The new(s) boom
After the Mumbai blasts, apart from the defence forces, another unlikely hero emerged. That was the media. The tireless and courageous reporting by some of the journalists had the entire nation hooked to the TV for three days.
This would have certainly spawned a million aspirants around the country. However, the terrible events, which on one hand, highlighted the competency of some reporters, also exposed glaring insensitivity in some others.
Such attacks underscore the need for not only trained journalists, but also thinking ones. “If you are not the thinking and logical sort of a person, then media is not for you,” states Vir Sanghvi, advisory editorial director, Hindustan Times.
A study conducted by FICCI-PWC established that the Indian media and entertainment industry, currently pegged at Rs 35,300 crore, is likely to witness a compounded annual growth rate of 19 per cent to touch Rs 83,740 crore. The print media is likely to increase to Rs 19,500 crore by 2010 whereas television will be the fastest growing.
“The best way to prepare oneself for this industry,” says M.J. Akbar, Chairman, Covert, “is to develop domain knowledge in subjects like history, political science, economics and finance. “We need people with knowledge and understanding, not just typing skills,” he adds.
There are media schools mushrooming all over the country, and joining one for a basic training does make sense as recruiters do not prefer vanilla graduates these days. Time and resource constriants have limited on-the -job training that used to take place earlier.
“The ideal thing to do is to go to a reputed media school and then join a good news channel. A school should be able to teach systems, technology, writing to picture and identifying a news story,” explains Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-chief, IBN NETWORK.
But most experts warn against joining a mediocre journalism school. “Join only credible institutes as most of the mediocre ones are no more than teaching shops,” says Akbar.
In this age of multimedia, the future belongs to those who can adapt and shift from one medium to another. Each medium has its own set of unique advantages. Television is the fastest growing segment and provides a good mix of fame and money.
Radio, on the other hand, enjoys an omnipresence that television lacks. Print journalism commands a respectability that is second to none. And “Internet is,” as Sangitika Nigam, National Academic Head, WLC College puts it, “the cutting edge area in media which requires not just reporting skills but proficiency with technology.”
For a reporter in print, a degree or a diploma in print journalism is desirable. On the other hand, designers would need page-making skills. Often, reporters are required to design their own pages as well as edit their own copy.
This would require multi-skilled professionals. With a number of new papers being launched, job avenues have improved, so have the salaries. Starting salary for a reporter range from Rs 10,000-Rs 12,000. A designer starts at Rs 12,000-Rs 15,000.
Promotion is faster as compared to the past when one had to wait for years to get into the bureau and remunerative packages are assuming near parity with those in the electronic medium.
Television journalism is all about high-end technology and communication, which is why candidates with professional degrees are preferred over freshers.
Training for television journalism includes equipment handling, scripting, news reporting, editing, studio workshops, news conceptualisation and visualisation.
Each student has to play the role of a producer, director, cameraperson and video editor to attain success and understand the nuances of production.
Despite there being a great demand for skilled professionals in television, there are not enough institutes offering specialised education in this medium and private channels and media conglomerates often have to pitch in with their own custom-made courses. TV Today, for instance, has its own institute called TV Today Media.
Although most journalism graduates expect to be absorbed as reporters or correspondents in news channels, they often get their breaks in the production team instead.
Opportunities in production houses, documentary filmmaking, corporate videos and TV advertising commercials also open up for TV journalism graduates.
Besides joining a news channel, they can even work for the various other entertainment channels. And with a starting monthly salary of Rs 15,000-Rs 17,000, it is the better paymaster than radio or print.
Radio can pose greater challenges than print and television because of the nature of information delivery. Here, a radio presenter or a radio jockey has to capture the listener on the basis of his or her voice and script, completely unaided by pictures, moving or otherwise.
Quite understandably, a radio journalist relies heavily on voice and choice and structure of sentences to grab the listener’s attention and sustain it. This is why writing for a piece of information to be aired on television is very different from writing for the same piece for radio.
Radio would require the use of simple words and short sentences that do not bore the listener and, at the same time enable the listener to visualise the information.
Due to the nature of the communication, radio also tends to make use of a more informal and friendly attitude with its listeners and aims to be more interactive.
A course in radio journalism lays heavy emphasis on writing as well as voice training. There are modules where one learns interviewing techniques, making of radio packages along with the technical aspects of mixing sound and handling equipment.
Those joining private channels can work as radio jockeys or join the production team. The starting salary is Rs 10,000-Rs 12,000 per month. But one can expect a much higher figure, after just a couple of years of experience.
A look at the job prospects
* Print: This sector offers opportunities in reporting, copy-desk and designing. Often reporters are required to edit and make their own pages. So, multi-skilled professionals are in great demand. Starting salaries for journalist fall within the bracket of Rs 12,000-15,000 per month per month.
* Television: Television journalism is all about high-end technology and communication, which is why candidates with professional degrees are preferred over freshers.Starting jobs are usually with the production team or at the desk. Starting salaries range between Rs 15,000-17,000 per month.
* Radio: The nature of information delivery is completely different from print or TV. A course in radio lays heavy emphasis on both writing as well as voice training. Those joining private channels can work as radio jockeys or join the production team. The starting salary is Rs 10,000-12,000 per month.
* Internet: Cyber journalism is a convergence of writing, sound bites, movie clips and internet language. It requires professions to be not only conversant with technology but also keep pace with its rapid changes. Writing, designing or editing are the other desired skills. Rs 12,000 per month is the starting salary.
* Asian School of Journalism, Chennai Ph: 044-28418254/55, Web: www.asianmedia.org
* Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi Ph: 011-26742920, Web: www.iimc.nic.in
* TV Today Media Institute, Delhi Ph: 011-23684848
* Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai Ph: 022-23513157/23514147, Web: www.sophiacampus.com
The art and science of communication
Our communication skills, or the lack of them, could spell the difference between success and failure in many of the things we do. In this new series, we start by looking at communication basics.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
– George Bernard Shaw
One of the significant elements of success in the modern world is skill in effective communication. Those with remarkable academic achievement often fail to reach positions they otherwise deserve for want of adequate flair for communication. Some may be carried away by the notion that a rich vocabulary, correct grammar, and right pronunciation can make you a great communicator. But there is much more to it than what meets our casual eye. Let us look at the basics.
We would say that communication is the activity of conveying information. In more precise terms, it is the process of transmitting and receiving information through a common system of symbols, signs, behaviour, speech, writing, or signals. Remember the humorous quote, “When all other means of communication fail, try words.”
A process of exchanging information and ideas is involved in any communication. The vital point is that the recipient should understand what the sender intends. In a wider perspective, it is a generic process of translating information from one domain to one or more other domains through a medium. A domain can be the mental world of a person, the statistical domain of an analyst, the computational domain of a software program or the economic domain of a market. As a part of the usual language learning in schools and colleges, you are exposed to fine points of reading, writing and speaking.
How many of you have thought that listening is an integral ingredient of good communication? For this central aspect, you hardly got any special hints from your schoolmasters. What is the quality of training you received in non-verbal communication, including body language? Skill in selecting the most appropriate words or expressions to convey your thoughts need not result in effective communication. It would be to your advantage if you apply your mind to the diverse features of communication, and try to develop better skills in each one of them.
There are three aspects in any communication – content, form, and destination. A good communicator should apply his/her mind carefully to all the three, if the process of communication has to be effective.
In any form of communication, there is always a gap between what the sender wanted to convey and what the receiver actually gathers. You have a certain idea in your mind. You couch it in certain words based on your definition to represent it accurately. Your process of forming the words to express your idea may be called encoding. Your ideas take shape in a specific form.
Sometimes instead of words, the form may be that of a picture, chart, sound, or some other medium. The idea carried in the medium is looked at by the receiver. He understands the idea based on the meaning he attaches to the words or other elements of the medium. This is the process of decoding.
There may be a gap between your idea and what is represented in the medium, and again, another gap between the content of the medium and the idea grasped by the receiver. This precisely is the reason why people often have to say that they did not mean what has been reported.
Effective communication can be achieved if a deliberate attempt is made to reduce the gap, by careful use of the medium, with special care of the type and background of the receiver of our message.
The meaning as given in the dictionary may not hold good in all contexts. For example, when a grandfather addresses his three-year old child “You silly thief!” the usual meaning of the words has little relevance. Before entering into important discussions, we may have to define the terms we intend to use. As an instance, after an hour of heated debate on the existence of God, one of the participants said that by ‘God’ he meant ‘Truth’.
Had the definition been made beforehand, no debate would have taken place. A person attaches a particular meaning for a word, depending on his/her background and experience. You know that in the world of politics, words such as democracy, secularism, socialism, and freedom mean different things to different people. Your own perceptions or obsession should not turn out to be a barrier in communication. What is beautiful to me may be ugly to you and vice-versa.
So if I start with the presumption that what appears to be beautiful to me is beautiful to you as well, it may end up in breakdown of communication. Building fine rapport with the listener is the essence of good communication.
From the Hindu:-
Are you one of those who have a nose for news and excellent verbal and written skills? Do you update your current affairs and have a persevering temperament? Are you a workaholic, and do not mind spending long hours at work? If the answer is yes to these questions, then you are cut out to make a career in journalism - print and electronic.
There is a perceptible change in the way newspapers are reaching out to niche segments and the aggression in which the television channels are eager to grab viewers. This is not to leave out radio, which is staging a major comeback through FM stations. In all, the media is poised for a major expansion, offering ample career opportunities for youngsters. A peep into the projections in the media scene in India.
By 2020, there will be about 200 television channels up from 53 private news channels and an equal number of other private channels and 33,000 cable operators.
By 2010, radio is expected to become an infotainment medium by having the FM network.
By 2020, newspapers will play a supporting and reinforcing role and will not be affected by the onslaught of high technology and innovations. `On-line' - digital newspapers, electronic magazines on the `nets' and `webs' would make inroads.
A graduate degree or a post-graduate qualification would be an asset, though opinions differ on this issue.
The Department of Communication, Osmania University, offers a one-year post-graduate degree (Bachelor in Communication and Journalism), which lays a foundation to youngsters interested not only in journalism (print and electronic), but also advertising and public relations.
It also offers the Masters in Communication and Journalism for which BCJ is a pre-requisite. The department has a state-of-the-art newspaper production laboratory, and very shortly a fully operational television studio is to be added.
Freshly passed out journalism graduates join newspapers/magazines and television as sub-editors, reporters, content writers for portals, production assistants, programme researchers and television producers. The advertising world is open to copy writers, account executives, media researchers, market researchers, visualisers, etc. Also, the corporate world offers scope for Corporate Communication Officers, Public Relations Officers, Publicity Assistants, Information Officers in the Government sector.
Osmania University has already issued a notification for admission into the PG course.