Education should keep up with the changing media industry: Experts discuss
Some media educators and key industry people gathered at the Media Education Summit at IIC, Delhi, to bridge the gap between education and execution
On November 22, at the India International Centre in Delhi, exchange4media and Samachar4media in association with BW BusinessWorld hosted the Media Education Summit where several media educators of India gathered to discuss how today’s education should keep up with the changes happening in the media industry.
The session began with chairperson Prof. Sushil Bahl, Faculty and Head SushilBahl Consultancy, Mumbai, expressing his thoughts on the present state of media institutes and organisations, as he said, “The media landscape has changed, it’s no longer what we learnt in school. It was fast and factual earlier. Today, in my opinion, we have a number of positives.”
Requesting the esteemed panel to share their thoughts on the changing media industry, Bahl invited on stage veteran journalist, Ajay Upadhyay. “There’s a lot of pressure on the Media Industry today, as we look forward to hiring students from several media colleges. It is only when we educate ourselves by reading a lot that we will manage to differentiate among journalism, right information and communication. It is crucial to know the Max Planck concept, Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty etc. to be able to understand and practice journalism. In today’s world it is important to be able to get a hang of the technology, as it impacts content to a large extent.”
Sharing views on the use of Augmented Intelligence, Vikram Chandra, Editorji Technologies, said, “The condition of Media and Video news today in particular, has deteriorated. There are many structural reasons behind this. Several years back, we used to teach students joining media to go out and talk about balance, to be unbiased, to give details regarding both sides of the story, most importantly to be factual and not fake.” Therefore, discussing the reasons behind this change in the media industry, Chandra said, “Firstly, television news has a problem in its business model. In the TV domain we don’t get subscription revenue, instead we are entirely dependent on advertising, which again generates from TRPs. Given the current scenario, you get TRPs not by doing good quality news, but by doing bad quality news. That’s unfortunately how today’s TV business model is working.”
Commenting on the hopes of a successful digital video news format, Chandra said that the reason behind Digital video news not working today is because of another F, i.e Form factor. "Many video destinations are being forced to just play live. This is partly a form-factor issue. People are getting their video news content through social media. Though this is good distribution on social media, the sources of content are not authenticated. On the other hand, even when there’s inflow of really good content, the distribution is not up to the mark. Hence, there is a need for the model to change. That is what I am trying to do at Editorji Technologies," he added..
Commenting on the need for media schools to change as per the media industry, Anuradha Prasad, Chairperson News24 & BAG, said, “Unless and until you are on the front foot, you can never look at the future. Human beings have to keep on inventing oneself. Unless I match up with the future, I will be redundant. I see to it that my students are taught everything so that they are able to cultivate their own opinions. Today if one is running a journalism school or a media company, one has to go with a very clean mind. Hence, you will not find me active on social media, where I feel the mind gets clogged. It’s the responsibility of media teachers to teach the students who are ready to step into the world of journalism." Apart from this, she also spoke on the growing need for latest technology. She said, “In this process, we need to adapt to technology and make sure that it is helping in a positive manner. The future is not at all bleak for us. To me technology, journalism and media all come under one umbrella.”
Lauding Prasad's views, Bahl said, “We the stakeholders of media need to reinvent terms.” Taking the discussion ahead our next speaker, Pankaj Pachauri Editor-in-Chief and Founder, GoNews24*7, said, “The big F about media at large in India is Fail and if you are on Instagram it would be called epic fail. This failure is because we are not keeping up with technology. Corporate houses, be it within or outside media, have not invested enough in proper media education. For the last six months I have been trying to hire people, who should know Hindi, have a basic ethical background of journalism and those who know how to work around the app VideoLeap. I am not getting this mix.”
Discussing issues in media at an industry level, he said, “The trouble in news is not at the reporter level, the trouble is at the editor level. Editors are the gatekeepers, those who need to find out what is fake and what is factual and how to be able to present those facts. Editors are not supposed make pitches, that’s something the marketing team is supposed to take care of. There needs to be a Great Wall of China between these two. The latest teaching, modules and methods are coming from Hollywood. Media is a calling not a career."
Speaking about the positive Fs, Anil Singhvi, Managing Editor, Zee Business, said, “My F word refers to the freshness of ideas. Like all other professions, editors too deserve to have authority. In today’s time it should be mandatory for media professionals to have a certain kind of certification. While every citizen has the right to express one’s opinions, for those who are responsible and answerable, it is crucial for them to have a certification. Sadly, there’s a mismatch between the manner in which we educate media professionals and the execution post that. There lacks a freshness of ideas in media today. We are not thinking out of the box and communicating news in a proper manner.”
Talking about some of the solutions that can perhaps bridge this gap, veteran journalist Shravan Garg said, “Organisations like that of BusinessWorld and exchange4media can take responsibility and revise the syllabus of different media schools. Also, other options could include training courses for teachers of media schools. It is important to know if any kind of political interference is taking place in media institutions and also regarding the kind of Vice Chancellors being appointed.” Concluding his speech, Garg came up with the suggestion of auditing the current infrastructure that exists in media schools.
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