“Journalism is what maintains democracy. It’s the force for progressive social change”, and so said the American polymath Andrew Henry Vachss. He couldn’t have been any more accurate. As we grapple with the uncertainties of Covid-19 and a countrywide volatile political atmosphere, fair and free journalism seems to be all the more important. While the second wave of the deadly disease has crippled the country, it is the untiring efforts of the journalists on the field that is keeping the collective spirit of the citizenry up and running. Not only does honest and objective journalism fulfil the informational needs of people, it also keeps a tab on how the power corridors are functioning.
However, journalism, as it should be, is both a craft and an art. It can’t be practised in a vacuum. Journalists need to follow a certain trajectory in their effort to present the truth in front of the world. With technology ruling the roost, journalists are expected to be conversant with using technological aids in bringing out news from the farthest corners of the country. In very simple terms, journalists need to be trained in the art and craft of the profession. Subject to the infusion of specializations in journalism over the past half a century, journalism has metamorphosed into a course of study. This is where universities and institutes with specialized programmes on journalism come in handy. However, like everything else, the quality of the offered programmes largely determine the quality of eventual journalists, who complete the programmes.
It has been observed that most of the journalism programmes offered by different universities and institutes in the country have largely failed to produce quality journalists, who can meet the needs of the industry. Except for a few selected ones, either the programmes are overburdened with irrelevant theory components or they have forgotten the social orientation of journalism as not just a profession but a social service as well. With a clear comprehension of the resultant gap that has been created and to bridge the gap, the Kolkata-based Adamas University, which has been voted as the best university in eastern Indian by two leading industry bodies including the ABP group and ASSOCHAM, has introduced an industry-ready postgraduate programme in journalism. Christened as Master of Arts (M.A.) in journalism, the programme has a decided emphasis on creating quality journalists.
If we look at the evolution of journalism over the past decade or so, we shall be able to appreciate that the new media has taken over completely and journalistic storytelling has seen a transformation. Platform-agnostic and multimedia storytelling is the order of the day. In keeping up with the same, the flagship programme launched by the Department of Journalism under Adamas University has the following distinguishing characteristics:
- Convergence Is the Key: There is a growing consensus that different media platforms are gradually merging with each other. Hence, the practice of segregating journalists on the basis of platforms (like print journalists, broadcast journalists and the likes) has become redundant. Contemporary journalism demands the capacity to seamlessly tell stories across platforms. Most of the news organizations in the country today have a presence across platforms – one great example could be the Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd.). Thus, the same journalist will write a story for the newspaper, capture videos for the television channel, write a small mobile update and prepare a comprehensive multimedia news package for the portal. Adamas University’s journalism programme considers convergence as its guiding light. The curriculum, which follows the internationally accepted Bloom’s Taxonomy, has also been prepared keeping the same in mind.
- Mobile Journalism or MoJo Is the Future: Adamas University appreciates the fact that the next decade would belong to mobile journalism. As the world turns towards mobile devices for the collection, production and dissemination of news, the programme emphatically incorporates multiple courses and modules on mobile journalism. The recent turn towards the juxtaposition of texts, photographs, audio clips, videos, graphics and animation to tell journalistic stories has shifted the balance in favour of mobile and cellular devices. This has had a significant impact on journalism as a whole. Adamas University’s journalism programme has been designed keeping this sharp turn in mind.
- Academia-Industry Interface Constitutes the Defining Element: Journalism education needs to necessarily incorporate recent industry practices so that it stays relevant. Adamas University ensures that industry scions deliver specific sections of the journalism programme so that the trainees are in tune with the recent developments. The faculty members are also encouraged to practice what they teach so that the trainees become industry-ready when they pass out.
- A Decided Emphasis on Field-Based Learning: Unlike many other programmes that are offered across the country, the M.A. in Journalism programme, offered by Adamas University, ensures that the trainees are taught the nuances of field-based reporting. While technology-mediated processes are taught to the trainees, the trainees compulsorily need to go through the drills of field-based reporting, which is probably the defining part of journalism with the platform being no impediment.
- The Focus on Relevant Pure and Applied Research: As it is, the research skills of some of the contemporary journalists are suspect. Therefore, Adamas University ensures that its postgraduate journalism trainees are taught the intricacies of objective and relevant research. Not only are trainees introduced to industry research, they are also introduced to pure and conceptual research. Both primary and secondary data collections are taught to the trainees.
- Ethics Is the Pedestal on Which Journalism Stands: With fake news, paid news and other journalistic evils casting a shadow on the credibility of the profession, the importance of ethics has been reemphasized. Thus, the postgraduate trainees of journalism at Adamas University are sensitized to their extremely important social responsibility – that of remaining true to their respective audiences. With clickbait sensationalism becoming the order of the day, political biases and corporate interests have established their primacy over-reporting propriety. In the given scenario, Adamas University ensures that the postgraduate trainees maintain objectivity and fairness in their practice when they graduate.
- An Entrepreneurial Mindset Is of Essence: The postgraduate students of journalism at Adamas University are compulsorily introduced to entrepreneurship so that some of them can end up as job givers and not just as job seekers.
- Interdisciplinarity Is Critical: While devising the curriculum for the postgraduate journalism programme at Adamas University, an emphasis was given on developing the interdisciplinary skills of the trainees so that they have a 360-degree view of the world in front of them.
To sum up the discussion, Adamas University invites curious young graduates with the tenacity to serve society to join its M.A. in Journalism programme. The university is sure that the journey would be a memorable and rewarding one for the prospective trainees
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