If you dream of making a qualitative change in the people's life, bringing into light the darkside of the society, have the patience to get along with politicians, bureaucrafts, criminals and a myraid of persons desperate to get some ready to rush to work at odd hours, do night shifts; Journalism is one of the best careers to pursue.
Journalism as such is more than a career, it's a mission. A mission that generates your creativity, helps you socialise, earn name alongwith your livelihood, bring to the forefront problems facing the society and help implement the possible solutions. These inerent advantages of journalism attract a lot of young graduates.
Although some universities teach Journalism at the undergraduate level, the subject is vastly taught at the post-graduate level in our country. Graduates of any stream are eligible to opt for the courses. A Journalism degree or a diploma isn't strictly necessary, although some organisations prefer it. There is no substitute for pratical training. However, a post-graduate degree or diploma in Journalism or Mass Communication is necessary, if you wish to join at different levels in the Indian Information Service or the different State Government information services, later in your career. It can also help you to shift to a teaching career in Journalism schools.
Students of Journalism are tutored extensively on different writing styles in reporting - news, features, reviews etc. Report writing has it own language; some words and phrases are extensively used, some are less used and some are never used, at all. Further, paragraphing, writing an introduction for a lead story or an anchor, script writing for radio or television and feature writing are generally part of the syllabi for most reporting courses. You are also prepared for the rough road of actual news hunting in these courses - how to cultivate sources, how to get a quote out of a difficult politician, official or bureaucrat, etc.
A month or two of internship with a newspaper or television house is compulsory and now forms an important part of the practical training. This gives you a fair idea of the real reporting scene.
Nature of the Job:
Reorters can work for either print or electronic media. While the print has several sub categories like newspaper, magazines and news agencies, the latter includes radio, television and the Internet portals like Tehelka.com, Indiatimes.com, Rediff.com, etc.
In a newspaper house, freshers usually join as trainees at the news desk or the editing desk. After a couple of years, they get transferred to reporting. However, exceptions to this rule are common and some people join straightaway as trainee reporter also.
The hierarchy for reporters is most of the newspaper houses is roughly as follows - trainee, staff reporter correspondent, principal reporter/ senior reporter/ correspondent, chief reporter and special representative/ correspondent.
Working for a news agency is slightly different because of the tougher deadlines - not at the end of the day but right now. The ABC of newsagency reporting seeks accracy, brevity and clarity. The formal of writing is very straight forward and to the point and does not allow any scope for speculation or analysis within the news story. Agencies like Press Trust of India (PTI) and United News of India(UNI) are 24 hours open and their offices are not closed even on Republic or Independence Day or Holi, which are rare holidays for the newspapers.
Reporting for television involves more leg work than print. It also requires more close co-operation with the cameraman and therefore, it helps to know a little bit of camera work and lightening. Here, the distinction between reporting, camera work and desk work many a time gets blurred and the reporter does all the work. The reporting section of a television news channel is headed by a news co-ordinator who has several senior and staff reporters functioning under him.
It is pertinent to say here that the salaries vary between different organisations and between different media also. Generally, the salaries are low in print media compared to the electronic media but this is not a rule. Payment for a trainee reporter ranges from around Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 9,000 across the media and the special correspondent may even get Rs. one lakh per month.
In an agency, the salary scale according to the Wage Board is Rs. 7,500 to Rs. 8,500 for a trainee until confirmation, Rs. 10,000 for a staff reporter and between Rs. 18,000 to Rs. 32,000 for a special correspondent.
Hard work, willingness and capacity to learn, teamwork and other human skills are important for growth in this field. Belief in one self coupled with the ability of not taking oneself too seriously will definitely take you places.
Where to Study
Indian Institute of Mass Communication , Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, JNU Campus, New Delhi-110067.
Asian College of Journalism, Kasturi Centre, 2-Anna Salai, Chennai- 600 002
Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan Units at Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Mumbai, Kanpur and other cities of India.
Bhavan's College of Communication Kolkata, Hyderabad and Nagpur.
Bombay College of Journalism D. Waccha Road, Churchgate, Mumbai - 400020
Indian Academy of Mass Communication No.4 MTII Road, Padi, Chennai - 600 050.
Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media HRBR Extension Kalyannagar Bangalore - 560043
Institute of Integrated Learning in Management Lodhi Institutional Area, Lodhi Road, New Delhi - 110003
Institute of Journalism Press Club, Behind Secretariat, Press Club Road, Thiruvanathapuram - 695001
Institute of Journalism Press Club, Kozhikode.. KT Somaiya Institute of Management Studies Vidya Vihar, Mumbai.
Manipal Institute of Communication Old Tile Factory Road, Press Corner, Manipal - 576104
Pioneer Media School. Second Floor, Link House, 3 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi - 110002.
The Manorama School of Communication P.B. No.229, Kottayam - 686001
Rai Media Lab, B - II/58, MCIE, Mathura Road, New Delhi - 110044
School of Broadcasting and Communication 108, Building, 4, Kamdhenu Center, Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri (West), Mumbai - 400053
Sri Aurobindo Institute of Mass Communication Sri Aurobindo Marg, Near IIT, New Delhi - 110016.
St. Xavier's Institute of Communication St.Xavier's College, Mumbai - 400001.
Times Center for Media Studies 10 - Daryaganj, New Delhi - 110023.