Journalism is fast becoming a specialized profession requiring specialized theoretical and practical knowledge and skill. With the development of information technology journalists today need to acquire soft skills to handle equipment and the process of collecting, retrieving, processing and disseminating information, besides developing conceptual clarity relating to content, which requires a sound theoretical framework.
This makes journalism education a difficult proposition. The way it is taught varies from one country to another and even from one university to another. “Broadly speaking, it is considered either as the study of modern society or as a form of professional training. In the first case, study is focused on the theory of communications and the interaction of communications with other aspects of society; in the second case, the techniques of journalism are studied. Between these two extremes is a whole range of approaches which combine the academic and pragmatic approaches in various degrees” 1
According to Dr. Nadig Kishna Murthy former head of Journalism department of Mysore University, the first systematic journalism course was introduced in National University at Adyar in Madras (now Chennai) 2. For practical training the students were sent to New India of Dr. Annie Besant. The second attempt to introduce journalism education was made in Aligarh Muslim University with a diploma course. The class was begun by Sir Shah Mohammed Sulaiman, a former judge of the Federal court of India. The teacher in charge was Raham Ali Al-Hashami. He had varied experience in the journalistic field having worked for several English and Urdu newspapers. For the benefit of students he wrote a book on the subject in Urdu entitled,’ Fan-e-Sahafath’ which was published by Anjuman-e-Tarraqui-e-Urdu. The course was successful but short lived. Sir Sulaiman died in 1940. The teacher in charge resigned on account of some differences with the authorities.
The next attempt was in Punjab University, Lahore in 1941. The man behind the project was Prithvi Pal Singh, a highly intelligent man, who had his Journalism training in the University of Missouri, USA and for sometime was with International News Service and Pioneer. The course ran smoothly till 1947, when partition of the country divided the University and the department of Journalism was forced to be shifted to Delhi. It was revived at NewDelhi in 1947 and affiliated to East Punjab University which is now known as Punjab University. In 1962 it was shifted to Chandigarh, the University headquarters.
Madras University started a course in Journalism in 1947. Calcutta University started a Journalism course in 1950. There after many universities have started journalism course. Indian Institute of Mass communication was established in 1965. The growth of education in mass communication has been phenomenal in the last two decades. Today, India has over 200 media institutes compared to just over 25 in the early 80s, offering various courses. There is a university for journalism education now: Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University for Journalism and Mass communication (MCU) in Bhopal, MadhyaPradesh, which was set up in 1990.
The demand for trained manpower in this sector is growing. It is estimated that by the end of 2010, India will require about 15,00,000 media professionals. Hence many universities and private institutions are opening journalism courses. Courses are being designed and offered for mid-career media persons too for value addition and/or skill upgradation. For example IIMC has a number of such short term courses. Mediamentor Foundation has collaborated with MCU to offer short term courses on TV anchoring, Radio Presenting, Public Relations, Script writing and Freelance Journalism in the Noida campus of MCU. 3 This kind of collaboration with private institutions, even NGOs is new phenomena that are being practised across the country including Orissa.
In Orissa Berhampur University was first to start Journalism teaching programme in 1974. Chintamoni Mahapatra, a journalist turned journalism teacher was the person who ushered journalism education in Orissa.
Besides Berhampur University, till mid 80s there were not many institutions that provided journalism teaching in Orissa. Things began to change from late 80s.
Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) opened a campus in Dhenkanal in August 1993 and offered Post Graduate Diploma in English Journalism with 40 seats. IIMC began to attract, train and provide a steady stream of young professionals to the local papers that were on par with the best in the country.
Presently there are more than 15 institutes in Orissa both government and private offering various courses in journalism and mass communication. Nearly 300 students pass out from such institutes every year in the State.
Here is a brief list of institutes – both government and private (affiliated to some University) offering various mass communication courses in Orissa. The list is not exhaustive, but indicative.
1. Berhampur University, Berhampur. Two years masters degree programme
2. Indian Institute of Mass communication, Dhenkanal offers Post Graduate (PG) Diploma in Journalism in English and Oriya.
3. Utkal University, Bhubaneswar. Two years masters degree programme in Development Journalism and Electronics Communication
4. Sambalpur University, Sambalpur, Two years masters degree programme. By correspondence
5. North Orissa University, Baripada. One year PG Diploma in Journalism and mass Communication; and Advertisement and Public Relation. By Correspondence.
6. Ravenshaw Autonomous College, Cuttack. Offers both PG Diploma and Masters Degree Course
7. Centre for Development Education and Communication (CEDEC) NISWASS, Bhubaneswar. Two years Masters Degree programme.
8. Institute of Media Studies (IMS, estd. 1994), Bhubaneswar, Affiliated to Utkal University. Two years masters degree programme in Journalism and Masscommunication ; and Public Relation and Advertiseing
9. Academy of Management and Information Technology (AMIT), Bhubaneswar, Affiliated to Utkal University. Two years masters degree programme in Journalism and Masscommunication
10. Bharatiya Vidya Bhaban, Bhubaneswar. Affiliated to Utkal University. Two years masters degree programme in Journalism and Masscommunication
11. IGNOU, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Angul Centre. PG Diploma course. By correspondence.
12. Arya School of Management and Information Technology (ASMIT), Bhubaneswar. Two years PG Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication, affiliated to Utkal University.
13. Trident Academy of Creative Technology, Bhubaneswar. Affiliated to Utkal University. Offers MJMC.
14. Gangadhar Meher Autonomous College, Sambalpur. Offers 1 year PG Diploma in JMC.
IIMC started a PG Diploma course in Oriya journalism in 2000. This was for the first time that IIMC started a language journalism course besides English and Hindi. This has gone a long way in training Oriya journalism students and has immensely helped in raising the professional standard of journalism in Oriya.
But in general, when it comes to quality of course content and training, lot remains to be done. Besides IIMC and to some extent Berhampur university most of the other institutes providing journalism teaching lack sufficient infrastructure. Most of them are theory-oriented. Students lack industry-preparedness. There is not much industry-academics interface, which poses a hindrance in placement of students. Many institutes are starting Journalism courses with exorbitant fee structure (even universities are opening journalism courses on self-finance mode) without proper infrastructure and faculty. The result is rather poor quality education.
So, as Elisha Pattnaik, 4 a Cuttack based journalist comments “when on one hand the growing media and journalism education institutes in Orissa have opened vistas for many who want to pursue a career in journalism their unregulated growth and the poor quality of training being imparted is a matter of serious concern not only for the students’ future, but also for the profession.”
Of late Television Journalism has emerged as a viable career option. More and more young men and women are attracted towards it. Television journalism requires a combination of journalism skill and command over the technicalities of television medium. If one looks at the history of film and television education in India, introduction of formal courses for film making was made in S.J.Polytechnic, Bangalore in the year 1943. Thereafter in 1945, similar courses were introduced in Central Polytechnic, Chennai. At that time there was no systematic and organized approach to the film education. During 1960 an independent institute of film technology was established in Chennai by Government of Tamilnadu by transferring courses from Central Polytechnic. In the same year on the recommendation of Film Enquiry Committee the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune was established under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India. Subsequently, an independent Film & Television Institute was established in Bangalore under World Bank assisted project in 1996 by shifting the courses from S.J.Polytechnic, Bangalore. Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute was established in the same year at Calcutta (presently Kolkata) under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.
In Orissa it was in 1992 that the first batch of students in Cinematography discipline was admitted in Bhubanananda Orissa School of Engineering, Cuttack. In July, 1996 Government of Orissa approved for establishment of an autonomous Film & TV Institute at Cuttack. The Institute was formally inaugurated on 4 March, 2000 by Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Orissa. On 26 th May, 2001 it was renamed as Biju Pattnaik Film & Television Institute of Orissa. It presently offers courses in cinematography, sound and television engineering; and Film & Video Editing. 5
Prasar Bharati’s Training Institute at Bhubaneswar provides training to their technical and program staff. Staff Training Institute was established at Delhi for programme staff (Programme Assistants & Transmission Assistants-presently known as Programme Executives & Transmission Executives) in 1948. Technological advancement in the area of Broadcasting Hardware, necessitated establishment of a Training Institute for technical staff of All India Radio. The STI (T) was established in 1956 at Delhi.
Expansion of the Radio Network all over India during the sixties & seventies in various linguistic zones, necessitated establishment of Regional Institutes for programme staff. In 1975, two Regional Institutes were opened at Shillong and Hyderabad followed by four more at Ahmedabad, Cuttack, Lucknow and Thiruvananthapuram in 1988-89.
The Regional Institute at AIR, Cuttack was upgraded to the status of a National Institute at par with STI (P) Delhi in June’ 1995.
A Regional Institute for Technical staff was established at Bhubaneswar in 2000-2001, followed by one at Shillong in 2004-05.
While Programme staff is trained in the subjects of media need assessment, content creation and design, packaging, promotion & marketing initiatives in a competitive environment, the technical staff are provided training on the dynamics of technological innovations in the ICT (information communication technology) sector.
Besides the training activities of the staff, Akashvani & Doordarshan under Prasar Bharati have introduced counselling activities for the two courses conducted by IGNOU(Indira Gandhi National Open University) viz. PG Diploma in Radio Prasaran and PG Diploma in Audio Programme Production, in a joint collaboration since 2003-04.
Another initiative taken by the Staff Training Institute (Programme) is conducting courses for amateur presenters in various language on Voice Articulation Nurturing Initiative (VANI) from 2002-03. Among other television channels, ETV provide inhouse training to its programme and technical staff in their corporate office at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad. They also conduct skill enhancement short training programmes from time to time.
Of late some private organizations have started short course of two-four weeks duration on ‘Television Anchoring’, ‘Television News reading’, etc. Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Dhenkanal had organised two eight weeks courses on ‘Television Reporting’ in 2002.
Notes and References:
1. Sharma S.R.(Editor in Chief), Journalism as a Profession, Radha Publications, NewDelhi, 1996, p-16-17
2. Murthy Dr. Nadig Krishna, Indian Journalism(Origin, Growth and Development of Indian Journalism: from Asoka to Nehu), Prasanga, University of Mysore, 1966 p-412-414
3.Retrieved on 13 July 2006, from mediamentors.net/faqs.htm
4. Pattnaik Elisha, email@example.com Journalism Education in Orissa, retrieved on 13 July from thehoot.org
5. Retrieved on 17 July, http://www.bpfti.com/history/html
The author is Associate Prof. IIMC, Dhenkanal