“A pen is mightier than a sword,” according to an old proverb. If you have an ability to prove the statement and have an eye for news, Journalism is a suitable career for you. It is a discipline of gathering, analyzing and presenting information to the public. Access to free and fair information is crucial in enabling citizens to take part in the political process. By ensuring two-way communication between government and the public, Journalists serve as an important link between them. The role of Journalism cannot be under-estimated for the success of modern democracy. It is rightly called the ‘fourth estate’ along with the legislature, executive, and judiciary.
In the recent years, the field of Journalism has undergone sea changes with the advent of digital technology. As a result, there has been a shift from reading stories in print to consuming them on electronic media. Also, the digital era has enhanced the consciousness of the citizens giving a fillip to the ‘Citizen Journalism.’ There has been an explosion of news from a variety of channels enabling citizens to get access to information from various sources.
Basic course requirements
For pursuing a career in Journalism, a minimum of bachelor degree in the field is desirable. Post graduate studies in the field enhance your knowledge. Alternatively, one can choose any stream, preferably humanities, and go for the post- graduate studies in Journalism. Background in humanities is desirable for it offers a range of insights from the field of social sciences. However, in this profession, work experience carries more weight than qualification.
For admission to premier colleges in Journalism, one needs to clear a two- tier examination process. Various colleges conduct their own entrance examination for the course. The written examination is designed to test a candidate’s command over the language besides knowledge of current affairs. List of entrance exams:
- Indian Institute of Mass Communication entrance
- Xavier Institute of Communication entrance
- SNAP entrance (for admission into Symbiosis School of Mass Communication)
- Bharti Vidya Bhawan entrance
- Times School of Journalism entrance
- Manorama School entrance
- YMCA entrance
To go through the sample paper of Indian Institute of Mass Communication entrance, click here
Interview stage follows the written examination. It assesses the suitability of the candidate for the profession. An interview stage tests the candidate’s overall general knowledge and his ability to interpret and analyze news. Most institutes require the candidates to have a good profile (extra-curricular activities) and preferably some work experience in the field.
Top colleges for Journalism
India has some of the best colleges for Journalism. Top notch media agencies hire students who pass out from these colleges. Some top colleges for pursuing Journalism in India are:
- Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi
- Asian College of Journalism, Chennai
- Xavier Insitute of Communication, Mumbai
- Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad
- AJK Qidwai School of Mass Communication, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi
- Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, Pune
- Times School of Journalism, New Delhi
- Bharti Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi
- Manorama School of Communication, Kottayam
Journalism Coaching Institutes
One can manage the preparation for Journalism entrances without coaching. However, there is no dearth of good coaching institutes in the country if one wishes to join them. Vidya Coaching Centre in New Delhi provides guidance for various Journalism entrances.
Triple C in Kolkata also provides guidance for all Journalism entrances.
Another institute for Journalism entrance examination preparation is Crack Entrance. Founded by media experts, the institute provides hands- on practice through the mock tests and question papers. It also grooms aspirants in spoken English.
The course material is designed to impart overall knowledge to the students. Communication theory provides a theoretical framework for Journalism. The course on the history of press traces the evolution of Journalism. The course on press laws aims to make aspiring journalists aware of the legal framework for Journalism. Reporting and editing aim to familiarize the students with the nuances of the profession. Development Journalism and New Media are newer additions to the curriculum to ensure that students stay updated with the current trends. Usually, students of both Print and Television Journalism study radio and television reporting and subject of public relations and advertising. Thus, they can easily switch between the above professions if they so desire. Practical learning in the form of lectures, seminars, reporting assignments, lab journals and radio and television projects supplements the theoretical learning. Usually, every college has a one-month internship at a media organization as a part of the curriculum. These internships enable students to gain hands-on experience. Some handy books for Journalism course are:
- Mass Communication In India by Kewal Kumar
- History of Indian Journalism by J Natrajan
- News Reporting and Editing by K.M. Shrivastava
- Advertising and Public Relations by Jaishree Jethwaney
- Print and Communication Design by N.N Sarkar
- Broadcast Journalism in 21st century by K.M. Shrivastava
- Communication: Theories and Models by N. Andal
- Journalism in India by R. Parthasarathy
- Press Laws: An Introduction by P.M. Bakshi
- Mass Media and National Development by Wilbur Schramm
Apart from the course books, one must also read books authored by eminent Journalists such as Everybody Loves a Good Drought by P. Sainath, Media Ethics: Truth, Fairness and Objectivity by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta to gain insights into the journalism field.
It is desirable that students read voraciously and utilize their college days to brush up their written communication skills. This comes handy during the latter stage of their professional life.
The expansion and considerable competition among media houses have increased the scope of Journalism in India. After completing graduation or post graduation, one can choose to work either for media houses or start -ups. News agencies like PTI, Reuters, and Bloomberg are among the best organizations to start a promising career as they equip you with the nuances of the profession. A trainee can expect to earn between Rs 15,000 and 18,000 a month. Salary increases with increasing experience in the field. One can also pursue research in the field of communication after completing post graduation. Currently, MICA is among the few colleges that offer fellowship program in management communication.
Journalism employment prospects
Note: The x-axis shows the year and y –axis shows jobs created in recent years (in thousands). According to the graph, Journalism field is expected to create 26,900 jobs by 2019.
Salary of journalists in India
Note: According to the graph, the median salary of journalists in India is Rs 2, 39,907 per annum
Qualities required for Journalism
A Journalist should be thoroughly updated with current affairs. He should have strong oral and written communication skills. Journalism ethics require him to be tenacious to unravel the truth. Besides, a Journalist should try to establish a good network to gather news. He should be a person of integrity to report news in a fair and accurate manner. Also, he should be fearless to not get intimidated by threats. A Journalist should also be open –minded and adaptable to change.
The best part of this profession is its diversity. Each day brings a different story. A Journalist gets an opportunity to meet eminent people from all walks of life. It is thrilling for a Journalist to see his name published in print or make frequent appearances on television as a reporter. Equally, exciting is receiving invitations to theatre performances and restaurant reviews. The public perceives Journalists as wielding authority.
A Journalist is expected to work efficiently even under pressure and adhere to tight deadlines. He may be required to work even on weekends, festivals and till late night. Besides, a Journalist is required to reach even inaccessible areas for reporting the news. In doing so, he risks significant injury while covering a war or riot or communal disturbance. Besides, Journalism aspirants may get disheartened by low pay in the beginning. Given these constraints, it is the passion and hard work that determines one’s career prospects in the field. However, one must remember that eminent Journalists such as Arnab Goswami, Rahul Kanwal, and Suhasini Haider have all struggled to reach where they are today.
I suggest that one must weigh both pros and cons while choosing any profession. Similar is a case with Journalism. One must keep in mind that pay, in the beginning, is very low so one must know how to survive within limited means. Also, salary is not a constraint for deserving aspirants in the long- run. One must take inspiration from eminent Journalists such as Arnab Goswami, Vinod Mehta, and Kuldip Nayar, who have carved a niche in this field. So if you have a passion for writing and follow news minute by minute, go ahead!
This article aims to resolve all doubts and queries of students who wish to pursue Journalism. Did I miss out anything? Please let me know in the comments below. Your feedback is valuable to me.
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