Dilemmas in Global Politics: India’s Foreign Policy Challenges in Afghanistan

The world woke up on the morning of 15 August 2021, to bear witness to one of the biggest turning points in the history of the post-Cold War world. The sudden withdrawal of U.S.-NATO forces coupled with the takeover of the administrative power by the Taliban since their rule from 1996 to 2001 in Afghanistan has led to a huge political and strategic uncertainty in the region.   Not long after the end of the World Wars does one find Afghanistan being sucked into the vortex of great power rivalry, the repercussions of which have come to be felt even in current times.   The land was ravaged by the violent repression of political power syndrome. The dramatic resurgence of the Taliban government led most of the regional powers to recalibrate their approaches and influences in protecting their national interests in the country.

Besides this, so far as regional interests are concerned, one has to take note of the strong and differentiated regional power interests of Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and Iran which trigger certain questions to shape the prospects of Afghanistan. They are – first, the withdrawal creates new opportunities for influence and control for Russia; secondly, the withdrawal is a net gain but not an unequivocal victory for China, which has new opportunities to extend its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), address regional security threats, engage in significant economic activities, and challenge the ambitions of the United States and raised a big question about American dependability and assurance as an ally and security partner. Thirdly, the withdrawal represents the least optimal outcome for India and its troubled relationship with Pakistan, but there are opportunities to engage with AUKUS and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Finally, despite the ongoing tensions with the Taliban, Iran may take advantage of the withdrawal in its international posturing toward the United States.

 This new environment led Indian policymakers to a serious quandary and raised a big question regarding India’s role and influence in Afghanistan under the new miliew. Although, ambiguity and flexibility are essential attributes of diplomatic life, however striking a balance between moralism and realism requires constant calibration. Although New Delhi has considered the Afghan Taliban as Pakistan’s proxy, engagement with them has been a regular feature of the Indian policymaker.

India can undertake four policy options in terms of its’ future with Afghanistan, firstly the Realist policy, where New Delhi need to shift theatre from Kashmir to Afghanistan and should work towards building a Delhi-Washington-Moscow Consensus to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan. Secondly, the use of soft power as a major means to stay out of the Afghan quagmire, knowing fully well it can also endanger India’s investments in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Thirdly, smart power strategy, where India should come out of its Panipat Syndrome and pursue a proactive policy to safeguard India’s national interest and needs to engage with the new government in Afghanistan without damaging its carefully nurtured image of a trustworthy neighbour, which in other words means that it will neither confer legitimacy on the Taliban nor will it erode the legitimacy of India.

Fourthly, India should take on a mediating role among the different nations anxious to involve themselves in Afghanistan and produce a formula that would help maintain Afghanistan’s neutrality and ensure that it becomes a buffer zone to prevent further Chinese expansionism towards South Asia and by which it can preserve its national interests on its own without any butterfly effect.

Amidst the ambiguity over international recognition of the new Taliban government in Afghanistan, questions have arisen as to the fate of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The largely dysfunctional South Asian organization’s future will largely depend on the road that Afghanistan takes.

Crisis Communication in the Post Digitalization Era

Crisis Communication at large has undergone a massive change in the last few decades especially after the introduction of new media and digital technologies. Earlier Corporate India used to have a Public Relations (PR) department which was mainly dedicated to maintaining the image of the organization. This was done using a series of steps including maintaining healthy relationships with people both at the internal level as well as with the audience or the customers at large. This department was also responsible for looking after the crisis communication in case of crisis situations. Now, in the post digitalization era, crisis may arise from Tweets, YouTube Videos or even a song, which has the power to tarnish the reputation of an organization.

There has been a notable instance in the year 2009 where a Canadian singer named Dave Carroll who had posted a song on YouTube based on “United Breaks Guitar” after his guitar was broken while flying through United Airlines. Initially the organization claimed that it was the negligence of the passenger and tried to shrug off the blame but through this song the Carroll made it a point to explain the entire incident. This musical video became popular in no time and gained massive attention of the audience which further influenced them from taking United Airlines flights for a while. The organization had to take many efforts to counter this narrative and thereby deal with this crisis situation to get back their customers, including offering a brand new Taylor guitar to Dave.

Now, this is not just one case rather with the growing popularity of online contents we get to see many such protests coming up almost every week. This is where the major challenge lies in dealing with a crisis scenario which has the potential of getting viral and thereby causing harm to the reputation of the organization.  Here, the key lies in targeting the same medium to build up a counter narrative and reach out to similar audience for managing the crisis situation.  For example, if a false narrative is spreading against an organization through twitter then the organization will have to take up initiatives to ensure that a counter narrative is spread from their end through twitter as well. So, it is not just important to target the crisis through communication but it is also important to use the same channel of communication though which the crisis has been spread.

Earlier organizations used to have draft Press Release ready for situations like any mishap during working hour or financial crisis which the organization may face in future. This used to help them to ensure that this Press Release can be readily spread if there are any such scenarios coming up in the near future. These days the definition of crisis has gone way beyond and all thanks to new media where anyone can literally post anything against an organization. Be it grievances from a customer or any counter narrative strategy used by competitive organization, crisis can come up in any form which was not even predicted before. In this case preparing a Press Release from beforehand will not be possible for any organization due to the vast diversity of crisis situations which may arise in the digital age. Hence, this is where using the same medium of communication can actually help any organization to target the same audience who has perhaps come across the information causing crisis in real time.

Strategic Communication management is playing a key role where dynamic crisis management is actually possible according to the book “How to Communicate Strategically in Corporate World”. The book states that communication has become an integral part of the strategies designed by an organization where a Chief Communications Officer often presides over the developments taking place in crisis management and other related strategic communication. Factors like personal touch and empathy are the key players in crisis communication where it is not just restricted to Press Release rather the organizations use strategies for communicating with people.

Sometimes, incidents like a flight crash can also come up as a crisis where communication becomes the major factor using which it can be managed. In one such incident during a flight crash of Air Asia, the organization had a strong hold of the situation and handled it so well that it had further lead to a positive publicity of the organization. This was possible due to the use of personal touch and empathy from the end of the organization during crisis communication. In this case the Tweets done by the spokes person Tony Fernandez who had profusely apologized for the plane crash and expressed that the organization takes over all the charges of the accident. This acted as a turning point where the audience could understand that the organization had genuine emotions towards the family members of the injured and deceased person. It became an eye opener for many other organizations that later came up with similar strategies to deal with crisis. Having empathy in communication helps to ensure that it is not the organization v/s the customers or the audience rather there is a blend between the organization and the audience. It further helps to persuade the audience ensuring that the organization is with them and not against them, making this one of the best practices in crisis communication.

Crisis communication has undergone a huge change over the course of time and now the use of only Press Release is not sufficient for crisis communication. The preference for medium of communication among the audience has changed, the lifestyle of the audience has changed and so do the nature of strategic communication but what has still remained same is the emotion. Hence, it is through personal touch and empathy that a crisis situation can be better handled and it should be reflected through crisis communication.

Prof (Dr) Mahul Brahma (PhD, DLitt) is a Professor and Dean of School of Media and Communications, Adamas University and a Fellow of School of Art, Film and Media, Bath Spa University, UK. He is an author and TEDx speaker. His latest book The Mythic Value of Luxury has won Sahityakosh Samman recently. His first short film was screened at Cannes Film Festival.

Post–Pandemic Career opportunities in Digital Content Creation as YouTuber and Vlogger

In this digital age, given a boost of two years of pandemic digital content creation became a very lucrative career option. According to a report by Oxford Economics, YouTube’s creative ecosystem supported 6,83,900 full-time equivalent jobs and contributed INR 6,800 CR to the economy of India in 2020. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are some of the biggest platforms facilitating digital content creation all around the world. In 2005, the world’s first YouTube video titled Me at the Zoo was uploaded by YouTube’s co-founder Jawed Karim and got around 171 million views. Nearly a decade later in 2014, India had about 16 YouTube channels that had crossed the million-subscriber threshold. Today, there are more than 2,500 YouTube channels with over one million subscribers. 

Indian YouTube channels lead the YouTube game globally with Indian music label and movie studio T-Series having 216 million subscribers, the world’s largest number of subscribers on YouTube, followed by PewDiePie (110 million subscribers). The top five of the top 20 YouTube channels around the world are Indian—SET India (133 million subscribers), Zee Music Company (84 million), Zee TV (62.2 million) and so on. Arvind Arora, who owns the short videos channel A2 Motivation (13.7 million subscribers), is an individual YouTuber with more than four billion views, the highest in India. (The report is according to the Financial Express).

According to YouTube verticals like music, entertainment, food, beauty, comedy, lifestyle, and technology continue to gain momentum, and creators like Bhuvan Bam, Prajakta Kohli, Ashish Chanchlani, Nisha Madhulika, Kabita’s Kitchen, and Technical Guruji have shown immense growth in the last few years. Content around vocational skills like gardening and photography has also expanded with creators like Mad Gardener and Pixel Village gaining popularity. Gaming is yet another genre that has seen phenomenal growth in the last couple of years, with creators like Carry Minati, Dynamo Gaming and Mortal reaching millions of subscribers.  

It is one of the leading social media platforms and has taken the world of the Internet by storm. A platform that provides you with the golden opportunity to ‘make it big’, show the world your concealed creative side and express your opinions at a global level. With the world becoming digitized by the second and the boom of smartphones, this red and white play button has given birth to a new profession called YouTuber.

YouTubing is one of the most upcoming and promising careers in contemporary times. It is a field that offers tremendous scope for growth and other benefits such as flexibility of work, the ability to express yourself, opportunities to showcase your creativity, and a shot at earning popularity and fame.

While it may not be a full-time career option right off the bat, over time you can make it your profession like the many other YouTubers before you.

How to Start a Career as a YouTuber?

Creating a channel and making it successful would require a lot of hard work and perseverance on your part. Making a career out of YouTube is not about coming up with a single viral video and getting shot up to fame, it requires careful content development, distribution, and promotion to be sustainable.

  • Choose the Genre and Motive for your Channel

This is a crucial step as it will help you choose the type of content you’ll create and will reflect the message you want to send out to the masses. It can be anything ranging from beauty and fashion to comedy, gaming or technology. The most common categories/genres of content on YouTube channels such as Beauty, Fashion, Animation, Kids, Comedy, Vlog, Pranks, Music (including covers), Travel, Dance, Education, Information/Knowledge, Art and DIYs, Cookery, Technology, Gaming, Sports, News, Motivation/Inspiration, Health.\

  • Determine a unique Style and Voice

YouTube channel’s style will often be a reflection of the personality and unique individuality. It can come from the way you talk, the views you express, any catchphrases/taglines, your dressing style, or even the causes you stand for. A fresh and original voice are an essential element for making your channel stand out from the noise.

  • Develop and polish the Content

Content is the heart and soul of any YouTube video. The video cannot get by on presentation alone, and there needs to be strong content backing it up. One must spend proper time conceptualizing your ideas, writing content/script, and editing it to polish and perfect it. It should be relevant 

  • Use the Right Equipment

Poor video or audio quality sends a message to the user that very little work has been put into the development of the content. Thus, it is highly suggested you invest in a good camera (DSLR/ point-and-shoot), quality lighting and sound equipment (microphone). Even a good quality mobile is enough to shoot. 

  • Work on Filming and Editing Techniques

Good editing and filming can go a long way in increasing the virality of videos. They are the two most crucial elements that determine the final quality of your videos, and thus cannot be ignored.

Make it a point that you use the right lighting settings and filming techniques while filming your videos. Knowledge of the basics of photography and filming (camera angles, lighting, aperture, shutter speed, framing, etc.) 

  • Customize the Channel Page

YouTube gives the chance to reflect the voice and identity of your channel through your channel page too. There are many ways to personalise the page – you can edit the layout so that visitors see the content you want them to see first, add a channel trailer, post a custom thumbnail to give your channel its identity, and also display vibrant artwork as your cover picture to make it look fresh and draw attention.

  • Choose Relevant Titles and Tags

The title of your video and the tags you use help to ensure that your video gets featured in searches and ultimately starts getting noticed by a wider audience. Tags are basically descriptive keywords you can add to your video to tell YouTube what your video is about, and thus increase the likelihood of it being displayed in searches related to those keywords. There are many relevant free keyword tools available online. The title of the video is equally important since it conveys to the audience what your video is about. A clickable, descriptive and attractive title also helps in ranking your content on YouTube search.

  • Use social media for better promotion

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, not only help to increase the reach of your content, these will also help to stay in touch with your fans and get more likes, comments and shares. Any popular YouTube channel or YouTuber, and would see that they maintain an active presence on multiple online channels. 

  • Stay Engaged with the viewers and Subscriber

YouTubers leverage their fame and subscribers to gain popularity for their videos, distribute their content, and highlight other brands’ products to make more money in addition to what they make off YouTube. For this reason, an engaged and supportive audience is essential. Engage with your followers regularly by regularly replying to comments and messages, asking them questions and taking up their suggestions. It is important to keep on thinking of such ways to increase your fan base and build a supportive community of followers.

YouTubing is a field where one needs to keep expanding constantly expertise and content and not be afraid to try new things. If being creative and thinking outside of the box is what gets your heart pumping, then this may be your go-to profession.

Contemporary Issues in Journalism and the Importance of Media Training

Journalism is an oft-repeated word and rightfully so! Well, think about the contemporary world sans journalists. Chances are that many things would actually come to a standstill. While we all are aware about fake news, post-truth, paid news and other such evils, it is also a reality that democracy would cease to exist without an active press. It could truly be argued that journalism is the lifeblood of democracy.

Over the past couple of decades though, journalism and journalists have been facing an existential crisis – the crisis of establishing credibility and credence. The corporate bondage of editorial content and the dominance of business interests over the interests of enlightenment and empowerment have practically decimated people’s confidence on free and fair journalism.

Thus, in India and rest of the world, there is an urgent necessity to redraw the contours of what constitutes journalism. This process would require a substantial amount of expertise and innovation. Now, before we go any further into the discussion, let us understand as to what are the major issues afflicting the world of news globally.

  1. Fake News: The word, per se, is an oxymoron. A piece of news can’t be fake and an information that is fake can’t be classified as news. However, the word was popularized by Donald Trump in his run up to the White House. It meant any cooked-up or incorrect news – either intentional or unintentional. Fake news, again, can be classified into misinformation, disinformation and mal information. While misinformation is unintentional, disinformation is intentional. Mal information, on the other hand, albeit being true, is created to cause harm. The popularization of social media has been one of the reasons for the growing significance of fake news as a whole. However, the mainstream media organizations have also goofed up on multiple occasions thereby reducing the trust of the audience on news.
  2. Post-Truth: Post-truth is an interesting phenomenon. In fact, it is more dangerous than fake news. Post-truth creates a situation in which belief systems and emotions become more important than objective facts. In such a scenario, it is difficult to ascertain the difference between news and propaganda. In the quest for increasing popularity, multiple news organizations from across the world have played to their galleries and contributed to post-truth. Needless to say that this also had a disastrous impact on news credibility.
  3. Paid News: Probably the biggest evil in the world of journalism, paid news is a practice where journalists or news organizations accept payments in cash or kind to either provide positive or negative coverage to an issue, person or organization. As bizarre as it may sound, paid news has almost assumed gigantic proportions in India. It kills the very essence of journalism and reduces news to propaganda and falsehood. In fact, renowned scribes Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and K. Sreenivas Reddy did a seminal study on how paid news is becoming a encompassing phenomenon in India.
  4. The Absence of a Viable Revenue Model: News primarily depends on advertisements for its survival. Thus, there exists an unholy domination of marketing content on editorial content across most of the news organizations. The dependence of news on advertisements has had a terrible impact on the objectivity and neutrality factors of journalism. Although crowd funding, paywalls and donations have been experimented with in terms of an alternative revenue model, the results have been far from satisfactory.

In the clamour for organisational growth and increased revenues, journalism has ceased to be a social service in addition to being just a profession. However, is it all bleak? While it seems so from the above discourse, the situation is definitely not beyond repair. There is a need to have a fresh relook at the profession and devise ways to reclaim the position of journalism as the pillar of an accountable nation. As it is, the aspiring and younger journalists can play the biggest role in this desired transformation. Let us look at some possible solutions:

  1. The Pre-Eminence of Ethics: While anybody can be a journalist and one didn’t require any specific education to be a journalist until very recently, contemporary circumstances demand a dedicated media education for aspiring journalists. The advent of newer technologies and the growing demands of the profession has made journalism training compulsory. While imparting training on journalism, media schools and universities need to deliver dedicated modules on journalistic ethics. The students need to be sensitised to the larger purpose of the press and rightfully so.
  2. The Importance of Alternative Media Platforms: In the current context, it is critically important to create a dedicated space for the alternative media platforms. It is important to understand that it is almost impossible for the mainstream media to come out of the clutches of corporate control. Hence, creating independent ventures is the need of the hour. The same can’t happen unless aspiring journalists are taught the basics of media entrepreneurship. A combination of financial viability and social enterprising is required. This training can only happen at a media school or university.
  3. Innovation Is the Key: Given the changing trends of the industry, the aspiring journalists need to emphasize on developing innovative practices to again draw the target audience. This is possible only when they understand the intricacies of the profession. Thus, it is a given that journalism training is the need of the hour. The practical aspect of the profession can be taught only at a media school or university. At a time, when technology is coming to the forefront, the importance of training can’t possibly be emphasized enough.
  4. The Importance of Research in Journalism: At a time when shallow research has become a decided bane in journalism, aspiring journalists need to stress on real research before creating their stories. The theoretical and methodical approaches of research can only be taught at a media school or a university. This is one of the most important reasons as to why media education is extremely important for aspiring and young journalists.

Given the current situation, journalism requires a serious facelift. The onus of giving this facelift is with the younger crop of journalists. The media schools and universities will play an equally important role in the transformation. However, what is required is an astute understanding of what ails the profession and its possible solutions. There is no reason to believe that journalism won’t be able to reclaim its position in the society.

Just in case you find this blog useful and relevant, please make it a point to share it with as many people as you like for them to know the contemporary issues in journalism and understand the importance of media training.

Journalism Now and Journalism Then: Evaluating Digital Revolution from a Journalistic Standpoint

When the history of 21st century is scripted, its first two decades will be marked as the period that transformed the very meaning of human existence. The unbelievable surge of digital technologies and the advent of the internet-based virtual world have been instrumental in reimagining humanity that we know or at least claim to know. Every area of human knowledge stands radically changed. Skills that were once considered a handful have rapidly become useless. No wonder that the larger domain of journalism has also undergone fundamental and structural changes.

Print has given way to the all-encompassing web; analog broadcasting has given way to digital broadcasting and plain text have given way to multimedia. With the gradual decline in the average attention span of news consumers, contemporary news can no longer afford to just inform. Infotainment has become the name of the game and interactive infographics have slowly started replacing the once dominant text information. While the first decade of the ongoing millennium was revolutionary for journalism and journalists on multiple counts, its second decade has changed the very approach of journalism. The coming in of the ubiquitous smartphone has heralded a brand new era in the practice of dissemination of information.

This article, albeit very limited in its scope, would make an effort to document the larger changes that has marked journalism and its various offshoots over the past one decade. Just so that one is clear, all these changes that we are referring to are not necessarily desirable. However, like everything else in life, journalism has also altered – for the better and also for the worse. For the purpose of easier comprehension, let us put some of those changes in the form of pointers:

1. The Predominance of Online Journalism: If the first decade of the new millennium belonged to television journalism, the second decade most surely belonged to online journalism. While the popularity of print journalism continued to dwindle, online journalism kept on growing. The liberal usage of multimedia and easier language made online journalism the hot favourite among both the millennials and members of the Generation Z. All existing studies and surveys predict the further growth of online media to the extent that it will be the only thing in the fray.

2. The Arrival of Social Media Journalism: Before delving into the trend, it is important to point out that social media and journalism are two different concepts and are not intrinsically connected to each other. However, the rapid increase in the usage of social media and the instant need for news somehow contributed to the growth of a new phenomenon known as social media journalism. Today, breaking news items break on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook pages serve as platforms for larger discussions on recent trends. Today, anybody from any corner of the world can post a piece of news for the rest of the world to see. It can be argued that social media journalism has largely democratized the flow of information.

3. The Growing Relevance of Alternative Media: There was a time when large corporate entities and media behemoths had absolute control on the collection, production and dissemination of news. However, thanks to the largely economical nature of the online medium, a good number of smaller and independent news ventures are cropping. While some of these media organizations have already broken even, there are many that are making rapid inroads into the larger news ecosystem. Consequently, geographical locations that were once considered fringe are increasingly featuring in the mainstream. Larger corporates have lost their monopoly on news.

4. The Ominous Entry of Fake News and Post-Truth: Thanks to Donald Trump, the former President of the United State of America, the world was informed about an essentially oxymoronic term called fake news. For the purpose of academical

propriety, we would rather use the three individual terms ‘disinformation’, ‘misinformation’ and ‘mal-information’. All these are different types of misleading or false information that owe their origins to a multitude of reasons including ignorance, propaganda and unholy political ambitions. While not entirely different, the term ‘post-truth’ probably has a wider ramification on the very sustenance of press as the fourth estate of democracy. Post-truth represents a dystopian scenario where emotions and personal convictions become stronger tools in shaping public opinions than objective facts. This phenomenon indicates a general disdain for logic and common sense.

5. The Increased Popularity of Infographics: The current generation has a general liking for representative visuals. Therefore, infographics serve as a potent tool to retain the consumers of news. To put it in simple terms, infographics are charts, visual data and statistics that help people digest complex information in a systematic and uncomplicated manner. We have come to a point when different news organizations report stories only through infographics. In the next few years, this trend is only going to grow.

6. The Gradual Vanishing of Gatekeeping: For all those who are not aware of what gatekeeping is, it is the process of filtering information before publishing. With blogs, vlogs, social media and personal websites slowly becoming the primary mode of disseminating news, gatekeeping as a phenomenon is increasingly losing its relevance. While this has democratized the flow of news to a large extent, news credibility and authenticity have become sore areas. It is expected that as we move ahead, a mechanism will be worked out that will impart balance to the whole process of journalism.

7. Mobile Journalism Is the Next Big Thing: Journalists across the world are increasingly using smartphones to gather, produce and disseminate news. In fact, mobile journalism or MoJo, as it is popularly known, has become so powerful that it is predicted that in the next one decade, journalism will be primary mobile.

8. News Virality: What was once called breaking news during the heydays of the broadcast revolution is now known as viral news. Some news become viral and gather a significant number of eyeballs in a very small span of time. In fact, the greatest mechanism to make a story viral is to put it on social media platforms.

While the points mentions above are rather generic and broadly define the transformation that marks the news industry, there are many others that are equally important, if not more.

However, for the purpose of brevity, we shall discuss the same some other day. Just in case you find this blog useful and relevant, please make it a point to share it with as many people as you like for them to know the changes that have engulfed the world of journalism.

Career Prospects in New-Age Journalism: Deconstructing the Need for News Content in the Post-Pandemic Era

Over the past one decade or so, we have been hearing about it, talking about it and experiencing it as well. Indeed, digital is the way forward in journalism. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, new media had emphatically established itself as the primary journalistic platform. If at all there was a tinge of doubt vis-à-vis the primacy of online news content, the pandemic sealed it for once and all.

However, we are not here to talk about digital journalism. Enough has been said about it and to the extent that anything in the given domain would prove unabashedly repetitive. Instead, what would be an infinitesimally better discourse is to talk about the changes that we are experiencing in the world of digital journalism over the past two years and how the changes have uncovered newer opportunities for prospective journalists. More particularly, we are talking about journalism career opportunities. Without any further ado, let us take a closer look:

  1. YouTube Journalism: Many reputed and mainstream journalists including the likes of Barkha Dutt and Faye D’Souza have opened their YouTube channels that are constantly streaming news and views. In fact, going by the sheer content quality, it would not be an overstatement if we were to say that these YouTube channels are likely to replace the mainstream news channels very shortly. Owing to the fact that these YouTube channels are largely independent, the news that are being transmitted through these channels are largely unbiased and censorship-free. Given the scenario, young and bright journalists can think about opening their own YouTube channels instead of following the beaten track. One also needs to consider that the amount of investment that one needs to make to open such a channel is minimal.
  2. Vlog and Podcast Journalism: Industry veterans often talk about how vlogs and podcasts are gaining in popularity with each passing day. Topical vlogs and independent podcast sites could be a great way for an upcoming journalist to leverage their knowledge and expertise. As alternative media is pushing its envelope, the content quality of these vlogs and podcast sites is improving at an exponential rate.
  3. Freelance Mobile Journalism (MoJo): There have been umpteen discussions on mobile journalism or MoJo and the discussions keep getting intense. However, what everybody seems to have forgotten is the growth potential for freelance mobile journalism. Mobile news content has the capacity to make journalism a lot more encompassing that what is currently the case. As we are trudging through an economically depressed post-pandemic time, journalism of tomorrow will be largely mobile. Cheap technology and easy navigability of content will create all the difference.
  4. Data Journalism: Moving ahead, data is set to be the key. Surfing through data and making sense out of it will become the most important skill for a journalist. Therefore, technology and numerical skills would distinguish a successful journalist from a not so successful one. When we talk about data, we also talk about the seamless and palatable representation of data.
  5. Journalism through Infographics and Animation: In a world that has seen the unbelievable growth of technology, it is only natural that the traditional modes of news content delivery would cease to be effective. Therefore, text, photographs and videos are no longer enough to impress and hold audiences. One also needs infographics and animation clips to make a news package more incisive and consumable. Journalists who can create meaningful and impactful infographics and animation would be in high demand in the next few years.
  6. Spatial Journalism: Before we discuss the possibilities in spatial journalism, we need to understand what it exactly is. Spatial journalism can be loosely defined as a novel form of journalism that juxtaposes the concepts of place, space and location into traditional journalistic practices. The location can be physical, augmented or virtual. It involves new storytelling formats such as the ones that include Augmented Realities (AR), Virtual Realities (VR) and Mixed Realities (MR). What is clear though is the primordial role of technology in the entire process. Subject to the fact that immersive storytelling has better chances of retaining news consumers, spatial journalism can be safely considered to be biggest thing in journalism.
  7. Modular Journalism: Modular journalism is the practice of looking at a story not as a monolith but as a collection of bits and parts. The process of crafting a story by including only those parts that are consumable and interesting is called modular journalism. At a time when the attention time among news consumers is consistently shrinking and content creation is becoming increasingly difficult, modular journalism is set to be a panacea. Therefore, journalists who know the pulse of their audience and can accordingly create a story without bothering much about the older traditions in journalism are destined to be more successful than the rest.
  8. Human Interest Journalism: Over a period of time, young and aspiring journalists have been made to believe that stories that encapsulate the pulse of the common people do not create much public interest. However, recent trends in journalism has proved it wrong. Therefore, empathetic storytellers who understand the finer nuances of humanity would be in demand. The pandemic has shown the vulnerability of the human race in the face of natural adversity and hence people throughout the world have started understanding the importance of documenting human frailties. This is a marked opportunity for young and sharp minds in journalism to explore storytelling with humanity at the core of it.
  9. Health Journalism: With the pandemic having changed the dominant global discourse, health journalism and health journalists would continue to become increasingly more relevant. Therefore, young scribes who are interested in health journalism can ride the tide and become successful in practically no time.
  10. Technology Journalism: With technology set to become even more encompassing in the days to come, journalists who understand technology have a greater chance of making it big in the news content market. In very simple terms, reportages that concern technology would become the norm.

Journalism, as we know it today, would significantly transform in the next few years. The most important thing is to comprehend the pulse of this change and act accordingly. If a prospective journalist can do that, there will be no looking back for her/ him.

This blog encompasses the changing lens of digital journalism and tries to provide information pertaining to career prospects in the broader domain of journalism for upcoming and aspiring scribes. Just in case you find this blog useful and relevant, please make it a point to share it with as many people as you like for them to know the contemporary nuances in journalism and related career opportunities.

Creative Folks: Have Your Best Pick Now

Education Often ‘Killed’ Us

Everyone remembers how, when we were of 10 or 12 or 14 years of age, our parents and teachers almost gloated on our tiny abilities to draw, paint, dance, sing or write a poem; how we were paraded before our relatives to ‘show our talent’ or perform on school stage on Annual Day/s.

As we turned 16 till 18 and faced two Board exams of X and XII standards, all these great abilities took a back seat, were dubbed as ‘hobbies’ and declared not to be pursued much for the moment. We must rather focus on our careers, education that will give grades, make us logical and rational, and put us on a great professional track as the best engineers, doctors, lawyers or stock-brokers of the world.

We even thought that anything which is creative, which is right-brain, which is aesthetic or artistic is for appreciation, admiration, a tool to break ice with others, for social charm, and only that much. They are not to make money, create careers, be valued in the economy.

Exceptions to the Order of the Day:

There were exceptions though. Someone’s piece of art sold at thirty lacs you hear. Someone sang for almost half a crore one night. Someone wrote a story whose film rights went for twenty lacs you got to know. And many more. But these were not enough for your ‘security’ seeking parents and would-be parents-in-law to consider you having a recipe of ‘success’ ahead.

Security? Sustainability? Career? Money? Fame? Name? Network? Recognition? You name it and it is there for the taking. But only for those who would go the full hog to turn their die-hard dogged passion into a marketable sustainable admired profession. Dog is my favourite animal indeed.

Today, the media and entertainment industry is pegged at Rs.1.7 lacs crores (some 22 billion dollars) in India, according to FICCI Frames annual report of 2020, with some 2.4 million people working, and till 2019, it was growing at 13% annually on revenue and 11% in new work-force addition (with some 9% falling to attrition as well). The figures are far higher than the GDP growth rate of the nation. Surely, pandemic has caused a havoc in these figures, details of which are still not known till we have the next FICCI Frames white-paper on the industry. The digital revolution is sweeping across the world of creative expressions bringing forth web entertainment on the internet and through OTTs, mobile and online journalism, reputation and branding online, radio online, et al. Lower entry barriers are making digital media almost a cottage industry, though the revenue models for all digital media properties are still not in place, which is a question of time to evolve.

Bold New Path Ahead:

So, the storytellers around, stand up and choose your medium and audience to tell your story. Tell it in audio through podcasts and radio. Tell it in pictures through photo features and creative photography. Tell it visually through your computer-generated graphical or animated visuals. Tell it audio-visually through short stories, feature films, web series. Tell it for-profit and not-for-profit organizations through branded content. Tell it on streets, tell it on stage. Tell it in whispers, tell it in small groups, tell it to many, tell it to all, tell it loud and clear. Tell it in silence, tell it with sound. Tell it in tears, tell it with laughter. But tell it with all your charm and boldness. And making good money in the process. No one thought that a 400 crores investment in story-telling on celluloid over five years can bring in 3500 crores. Bahubali did. Or that a 90 crores investment can bring in 2200 crores back. Dangal did. Even Marathi and Bengali films have crossed the 100 crores mark.

But know the right techniques to tell it effectively, know your right audiences to tell it with the best-desired impact, know how to be resourceful in your work without chasing just the mundane. And, above all, know not just how to produce great content, but how to monetize it seamlessly across all media, and more particularly, in the digital medium.

For the dancers, the singers, the composers, the writers amongst us, we have a world of opportunities knocking on our doors. There are some sixteen types of professional writing, for example, that can make money: fiction, non-fiction, journalistic, web-writing, branded content, screenplay, dialogues, playwriting, copywriting, jingle writing, technical writing, and a lot more. You want to tell what you see, or what you imagine, or what you believe in, or what you observe: you have takers for all.

Media and communication domain has three broad pathways: journalism, entertainment and brand communication, and then several specialization areas within each of these. While specialized skills and knowledge are must, one must begin from a broad base of understanding the entire gamut of communication, its technology and its business, before specializing in one segment.

Tech-driven Story-telling Ahead:

Those creative geeks with penchant for technology more than others: you have a longer path of fun and success. We are now in a world of fantasy visualized into animated images, characters and stories, or into engaging games and play-stations. The stories you cooked up all your life, with some observation of your sample audiences, can be evolved into video games that engage them. Today, virtual reality (creating the make-belief world which is not in front physically) or augmented reality (extending the physical reality to a larger canvas) are storming the creative space. They are breaking all frontiers of imaginative story-telling.

And to get this knowledge right, with a portfolio that can command a price, and acquiring technical skills that will hold you for long in the marketplace of talent, choose an institute which is hands-on, which is intricately industry-connected, and which is strong in technical infrastructure and intellectual capital.

Learning Hands-on, the SOMC Way:

But you cannot get it all right unless trained well and trained by professionals with high academic and industry accomplishments. That is where Adamas University School of Media & Communication (SOMC) comes in with two Bachelors degrees (BA in Media & Communication, BSc in Media Technology), and five focused specialized Masters degree programs (MA in Journalism or Entertainment Studies, MSc in Media Technology, MBA in Communication Management or Events & Entertainment Management). And to get you strong on fundamentals, all the programs bring in Media Literacy, Computer Operations, apart from learning photography, film & television production, radio, et al. All of these with a detailed film and television production studio, sound studio, and in-house radio. A plethora of initiatives (e.g. MediaNext event, SOMC Blogspot, YouTube channel, international film festival, etc) engage you within the School, and IndiCommS, Jaipur Literature Festival, International Film Festival of India at Goa, FICCI Frames, PRSI Engage et al involving the learners outside the campus. With faculty drawn with backgrounds of Symbiosis, Asian College of Journalism, SRFTI, Roopkala Kendra, Amity, MIT, and with international experience in European and Asian nations, the School has a decidedly global perspective.

Come and interact with the School, the learners and the counsellors to know more, to know better. Bon Voyage in your creative journey.