The world of news has changed in the digital era. Today “speed with accuracy” is the journalist’s major challenge and that is the thin line that would separate professional journalists with social media enthusiasts.
How do you think ‘journalism’ has changed in the digital age? What does it mean for aspiring journalists?
Today, information is flowing at lightning speed and hits us instantly. This is the power of the Digital Age. In such a scenario, the real challenge is to transform volley of information into news so that it remains relevant for a larger group than the target audience, which was easily defined by traditional newspapers and TV news channels. Social media has created ripples in news creation, news management and news dissemination. The Digital Age has entirely changed the way we consume news today. News is being consumed in shorter capsules instantly on our personal devices rather than at leisure with a cup of tea through a newspaper or on television. The advent of new media such as news apps have further brought in a revolutionary change in how a journalist needs to write and report a story befitting consumption on these mediums. Today’s fast-growing digital companies may become the media behemoths of tomorrow. Therefore, it is inevitable that journalism and mass media colleges bring their curriculum up to speed to ensure that the students learn what the industry requires them to be proficient in. Relevant knowledge of technology with traditional skillsets – language, writing, reporting, editing, analysis, layouts and camera skills have become a few essentials that the students need to be equipped with.
Is there a fusion of print, electronic and social media? How can institutes prepare students to be multi-skilled?
Newsrooms are integrating and today journalists are expected to write from 12 word tweet to 1200 word long format stories, and also report on television. At the same time, it is very important for a broadcast journalist to be able to produce 15-second for snapchat, Instagram and also competent to produce well researched documentaries for main stream television. Hence, it is important for students to learn how to adapt their story for different mediums which will reach out to different kinds of audiences. Therefore, the curriculum should be able to do an intelligent convergence of the skills required for all mediums and also train them to write for different readership / viewership profiles. For example, the millennials may consume a story through a photo blog than with a long format story while the business community might want to read detailed articles analyzing a certain economic policy. This is where the role of a media school becomes important so as to prepare students to adapt themselves to varying media formats.
What are some of the new careers that have emerged in the age of digital journalism?
The digital age has brought in a gamut of opportunities for the millennials. Whether it is being a blogger, content curator, social listener + content writer, the avenues have grown. Bloggers, in fact, have emerged as careers with high earning potential, in a few cases, more than their traditional counterparts and have a huge fan following too!
What things should a student look for in an institute before joining the course?
First, the institute’s curriculum and pedagogy should be based on the industry demands because that is where they will eventually work. A more experiential and practical, hands-on training, backed by a strong academic curriculum is essential. I feel that when students are taught by the industry experts themselves, they learn the best. And therefore, the college should ensure that the students get to interact with and get mentored by prolific writers, industry stalwarts and become the change makers in media industry.
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