Journalism, known as the fourth pillar of society, is a dynamic field. The way journalism is practiced has changed radically over the past decade, with the emergence of digital platforms and mobile journalism. Keeping in sync with the trend, the journalism courses have also changed, though the basic tenets of journalism remain the same. The pedagogy is more interactive and involves the use of technology to a greater extent. The scope for a journalist is humungous, especially if you can gain expertise on a certain beat.
If you want to make a successful career as a journalist, the first bit of investigative journalism that you will need to take up is finding out the Top Journalism Colleges where you can gain admission. Here are some leads that will help you in your pursuit.
- Infrastructure: A journalism college must have state of the art facilities for training in camera handling and photo journalism, mock anchoring, editing suites, and screening auditoriums for documentaries. Apart from these, the college must provide world class resources like journals and equipment for research and training.
- Graduation or PG: While many students take up a journalism course right after passing out of school, others decide to pursue it at the post-graduation level. There are a number of courses both at graduation and PG level. IIMC, Delhi, offers only PG Diploma courses, whereas many colleges affiliated with the Delhi University offer a three-year graduate honours course in journalism and mass media. Find out the most suitable college depending upon your stage of study.
- Accreditation: Nearly 1000 colleges offer a journalism course in India, and most of them are privately owned. There is no mandatory accreditation or approval for the courses being run by the private institutions, the state or central government colleges have to get the course approved by the UGC. This gives an assurance that the course module will be in a set model. On the other hand, diploma courses have greater flexibility and can be updated frequently.
- Faculty: In the absence of a fixed module accredited by any organisation, the knowledge and experience of faculty has a major impact on the success of a journalism course. Visit the websites of colleges, talk to alumni or the admission support cell and find out about the full-time as well as visiting faculty. They must have done commendable work in the field, or be in a leading position at a well-known media house. First hand reflection and perspective add great value to the quality of teaching.
- Industry exposure: A journalist is not prepared just by studying in classrooms, but by gaining experience in real life situations. Top Journalism Colleges in India have tie-ups with media houses and send students for training and internships in print and television journalism. Make sure that the college that you are targeting gives ample opportunity to interact with editors and technicians, as well as work in real newsrooms, assisting the professionals in different departments.
- Research Projects: The nature of projects assigned during a journalism course is also extremely important. Apart from thesis done with the help of academic research, practical projects done outside the campus, with teamwork and creativity, help students to develop the journalistic knack, hone skills of camera-handing and interviewing and overcome their inhibitions.
- Specialisation courses: Under the vast umbrella of journalism, there are numerous specialisation options. Make sure that you choose a college after deciding which segment of journalism you want to follow professionally. Some of the most popular fields of specialisation are printed, electronic media (radio, television, digital), Hindi/ English, journalism, media planning, camera handling, anchoring and reporting. Choosing a beat during your college will boost your professional progress.
- Ranking: Like every other stream, the ranking allocated to colleges is an important factor to consider journalism as well. Some leading colleges are Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (Pune), Indian Institute of Mass Communication, LSR College for Women (Delhi), Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (Bangalore) and Xavier Institute of Communications (Mumbai). Apart from these, some institutes run by leading media houses also offer a good scope for placement and growth.
- Placements: The aspect of placements is related to factor of industry exposure. Enquire well about the media houses that visit the campus every year for final placement, as well as internships. Also, if possible, find out about the starting packages offered by the companies. The better ranking colleges can give you a better opportunity for earning an attractive package.
- Entrance Exams: Last, but not least, you must decide the college you want to study in well in time, so that you can fill the forms for entrance exams. Most journalism colleges have their own exams like SET by Symbiosis, XIC OET by Xavier, etc. Know about the deadline dates, exam dates and required cutoffs for the exams that you wish to appear for.