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A visit to Japan – the land of the rising sun

When we, 12 trainee journalists from IIJNM, were invited by the Japanese Government in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) to attend JENESYS 2.0, a program for media students from across the country, we knew that being part of IIJNM would allow us to experience almost everything under the journalistic sun, from reporting in rural areas to attending international programs.

As part of the 79-member Indian delegation, we were exposed to Japan’s rich culture and heritage. The first thing that all of us experienced was the attitude and nature of the people; humility, kindness, and discipline are the virtues that the Japanese people are filled with. For example, it was a pleasant surprise to see that the Japanese are very friendly; strangers on the street greet us with “Konichiwa,” which means “Hello.” In short, we got a lesson on “Athithi Devo Bhava” in a different country.

Staying with host families was probably the best part of this entire program for most us. This gave us a firsthand experience life for a traditional Japanese family, which is not much different than an Indian family. Some host families were so kind and loving that after we left from our foster homes, they came all the way to our hotels to give us more presents and gifts which made all of us very emotional.

Interacting with university students and speaking to media professionals gave us perspectives and insights into the professional media world. Wearing kimonos and yukatas brought us close to the Japanese lifestyle. Taking part in Japanese culture activities such the tea-making ceremony and the onsen was an experience that made us introspect about the importance of cultural preservation.
As budding journalists, we are taught to question everything and dig deep into a particular issue. There were things that we could investigate upon there; for example, facts such as why Japan has a very low crime rate could be investigated. However, language issues overpowered our journalistic enthusiasm. This is where we gave a shot at learning Japanese, which definitely was not an easy task.

JENESYS 2.0 gave us an experience of a lifetime. As media students, this is the time where we explored various aspects of journalism. To learn about the relevance of media in a foreign country, intertwined with exposure to cultural knowledge, is something that will always be etched in our memory.

By Noah DMello


IIJNM alumna wins National Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity

CNN-IBN reporter Akansha Pradeep, an IIJNM alumna of the 2007-08 batch, has been awarded a National Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity 2012-13 for her report titled "Trauma of the Two Finger Test," which won in the Best Reporting (Electronic) category. Her story had earlier won the best reporting award for the northern zone. We send her our warmest congratulations.


It was a busy Christmas vacation for our students

Christmas vacation was a time to go back home, spend time with family and in our students’ case, report for and publish stories in their local newspaper! The Assam Tribune, Deccan Chronicle and Hindustan Times are just some of the publications our students landed stories in while at home over Christmas.


Taluk visit by IIJNM students

Our students returned from their first visit to the taluks in the last week of October laden with stories, experiences and insights from what many people call the neglected India. IIJNM’s students are required to spend one week every semester in a rural area, living among the people there. This gives them a flavor of what 70% of India faces every day, and how as conscientious journalists, our students can tell the story of these places. Their second visit is scheduled for the second half of February and from these two visits, our students will produce individual master’s projects.

IIJNM alumni win Laadli Media Gender Sensitivity awards

IIJNM alumna Vaishnavi Vittal, of the 2008 graduating class, has been bestowed with a Laadli Media Gender Sensitivity Award for her article titled "Government ignores us because we aren't educated and rich." Citizen Matters published her article in July 2010. Congratulations, Vaishnavi! IIJNM alumna Deepa Ranganathan, of the 2011 graduating class, has been bestowed with a Laadli Media Gender Sensitivity Award for her article titled "Boys don't cry." The Alternative published her article in April 2011. Congratulations, Deepa!

IIJNM almnus wins "We Care Film Fest’ 2012" award

Mrinmoy Bhowmick of the 2009-10 batch has been declared the winner of the ninth ‘We Care Film Fest’ 2012 in the Under-30 minutes category. His film, “I Can Love, Too” sheds light on marriage and persons with disability, something most people often doubt The aim of the "We Care" film festivals which began in 2003 is to create awareness about disability issues through the medium of films and to foster integration in society by spreading the message of ability. The festival underlines the UN's commitment to inclusion -- in both development and human rights perspectives. Mrinmoy’s film was chosen from among more than 100 entries in his category.


Raghuram Ramachandran: Reporter, rebel, poet, friend

IIJNM faculty and alumni announce with deepregret and sorrow the sudden and untimely death of our alumnus Raghuram Ramachandran. He was 22.
Raghuram graduated in broadcast journalism in 2011.He worked as a reporter for The New Indian Express in Calicut.

He left Calicut on Friday night to visit his family at Chalakuddi, a village near Thrissur, Kerala, to celebrate the festival of Vishu. He was traveling alone on his bike at 12:30 a.m. Saturday when his motorcycle was involved in a collision with a mini bus. According to news reports, he was transported to Westfort Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Raghu, as he was known on campus, is remembered fondly as a student who had broad interests beyond journalism. He was fascinated by Allen Ginsberg’s poetry and adored Arundhati Roy’s work. Raghu planned to publish a volume of poetry to be titled “Victim of a Dream, “according to Nagesh Hegde, a professor at IIJNM.

"Raghu was my roommate at IIJNM and a good friend. He was rebellious in his own ways, but his reporting and edit skills were enviable," Soumit Mazumdar said.

Raghu had strong political views and enjoyed a good argument like few others in his batch, faculty member Ron Feemster said. He chose to study at IIJNM because he believed journalism was a tool to combat injustice in society.

"He would have made a great journalist and would have lighted up many lives with his beautiful smile,” said Prajwala Hegde. “He was always ready to help people around him. I remember running up to him every time I faced a technical glitch because I knew there was nothing Raghu couldn't fix."

His fellow broadcast student Aritra Sarkhel said: "He was a budding news reporter with an eye for the unknown. He was always great with the camera. A budding poet and a man of many calibers,"

But most of all, his fellow students remember him as a friend.

"He was the guy with all the trivia and always made people laugh. He took stories by the horns and used to fondly call me Rintoo Baba," Anirban Ghoshal recalled.

Ankita Mehta said: "It just feels that he is still around us. I still can’t believe he’s gone. He was like my small brother and always full of masti. It is really unfair that he had to leave us. He will be missed."

Raghu is survived by his parents, Rathy and Ramachandran, and his younger brother, whom Raghu called “Kunjan.”


Nostalgia takes over alumni reunion

“Remember the resident evil?” Hoots, cheers and whistles reverberated through the auditorium as these words were uttered by Kanchan Kaur, vice dean, in the opening sequence of a video to welcome ex-students at the Second Alumni Reunion of The Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bangalore.

The video took all the students on a nostalgia trip as faculty members spoke about the alumni and how excited they were to see them again. Laughter resonated and the alumni were reminded of their days in the college when the video ended with Kanchan Kaur lightheartedly telling them that they had to answer a news quiz later.

Alok Dixit, alumnus, delivered an engaging speech on his campaign ‘Save your voice’, that brought into the spotlight the issue of the government coming down upon social media platforms. He captured the attention of the audience when he spoke about the Langda March, a movement that he had spearheaded in various cities to spread awareness about the importance of freedom of expression.

The sentiment about freedom of expression continued in a panel discussion that followed Dixit’s talk. The discussion featured eminent panelists from the field of journalism and law as they mulled over the question “Should reasonable restrictions be imposed on freedom of expression?”       

Much revelry was had as the alumni bonded and exchanged anecdotes with the current students and teachers over a delectable meal in the hostel mess. After lunch, they braced themselves to play a game of snakes and ladders in the college campus, albeit with a twist, as they had to answer news based questions to move ahead in the game. They’re journalists, after all! Giggles were heard as the students struggled to answer the questions in the game, which ranged from the world of sports, entertainment and politics. Annie Nair, a student from the batch of 2011 won the game.

Venky, another ex-student floored the audience as he strummed the guitar and impressed everyone with his skills as he sang “Love is not a kiss on your lips, but a kick on your backside!” Christopher, current student at IIJNM, had the whole auditorium singing along as he played ‘Sutta’ on the guitar.

It was time to put their thinking caps on as the students proceeded to play the Crime Scene Investigation game. The atmosphere was tense as the teams ran around the college campus, locating clues, interrogating suspects that would lead them to solve the murder mystery. Prashant, Alisha and Sezal, students of Christ College emerged victorious in the game as they correctly revealed the murderer and his motive.

As the sun readied to set in the green terrains of Kumbalgudu, the alumni exchanged their goodbyes as they looked back on a fun-filled, nostalgia-driven day that they would reminisce for a long time! 


IIJNM Placement Week

The year is spent running in circles, squares and what not to interview the right people, to put in the right punctuations and shoot the best footage to get the best story. You are pulled, twisted, turned upside down and polished squeaky clean over nine months till it seems you’ve spent months in what seems like a journalist’s equivalent of a car-wash and you're ready for the ultimate test—placement week.

Day 1 finds everyone devouring the morning newspaper while breakfast and tea lie unattended at their side. It’s not just breakfast that suffers; the efforts to remember the names of all the ministers, the scams they were involved in and the money that has vanished, leaves students running into walls and into each other. Deccan Herald is the first newspaper to conduct a test at the campus. The college has an almost equally strong television and print batch apart from a number of multi-media students. This doesn’t seem to matter. Almost all students have found their way to the right class room and are armed with their pens as the editor from Deccan Herald enters the room. After three hours of scribbling on paper and scratching their heads the students emerge.

“Now that wasn’t so difficult was it?” one student said. The responses were mixed.  The atmosphere over the next few days as people from The New Indian Express, Thomson Reuters and Hindustan Times conducted tests was similar to that of school. After each test students would hurry out to discuss and check answers.  Some students just remained silent, not knowing whether to jump and laugh or to cry.

Students were running in and out of classrooms and interviews with organisations like Hindustan Times, Kolkata TV, The Mint, International Business Times, The New Indian Express, CyberMedia and Times Now.

As the week went by offers began trickling in. Big smiles appeared on many faces and choruses of “Congratulations!” could be heard all over campus. Little and big disappointments were washed away with new hopes as more organisations extended offers and people hopped the picket fence from the student/ work experience at IIJNM to that of a working adult.

And so it continues. Before the college has ended the year, many students find themselves making arrangements to go to different parts of the country, while others are attending more tests and interviews. The big, bad, exciting world of journalism had better watch out. We're on our way!


IIJNM students interview New Yorker staff writer

Few magazines have a history as venerable or a reputation as celebrated as The New Yorker, so a group of students at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media was delighted to get the chance to "sit at the feet" of one of its youngest and most talented staff writers recently.

Ben McGrath's article "Baghdad to Swarthmore," carried in the Dec. 26, 2005, issue of The NewYorker, introduces War News Radio, an award-winning weekly radio show produced by students of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Penn., who put a human face on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan by the simple means of making random calls to the citizens of those countries and interviewing them.

After reading McGrath's article in class, the students were assigned to compile three questions each for McGrath, 29, on any aspect of the reporting and writing of his article. The 90 or so submitted questions were narrowed down to 16, which were e-mailed to him at the address provided by The New Yorker. McGrath generously answered the questions put to him frankly and at length, providing a valuable insight into writing for the 85-year-old magazine with over a million subscribers.

Following are excerpts from the e-mail interview with McGrath.

Vidya Kishore Kumar: What inspired you to write this article? What quality of War News Radio attracted you in the first place?

Well, this story came to my attention, as so many do, through the old-fashioned form of social networking: through a friend of a friend, essentially. Marty Goldensohn, the head of the Swarthmore radio program, was friends with Mark Danner, a former New Yorker writer, and I think Danner called me and told me about it, suspecting I might be interested. He was right. The quality that attracted me to War News Radio was the brilliant simplicity of the idea: pick up the phone and call people, and maybe something interesting will come of it.

Vidya Kishore Kumar: What, in your opinion, is the most important aspect of War News Radio that catapulted it from its struggling days to the state of recognition it has today?

I’m sorry to say that I don't have any real insight here because I haven’t kept up with it. My guess is that the most important aspect is that the students were producing work of high quality, and that it attracted enough outside attention (from The New York Times, NPR, The New Yorker) to validate their early efforts and encourage new waves of students to keep at it. But that’s just based on my general understanding of human psychology, not anything specific to this case.

Paul Richard Dharamraj: Did you try calling Baghdad yourself when you found out about the story?

Good question! And I'm afraid the answer is no. In fact, it was a long time before I started using Skype myself. But, looking back at that story, that’s one of the things that stands out to me now: that Skype was then a novelty, something most people hadn’t yet heard of. I remember that the founders of Skype were delighted by the passing mention of their service in my story, and sent me lollipops that, in my foggy recollection, tasted awful.

Deepa Ranganathan: How did the journalists build up the trust with the local citizens there so they could gather information from them regarding their news stories?

The students didn’t speak Arabic, so there was a kind of selection bias at work: Ultimately, they were only getting through to Iraqis who spoke decent English, which is not an ideally representative sample of the population. I think the chances were probably greater that English-speaking Iraqis would understand what the students were after, and where they were coming from.

Sayan Chakraborty: Was the information gathered from conversations with local people different from the version provided by the government?

Yes, I think so, but also, the kind of information the students were looking for from local people was different from what they or anyone else would be asking of the government. I think they were specifically interested in hearing the personal stories of local people, not their political assessments.

Ananda Siddhartha: Did the students aim to come up with a proposal for corporate backing so they could expand their network and reach?

Another good question, but I’m afraid I don’t know the answer.

Ankita Mitra: As a journalist, what is your opinion about this new form of journalism produced by a group of college-going students?

I don’t know that I’d necessarily call it a new form of journalism. It seems to me like the oldest form of journalism: calling people, listening to their stories. They made good use of new technology, though.

Pradhija S.: Did you explore the potential safety issues (possibly resulting from leakage of sensitive information) in these kind of phone conversations, either with respect to individuals or with respect to a community in some form?

No, I didn’t, but these are excellent points/questions you raise.

Kruthi Gonwar: How credible is the information gained in this manner?

Well, there’s some reason for concern, obviously. One problem with only talking to people on the phone, as opposed to in person, is that you often can’t be sure who it is, exactly, that you’re talking to. Calling random strangers probably isn’t the best way to get hard facts, at least not without some fairly extensive vetting, but it helps to humanize the facts that you’re getting from more traditional outlets.

Namrata Nandakumar: Although it is not mainstream reporting, War News Radio seems to have had quite an impact. How would you say the information it provides has affected other media coverage of the war?

Again, I’m sorry to say that I don’t really have a sense of what’s happened with War News Radio in the last four years.

Prerna Changkakati: What are the important things to remember while writing such an article?

Too many to name! But see #15, below. And also, I always try to remember not to assume that the readers will know what I’m talking about. In other words, try to write with a confused and distracted reader in mind, as though you’re determined to get him up to speed.

Shweta Rao A.: Quoting a line in the article: “When not telephoning Iraq, the War News team occupy themselves with critiquing the President's speeches, assessing the ongoing media coverage...” How does the author, himself a reporter, think about the job that the Swarthmore students did in highlighting the other side of Iraq war compared with that done by professional reporters? Are professional reporters constrained by factors that don't constrain people working outside the media industry?

Well, I think we’ve all learned, in retrospect, that the mainstream media didn’t do a great job in reporting on certain aspects of the war, or the period leading up to the war. Generally speaking, groups of professionals in any field fall into certain habits over time, and most of those habits are useful, and were probably formed in response to certain recurring conditions that outsiders wouldn’t have any way of knowing about. But it’s definitely useful to have outsiders, whether college students or whomever, come along every so often and approach the same tasks without those habits, and remind the professionals of what they may be missing. Sorry to be so general about this, but I’ve never been to Baghdad myself, so I don’t have ready examples on hand.

Shweta Rao A.: What are author’s views on so-called citizen journalism? Does he think it undermines people's reliance on mainstream reporters?

I think citizen journalism that supplements professional reporting is a good thing. If it gets to the point of seriously endangering readers’ dependency on professional reporters, well, then that would suggest two things: 1) that the citizen journalism is of a high quality, and 2) that the professionals need to be more creative about finding ways to provide value to readers.

Avanish Tiwary: How did you manage to write such a humorous piece on this serious issue?

Well, I almost always try to make my stories at least somewhat humorous, so I guess the best answer would be: practice. My goal is never to bore the reader, because if you lose the reader’s attention, it doesn’t matter how serious your subject is, the point will be lost. One way to think about it is that you imagine trying to convey the information you’ve learned in the form of an anecdote related to a friend while walking. If you don’t lighten the mood at a certain point, your friend’s going to change the subject, or start daydreaming. There are exceptions, of course...

Arpita Kala: Don’t you think stories on Iraq might get a little boring, eventually? What do you plan to do then?

Um, sure. “What do you plan to do then?” Are you talking about me, or the Swarthmore students? In my case, well, probably only three or four of my two hundred or so stories for the magazine have been about Iraq, so I have the luxury of being able to jump around from one subject to the next, and therefore I almost never get bored. As far as the radio program goes, my impression, at least at the time, was that they did a pretty good job of balancing man-on-the-street coverage with more common political overviews and profiles of prominent personalities. I focused on the phoning-random-people-up theme because it struck me, in a way, as the most novel, and it was the one instance where college students, through their own initiative, were doing things that the mainstream professional press largely weren't.


IIJNM almnus selected for attending the "Future Media Leaders Program" by Thomson Foundation, UK

Thomson Foundation, a leading organization in media training and development has selected Deepika Bhardwaj , alumni of IIJNM batch 08-09 for the "Future Media Leaders Program" at Cardiff, Wales, UK. Deepika is one of the only five participants who have received a scholarship to attend this month-long course. The scholarship is worth £ 6900 and will cover training fee, accommodation, stay and travel during the program.

Mr Tim Rogers, Director, Training and Development, Thomson Foundation said, " You impressed us with your application and the thoroughness of your replies. I have no doubt that you are a most worthy beneficiary of one of our five scholarships and I am sure you will make a great contribution as a participant on our Future Media Leaders course"

The participants of this course will visit the House of Lords in London, the BBC, ITN and other such organisations. They will also meet leaders of media organizations in the UK. They will work on their leadership skills and on a team task to be evaluated at the end of the course. Apart from Deepika, a senior anchor from NDTV will also be attending the course.

The IIJNM Community wishes her the best.


IIJNM alumnus Nachiketa Maiti is no more

The IIJNM family announces with deep regret and sorrow the sudden and untimely demise of our alumnus, Nachiketa Maiti on Monday, March 1, 2010.

Nachiketa, a student of Broadcast Journalism in the Batch of 2008 was visiting his family at a village in Kolaghat, West Bengal, when he complained of chest pain. A primary check up showed no signs of anything serious. He was fine the night after, but it was "over" the next morning in his father’s words.

Nachi, as he was known on the campus, is remembered by his friends as a hard working student who fought all odds to achieve his dream of being a successful journalist. Since he had experience in television journalism before joining college, he would often guide fellow students.

“Nachiketa was a dreamer, a believer who had faith that hard work could create miracles and he was an example of that. He was an amazing Bengali poet and writer,” his friend Debolina Sengupta recalls.

“I got a chance to interact with him when we went shooting for a college documentary. I think he had worked really hard to come to the position he was in. I remember him telling me how difficult it was for him to study when he was young. He had great sense of business journalism. When he was doing an internship at Bangalore Mirror, where I worked, he came up with some brilliant ideas to write about. He will definitely be missed,” recalls Manasa Tejaswini.

“Nachi fought obstacles to get into IIJNM, he always wanted to do well to support his family. He was a very talented and hard working person. It is really unfair that he had to leave us at such a young age. He will be missed,” Sharath N. Murthy says.

The IIJNM faculty remembers Nachiketa with fondness and regret that a promising young life had to come to such a quick end.

Nachiketa is survived by his parents, elder sister and brother in law.

The faculty and students at IIJNM stand by his near and dear ones in this moment of grief and wish them strength.


IIJNM almnus wins National Media Fellowship 2009-2010

Tsewang RigzinNew Delh, December 2009 : Tsewang Rigzin, IIJNM Alumnus from Ladakh was among the 11 journalists, including two photojournalists, who were awarded the 15th National Media Fellowship for the year 2009-2010 by the National Foundation for India at the India International Centre in New Delhi.

Among them, Tsewang Rigzin, an associate editor of Epilogue – a monthly magazine published from Jammu – was the only one to win this fellowship for the year 2009-2010 from the State of Jammu and Kashmir .

The other journalists are from Assam , Jharkhan, Delhi , Orissa, Madya Pradesh and Chandigarh . At a function organized in New Delhi on 16 December 2009 at India International Centre, renowned journalist Ms Usha Rai gave away the fellowship awards.

The Foundation gives fellowships every year to invite young, mid-career journalists including freelance to research and publish articles on a wide range of issues concerning the less privileged, that need to be high on society’s agenda, but do not find mention there for a variety of reasons. Each fellowship award carries a citation, a trophy and a grant of Rupees one lakh.


IIJNM alumnus wins Developing Asia Journalism Award

Bangalore, October 26, 2009—Supriya Khandekar, IIJNM Alumnus and city-based journalist was awarded the Young Development Journalist of the Year Award at the Developing Asia Journalism Awards (DAJA) organized by the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) on Friday, October 23, 2009.

She was chosen among 22 finalists from all over Asia and the Pacific region for the award.

The story which fetched her the award was about Golahalli, a village near IIJNM, a few kilometers from Bangalore. Supriya first did the story for the IIJNM students’ publication, The Weekly Observer. She then joined a Bangalore-based website, Citizen Matters, where she did a fresh inquiry on the story and re-worked it. View this story on: http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/480-golahalli

Subbu Vincent, Editor of Citizen Matters says, “"I am thrilled to see Supriya Khandekar go on to receive this award. It is richly deserved, and our team at Citizen Matters was delighted to hear this. Supriya is a talented and spirited journalist, gifted with a sensitive intellect and the stomach for courageously getting into the complexities of our
developing society."

Prof. Nagesh Hegde, renowned environmental journalist and Rajyotsava awardee, who teaches Development Journalism at IIJNM said: Supriya has that unusual capacity to find story ideas in the nooks and dark corners of the city where few women dare to go. She specialized in highlighting the plight of women of the parasitic villages in the outskirts of the city. I admire her tenacity.”

The annual award aims to acknowledge Asian and Pacific print journalists who cover development trends and the impact these have on the countries and people of the region. Journalists from developing Asia and the Pacific were invited to submit published articles on one of the following issues: poverty impact of the global financial crisis; government responses to the global financial crisis; infrastructure development; and climate change adaptation.

The IIJNM Community wishes her the best.


IIJNM student wins DNA weekly photo contest

Shravana Kumar’s photographs depict the daily life of Bangalore labourers through the photographer’s lens. This week, the DNA news agency selected his shot “Labourer’s Daily Life,” in which a man is shown transporting large parcels of clean laundry on his bicycle, as the winning photo in the “Pic Me Up” contest.

Shravan, is a print and new media trainee journalist at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) in Bangalore. He contributed his photograph last month to the DNA daily newspaper’s weekly photograph contest. About 50 photographers entered the contest.

The “Pic Me Up” contest committee members selected six of the 50 entered photographs and published in the DNA. The six chosen photographers, including Shravan, were invited to a viewing of all the photographs and to get the chance to see the various art and creativity of each photographer. The committee selected Shravan’s “Labourer’s Daily Life” photograph as the top entry.

“I was very happy, excited when I heard that I was selected, because there were about 50 participants,” Shravan said.  The prize included a Sony Digital Camera, which was presented by the DNA photo editor. The contest was sponsored in part by Sony.

Nagaraju Koppalu


IIJNM Student wins poetry competition

Kartik Sharma, a broadcast journalism student of Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) won first prize in a Poetry Competition in ‘Unmaad 2009’, the international annual festival at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB).

 The Hindi poetry competition ‘Delhi Durbar’ took place on Sunday, October 4 in the premises of IIMB. The theme of the competition was love or laughter.

 The competition was spread over two rounds in which forty poets from all across India participated. In the preliminary round Sharma recited a poem on how important it is to love oneself. In the final round only ten out of forty poets were selected and Sharma was one of them. In the final round Sharma recited a poem on the love for our motherland and the responsibility one has towards her.

 ‘Delhi Durbar’ was one of the various events that took place in ‘Unmaad 2009’. Over 30,000 contestants participated from all over the world in this fest. 

Sharma has won many other poetry competitions too but it was special he said. Sharma said that since he was representing IIJNM for the first time and that too in IIMB this award holds a special place for him. He also said that writing is an integral part of journalism so winning a poetry competition is equally cherishing for a budding journalist too.

Read the poem at: http://kartiksunny.wordpress.com/2009/10/07/meri-seemayein-aur-kartavya/

Gurpreet Kaur


IIJNM student wins JEEVIKA award

"Gramin Dak Sevak" A short documentary film made by Deepika Bhardwaj, an alumni of IIJNM from the batch of 2008-2009 has won the All Asia Livelihood Documentary festival , Jeevika 2009 under the student category. There were 175 entries from all over Asia in the festival out of which 56 were student entries. The film was screened at The Habitat Centre, New Delhi and the awards were presented on 30th August. Deepika shares her experience with us.

" It was a great learning experience. The Film was well appreciated at the festival by filmmakers and everyone. Many people came to me telling that they never knew about this issue and the film enlightened them on the subject. Ms Gargi Sen , a noted filmmaker and one of the juries for the festival, congratulated me personally saying that the jury was unanimous on awarding the film as its short, to the point and very touching. The film has now been taken up by the General Manager, Postal department, New Delhi to look forward into the issue. I feel good that i have been able to help the GDS community through this film. Wish to thank each and every one who were a part of this journey with me. This award is dedicated to Late Mr Brent Hurd who has been an inspiration always."

Link to the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43HsJ8_WxPs
More details about the event: www.Jeevika.org
http://www.hindu.com/mp/2009/09/03/stories/2009090351190100.htm


IIJNM student on NDTV

IIJNM Student Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj’s (batch of 2009) master’s project was picked up by NDTV and aired on its breakfast show on May 6, 2009. Deepika was also interviewed after the film was shown.

The video, Youth Count, focuses on the youth and its participation in elections. Deepika has interviewed several youngsters, political experts, politicians and eminent personalities like Narayan Murthy, Mahesh Bhatt and Suhasini Haidar for the film. The film, she says, intends to create an impact in the minds of young people at a time when it is important that the youth participate in the country’s search for a strong political leadership.

 


Monday Morning Greens

It is important to critique society, but it is equally important to give something back to it. On August, 25, 2008, the faculty and students of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media decided to do their bit by planting trees in their backyard. Though the IIJNM campus is set amidst beautiful, green surroundings, planting more trees is always a good idea.

The students and faculty planted around 35 saplings. These included saplings of Coconut, Mango, Lemon, Pomegranate, Chicoo and Jamun trees. Each sapling is the responsibility of one or two individuals. During the course of the year, the students will water and tend to their plants.

For most, planting saplings wasn't a first, but everyone had a fun-filled experience. Some were initially apprehensive to get their clothes muddy but getting their hands dirty brought out the child in most. Everyone was really enthusiastic about the whole exercise. Some students decided to place name placards near the plants they planted and by the afternoon, many were already running off to water their saplings. The enthusiasm should continue throughout the year.

Members of the faculty also enjoyed themselves. Some planted saplings while other watched and took pictures. It was a pleasant change from our fast paced routines. The words from William Henry Davies' 'Leisure' came to my mind-

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

The activity actually provided us time to enjoy nature, which otherwise, we rarely ever appreciate. The trees that were planted will not only help the students pause in their routines and unwind but will also serve as a legacy of the batch of 2008-09. It will be a unique inheritance, along with the Observers, articles, videos and documents, for the future batches of IIJNM.



What are Placement Weeks made of?
White Stripes, Jazzy Denims, Interviews and Yearbooks

We thought it didn't really exist until the tribal council of 55 convened on Monday night to debate border and encroachment issues. The line of control was drawn up in a tense atmosphere, roughly separating the print and TV students into two distinct ideological groups.

Conversations went like this: "why are you not applying to IDG?"

The boy, innocent in the ways of the world perhaps, exclaimed, "Because I am a TV student." For when the group gets together and decides on a pact, you break out at your own risk. Another print journalist said, [the boys] have all decided... we will stick with our own streams."

Tough, murderous glances were exchanged between the camps until Tuesday morning when our associate dean, after stirring up a hornet's nest the previous day, pooh-poohed the pact and asked print students to sit for CNBC.

"What have we trained you to be here in IIJNM?" was her question, and the answer in chorus was, "journalists."

Certain carefree journalists though, including two jolly girls with a scooter exclaimed in private, "this is for journalists…we don't want to be journalists."

Others certainly wanted to be journalists. Some were short listed for every opening (you know yourselves, and we know you), some were not and acted stoic (a mallu journalist said, "this was not my cup of tea"), and many dissolved in tears at the first disappointment, but emerged stronger and more carefree by the end of the week. Everyone soothed their disappointments by watching multiple movies by the day and burying their heads in Manorama yearbooks by the night.

Daytime saw a steady stream of companies march through conversations: Times of India, Press Association, IDG, TV-18, TV-9, News X, Deccan Chronicle, Times Now, Kroll, Sakaal, Indian Express, Emphasis, Genesis. Some companies failed to impress all. The most serious girl of our batch once exclaimed, "as journalists, we are supposed to uncover, and [this position] is all about covering up!" But needless to say, we are all waiting for March Madness with bated breath…

…and with fuller wardrobes. Shops on Commercial Street did brisk business this week as IIJNM shopped. Girls and guys changed and re-changed even as White Stripes were banned from appearing on camera. Others bravely attended interviews wearing chains on their denim, sweetheart tops and a so-what attitude.

In all though, at the end of this hectic week, we emerged stronger and more united.

Here's to hoping that we all get jobs, and there is 100 per cent placement! Cheers!

Disclaimer: not meant to insult anyone, and do not take comments at face value.


CNN Aspiring Journalist Award 2007: Four IIJNM students in final

Four students from IIJNM have made it to the final round of the CNN Aspiring Journalist Award to be held in New Delhi on December 13. Divya Gojer, Itika Sharma, J. Jagannath and Vineetha Atreya, are among ten finalists chosen from among a few hundred students from around the country. Students had to write an essay on "Has the media broadened its reach only to narrow its focus?" They will now compete in a spot news writing test and interview to be picked winner in the broadcast and print areas. We wish them all the best.


Diwali Delights at IIJNM

The festival of lights Diwali was celebrated with great festive fervor at the hostel of Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media. The students of the institute got a well-deserved break from the academic grind with a four-day long vacation.

The students spent the entire day of Chhoti Diwali chalking out plans for the Diwali celebrations on the following day. There was a waft of the festive spirit in the air. The entire supporting staff, security guards and kitchen staff was engaged in decorating the hostel and decking up every nook and corner.

The students went on a shopping spree purchasing decorative items and fancy lights to adorn the premises. Some of them occupied themselves with spring cleaning and spruced up their rooms.

On the D-Day, the sheer joy and festive gaiety reigned supreme. Every soul was crackling with glee. Students and staff were absorbed in making the Diwali celebrations a delightful experience. The girl students decked up the floors with powders of myriad hues making psychedelic alpana.The hostel building was bedecked with tiny twinkling lights that dispelled the gloom and darkness with their cheerful illumination.

In the evening, students garbed themselves in ethnic finery and looked their best in their traditional togs. They performed the Puja with scintillating zeal. The spiritually -inclined students chanted mantras and performed the Aarti seeking divine blessing for every member of the institution. The faculty and the administrative staff graced the occasion with their presence.

After the Puja, the students and faculty wished each other a very joyful Diwali. Following this, the students went on a cracker-bursting spree in the basketball court.

The celebrations concluded on a sweet note with everyone savouring the lip smacking culinary delights rustled up by the kitchen staff.

Diwali was a fun-filled and memorable moment at the IIJNM hostel. The faculty and staff made sure that students did not miss home on the occasion.




Onam at IIJNM

The Malayali harvest festival of Onam was celebrated at IIJNM with all the gaiety of the season. For ten days, students religiously made ‘pookkalam’s [flower rangolis] with great passion and sincerity.

The last day, August 27, Thiruonam brought out the best in everyone. From being decked in traditional finery of sarees, set mundus and veshtis, to preparing the biggest pookkalam of all; from dancing before a limited but enthusiastic audience to lighting the lamp before the ‘Thrikkakkarappan’ [a symbolic pyramidal representation in mud, of the Trimurtis], the students literally stole the show.

A few of them also joined hands to prepare ‘Aviyal’ [a Keralite curry] and tomato chutney on the eve of Thiruonam. The festivities ended with a short, hastily-practiced kaikottikali (folk dance form of Kerala), and compliments to each other for the wonderful day. A really heart-warming way of staying connected with one’s culture in traditionally malnourished times.


First Impressions

The Class of 2008 has 53 students from varied backgrounds. They’ve studied science, engineering, commerce, literature, even philosophy. Here is what they have to say on their first few days at IIJNM.

We have often heard the phrase ‘you never get the second chance to make the first impression’. IIJNM truly impressed me the first time. I was more than happy to know that this is situated in the middle of beautiful natural beauty. Teachers to infrastructure, it is all so satisfactory. - Aditi Soni

This institute inculcates in me an undying vitality, which enlivens me every moment. In the month I have been here, I have changed my outlook to life; after a year, I hope to change the world a bit. - Ratul Sur

An approachable faculty and easy access to facilities has already made long working hours painless and sticking to deadlines, simple. I’m actually looking forward to the year ahead! - Anuya Ulpe

When I first reached IIJNM hostel in the night, everybody was hunched over the Bangalore map, preparing for the next day’s beat reporting. It was like dream come true. - Sadanand Mohapatra

Deadlines and dinners, catfights and group work, we get it all at IIJNM. Music is a way of life, as are one mark on news quizzes. No one escapes the nightly gossip on the terrace; neither can anyone get away with sleeping in class. But the usual notes get passed and the doodles get drawn. We’ve been given a whiff of the cheese, however. And the faculty knows just how to draw on our whetted appetite. The cats are looking forward to chasing the mice for a whole year. Well then, let the games begin!! - Dielle D’Souza

When I first saw the IIJNM campus, it was raining incessantly and the buildings looked grey. But the next day, when the sun came out, the place was serene and beautiful. I never had to remind myself that I wasn’t in a school or a college anymore, because the teachers, and everyone around me treated me like a practicing journalist, though I was only starting. - Karen Solomon

Thomas Friedman’s “World is Flat” had a fleeting reference to IIJNM. This piqued my interest at the time when I was in a quandary to decide on which college to join for the journalist course. I feel vindicated that I read the book and landed up in IIJNM. I very well know that this is the lull before storm. But as Charlie Chaplin said: “Life goes on and that’s progress”. - Jagannath

There’s no dearth of information that comes in from all sorts of sources. Classes are more of a preparation for the industry, rather than general courses. - Leanino Haralu

This college pushes you to your limits and exploits your true potential. I never knew I could do so much work and manage to play and explore Kumbalgudu in 24 hours! - Divya Gojer

Even though the major cell phone networks decide that we are beyond range and even the nearest village is two kilometers away, over the past one month we had almost all the major media heads of Bangalore come speak to us and we had some very interesting speakers all the way from the US.

We have our own added advantages of being the few privileged souls who get to watch the milky way every night and get to breathe more of oxygen.

Quizzes and assignments and deadlines apart, trust me, you’ll still get time to eat mint in class, star gaze, read, and watch India lose miserably in cricket. - Sohini Datta

Amusing classmates, remarkable faculty, beautiful campus, noteworthy guest lecturers, breathtaking view, interesting assignments, watching movies as part of the curriculum, daily news quiz, table tennis, scrumptious hostel food (sometimes oxymorons do exist) - that, ladies and gentlemen, is IIJNM for me. And I thought Utopia was fictional!! - Shilpa Krishnan

The way we are asked to take our own decisions about certain things is the best guidance that the faculty provides us with. I am experiencing experience here in its true sense. - Shalu Yadav

When I first entered the premises of IIJNM, awe overtook me. As the faculty and classmates turned into friends in just a few days, it was really like a dream come true. Life in any career is not smooth, and IIJNM aims to train us just for that tough life ahead. I’m just glad that I came here. - Namitha Viswanathan

The road to IIJNM was quite bumpy and I realized soon enough that this is how journalism is also going to be. IIJNM is the place for an aspiring journalist to realize his/her dreams. - Shashwathi Bhanukumar

The course seems very interesting and we are all looking forward to it. Each elective has something completely new and different to offer. And I can’t wait to start handling equipment in my TV class. IIJNM has definitely made me think of home much less frequently than I thought I would. - Vaishnavi

I know I am not a common person; I am a Journalist. That’s the difference IIJNM made to me in just one month. What more do I say? - Ithika Sharma


Communication is key

Students return to a new semester, and some fun and games.

Following instructions to the 'T' can sometimes be difficult, especially for 20-something-year-olds. This was evident from Monday morning's task that said: 'Read all the instructions carefully.'

It was the first day (January 8, 2007) of our second semester at IIJNM, and the faculty had organised a series of activities to help us recall the basics taught in the first semester.

After learning our first lesson (and feeling a little foolish), we got ready for the next. The class was divided into groups, given old newspaper story clippings and asked to find different angles for the same story. Although it seemed difficult at first, with a little teamwork we were able to come up with viable ideas for the most difficult story angles. The game progressed over days. We identified sources for our story and prepared a list of questions for them. A mock interview session was conducted to imitate real life experiences. We also dealt with limited (and nonexistent) resources, especially while dealing with our sources. Lesson learnt: Teamwork is imperative and time management is the key to success.

On the second day we were presented with a lemon, asked to befriend it and take care of it — like a long-term relationship. After two days of intimacy we were asked to identify the lemon among 40 others. The lesson was on how to treat our sources. Our constant contact with the lemon was a personification of our relationship with our sources.

Communication is key. This involves talking and listening. To test our listening skills, we answered 10 questions — all of which had crooked answers — without posing any queries. After confusing Noah with Moses and burying the survivors of an airplane crash, we realised the importance of two-way communication. We played two other games that highlighted the importance of listening (and thinking at the same time) before asking questions.

Lateral thinking does not come easy, but we thought creativity was synonymous with journalism. When we solved a worksheet filled with brainteasers, that do the rounds of 'forwards' on email, we realised how wrong we were. Even after putting all our wit and might together we weren't able to solve all questions. Through a series of games and worksheets we also revised our grammar lessons. The usage of verbs, nouns, adverbs, prepositions, pronouns, articles, etc, were made clearer by playing 'Ludo' and 'Match the columns'.

The list of games and tasks is endless. Our news recall was through photographs, for which we also had to come up with a caption. A stage of a burnt down village was set-up to teach us the sensitivities and ethics of journalism. How to approach vistims of diaster — body language, style of questioning, presence of mind, etc, was all put to task. We were sent on a scavenger hunt that taught us how to think on our toes when time is a constraint. And students who had taken business as an elective, gave a recap of the previous semester through an interactive presentation.

Over the six days, mentally stimulating tasks were interspersed with games and fun, which made the learning unforgettable. And of course, the chocolates awarded to winners served as an extra incentive.


IIJNM students cover the Chamundeshwari by-election

The whole task of covering the Chamundeshwari by-election was more than an assignment. It was a lifetime experience, where all our lessons were put to practical application.

We, the students, had divided ourselves into five teams of three members each. After the Herculean task of waking up at 4 am and collecting ourselves and the equipment, we left for Chamundeshwari at 5 am. For a while, in the van we felt as if we were on a picnic, singing songs, having fun and taking pictures.

Once we reached the majestic Chamundeshwari hill, it was the time to pull up our socks and get ready for the day ahead. Our first halt was the Superintendent of Police’s office where we got a list of the probable sensitive areas. Our next task was to move ahead in our groups to the areas assigned to us. We felt like soldiers on our beats with our armoury of pens, notebooks and cameras. Each team covered at least seven polling booths.

We talked to people outside the polling booth and the presiding officers at the booths. Though we could not meet most candidates, we talked to ward presidents of the party concerned.

Being on the other side of the fence-reporting, not voting, was a different and enriching experience. Watching and reading the news is obviously very different from reporting it, but we hadn’t realized how thrilling the latter would be.

By 5 pm, when the voting booths closed, it was time to get back in the van and head back. Dinner at a roadside dhaba completed the picnic spirit, but we had work to do once we returned to the hostel-stories to file and edit. But, the day when we went out and covered our first ever election will be unforgettable for us.


CNN Journalist Award 2006: IIJNM student in final

Vaishnavi Murali, a print student of our institute, has made it to the final round of the CNN Aspiring Journalist Award to be held in New Delhi on December 14.The ten finalists chosen from among a few hundred students from around the country who wrote on the subject "Are sting operations justified?" will compete in a spot news writing test and interview to be picked winner in the broadcast and print. We wish her all the best.

 


A new approach to story ideas: mind mapping

A workshop on how to approach news stories was conducted by the IIJNM faculty in November. The day-long programme, in which all the students took part, was intended to help them look at stories from different perspectives and consider ideas realistically.

The class was divided into different groups of four or five for each part of the workshop.
This taught them the value of team-work and the importance of discussing ideas with others.
The highlight of the workshop was “mind-mapping.” This involved the students choosing a topic and mapping out everything that they could think of related to it. The number of ideas that everyone got from it was eye-opening.

Another important part of the workshop was when students took proposals for stories that they had submitted before the workshop, and assigned the news values of timeliness, proximity, prominence and so on. By the time the exercise was over, most of the students realised why many of their ideas were being shot down.

Throughout the day, the students were made to think innovatively and go beyond the classroom into the real world of journalism. It was an exercise that all the students enjoyed, although they had to stay focused the entire day.

The workshop also taught the students about the importance of finding different sources for a story. This was followed by a project where each group was given a source suggested by another group and asked to come up with possible questions.

The things the students came up with often ranged from the merely far-fetched to the completely ridiculous, but they came away from it with a better understanding of how to go about a story.

The day concluded on a light note, with different groups of students presenting what they learnt from the workshop. While some groups just listed out their thoughts, others did funny, impromptu skits.


Times Now Seminar at IIM Bangalore

IIJNM students who participated in a Times Now seminar on civic issues for the future of Bangalore at the IIM talking with the news channel's editor in chief Arnab Goswami and singer and actor Vasundhara Das. in August. Over September and October, the students were taken for a two-day seminar and film festival on environmental issues held at the Alliance Francaise by the Centre For Media Studies Delhi, a lecture on "Media, freedom and the law" by former Supreme court judge K T Thomas, a seminar on Hindutva and the media addressed by several journalists led by Pioneer Editor in chief Chandan Mitra MP, and a lecture by Swedish theologian Dr Hans Ucko on the Vatican-WCC initiative for an ethical code of conduct for religious conversion in India – all aimed at giving them exposure to new ideas and their proponents and to learn to report those along with staff reporters of newspapers and televsion channels.


A trip to remember

Bangalore, June 14, 2006,“Yercaud, I loved it,” says Vaishnavi Ramakrishnan, student from the TV department. Oashmita, feels that it was a good break after a long and hectic semester. The journey from Bangalore to Yercaud, though long, was entertaining because the Tina Turners (Harsimran) and Lata Mangeshkars (Neetha Mahadevan) of the current batch in IIJNM, performed all through out. The students on their way played some hip-hop and Punjabi numbers, and a few of us could not help dancing to the rhythm.

“I kept thinking that there is something missing here in this hill station, and then I realized that I was looking for snow-covered peaks here in the south,” laughs Sophia. She feels that though the group was small, everyone still enjoyed thoroughly.

In Yercaud we stayed at Shevaroy’s hotel, where every room had a scenic view. However, some of the rooms had other, amusing problems. The flushes made such a noise that all the guests staying in the hotel knew when one of us used the WC. “I felt funny every time I had to flush,” says Suhali Sharma.
After lunch we took a small walk up the hill, on the wild side. It was evident that our Professors--John Thomas, Kanchan Kaur and Girish Bhadri were having a nice time. “It was a nice trip,” said Prof. Kanchan Kaur. She added that the students were well-behaved on the entire trip.

We went to various View Points like the Ladies seat, Children’s seat. “Don’t try seeing anything through the telescope here at Ladies seat, it is not worth it,” said Amit Bhosale. Children’s seat is nothing but a rose garden and some of the students began to think that they were Bollywood kings and queens, and right there, in the middle of the garden, they sang and danced around the trees.

The students also visited the Anjaneya temple inside a cave. Legend has it that the cave extends to Talacauvery on the other side, and that it was used by Tipu Sultan. Harsimran Shergill, agreed that there was something eerie about the temple. “I am getting goosebumps,” said Harsimran.

The students also went boating and chose to pedal the boats. It was a work-out session for them. The students decided to have a boat race, which had no winners.

“Yercaud is not an ideal hill station after visiting places like Ooty, Kodiakanal and Shimla, but the trip was a memorable one with faculty and students enjoying each other’s company, keeping aside the student-professor relationship,” said Janani Sampath.



Zip! Zap! Zoom!

Friday the 12th of May 2006 was a day of surprise for the students of IIJNM. Four new cycles brought excitement in the otherwise hectic lives of the young journalists. Their hearts were filled with happiness. "It's a pleasant surprise," said Simran Shergill, "the bicycles will be an added activity."

The four new Huffy cycles were welcomed with a small inauguration ceremony. Students and faculty gathered around the goods carrier in which the cycles stood. These two wheelers managed to attract the attention of all present. They stood there waiting to be taken, not realizing that each person present was more than willing to help them out of the carrier. The cycles ought to thank The George Foundation and Mr. Krishna Prasad for making them superstars. "It was Mr. Krishna Prasad's idea," said Urmila Micheal from The George Foundation.

The first day at IIJNM was the last day of rest for the cycles. They became a hit among the students even before they reached the campus. Even the faculty was seen zipping around, trying out the latest attraction on campus.

These bicycles brought along mixed emotions with themselves. "It will help in releasing tension, " says Simran. A means of transport between the hostel and the institute may be the cycles' first job, but they have also become a motivation for many to keep themselves toned. "It has given me the motivation to get up early in the morning and go for a ride," says Sophia. The beauty and the aura of the cycles did not spare even the non-riders. "It will be a stress buster and I am feeling sorry that I don't know how to ride," says Oasmita. And of course the lazy ones are way too happy with the cycles. "It's nice that I don't have to walk up and down from the institute to the hostel," says Papri Chatterjee.

The George Foundation's efforts in keeping the students happy have not gone to waste. First in the list of surprises was a volleyball ground, followed by a table tennis table and then the four cycles. "We are happy if the students are happy," says Urmila Micheal. Can the students expect more surprises? "We want to improve the playing field. May be we could clear more ground for soccer or cricket," says Dr Abraham George, Dean, IIJNM.


Student Awards: Two of our students have won prestigious awards recently.

Tsewang RigzinAman KhannaTsewang Rigzin of the Class of 2004 was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghose Fellowship for Peace & Development - 2004-2005, in New Delhi.

Rigzin was among three journalists who were awarded the Fellowship. The award included a citation and a cash prize of Rs. 50,000/-

Aman Khanna of the Class of 2003 has been declared the runner-up for the CNN Young Journalist Award 2004. The award is given to upcoming journalists in the age group of 22-26. This year the award was extended to include journalists from Pakistan as well. Aman won the award for his article ‘Assault Rifles Hit Home’, published in April this year in Tehelka. The story exposed a dubious purchase of AK-47 rifles running into crores by the Ministry of Home Affairs from a Bulgarian gun-running firm.


IIJNM student wins Scripps Howard Internship

Vivek Gupta of the Class of 2002, returned recently to India, after doing a four-month Scripps Howard internship in Washington, D.C. Gupta, richer for the experience, is the first IIJNM student to have won the international internship.

At present Vivek is working as a copy editor in Times of India, Delhi.

Vivek Gupta, spring 2003

I never seriously thought of becoming a journalist until a year and a half ago. Thatís one year of studying journalism and the following six months of job-hunting without any luck. But if I had gone the old-fashioned way of becoming a journalist in India, I would have given up a long time back. Simply because this way involves training with a newspaper for an indefinite period of time until one is considered useful enough to be paid a little money even to meet oneís expenses.

I studied at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) in Bangalore, India, which not only gave me a venue to express my opinion, but also taught me how to let the world know about it. Basically, it gave me a fair idea of how journalism works. While at IIJNM, I was involved in bringing out a weekly college newspaper called the New Scribe and a weekly web magazine called the New Bangalore Online.

As an intern at the Scripps Howard News Service, I hope to get exposed to American media practices and compare them with whatever little I know about Indian journalism. This way I shall try to grasp the good points of both the Indian and American journalism styles and discard the bad ones.

Scripps Howard Foundation Wire
1090 Vermont Ave. N.W. - Suite 1000
Washington, D.C. 20005
phone: 202-408-2748 fax: 202-682-2143

www.shfwire.com


NYT internship for IIJNM student

Tamara D’ Mello, one of our top students of the batch 2001-02, is currently undergoing journalism internship in the world’s prestigious newspaper New York Times, New York city. She is the first-ever student selected from an Indian journalism school for internship in the New York Times for which nominees from all over the world compete every year. Tamara was previously working as a reporter with Mid Day, Mumbai.




Bylines Galore

IIJNM students are well on the byline track leaving their impressions in print and on the Internet. Prem Paul Ninan published his very first article in The Hindu on Priya Ganapathy's radio show in Bangalore FM. Debarshi Dasgupta and Nadeshda Zareen's article on the Madarasas was very well appreciated by both the media and the local madarasa community in Bangalore. Ambitious and a star reporter in the making, Hemali Chhapia is already a well known figure in the Bangalore investigative circle by daring to expose numerous financial scams in the city. Besides mainstream English newsapers, local language press has also been using translated versions of her stories. Smita Sahay wrote about the irregularities in the Drugs Control Department, long before the Karnataka Lok Ayukta exposed corruption in the Department. Not to be left behind is Sreerekha Pillai who is by now an almost permanent fixture in the Karnataka Lok Ayukta Justice Vekatachala's investigative circuit. She did an investigative report on the rampant illegal sale of prescription drugs in Bangalore, much before the mainstream media carried a report on this issue.

The newly launched English daily Vijay Times is a major publisher of our students' stories, starting with Karthik's interview with filmmaker G. V. Iyer. Aman Khanna's feature on online lotteries was the lead story in the Metro Plus section of the Hindu. His story on drug abuse in the city was featured in the Living supplement of Deccan Herald. Aman went all the way to the historical town of Hampi, nearly 600 kms from Bangalore, to do an exclusive story on a Belgian woman who has been living in a cave there for the last 14 years. He has dreams of getting it published in some overseas publication. Not to be left behind, Amrita Thomas is waiting to see her byline in the Hindu which has accepted her story on "Kalaripayattu." Smiti Bharti had her first byline in the Forum Section of Deccan Herald.

Our students are quick to spot the newsmakers. Abhinav Patil grabbed the opportunity to interview the world famous primetologist Jane Goodall when she was in Bangalore to attend a conference on "Science and Spirituality." Chinmayee Manjunath managed to question the Minister for Women and Child Development Motamma on increasing dowry deaths in the State. Preeti confronted sports psychologist Dr Sandy Gordon at Bangalore during the controversy over cricketers taking their spouses along with them for the World Cup matches in South Africa. Amrita Thomas is on a regular chase of District Deputy Commissioner to know how effectively the Government has been tackling drought in villages around Bangalore. Dipti Jain is keeping a watch on the work of judicial commission set by the government to probe the death of former minister H Nagappa in the custody of forest brigand Veerappan.

Our students' writing abilities go beyond news and feature writing. Hemali's maiden byline was a middle published in the Indian Express, while Sreerekha Pillai has made a foray into creative writing by publishing her first short story in Sulekha.com.

IIJNM Congratulates all the students and wishes all of them the very best in life and career.


Students attend seminar

Students of IIJNM attended a seminar on 'The declining child sex ratios and the role of media' organized by a women's organization called Vimochana on Saturday April 30.

Director of the Press Information Bureau, Frank Noronha, in his key note address launched a tirade against the media which "is preoccupied with the bold and the beautiful" style of coverage of women, instead of delving into the root cause of social problems. Noting media's 'thundering silence' on the fact that India has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, he lamented that even women's publication had resorted to covering only sensational news. "There is little connection between the glamorous women the media projects, and the reality of women's development in this country," he said.

The seminar was attended by the students and faculty members of key journalism schools in the city. The students of IIJNM who were introduced to the subject by Donna Fernandes during her visit to the IIJNM campus, were exposed to a reporter's perspective and the investigative angle of the topic during the panel discussion. Reporters from The Indian Express and The Hindu, initiated the panel discussion.


First Impressions

Dipti Jain
The first day I walked into IIJNM, I was full of anticipation and apprehension, to be in a place so far away from home, but now, after being here for a week, I feel those were just momentary aberrations because with the kind of curriculum lined up for us I don't think I'll have time to think about anything else. Nonetheless I'm looking forward to each moment of excitement, and of course the hard work lined up for us. Until now I haven't experienced a dull moment.

Chinmayee Manjunath
When you make the decision to leave behind all that you are familiar with, and begin a new phase of your life in a place you don't know, with people who are strangers to you, there is always an extra degree of apprehension and discomfort.... and I was somewhat wary when I first moved into IIJNM less than a week ago.

Third Batch StudentsInitially overawed by the beauty of the campus - the breathtaking vistas and the fresh crisp air, free from the grime of the city -- I have begun to appreciate the opportunity that all of us have got to study in such an inspiring and beautiful atmosphere. Every student here is from a different place, and it was an interesting exercise getting to know each other and finding common ground. As we are so isolated from any form of civilization, in the first couple of days we were forced to come up with ways other than long walks to conquer boredom, and it wasn't easy! However, we have faced up to this Herculean task. Apart from long and very entertaining sessions of dumb charades, we have invented a game that has been christened 3POK (short for the 3 Pebbles Of Kumbalgodu). Players will agree that it is a game requiring the utmost concentration and dexterity!

Apart from the fun that we have, there is of course a lot of hard work that the program involves and this is only the beginning The facilities are excellent, and the faculty very helpful - both factors make it comparatively easy to give everything your best shot and go after your goals.

I am very enthusiastic about the program, and have begun to consider IIJNM my home. I believe that at the end of it, I will be glad I made the decision to come here.

Aman Khanna
Our country has been swayed by the influence of computers for quite some time now; everybody wants to do BCA and MCA. Three years back, even I decided to flow with the tide. I decided to do BCA from one of the most reputed universities of India. But as they say: "Once a rebel, always a rebel". I received a call from my conscience, which told me to become the potter of my life rather than the pot. And that's what brought me to IIJNM.

Frankly, I came to Kumbalgodu with a lot of inhibitions. Is the college as good as it seems? Would I fit in? And a million other questions kept bouncing up and down in my head. But as soon as I stepped onto the premises of the college, all my queries were answered. The facilities, the faculty, everything here is nothing less than the best. The only thing required here is diligence on the part of the students. And I hope I'll able to give all I've got, not only to maintain the standard of the institute but also to come out as a better writer and an enriched journalist.

Karthik M
First impression is the best impression, but this doesn't hold good in the case of IIJNM. That's because the impression gets better and better every day.

My journalism dream is three years old and soon to be a realized. It all started with a telephone call from the institute, leading me here. The institute's website was a good starter and answered all the queries that would arise in the minds of a prospective student. The visit to the campus was impressive and reminded me of my alma mater, which too had a similar ambience. The smell of fresh air, the sunset behind hillocks, puppies wagging their tails to express 'welcome' in their language, 'ready to help' friends, homely food and the friendly faculty are the few best things one can really aspire for.

Rigidity is a bad word here. 30 km from the city takes you a few centuries back where people are happy, where you need not pay for water and fresh air. Here there exists a different system altogether - a barter system, where the goods are friendship, love, affection.

Since we were aware of the tight schedule ahead of us, we wanted to cash in on the little time available before the course begins. The first Sunday, also being a friendship day, was spent at one of the busiest localities in Bangalore - M.G. Road, with a movie at Rex. Coming back to the Institute, we had all the liberty we wanted. The media lab has good connectivity and user-friendly atmosphere. The sun set from the media lab presents a striking contrast between virtual reality and nature's treat. There's no end describing happiness, and the best way to experience it is to get an admission here in the next academic year.

Preeti
'It's a new day, it's a new start; it's alive with the beating of young hearts............'. is the song and the initial thoughts that came to my mind when I first stepped down from my vehicle and took my steps towards the institution that I will call home for a year.

Hailing from a city full of people and chaos, this was like coming to paradise- amidst god's best creation where nature is at it's best. The serenity and the splendid extravagant show of beauty really take one's breath away. Although I was apprehensive whether I would be able to settle down easily, I knew one thing for sure; I definitely had made the right choice of making my dreams come true.

Earlier, I felt my journey seemed endless and the destination unknown. Even the thought whether I would make it here crossed my mind. But once I was here, it was crystal clear, that this was the platform that will help me board the right train to my destination ---- the day I would be known not as my parent's daughter but as a good journalist.

Sreerekha Pillai
The first thought, actually a quote by Robert Frost, that came to my mind when I reached IIJNM was, " two roads diverged in the woods and I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference." I am a BA in English Literature and I love writing as much as I love nature. I would like to make a difference by writing and working for a good cause. IIJNM is the best place where I can cultivate my skills as a journalist and fulfill my dreams. The added advantage of studying at IIJNM is the scenic beauty and the clean fresh air. It also gives me an opportunity to get acquainted with students of different languages and backgrounds -- a very good exposure for an aspiring journalist.

Prem Paul Ninan
I must say that my first impressions of IIJNM are really impressive. The facilities that have been provided here are more than adequate and the greatest efforts have been made to make us feel most comfortable. Of course, efforts have not been spared to drive it in that we will be made to slog it out, but well, that is what most of us knew when we joined up. I welcome the opportunity that has been provided to me to feel most satisfied with most of the time I spend, and I hope that I will come out a better person in the process. Moreover, the work that has been assured us is so intense, that it leaves no room for any doubt that our writing and other journalistic skills will be anything less than professional when we step out at the end of it all. This does not mean that I am looking forward with eager anticipation to that day, but rather, that I am seeking to enjoy every moment of the time spent in getting there. The time already spent with my batch mates and our ever-approachable teachers has been so rewarding that I feel certain that the year I spend here will pass all too quickly, much to my own disadvantage, nor will any of the work become a drudgery. At least, such are my first impressions.


Students catch Internship and Job Fever

DeepaIt's that time of the year when the students get an opportunity to work in professional publications and media organizations. During their internship, the students get to apply the journalism skills they acquired in school. IIJNM is happy to announce that all the second batch students have begun their internship in various professional magazines, national dailies, broadcast and new media companies. Internship is just a step away from getting the real job. The IIJNM campus is abuzz with the pressure and the excitement of the students starting their journalism career. Some students have already landed their first jobs, others are attending interviews, there is never a dull moment here at IIJNM. The following is the list of the students and the media houses where they are interning or holding a job:

Aishwarya Subramaniam Mudra Advertising Agency, Bangalore Internship
Anugya Srivatsava The Hindu, New Delhi Internship
Deepa Ramachandran Pashudan, Bangalore Editor
Lakshmi Warrior The Vijay Times, Bangalore Trainee reporter
Lincoln Roy The Statesman, Calcutta Internship
Meera S Economic Times, Bangalore Internship
Mekha Anna John The Hindu, Bangalore Internship
Pratibha Joy The Vijay Times, Bangalore Reporter/Sub-editor
Swati Sengupta Digital Think, Hyderabad Instructional Designer
Tamara D'mello Sunday Midday, Mumbai Internship
Vijayalakshmi Hegde The Vijay Times, Bangalore Trainee reporter/ Sub Editor
Vivek Gupta Hindustan Times, New Delhi Internship
Vinu Syriac The Vijay Times, Bangalore Reporter/Sub-editor

Anticipating Times

Meera interviews publicThe joy de vivre and robust laughter that would fill in the campus corridors during the first semester have given way to a more somber outlook. Lately it is determination, hope and a cloud of anticipation that has settled on campus. Anxiety about grades, internship and job placements are on the priority list of the students.

When they first entered the realm of journalism, their choices and aspirations were based on a cocktail of fantasy and facts. They toyed with the idea of becoming a radio jockey, a television anchor, may be some one like CNN's Christina Amanpour, perhaps write like the Wall Street Journal columnist Tunku Varadarajan, or even better an investigative reporter like our very own Aniruddha Bahal of Tehalka.com.

Now the students' choices have scaled down from their romantic aspirations to more realistic and down to earth roles of 'regular' reporters and editors in magazine, newspapers and New Media. Most of them know where they want to fit in. They are aware of the resurgence in the industry and are determined to face the challenges.

"It's print media for me", says Vijayalakshmi, as a matter of fact. She is looking forward to an internship that will allow her to get 'local' to the core. Knowing Vijayalakshmi, we better watch out, for she will set the papers on fire with her journalistic zeal.

Aishwarya, Mekhar & AnugyaNo local politics for Aishwarya, who wants to make use of her creative writing skills. She plans to pen her way into the specialized area of Brand Equity in The Economist Times. Aishwarya's penchant for writing is well known on campus. From nose picking to serious business, any topic is worth the words and time, if she sets her mind on it.

Swati is the nerd of the lot. Any technical problem, it is Swati they turn to. A computer wizard, Swati loves to design and crack computer codes. Although, electronic publishing and New Media is where her heart is set upon, she doesn't mince words when she senses there is an issue to be ironed out. Sensitive Issues relating to the North East, minorities, migrants and societies on the fringe are some of her favorite topics she loves to write about.

Lincoln is the philosopher-student-journalist. Lincoln writes on myriad topics: rural reporting, politics, technology, cricket and religion. He hopes to make it to the permanent staff of the Calcutta based The Statesman, to which he regularly contributes.

IIJNM wishes all the students the very best and would like to remind them that it is they who will be responsible for recording and telling the story of life and that they should be telling it well with courage and integrity.


Congratulations!

The first batch of IIJNM students Narayanan Somasundaram and Sunirman Ray have started their journalism career after successfully completing their one year PG. Diploma. Narayanan is working as a sub editor in the Indian Express, Madurai. Sunirman Ray is leaving for Calcutta to join The Statesman.

All the best and don't forget that "Journalists should not be so distant that all they can hear are shouts, nor so close that they become more conspirators than critics." -- Walter Lippman (1889-1974), columnist for the New York Herald Tribune and the Washington Post.


Here is what some of our students say:

Swati Sengupta
Why am I here at IIJNM is the question that wakes me every morning. Just two months ago I was 26 and working- is it the interesting curricula, or the faculty, or my congenital (but sadly, unsuccessful) yearn for writing?
Whatever, come once and see this Roadhouse Blues scenery all around and you'll probably want to spend your whole life on the hostel terrace............... welcome home!

IIJNM students in the lobbyVijayalaxmi Hegde
I am a BA graduate. I have many interests, but if I say that I am interested in people, I guess that about sums it. Intend to channelize my violent energy into journalism. So, beware!!

Mekha Anna John
From being a student of biology for my PUC, through being a student of economics for my degree to being a student of journalism now makes me look like one major erratic person who does not know what she is doing. But who can point their finger at me? Just in case there is somebody out there, let me remind you that there are three fingers pointing back at you. Out here at IIJNM nobody points a finger at you so long as you are ready for some real hard work and you do it responsibly. Your life is your own business.

Anugya Shrivastava
I am basically a student of science with a post-graduation in zoology. I must admit that it was a giant leap to the field of journalism. But I have always loved reading literary pieces. During my brief stint with a Hindi daily I discovered that I loved journalism. I believe that I will find what I seek here at IIJNM.

Vivek Gupta
Life is not a cakewalk ó I realized this when I came out of college. With an unsuccessful attempt at MBA entrances, I was at sixes and sevens as what should be my next step. Journalism was the last thing on my mind, though I got through three colleges offering PG Diploma in Journalism in Delhi.
New Media struck the right cord. I applied to IIJNM because it offered Web Journalism. Being a literature graduate, I took this as an opportunity to improve my writing skills and spend as much time as possible in front of the computer screen.
To put it simply, I like to work hard and play hard.

IIJNM students in the faculty areaPrathibha Joy
Hailing from God's own country, Kerala, I graduated a couple of years ago in chemistry and was whiling away time anchoring a not-so-popular program on Surya TV. Today I am at IIJNM for a better purpose and if all goes well I should succeed.

 

Sunirman Ray:
Don't always take the trodden path; stray to where there isn't any--- and blaze a trail.
I got that from Swamy Vivekananda. And thatís my motto. I want to chart out my way, tread the untrodden path.
I have a computer background. An MCA or an MBA was therefore an easy option.
But I chose the road less travelled by-Journalism.
IIJNM is different. The method of teaching here is novel. We're prodded to think; to delve deeper into concepts; trace concepts to their source. I'd never been encouraged to do that till now.
I feel IIJNM is the best. It'll help me make a mark in journalism. I tell myself history is created by those who break the rules.

Narayanan Somasundaram:
A commerce graduate. But why did I take up journalism? It's a question I often ask myself. Did I have illusions about the power of a journalist, or did I crave the tag 'journalist' after my name?
Walking out of the family textile industry was difficult. But my love for the English language prevailed.
I am a tennis player and have led my college team to two consecutive university titles. Carnatic Music is my obsession and I am fluent with the Veena. My credentials in this field include two concerts.
I am known to be hot!

Mahesh Babu
I graduated in Arts with English Literature as my optional subject.
I grew up in a journalistic environment: my family has been publishing Zeal, a tabloid in Tumkur, for the past 25 years.
I wanted to do my Masterís in English, but decided to learn the skills of reporting and writing.
IIJNM has nevertheless been an eye-opener. Journalism is much more than I thought it was.

IIJNM students getting a point clarifiedVinu Syriac
I joined IIJNM after I decided on a career switch.
I am a literature-lover who lost his way in the concrete maze of civil engineering. I found my way out after five years---and into the IIJNM. Its emphasis on training and toughening, rather than on endless lectures, makes IIJNM different from other journalism training institutes.
Writing short stories was my major literary activity. I intend to continue that, and widen into feature writing.

Chitra Bonam
I stepped into journalism because I think it allows one to dive into any subject and then step out when one's had enough.
Iíve also always enjoyed writing.
Much of the learning at IIJNM happens even as we casually converse with our instructors and classmates. Learning here is not limited to books and classrooms. Our instructors insist we analyse a lot to understand what makes a particular piece a well-written one; to see things in new perspectives.
Our beat-reporting sharpens our observation and questioning skills. And our class discussions are thought stimulating. Such a curriculum suits me perfectly: Iím not too fond of pedantic lectures.
Iím enjoying it.

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