Daily Archives: 1 April 2009

Q: Do schools help make better journos? A: Yes

The newly launched magazine Careers360 has an interview with Professor Sreenath Sreenivasan, dean of student affairs, and professor, Columbia Journalism School:

You were an established journalist when you had applied to Columbia. Do schools help in becoming better journalists?

“I had 300 bylines when I had applied to Columbia University. Learning on-the-job is crucial, but journalism schools add value where a newsroom cannot. In a newsroom, editorial is the number one product. All that you, as a journalist, are told is “don’t make mistakes”, “don’t get sued”, and “don’t get the advertisers angry”. The focus is entirely on the product and not on you. And given the pressure of deadlines, even if you are determined to do better, there’s no time or the energy left to do so.

“What a journalism school does is focus on how to make you a betetr product. Capitalist newsrooms do not allow for such conversations. We, at Columbia, make every comma, every turn of phrase, every video better. The game is how to take your career to the next level.”


How media misses the poll woods for the trees

RAJEEV RAO writes from Bangalore: Watching the coverage of the 2009 general elections the last few days, I am struck by how little coverage there is in the electronic media on any governance issue that really matters.

It is all about alliances, breakups, hate speeches, Varun Gandhi, criminals, Sanjay Dutt, who will be prime minister, etcetera, etcetera.

I understand that these are compelling topics.  But is there no time that any media could muster to talk about and grill the wannabe leaders about what they are going to do after getting elected?

It is as is the purpose of elections is elections itself—and not governance.

At least these wannabe leaders will start thinking and preparing about it rather than coming and glibly talking and supporting or condemning Varun Gandhi.

It is not that the voter is not bothered about issues. Yes, he is probably too busy trying to point out to the media that these issues matter as well.  But, he will listen if politicians present their view on real issues, he will evaluate and at least a few will separate the wheat from the chaff, and those few might just matter in the end in a close election.

There are enough and more issues to cover—corruption, terrorism, reviving economy, infrastructure development, women’s reservation, reservation (this will mean more fights on TV, but better before elections rather than after on this one), rural education, primary education, healthcare, girl education, foreign policy, the list can go on.

The last three chief ministers got re-elected only for one reason: governance (Sheila Dixit, Raman Singh and Shivraj Singh Chauhan), and that is the only thing that is completely missed out in all election coverage.

Or I have completely missed the point on the Indian elections?

Crossposted on churumuri.com