Media: Sweat, glamour and a rewarding career
From Left to right: Students of Broadcast Journalism at NDTV Media Institute engrossed in learning camera techniques; Students from Times School of Journalism engaged in analysing news in newspapers; TV institutes teaches all nuances of videography; You learn how to take interview shoots; RJ Jiya at Radio Mirchi Studio
The thrill to read, watch or listen something “new” always hovers in our minds. The power of media is so inescapable in life that you wake up in the morning first to brush up news either on mobile phone, newspaper, TV or radio. It stimulates curious minds and shapes opinions.
In today’s fast paced life, journalism transcends traditional media (Newspaper, Television and Radio) to blogs, websites, mobile apps and social media to name a few. “Journalism allows a lot of lateral and linear mobility. It allows you to transfer skills in many interesting ways,” informs Sashi Kumar, Chairman of Chennai-based Asian College of Journalism (ACJ). With the multiplier approach of journalism, it is broadly termed as Mass Communication or in short, Masscom. Media is growing so fast it has outpaced even IT and Tourism. “This sector is very buoyant as TV, Radio, new media, print is growing by 15, 20, 25 and 8 percent respectively,” says John Brittas, CEO of regional channel Kairali TV. “Journalism allows a lot of lateral and linear mobility. It allows you to transfer skills in many interesting ways,” unveils Bindu Bhaskar,, Dean & Core Faculty at Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai. Employing over one million people, directly and indirectly, the job potential in this sector is tremendous.
ENTERING THE FIELD
You could be from any stream to opt for a 3-year Bachelor of Journalism & Mass Communication (BJMC). Certain colleges/institutions call it BA (Journalism) or BSc (Journalism). But the basic course content remains more or less the same. The curriculum begins with history of communication and comparison of local and global media. You learn basics of all mediums (from print, radio, TV to new media), film studies, advertising, event management and public relations. The third year covers media trends, laws and ethics.
A student from any stream can opt for 2-year Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication (MJMC) or 9 to 12 months PG Diploma in Journalism. At PG level, usually students specialize in one of the fields of mass communication: Print/TV/Film Radio/Advertising/ Public Relations.
Asian College of Journalism
Q. Strength of good journalist.
BJMC versus MJMC/PG Diploma
The 2-year Master’s programme focuses on media research, unlike BJMC/ 1-Year PG Diploma. Students write thesis and bring out dissertation on their specialised area. “If a journalist doesn’t have an aptitude for research, then stories become extremely shallow,” shares VaradeshHiregange, Director, School of Communication, Manipal University. Do higher degrees hold value during recruitment? “Usually employers don’t differentiate between UG and PG, but salaries vary. A UG candidate can expect 2.5 lakh rupees and PG/ Master’s 3.5 lakh per annum,” says Hiregange.
In a studio-based TV production, the producer coordinates and manages crew, set and tech equipment
Prof. Kalyan Chatterjee, Deputy Director, Amity School of Communication feels that BJMC lack in depth knowledge compared to MJMC. After BA Journalism, Akhshaya Ganesh joined Manipal School of Communication for Master’s in Communication to specialise in Broadcast Journalism. “UG brushes your basics, but Master’s broadens knowledge about how to handle camera, edit visuals and take interviews on the field,” says Akshaya. Aftab Ahmad, 28, soon after his BJMC at Amity, was placed at Reuters Bangalore as Trainee Correspondent. “There is not much value addition; three years will teach you only basics. But exposure from industry lectures was highly appreciative, experts from Hindu newspaper fraternity frequently visited the campus,” says Aftab, who works as senior correspondent at New Rise Media.
Invariably, all prominent institutes select students on the basis of entrance tests followed by GD/Interview. The multiple and descriptive written test assesses Current Affairs, language and analytical skills.
SPOT YOUR SPECIALISATION
“The number of students applying for print has drastically escalated in last few years. The prime reason is that TV has reached a saturation point,” points out Prof. BinduBhaskarBalaji, who teaches News-writing, Reporting and News Analysis at ACJ. She strongly feels that certain core values are retained in print.
Reporting assignments enhance the ability to compose headlines, captions, cropping photographs, selecting typography and designing attractive page layouts. You learn everything about reporting, editing, page making, sub-editing copies and opinion writing.
Sarah Hafeez, Bindu’s student shares about ‘Covering deprivation’, a hot course at ACJ. “I went to Meghalaya for 10 days to assess and write a report on lack of resources in interiors, unstable political system, low accountability, child labour,” she said.
Principal, Times School of Journalism
Q. Give us a snapshot of TSJ’s curriculumâ¦
A. In these days of paid content and sting operations, freshers should have a clear idea of what they are supposed to write and how. Our teachers pick up relevant examples like ‘defamation’, ‘contempt of court’, ‘plagiarism’, and then explain these concepts. Students go out in the field right from the beginning. If there is a building collapse in the vicinity, our students will go and cover it.
Q. What is the placement scenario?
A. In many cases, the trainers are actually the people who hire freshers in their team. This is akin to your teacher being your would-be boss. Besides Times Group, our students are hired by PTI, HT, Asian Age, NDTV, Reuters, CNN-IBN to name a few.
Q. Job profile and pay packages for freshers?
A. Initially, a fresher joins as trainee journalist. On confirmation they get designations like Sub-editor, Reporter, Assistant Producer. Some join broadcast journalism and become producers, reporters or editors. Depending on the voice quality and diction, some may even go on to become anchors. Those who join online news portals can become a Sub-editor or a reporter. The pay packages vary between Rs 2.5-5.0 lakhs depending on the organization, quality/experience of candidates.
Unlike other reporters in daily newspapers, AnushaParthasarthy, reporter at Hindu Metroplus, Chennai doesn’t have to churn out stories every day. “I get at least 2-3 days to write features. It’s not as hectic as daily papers.” She writes about books, arts and history. Surya Prakash, renowned political journalist, columnist and former director of Pioneer Media Institute, left TV and moved into Print. Ask him the reason? “I needed a good amount of space to express my opinions.” He critically expresses, “Today 99% of editorial workforce of print/TV doesn’t have time to read. They are just quote/byte getters. There is no good analysis of a story. Media feels that dumbing down is the way for commercial success.”
Options for print journalists are in newspapers, weeklies, magazines, books, journals, social media blogging. In reporting, you start as a trainee journalist and then graduate to a senior reporter, special correspondent and bureau chief. On desk the positions are junior sub editor, chief sub editor, news editor, resident editor etc. There are senior positions like Editor-in-Chief, Assistant Editor, Managing Editor, and Editor etc. But these are meant for people who have years of experience. The entry-level salary is around Rs. 12000-Rs. 15000. As one gains experience of 3-5 years salary can grow somewhere between Rs. 25000-50000.
TV & RADIO
Unlike Print, in TV a reporter is engaged not only in news gathering but also in packaging and presentation of visuals. They gather skills about anchoring, presentation, interviewing, reporting on camera, digital editing and more. Senior Asst. Producer at Times Now, UzmaMollah recalls, “At ACJ, along with studio/field production exposure, I learnt the art of storytelling to compose news bulletins, documentary films.” In radio, a student needs to have a knack for sound. You need skills to conceive, plan and manage audio production.
A TV professional must have good visual sense and ability to express in a few words. An outgoing person with good interactive and report writing skills is usually hired as a reporter. For a desk job you should have excellent language skills and subject knowledge. Photo journalist/cameraman, graphic designer and cartoonist are also important profiles. The 24x7 nature of the TV news makes it imperative for media persons to work at odd hours.
Dr. Sanjay Nigam
CEO, NDTV Media Institute (NDTVmi)
Q. What prompted NDTV to kick-start a media institute?
A. Most graduates are clueless about what exactly constitutes Television journalism and they aspire to become anchors. Budding journalists must know that back-end people are the most competent and highly paid rather than front end. There was a huge mismatch between the kind of people trickling in and organizational expectation.
Q. How many students get employed?
A. We have graduated roughly 400 students so far. Out of which we have placed 160 students in NDTV. The rest of them are employed in TV channels like Times Now, Headlines Today and others.
Q. What’s the exclusive character of your TV institute?
A. We give contextualized training to know what is happening in the society today. For instance, election is the biggest phenomenon in 2014. It becomes the right tool to teach journalism and other aspects. If you want to be in the eyes and ears of the democracy, then you are not only responsible towards what you do but also the manner in which you impact the democracy.
Q. What does it take to be a good TV journalist?
A. You have to be conscious, mindful. As Malcolm Gladwell says, “You have to put your 10,000 hours for success.” You have to do things in shorter period of time and better value than it was done before. Bringing flesh to the content is a must.
CEO, Kairali TV
We all concentrate on the skill and the craft but not on the content. You must look at socio-economic, political realities closely. Otherwise you will have a scenario wherein a journalist who takes a byte from the Home Minister ends up asking him, “Sir, could I know your name?
FM radio is booming after the sector was opened to private sector. Anjali Sharma popularly called RJ “Jiya” in Radio Mirchi, Patna comes daily on air on her show called “90’s not out”. With her mesmerizing, vibrant voice, she lifts up her listeners by playing film song tracks and interviewing celebrities. Her team comprises 5 RJs, copywriter, promo producer and programming head. The beginners could earn between Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 25,000 per month. Depending on your talent, experience and popularity, it could rise up to Rs. 50,000 or more.
With rising demand for film-related careers, a lot of film institutes have mushroomed across India. Major institutes like FTII, Satyajit Ray Film & TV Academy, Whistling Woods International for Films, Media, Animation & Media arts (WWI), intensively focus on imparting latest knowledge in filmmaking, direction, cinematography, sound recording, editing, acting and video editing etc. “People now value the importance of method-oriented film education and training. One no longer needs to have a famous film family surname to make a mark in the industry. The talented, passionate professionals with right training are giving a tough competition to the star kids,” says MeghanaGhaiPuri, President WWI.
In some institutes students are placed even before they graduate from the institute. “Our students work on industry projects while pursuing their studies. Production houses such as UTV, Yashraj Movies, NDTV, Lintas India, Madison, Percept, and Ogilvy have hired them,” Meghna reveals. A film director is the real off screen hero responsible for all major creative decision-making. The director’s pay checque depends on the production house, it may range from Rs. 3 lakhs to Rs. 10 lakhs. Big screen actors draw fatter cheques than small screen actors. A TV actor could earn between Rs. 25,000 to 100,000 per day whereas for renowned film actors it touches crores.
One no longer needs to have a famous film family surname to make a mark in the industry. The talented, passionate professionals with right training are giving a tough competition to the star kids
You may be highly skilled, but you may not get the break you desire. Be patient and build the ability to accept rejection. Focus on your unique identity rather than aping others. Casting directors are always looking for that individuality
Without good scripts, film and TV shows fail badly. Your story must be engaging and appealing. A fresher can expect between Rs. 5-10 lakh for an original production-worthy script. Once you establish yourself, you can cross Rs. 1 crore per script
The role of a PR professional is clear-cut. It is to make the product or brand or service that one represents gets adequate exposure in public through media. It can be print, television (news media) and digital media. PR is not only responsible for the image of a brand or a company but also plays a role in strategic communication at boardroom levels. The institutes teach papers like Public Relations principles, tools and methods; corporate communication; oral and visual communication; production techniques and methods; media planning; and advertising.t was done before. Bringing flesh to the content is a must.
Job roles and potential
The requirements of PR skills are different across levels, but the basics include good writing skills and general knowledge. You must have strong communication, abilty to write and express well. In PR, you can choose job functions like Corporate Communications, Brand Management, Lobbying, Image Management. A trainee’s starting salary would be around Rs. 10,000, and eventually he/she can expect a salary of Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 25,000.
Advertising plays a critical role in marketing various types of products. Media plays a supporting role in advertising products through TV, radio, websites, newspapers, magazines, billboards, hoardings, etc. Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA), a leading institute offering PG in Advertising Management focuses on Brand Management, Media Management, Advertising Management. Nagesh Rao, President & Director, MICA says, “Students gain all-round knowledge of advertising business and how advertising plans are developed from initial concepts to finished creative products.”
Advertising job is best suited for those who are creative. Ask IIMC alumnus, Ashish Chakraborty, now National Creative Director, Contract Advertising what he expects from professionals? “The advertising world is all about ideas. You have to be flexible, quick in learning. We look for excellent writers to demonstrate ideas well,” he says. Having excellent communication, good presentation, team skills is an asset for the advertising world. After years of experience, the salary levels reach up to Rs. 50,000 per month and beyond. You could join as copywriters, art directors and TV commercial makers.
Top media house training
In the last 10 years media institutes have substantially mushroomed in India. Unfortunately, in the struggle to fill the gap, there is a lot of misfit in the industry. Top media houses have started in-house autonomous courses with the aim of encouraging excellence.
“As part of classroom exercise all students go to Manorama newsrooms for 3-4 editions. You get hands-on experience on how to make original news. Ultimately students bring out their own paper. They take weekly turns donning the roles of reporter, editor, and sub-editor,” says K Thomas Oommen, Director Manorama School of Communication.
There is cut-throat competition in media industry, so one must develop the ability to be relevant at the age of 40 or 50. Surya Prakash discloses, “If you want to be long lasting battery in media then your work must reflect on macro level.” This will help you gain popularity, success and respect in the market. A journalist should never forget his/her social responsibility. “Look around your society. You have to continuously refine and redefine yourself,” concludes John Brittas.
Media: Courses and institutes
Film & Television Institute of India, Pune
PG Diploma in Direction/Cinematography/ Editing/ Sound Recording & Sound Design/ Acting/ Production
Asian College of Journalism,Chennai
PG Diploma in Journalism across streams
Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad
Diplomas in Communications/Advertising
Indian Institute of Mass
Symbiosis Institute of Media &
Bachelor of Media Studies (BMS)
AJK Mass communication Research
Four MA programmes
Xavier Institute of Communications
Multiple diploma Programmes
Welingkar Institute of Management
PG Program in Media & Entertainment Management
Manipal Institute of Communication,
MA Communication/ BA journalism and others
The Times School of Journalism
PG Diploma (Journalism) – English
Multiple diploma programes
Amity School of Communication,
NDTV Media Institute
NDTV Broadcast Training Program
Whistling Woods international
BSc in Filmmaking + Diploma in Filmmaking with
Express Institute of Media Studies
PG Programme in Journalism
TV Today Media Institute
PG Diploma in Broadcast
Indian Institute of Journalism
Multiple programmes on
New Delhi YMCA Institute for
Manorama School of Communication
PG Diploma in Journalism
University of Pune, Department of
MSc in Electronic Media Informatics