor and marginalised girl, fought against all odds for her right to housing in her hometown in Karnataka, India.

'Vanaja's Story',along with the other 9 finalists, will be available for broadcast in celebration of the International Children's Day of Broadcasting celebrated on 11 December 2005.

'Vanaja's Story was the only entry from Asia to appear in the Top 10.

Please click here to view all the 10 videos:
http://www.unicef.org/voy/discussions/showthread.php?t=1989


IIJNM welcomes the new batch of students (2005-06)

Class of 2005Nature seemed to be at her best that Monday morning when the new batch walked into the IIJNM campus. The sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds and the wind was gently swaying the trees. It was as if a show was being put up for the nearly 30 students as they walked in–some with their hearts in their mouths, others with a song on their lips.

As usual, the batch is representative of the country. Students come from places as far apart as Sikkim and Chennai; Mumbai and Kolkata. We even have a foreign student from the US, who'll be joining us shortly. But even before the week is out, they've made friends and have become a well-knit group.

"I reached IIJNM with a pile of doubts and apprehensions," recalls Nishu Chaudhry from Uttar Pradesh, "but they all vanished on my first day at campus." Oasmita Chakroborty from Kolkata adds, "The first thing that strikes you at IIJNM is the comfort level between the faculty and the students."

Of course, the ambience played a major role in putting the young minds at peace. As Anshul Dhamija from Chennai puts it, IIJNM has the environment to let one's poetic excellence come alive. "The majestic hills, wafting cold air, plethora of fauna and flora, all entwine to give a person the experience of God's Paradise," he says. Nishant Bangar from Sikkim adds, "The campus is calm, peaceful and very beautiful."

This peace and calm was also the cause of some concern for a few. While Pavitra Ramaswamy remarked, tongue in cheek, "we were going to learn communication skills by cutting off all communications with the outside world," Neetha Mahadevan worried about how she was going to "manage here all alone, so far from the city."

Quickly, they've all overcome their fears and doubts, and are getting down to business and that does not mean journalism training alone. There's a lot more to do, a lot more in store.


IIJNM celebrates Annual Convocation 2005
June 24, 2005

"Get to the story," says Andrew Whitehead


Mr. Andrew Whitehead, Director, India, BBC World Service Trust discussing a point with the Dean, Dr. Abraham M. GeorgeTechnology has made journalists' lives much easier, but it has also made journalists lazy, said Andrew Whitehead, Director, India, BBC World Service Trust.

Mr. Whitehead was delivering the Convocation Address at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media here this morning.

Exhorting the graduating Class of 2005 not to succumb to desk-bound journalism, Mr. Whitehead said, "If you are reporting, get as near to the action as you can. Getting there always gets you a better understanding of the story. It also often gives you the angle that you can make your own. It's what news journalism is about."

Pointing out that journalists' stories matter because they touch on people's lives, Mr. Whitehead remarked that sometimes reporters get so besotted with the here-and-now, being so close up to the stories they report, that they fail to make sense of them to their readers and viewers. "Just because you know, don't assume your reader knows. Journalism is about opening up public life, not about recycling information within the elite," he said.

Mr. Whitehead added that the Indian media could do with more health and environmental specialist reporters and fewer political reporters. "Political stories are over-valued by news editors," he said, adding, "We need more space for the big social themes-health, education, environment, poverty alleviation."

Radio was another area where he hoped that India would follow Britain and the US where radio news has been enjoying a resurgence.

In his address, Dean, Dr. Abraham M. George, hoped that the graduating class would uphold the values of democracy, freedom, liberty and equality. He reminded them that they needed to question government policies and programmes and work toward a fair and better society.

Sri Sri Sri Balagangadaranatha Swamiji, Founder Trustee of the B S & G Foundation, graced the occasion and hoped that the graduating class would live up to the great task of giving the correct news to the world.

Associate Dean and Marshall of the Convocation, Professor Anand Sagar took the Convocation through its paces, with a dash of Latin to highlight the solemnity of the occasion.

After the graduating students received their post-graduate diplomas in television, print and new media, the names on the Dean's List, and on the Roll of Honour were announced. This year, a new category was announced honouring the Outstanding Student in each stream.

The students on the Dean's List (for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies) were Anumeet Kaur Bedi, Mamita L. Setling and Merlin Flower. Those placed on the Roll of Honour for Excellence in Reporting, Editing and Production were: Abhirr V.P., Anushuka C. Rathour, Casey Johnson, Rashmi Balakrishnan, Sohna Ravindran and Sreedhanya P. Shanmugan.

The Outstanding Students in the three streams were: Deborah Grey (Television Journalism), Anushuka C. Rathour (Online Journalism) and Casey Johnson (Print Journalism).

Once the Valedictorian of the class, Deborah Grey, took over, a lighter note was added to the ceremony. Casey Johnson shared his thoughts through a video recording. Abhirr, as usual, had the audience in splits. Sreedhanya, Tresa and Charmaine contributed to the cheer and a touch of nostalgia. The youngest of the class, Mamita Setling proposed a very well-spoken vote of thanks, bringing to a close, the Convocation and the Academic Year 2004-2005.

Graduating Class of 2005
Outstanding Students of the batch who placed on the
Roll of Distinction

Anushuka C Rathour (New Media)

Casey Johnson (Print)

Deborah Grey (Television)
Roll of Honour

Abhirr V P
Excellence in Television News & Features Reporting

Anushuka C Rathour
Excellence in Online News & Features Reporting

Casey Johnson
Excellence in News & Features Reporting

Rashmi Balakrishnan
Excellence in Online News Editing & Production

Sohna Ravindran
Excellence in News Editing & Production

Sreedhanya P. Shanmugan
Excellence in Television Postproduction
Dean's List
(for meritorious endeavours in journalism studies)

Anumeet Kaur Bedi

Mamita L Setling

F Merlin Flower


IIJNM sizzles

Casey JohnsonCasey Johnson and Kavitha Vallath did IIJNM proud at the intercollegiate debate on "Pin-ups and the Press" organized by the British Deputy High Commission as a part of a two-day seminar (March 7-8) on Media Law held at the Taj Coromandel in Chennai. The debate examined the need and role of censorship vis-à-vis self-regulation, in fighting the negative portrayal of women in the media. It was a closely contested battle among four teams. Each team comprised three members from a mix of journalism and law colleges from all across South India. While Johnson was a part of the winning team, Vallath's team was declared runner-up.

Kavitha VallathThe seminar, chaired by Joshua Rosenberg, legal editor of The Daily Telegraph, covered diverse topics such as Freedom of Expression, Right to Information, Contempt of Court, Defamation, Film Censorship, and several other legal issues media persons often run into trouble with.

The speakers comprised the who's who of the journalism community in India. They included N Ram, editor-in-chief of The Hindu, Naazreen Bhura, resident editor of The Asian Age (Bangalore), Sushila Ravindranath, editor of The New Sunday Express and BBC correspondent Sunil Raman.

Senior advocates, Arvind P. Datar, Sri Ram Panchu and K. Chandru spoke lectured on press law.
Dr. Kamal Haasan and Jeff Wilson, first secretary, press and communications, British High Commission, New Delhi spoke on the changing roll of the press in a global society.

Prof. Kanchan Kaur accompanied the four-member IIJNM contingent, which also included television journalism students Abhirr V.P and Deborah Grey. Some of the other participating colleges were Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, National Law School University of India, Bangalore, NALSAR and Manorama School of Communication, Kottayam.


Mise-en scene workshop

Bangalore, 7 February 2005: "Keeping the genre of cinema in mind, one decides the Mise-en-scene," said Narendar Katkar, while conducting a three day workshop at Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM). A student of the French Etienne Decroux's school of Mime art in Paris, and having worked with several ad agencies, Mr. Katkar has now specialized in the Mise-en-scene technique of filmmaking. He has taught this in several colleges and TV channels all over the country. More details...


"India Untouched" : Dean's book launched

"India Untouched": An authoritative new book on rural poverty by Dr. Abraham M. George, IIJNM Dean, was released by India's federal Finance Minister P. Chidambaram at a well-attended book launch in Chennai in September - following an equally successful book launch in Bangalore in July. The function was attended by academics, senior government officials, members of foreign diplomatic missions, the media and others.

A major work of public significance, India Untouched, addresses a range of complex issues concerning India's continual problems of rural poverty, bureaucratic mismanagement, political mis-governance and social injustice.

But as Ralph Nader, the legendary American consumer advocate and environmentalist, emphasises in his prefatory statement, it is "...A remarkable story of what one man can accomplish with vision and determination".

Dr. George effectively contradicts the widely held belief that rural poverty and social deprivation in India are beyond redemption. The author's incisive insights, coupled with a highly perceptive and prescriptive analysis, gain much authority as his ideas for social and economic reform are rooted in sheer pragmatism.

Dr. George, a conscientious philanthropist, has devoted himself over the past decade to working for the socio-economically underprivileged in South India. He travels frequently between New York (where he is based) and Bangalore (where he has established The George Foundation, a not-for-profit organization) to carry out various humanitarian and environmental projects.

A PhD in Business Administration from New York University, he has previously also authored three influential books on international finance.


IIJNM welcomes the fifth batch of students (2004-05)

Batch 2004As the largest batch at IIJNM, so far, trooped in on a bright Sunday morning, you could see pairs of eyes shining with anticipation. Some were a bit nervous, but others were quite ready to take on the world. As Merlin Flower, who comes from Tamil Nadu, put it, "I was impressed and scared, saw the garden and felt at home." Sohna Ravindran from Kerala was a little unsure: "I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of anxiety when I saw the Institute. I wasn't sure of what I'd gotten myself into, but as the days passed, I knew IIJNM was the best place to further my career prospects."

We have this year, a batch of 23 students, which includes our first television batch. Nine students have opted for the television course, six for New Media and eight for Print. For some, IIJNM is a dream come true. Says Jennita Catherine from Tamil Nadu, "Everything is so perfect for the course-the infrastructure, the environment and the staff. The students are so friendly. "Others, concentrate on more important things. "The menu is great here," says Rashmi Balakrishnan from Kerala, "everyone has to eat and drink (and dream, too) words."

Making friends quickly has been everyone's priority, A great place to live, learn and befriend people, points out Barasha from Assam.

The architecture and the ambience of the place has struck a chord with a lot. Says Deborah Grey from Mumbai, "What completely captivated me was the architecture. The ship like structure, the graded construction, completely blew my mind. As for the peace and quite, well, I am from a city that is home to 20 million people (Mumbai), so Kumbalgudu was interesting only to an extent. What I love though is that this place is a haven for marathon walkers like myself. You can also go running! I love the college and the hostel accommodation. The food is good too!"

Adds Anoushka from Dehradoon, "The best part about IIJNM is its serene environment. Its apt for studying and great for long walks!"

Long walks and studying are just two of the items on the agenda. There is a lot more, as you will see, to come.


IIJNM introduces TV Journalism

IIJNM is pleased to announce that we've expanded the curriculum to include Television Journalism in the academic year 2004-2005. Students learn to conduct television interviews, write, and narrate stories in a variety of formats, including: breaking news, news feature, documentary, and news magazine. Students learn the techniques of shooting, and three of the widely used video editing software. And also this course explores the management structures, procedures, policies and goals of television news broadcasting operations. It analyzes the technology and methods used in covering news events, and the relationships with news consumers.


IIJNM celebrates Annual Convocation 2004
15 June, 2004

Essayist and historian Dr. Ramachandra Guha warned prospective journalists to not be “loyal to any political party” lest they be forced to compromise their integrity.

Guha, who was addressing the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media’s graduating Class of 2004, offered several other valuable tips in his soul-stirring speech that was generously peppered with witticisms.

He told the students that among the “eight rules” by which journalists should guide themselves were to be open to views that were different from theirs. “Be catholic in your admiration of other writers in terms of genre and ideology,” Guha said at the simple, yet poignant convocation that drew parents and friends.

More than once Guha stressed that journalists should never be motivated by financial success or reward.
After the 16 graduating students received their post-graduate diplomas in print and new media, some of them were honoured for having excelled in various fields. They were Manjusha Radhakrishnan (News Reporting), Saumyata Dashottar (News Reporting), Sharad Vyas (Investigative Reporting), Vineet Kumar Patro (New Media), Uma Shankari (Developmental Journalism) and Tsewang Rigzin (Design and Production).

Additionally, four other students made the Dean’s List — Aparna S. Muktibodh, Jayashree Menon, Krishna Kumar and Vidyalaxmi Venkatramani.


Earlier, IIJNM’s Vice Dean and Knight International Press Fellow Michael O. Fowler urged students to treat all stories with the same seriousness, and said that even the most trivial stories would catch an editor’s eye if well written.

Associate Dean Anand Sagar, speaking on behalf of Dean Dr. Abraham George, who couldn’t attend the event because of prior commitments in the U.S., encouraged the students to be persistent and hardworking, the tools that could take them to “great heights.”

Sagar also announced that the school would be launching a television journalism in the coming academic year, beginning July 26.


Thomas Friedman at IIJNM

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman swung into the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media Feb. 26 and briefly addressed the students.

The three time Pulitzer Prize winner talked about his climb to big time journalism, starting as a reporter for the Des Moines Register back in 1979. Among issues Friedman touched upon in the question-and-answer session were outsourcing U.S. jobs to India – a sizzling topic in the U.S. media and one that is generating much controversy, the economies of China and India and U.S. foreign policy.

Later, Friedman accompanied IIJNM dean Abraham M. George to Shanti Bhavan, a school for poor children in the outskirts of the city. (Another report)


IIJNM Welcomes the Fourth batch of Students

IIJNM students 2003-2004August 4, 2003 proved to be yet another milestone in IIJNM’s history, with the fourth batch of students beginning their first semester. This year, students from 13 different states in India, with diverse social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds have enrolled. Over the next 12 months, under pressure cooker conditions, they will be exposed to the exciting world of 'newsroom' culture. The campus is abuzz with such words as headlines, deadlines and the inverted pyramid.

Asked to share their first impressions at IIJNM, the students gave responses that were as varied as the batch itself, but all the responses resounded with hope and excitement. Said one student:: "Far from the madding crowd and the hustle and bustle of city life, it’s all happiness that pervades our campus and its surroundings. , I’m quite confident that with the facilities provided – the state-of-the-art work station, the colossal resources and of course, the best faculty that I’ve ever come across, I will be guided to become a thoroughly professional journalist." Said another: "I would like to mention the happiness of getting multi- culture and multi- religion exposure through my friends coming from different states."

"I have chosen this profession with a hope to serve my society. I want and I hope to come out as a dynamic and energetic journalist, and more importantly. A broad-minded human being at the end of this course. However complicated or problematic it may be, I have promised to struggle with it", said a third.

One thing is for sure: both the students and the faculty have their work cut out for them. But it definitely promises to be another eventful and exciting year.


IIJNM celebrates First Annual Convocation 2003

Tears, laughter, hugs and toasts marked the first annual convocation of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM), Bangalore, as 14 students received their post-graduate diplomas in a colorful rite of passage on July 8, 2003.

Six students were honored for their outstanding performance. Students Hemali Chhapia and Aman Khanna tied for the “Excellence in News Reporting Award,” while Debarshi Dasgupta bagged the “Excellence Magazine Writing Award.” Amrita Mariam Thomas won the Excellence in New Media Award and Sreerekha Pillai walked away with the “Excellence in Design and Production. Smitha Sahai claimed the "Excellence in Software Application Skills."

In his convocation address, veteran journalist Rajan Bala urged the students not to succumb to the many temptations they are likely to encounter in their journalistic career.

He reminded them of the importance of becoming indispensable to the profession by the age of 40, or else think of an alternative career outside the newsroom, even perhaps “in the kitchen.” In filing their news reports, he said, they should always try to come up not with just a “good word, but an inevitable word.” A mark of a good journalist is when he can write a comprehensive sentence using no more than five words.

Bala, who is currently the associate editor of The Asian Age, earlier earned a reputation as a sports writer in several leading publications.

IIJNM Dean Dr. Abraham George outlined the rapid progress the institution has made since it opened in December 2000. He pointed how one of its former graduates has been given a New York Times internship, a first for any student from India. Another former student has just returned after a four-month stint as a Scripps Howard scholar.

Over the last several months, a number of journalists from the U.S. have taught at the institute as Knight fellows. Two are slated to teach in the upcoming semester, beginning next month.

The ceremony, which had for the most part maintained an austere and ceremonial color, turned emotional when students took the stage and talked about their year at the school.

Senior media figures including Deccan Herald Shant Kumar were among the audience.


Exciting Times

There are plenty of exciting things happening at IIJNM even as the semester is coming to an end.

Job offers for our students Hemali ChhapiaKarthik MChinmayee  Manjunathare pouring in even before they have completed their semester. It seems only a little while ago that we had them talking excitedly about their first bylines!

Three of our students have already been offered jobs from mainstream newspapers, while the rest of them are in the process of getting a job.

Hemali Chhapia and Chinmayee Manjunath will be beginning their journalistic career at Deccan Herald Bangalore July 15th, while Kartik M will be joining the New Indian Express in Madurai sometime in July.

Meanwhile, the rest of the students are busy giving written exams and interviews at the city’s various media organizations. Looks like the current batch of students are skipping the internship program and straight diving into jobs right away.

Here’s wishing them all the best in life and career!


Tamara D' MelloNYT internship for IIJNM student

Tamara D’ Mello, one of our top students of the batch 2001-02, is currently undergoing journalism internship in the world’s prestigious newspaper New York Times, New York city. She is the first-ever student selected from an Indian journalism school for internship in the New York Times for which nominees from all over the world compete every year. Tamara was previously working as a reporter with Mid Day, Mumbai.


IIJNM student wins Scripps Howard Internship

Vivek Gupta of the Class of 2002, returned recently to India, after doing a four-month Scripps Howard internship in Washington, D.C. Gupta, richer for the experience, is the first IIJNM student to have won the international internship.

At present Vivek is working as a copy editor in Times of India, Delhi.


Rita Henley Jensen Joins IIJNM International Advisory Board

Ms. Rita Henley JensenIIJNM is pleased to welcome Women's Enews Editor-in-Chief Rita Henley Jensen to its international advisory board.

Jensen made international news when she launched a news agency for women in June 2000. In a short span of two years, Jensen's news agency has won four journalism awards and boasts of one million readers per month. Often major newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and a number of other papers use the content provided by Women's E news.

Jensen believes that mainstream media does not pay enough attention to women's issues. This is true of most women's magazines too, which devote a lot of space to beauty and baby-sitting services but ignore hard core issues such as women's health, education, wages, legal issues, women's political candidates and governmental actions affecting women.

Women's e-news projects news through a woman's perspective. It fills a void left by the mainstream media. It asks questions that the mainstream media doesn't generally ask. For instance, Jensen questioned why there are hardly any women on IIJNM's advisory board. IIJNM was quick to respond, and invited her to join the board to which Jensen gladly agreed.

Jensen is a former senior writer for the National Law Journal and columnist for The New York Times Syndicate. She has more than 20 years of experience in journalism and journalism education. She has also won a number of awards including the Hunter College Presidential Grant for Innovative Uses of Technology in Teaching, the Alicia Patterson Fellowship, and the Lloyd P. Burns Public Service prize.

Jensen, the founder of a battered-women's shelter in Columbus, Ohio, is a domestic violence survivor and a former welfare mother. She earned degrees from Ohio State University and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.


Dean Goldstein of Columbia University Joins IIJNM Board

Tom Goldstein6 June 2002: Tom Goldstein, Dean of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has agreed to join the prestigious group of the Board of Directors of IIJNM. Columbia University is the home of the Pulitzer Prize Awards, and is rated as the best graduate school in journalism. The decision by Dean Goldstein reflects his personal confidence and enthusiasm for the academic program at our institute.

We heartily welcome Tom Goldstein as a member of IIJNM Board of Directors.

Goldstein has been dean of the Graduate School of Journalism since July 1997. Immediately prior to that, he was dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.

He has also been a Lombard Visiting Professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a Gannett Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Florida at Gainesville and an adjunct professor at New York University.

Among other positions he has held, Goldstein has been a legal reporter for The New York Times, media writer for New York Newsday, real estate reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and a consultant for ABC News Nightline. He served as press secretary to Mayor of New York Edward I. Koch.

His articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Columbia Law Review, Washington Journalism Review, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Buffalo News. He is the author of "The News at Any Cost," "A Two-Faced Press," "Killing the Messenger" and "The Lawyer's Guide to Writing Well."

He received the J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1971, the M.A. degree from the Graduate School of Journalism in 1969, and the B.A. from Yale in 1967.


Viji Sundaram wins SAJA Award

IIJNM congratulates faculty Viji Sundaram on winning the South Asian Journalism Association (SAJA) Award for her story "Where's the Beef? It's in Your Fries." published in India West.

Viji, as she is affectionately called by her students and friends won her fourth SAJA Award. Her previous SAJA awards include: Best Series, 1998, for her series of articles on the domestic violence support group Aasra; and Best In-depth Coverage, 1997, for her story on how Asians were being denied top posts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Viji also won the New California Media Award for Best Breaking News Story, 1999, for her coverage of a Sikh-Canadian publisher's assassination.

Winning awards has become almost a habit for Viji now. But the flip side of it is that, the students will not leave her alone even for a moment. As it is, the students of Advanced Editing class are always in her office with their stories ready to be edited by 'Viji ma'm'. Looks like, it is only going to get worse!

IIJNM wishes Viji all the best and hopes more laurels come her way.

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