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Media & Journalism

How a degree in journalism would benefit in a fast-changing media scenario

Dr. Shabana Mansoor | July 30, 2022

Are you at the crossroads after class 12? Or yet to decide upon the stream of your choice that would ensure professional satisfaction? A small introspection would do. What are your academic inclinations – arts, science, maths, or commerce? Would you prefer augmenting it with creative thinking and media specialisation? If yes, let’s discuss this further. 

An oft-heard statement about journalism in the past is that ’journalists are born and not made‘. It doesn’t truly hold good in this era of citizen journalism and social media. Yes, some people who stand out are those who have an innate skill in communication and delivery of information. But for a majority, education in the right direction, proper training and hands-on experience help them mould their skills in the media. That lays emphasis on the importance of understanding the various avenues of mass communication and journalism and the myriad possibilities it opens in the professional arena.  

Over a period, the term media has become synonymous with entertainment. Now, Media and Entertainment is the most preferred career choice. Earlier, it was the traditional media which ruled the roost. The electronic media encompassing radio and television and the print co-existed with one complementing the other for decades. An inquisitive and alert mind and a passion for writing, photography or videography made one a media professional with no major qualification in the discipline. The craft was primarily mastered hands-on during those days.  

Transformation in the Media & Entertainment industry 

Technological advancements have made a remarkable change in the media scene. With the advent of the internet and smart devices it collaborates with, it is the infotainment platform which has benefited the most. Marshall McLuhan’s ‘Global Village’ assumes greater connotations in this age of information revolution. It is in this context that the relevance and importance of a profession in the media world gain momentum. 

Unlike the traditional media where there are gatekeepers for every bit of information disseminated, the digital domain offers an open world to the self-proclaimed writer, blogger or citizen journalist. The news dissemination power of social media needs to be reckoned with, even while not overlooking its shortcomings, such as fake news and disinformation. For the same reason, it makes it least mandatory for anyone to be qualified in the journalism discipline to be a storyteller or news disseminator on social media.  

It is here that systematic training in the theory and practice of mass communication and journalism comes to the fore. Though waning in popularity against the overpowering digital media, the traditional media competes with the former with its fact-checking, objectivity and ethical features.  

Demand for skilled professionals is on the rise 

A few statistics from the Indian Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry will throw light on the importance of acquiring a degree in Media Studies / Mass Communication and Journalism. The growth rate of the M&E sector in the country stood at 9 per cent, while the GDP growth of the nation was at a staggering 4.2 per cent in 2019. This indicates the great opportunities offered by the media industry for future journalism and mass communication professional in the country. 

Quality content is what firms and agencies look for, and proper orientation and training in media studies will help you earn the skill. Continuous research, fact-checking, and editing skills can be mastered once you adapt to the journalism stream. 

Since a degree course brings a broad spectrum of professional spheres such as print media, audio-visual communication, digital media, photography, videography, content writing, public relations, corporate communication, advertising, data journalism, film studies, script writing etc, to name a few, a media aspirant is provided with diverse choices, either interconnected or individually distinct.  

ALSO READ: Why choose a Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication

Specialisations in exclusive fields like international communication, health communication, educational / development communication or in various beats such as political, crime, sports, investigative, business, courts and others further widen the spectrum of choices.  

Know-how of different yet related streams will equip you well for any future challenges. Wading through report writing for production, management, PR, and marketing, the fluid form of the discipline prepares one for an array of professional skills. The area of specialisation may be zeroed in on depending upon one’s passion and interest and then a related profession identified to perform to the best of your abilities.   

It may be recalled that even during the days of the pandemic when many mainstream businesses and ventures faced closure, new tools and forms of communication emerged. The increased media consumption at home unravels new opportunities and possibilities in the realms of communication and media.  

Having said that, one needs to be extra vigilant before deciding upon an institution which offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes in journalism and mass communication. Recognising its wide possibilities, journalism courses are being offered by higher education institutions in all nooks and corners. Full-fledged studios, exposure to different streams of the discipline, hands-on training with industrial experts, and intensive theoretical and practical coaching by academic experts are critical parameters that determine the quality of a media institute.  

An earnest mind, boundless energy, inquisitiveness to know and learn new things, adaptation to fast-paced technological changes and proper guidance from the experts will do the rest. So, stay focussed, and take a plunge into your career of choice!! 

References: 

https://www.stoodnt.com/blog/future-communication-pr-journalism-digitization-social-media/

https://www.allartschools.com/5-reasons-journalism-degree-matters/

https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/lists/5-ways-journalism-has-changed-over-the-years/

https://comm.stanford.edu/journalism-masters/

Written by
Dr. Shabana Mansoor
Academic Lead - Mass Communication and Journalism, UNext
Dr. Shabana Mansoor has been active in the media industry and academics for over 18 years. She earned a doctorate from the University of Mysore in 2011. She was a freelancer with Times of India for a year and a Correspondent with The Hindu for two years. She has worked as a guest faculty in government colleges in Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Dr. Mansoor had associated with an advertising firm as a content and copywriter. For years, she has been contributing to media firms in Kerala and the Middle East. Prior to UNext, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Studies at REVA University.

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