Ranjan K Baruah
Many students ask me about the prospect of journalism and can they choose it as a career. There is no doubt that journalism is one of the best career options. But in recent years, we have seen many changes in this field. There has been a change in the field of journalism. Technology has bought many changes and one must be equipped to be successful as journalists. Journalism is the production and distribution of reports on recent events. The word journalism applies to the occupation, as well as citizen journalists, using methods of gathering information and using literary techniques. Journalistic media include print, television, radio, digital media, etc.
Concepts of the appropriate role for journalism vary between countries. In some nations, the news media are controlled by government intervention and are not fully independent. In others, the news media are independent of the government but instead operate as private industries motivated by profit. In addition to the varying nature of how media organizations are run and funded, countries may have differing implementations of laws related to freedom of speech or expression.
In recent years the advent of the Internet and smart phones has brought significant changes to the media landscape. This has created a shift in the consumption of print media channels, as people increasingly consume news through e-readers, smart phones, and other personal electronic devices, as opposed to the more traditional formats of newspapers, magazines, or television news channels. Mainly the rise of social media has drastically changed the nature of journalistic reporting.
It is challenging to advice someone to take up journalism as a profession as there are many challenges when it comes to employment and earnings. Students studying journalism in the degree or in master’s level may get sustainable jobs or may have to struggle for a better job. Mere academic qualification is not sufficient to be successful in this field. One must be very active since a young age, like from the time of studying in college. Effective communication and networking skills is a must to be successful as journalist.
One may take admission in graduation level courses of Journalism or one may choose during masters after finish graduation in any different stream. Most of the leading universities in India offer courses related to journalism. As a journalist one may work with newspapers, television channels, web portals, work as photo journalist or nowadays, one may also become citizen journalism for which one does not need much formal qualification or degree related to journalism. Being journalist is not only limited to collecting news or presenting them for readers. One must learn press or other media laws and must learn about the ethics related to journalism. It is easy to become citizen journalists but to become a successful journalist it is advisable to take up courses related to Journalism.
Few job profiles are reporters, correspondent, editor, assistant editor, executive editor, feature writer, columnist, broadcast reporters, video journalist, photo journalist, etc. Apart from BA or MA courses, there are short term diploma courses and advance diploma courses related to journalism. Apart from colleges or universities, a few media houses also provide diploma or advance diploma for aspirants who wants to become journalists. As social media has already bought challenges so we must be skilled enough and well equipped to be successful as a journalist. This is a profession which was well respected in the past but in recent years there are many controversies related to media houses and people working with them. There are good and bad things everywhere and it depends upon us what we do. I would appeal students to take up the courses and work for the community and development of the nation by becoming a journalist.
Whenever we talk about courses related to journalism then we also talk about mass communication. Courses related to Journalism and mass communication were being taught together initially but later there are specialisations in both. In simple, mass communication is the process of exchanging information through mass media to large segments of the population. In other words, mass communication refers to imparting and exchanging information on a large scale to a wide range of people.
It differs from other forms of communication, such as interpersonal communication or organizational communication, because it focuses on particular resources transmitting information to numerous receivers. The study of mass communication is chiefly concerned with how the content of mass communication persuades or otherwise affects the behaviour, the attitude, opinion, or emotion of the people receiving the information. It is being done through many mediums, such as radio, television, social networking, billboards, newspapers, magazines, film, and the Internet. Advertising, journalism, public relations are associated with mass communication.
There are different courses related to mass communication. Apart from academic qualifications, many other skills are required. The required skills to be successful in the field of mass communication includes creativity, confidence, effective communication skills, ability to work under strict deadlines, effective networking skills, research skills, interviewing skills, observation skills, problem-solving skills, decision making, interpretation skills, critical and creative thinking, ability to work under irregular conditions, effective interviewing skills, ability to express ideas and thoughts clearly, etc. There are under-graduation and post-graduation courses related to mass communication.
Few course curriculums related to mass communication are writing for media, introduction to journalism, socio-economic & political scenario, history of print & broadcasting in India, print journalism, media laws & ethics, still photography, theory of communication, application of computer in media, development & communication, media management, basics of camera, lights & sound, folk media, television journalism & production, introduction to advertising, public relations, advertising practices, event management, media research, communication research, global media scenario, electronic media, new media technology, corporate communication, film studies, media and society, etc .
Successful students shall get placement in different media houses. There is scope to join government department like Prasar Bharati, which includes Doordarshan or All India Radio. There are media experts in different departments and missions like National Health Mission. Different corporate hires for their corporate communication team. There are many media houses or organisation in India which hires post graduates or graduates who studies Mass Communication as subject. There are diplomas or advanced diploma courses related to mass communication. Few institutes also offer the course through distance mode but it is always preferable to study in regular class room mode instead of distance mode. Distance mode is good and helpful for working professionals related to mass communication.
The Indian Institute of Mass Communication is a leading premier institution in the country having its campuses in different parts. Over the past decade, IIMC has expanded its academic activities and started a number of specialised courses to meet the manpower requirements of the rapidly expanding media and communication industry. IIMC also makes a concerted effort to constantly innovate its programmes in order to meet the challenges thrown up by developments in the industry. The syllabi are reviewed every year to make changes and suitable modifications to make them relevant to the needs of the industry.
As there has been advancement in the field of technology so there has been changes in the field of mass communication. One must be technologically equipped and possess employability skills to be engaged in other organisations or managing his or her own organisation as start up or new venture.
(Ranjan K Baruah is a career mentor, skill trainer, motivational speaker and strategic planner who has conducted career awareness programme in different parts of Assam and North East and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 8473943734 for any career related queries)