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IIJNM has had a steady flow of visitors. Prominent among them are:

Pradeep Nair Dr Ali Asghar Engineer Dr. N.S. Rajaram
Naazreen Bhura Max Martin Helen LaFave
K N Harikumar M K Madhusoodan Bala Murali Krishna
Srikanta Kunigal Prof C K N Raja Allen J Mendonca
Justice H G Balakrishna Harish Yadav Roger Binny
Prakash Padukone Dr Narendra Pani Prof John Tulloch
Dr N L Mitra Aniruddha Bahal Dr D V Guruprasad
Justice P B Sawant S Raghunandhan German Parliamentary Delegation
T Z Mani Jeremy Seabrook US Embassy officials
Dr Robert J Zydenbos Chidanand Rajghatta M V Kamath
Arnold Zeitlin Derek Hooper Madanmohan Rao
Dr. Asha Kiran Jeremy Caplan Sauvik Chakraverti
Abdul Rahman Kamruddin Priya Ganapathy Donna Fernandes
Smita Paul Poornima Makaram Richard O’ Regan
Anand Parthasarathy Yoginder Singh Sikand Suresh Jayaram
Deepa Dhanraj K.S. Dakshinamurthy Thomas L. Friedman
Rebecca McDuff Michael Anderson Gauri Lankesh
John Thomas Andrew Lih Shankar Aiyer
Ashok Pannikar Kavita Ratna Shahela Sajanlal
Shyam Bhatia Kevin Burden G. K. Madhav
S. Narendra Mustafa Stefan Dill Jeff Gralnick
Karl Kurtz Nidhi Mahesh Shreyas & Gaurav
Justice N Santosh Hegde Eddy L. Harris Susan King
Holger Wormer Edward Friedman Michael Cobden
Trent Schroyer Dr. Devinder Sharma Shirish Koyal
Apurva Bose Vandana Shiva Chandrahas Choudhury
S. Someetharan Kavitha Kuruganti Steve Myers
Dr.Unnikrishnan Dr. R. Sreedhar Dr. Ashwin Mahesh
Geeta Menon Yogesh Pawar David Gainer & Heera Kamboj
Lawrence Liang Dr. Sudarshan Syed Kirmani
T. M. Veeraraghav Sarah Jones David Gainer
Sangita Menon Mandy Jenkins Ajith Pillai
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta Dr. Usha Ramanathan Annette Danto
Rajaram Krishnan    

'Love Modi or hate him, there is no middle ground' - Rajaram Krishnan

Bangalore, Jan. 6 – Proper evaluation of a government can be achieved when academics, journalists, public intellectuals and aam admi come together, according to Rajaram Krishnan, a professor of Economics at Earlham College in the USA.

Professor Krishnan visited IIJNM to work towards a possible collaboration with students to monitor Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s performance in power.

He hopes his project will successfully create a website which is constantly updated and charts Modi's successes and failures in an unbiased way.
He said Modi was like a Rorschach Test. “People are polarized. If you like, you like him; if you hate him, you hate him,” he said.

“A lot of things were going around before the elections, but how much of it was true or verified, we don’t know,” said Rajaram.
He said his project "would be doing the work that academics, journalists, public intellectuals and the common man would do.”

The website will include data and facts collected from various other sources on the internet and provide everything in one place.

He said it would be divided into four areas – media, analysis, research and resources.

Raja said, “Useful information will be collected and transformed as packets that can be consumed. That is what journalists do.”

He said academics look in the rear-view mirror and analyze the information. Public intellectuals would research on the information provided. It is essential, he added, that the data is not biased.

“The three broad areas which we are focusing on are economics, social and communal policy and foreign policy. There are some issues which involve all the three issues,” he added.

He described the site as "a dashboard" of accomplishments and failures of the government.

“In the social and communal policies, we would be looking at issues like regional disparity, socio-economic disparity and gender issues. These issues are not negotiable,” he added.

In the foreign policy, India’s relations with SAARC, Pakistan and USA will be monitored.

“In the last elections, there were comparisons drawn between Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. It could have been based on FDI, poverty rates, standard of living, etc. There are plenty of ways to look at a story, that is precisely why we need people from all walks of life to contribute and help us in this project,” Raja said.

If someone asks you under which regime – UPA, Congress, BJP, JD – were the most communal riots, if you’re a Congress supporter, you would say BJP, if you’re a BJP supporter, you’d say Congress. This is what we are trying to avoid through this project.

He said he hoped the project, involving IIJNM students, would help bridge the gap between academia, the media and the general public.

By Shruti Suresh

Annette Danto: As a journalist, we should be ethical and have a clear conscience

Bangalore, Oct. 20: Media ethics should be embedded in all of us: This was the message that American filmmaker and academic Annette Danto gave budding journalists at IIJNM on Monday.

Danto, who is a professor in the Film Department at Brooklyn College in New York, said tricking people into coming in front of the camera is against the ethics of journalism. She quickly substantiated this with a quote from Albert Camus: “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.”

She also said to get a lead in newspapers, most journalists will find stories in which show people’s pains and troubles.

“If it bleeds, it leads,” she said.

She said journalists in most cases journalists feel powerless to put forth good stories as they feel “advertisers will not allow it.”

With the emergence of social media and the rise of the internet, she said people’s privacy is at stake. Social media users do not realize that because of such platforms, there is a “global audience” that watches them.
She then presented a few examples that highlighted the importance of ethics, not just media ethics but also ethics in social media. She said that following these ethics is a must for journalists.

Danto, who is participating in the Behind the Lines, Between the Lines film festival as a special invitee in Chennai, Bangalore, and Trivandrum, gave the example of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist who was killed by Al-Qaida in Pakistan, and said that a journalist’s personality only will make him cover stories in such risky situations.

She then conducted an interactive session with the students and asked them about examples in the Indian context that showed that journalism had lost its ethics. Examples that the students came up with included Deepika Padukone versus Times of India, the Arushi Talwar murder case, and the Frazer Town gang-rape case.

In addition to media ethics, she also stressed visual communication and the importance of media convergence in the constantly evolving media scenario.

Danto then showed her recent documentary “Reflections on Media Ethics,” which highlighted issues such as representation of vulnerable populations, privacy, censorship, sensitivity, and manipulation.

She concluded the two-hour session with an interactive discussion on the importance of media ethics with regard to that shown in the documentary and how we, as journalists, should always thrive to be true to our ethics.

By Noah DMello

“The Goonda Act is a presumptuous law”- Dr. Usha Ramanathan

Bangalore, Sep 24: “What if you woke up one day and you were told that if you like or dislike something on Facebook, it makes you a Goonda?” asked Dr. Usha Ramanathan, an internationally recognized expert on law and property.

Speaking to journalism students at IIJNM on Wednesday, she said that when citizens commit such a ‘crime’, with reference to the Facebook arrest in Mumbai, they are placed in preventive detention because one cannot be left out to repeat the crime.

She spoke about the various loopholes that the act has, and said that it is a law that presumes. She also emphasized on the difference between preventive detention and imprisonment and said that the latter is an executive power. “It is presumed that one has done something wrong, and one is put away to avoid further damage. These are the worst kind of laws that we have,” she added.

Dr. Usha referred to the Delhi gang rape, Aarushi Talwar murder case and the Nithari case to explain the various points where the state has failed to protect the society. She pointed out the state’s response to crime when a group of people visiting the India Gate were stopped till judgment of the Delhi gang rape. “When a man was robbed right before the Delhi rape case and the police did not help, the state failed even before the crime was committed,” she said.

Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-Offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Slum Gamblers Act, 1985 (The Karnataka Goondas Act) was recently passed in Karnataka and has been opposed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

Coming to the Juvenile Justice Act, she spoke about the importance of protection of street children by the state to strengthen their survival skills and how children are not protected and have to fend for themselves.

“Criminal law is today being made on the basis of public outcry, and not on the basis of evidence,” she added.
With reference to these cases and the importance of evidence for conviction, she said, “Newspapers and television have contributed to erosion of the values of liberty, like the law.”

Dr. Usha has written and debated extensively on the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and gave an insight on the subject. “When the UID was set up, there were two critical words mentioned in the notification-own and database. It said that the UID would own the database. When you provide information to any of these agencies, they hold the information, not own it. The state acts as the custodian of the information,” she explained.

“The database that was provided by us to the state is now in the hands of an agency called the UIDAI. We don’t have a law on privacy law in this country, which means agencies can do whatever they want with the information because they are not breaking the law,” she said.

She added, “The government says that there is so much corruption, and this is for the protection of people. But who is corrupt? The same people who are controlling the data. Why would we want to hand over our information to people who would want to make profits out of us? What kind of guarantee are we given that this data is even protected?”

Dr. Usha concluded the session by saying that the mass surveillance project has multiple purposes. “By putting a UID number on everything, you are going to be remembered even when you forget. There are multiple ways in which this data can be used. Because we have lost our sense of freedom and liberty, we have not asked the questions we need to ask,” she said.

By Samreen Tungekar

‘Big Brother continues to watch you’, Thakurta tells IIJNM students

Bangalore, Sep 22: When anyone compares the current scenario of media with that of the dystopian world in George Orwell’s 1984, you know the person has seen the ugly side of media up close. 

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, independent journalist, media researcher, author and documentary film maker, spoke to IIJNM students on 22 Sept, 2014 about the corporatization of Indian media, and its impact on ethics.

Thakurta himself had got a first-hand experience of this phenomenon when his report on paid news was buried by the Press Council of India. He touched on myriad themes all of which were, in one way or another, linked to this issue.

He began on a slightly grim note, saying how the Indian media was currently going through its most difficult phase, and contrasted it with the situation just two decades back, when the industry was “booming exponentially.” He said, “The last six years have seen the complete destruction of the media model.”

Thakurta then dwelled upon the principle cause of this crisis: the great depression of 2008. While explaining the changed scenario, he said, “Wars of the future are different from wars of the past.” He then made the nexus between the recession and the declining revenue from advertising for media houses.

His entire talk was peppered with examples of the internet’s negative influence. In keeping with his characteristic style of delivering dramatic lines, Thakurta asked: “Has internet brought you a little closer to your neighbour? Do you spend more time looking at your phones instead of faces?” The question evoked a few guilty looks from the students. He then pointed out the more personal differences that the internet ushered in. “Is the World Wide Web replacing the grey cells inside your brain? Are you forgetting how to spell, pronounce and remember numbers,” he asked rhetorically.

After taking on the internet, Thakurta then directed his grievances on Television. He mentioned the “saas-bahu soaps” and Arnab Goswami “saving the nation” among his examples of bad content. He said that there are almost 300 channels in the country, most of which indulge in absurd sensationalism of news. He again shot a few smart and hard-hitting one-liners regarding the Television. Among these were - “Has TV become chewing gum for the mind?” and “We love the idiot box because it’s not interactive.”

Thakurta then began to talk about the paramount issue of declining ethics in journalism. He questioned the logic of the richest man in the country also being its biggest media baron. He asked, “Why has intensification of competition led to lowering of ethical standards in media?” He spoke about how the voices of intolerance were being drowned out across the world, and how good news was no news, while bad news was good news. His most morbid assessment was when he compared the current situation with that of the dystopian world in George Orwell’s 1984, and said, “Big Brother continues to watch you.” However, he stressed that being ethical for journalists today was “difficult, but possible.”

Having worked with All India Radio himself, he found the govt’s policy of not allowing news to be broadcasted on the radio to be ridiculous, but hoped that this restriction would soon be lifted.

After taking a few questions from the students, which he answered at length, he rounded up by giving students some sound advice, “May you learn how to distinguish different shades of grey, because life is not black and white.”

By Tushar Kaushik

‘If the police say go south, go north,’ Pillai tells young scribes

Bangalore, Sep 10:  Veteran journalist Ajith Pillai gave student journalists some sound advice on their future careers at a talk today on campus.

Pillai, whose book “Off the Record:  Untold Stories from a Reporter’s Diary” has just been published, spoke candidly to his young audience about the trials, tribulations and highlights of his 28-year-long career.

“If the police say go south, go north,” was what one BBC colleague covering India told Pillai about how best to cover the country as a journalist, he revealed.

He elaborated on the challenges faced by journalists in today’s times and how the scenario has changed in India over the past few decades.

Mr  Pillai began by talking about how different journalism was in the 1980s, when you either had “a good story, or no story”. He then elaborated on the sea change that Indian journalism went through, with an increasing number of supplements-pretending-to-be-news and paid news.

He talked at length about the many issues that plague Indian journalism today, like corporate firms taking over media houses and the ensuing censorship. Talking about a lack of rural reporting in India, he added that a typical editor’s attitude was that rural reporting is down-market and doesn’t interest the readers.

Pillai, who has worked for many Sunday, daily and weekly titles across the country and who also wrote for Outlook magazine, shared interesting anecdotes about his own experiences as a reporter to make his point.

 His descriptions indeed made journalism sound like a series of adventures. He stressed the need to do fieldwork as opposed to working from the newsroom which, in fact is encouraged in some media houses today. “If you follow a tip-off, you might be barking up the wrong tree, but occasionally you land up with a good story,” he added.

One of his major qualms with today’s newspapers is that they are owned by corporates, which in turn leads to censorships. He said, “It isn’t the fault of journalists, rather the managements are at fault for deciding to keep quiet.“

He ended an interesting session by giving a variety of useful tips to students, which ranged from a simple “take initiative” to something enlightening, like “When the police say go south, go north”. What stood out in his entire talk was that he was a man of strong journalistic principles, and the changing scenario of media wasn’t going to change him in any way whatsoever.

By Tushar Kaushik

Mandy Jenkins: Social media lets us be everywhere

Social media “amplifies the voices of regular people,” said Mandy Jenkins, a social media expert and the editor of Open Newsroom at Storyful, which helps cover stories using social media tools.

At the invitation of the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, Jenkins visited the IIJNM campus for an interactive lecture discussion on social media’s Impact on journalism for students and faculty.

Jenkins said social media existed long before most people assumed. She presented a brief history of how social media evolved in the last two decades, which was attributable to the rise of the internet.

“Social media has made the world smaller,” she said.

She explained how various social media sites such as Facebook, which is most used by Indians, and Twitter have covered and broken stories in nonconventional forms. This also has led to the emergence of citizen journalism, in which the general public plays the part of journalists.

However, she also said unlike the United States, where print media is dying, traditional forms of journalism are still thriving in India.

“In India, science is present everywhere,” said Jenkins when talking about how technology should be handy to journalists.

She also said journalists should always take advantage of the rapidly changing technological environment around us.

“Things will change, but always be ready to adapt to this change,” Jenkins said.

By Noah DMello

TOI accused of weakening editorial powers

A former journalist of The Times of India said Tuesday her former newspaper was largely responsible for undermining the powers of India’s newspaper editors.

Sangita Menon Malhan, author of the book “The TOI Story: How a Newspaper Changed the Rules of the Game” (HarperCollins India) told IIJNM students that the newspaper’s focus on making money had sidelined its editors, and editors of other newspapers that had copied its commercial slant had been similarly weakened.

Speaking about the book and the research put into it, she said it was TOI’s consistent business performance that initially provoked her to study the paper.

Recounting her experience working in TOI’s business section, she said that it was in 1999 that she was told that the focus of reporting needed to shift to the corporate sector. Reporters were asked to follow companies and corporate houses.

She said she had focused on the TOI’s history between 1985 and 1995.

She said her book was not just a history of TOI, the newspaper, but it was also a biographical account of Samir Jain’s association with the organ. She described Jain’s tenure as one of the most interesting phases of the newspaper’s history.

Terming her book “a book of interviews,” she said that a lot of people were initially “aghast” that such a research was being done about the newspaper.

Criticizing many of the newspaper’s moves, she said that in many ways TOI was responsible for the changes that were brought about in many other newspapers. Moves by the newspaper, like buying out competition, also came in for criticism.

“The bottom line is sacrosanct at the TOI,” and this has led to a seduction of the mediocre reader,” she said.

By Mayukh Mukherjee

How journalism got its MoJo back

Sarah Jones, head of broadcast journalism at the University of Salford inManchester, England, spoke to students of IIJNM on the emerging field of mobile journalism on Feb. 12.

Although her lecture might have been expected to be most relevant to students in the Broadcast stream, as showed how to use a mobile phone instead of a camera for shooting a story—MoJo as she called it—students belonging to the Multimedia and Print streams benefited from it as well.

She lectured them about different ways of taking a clean shot from a mobile, and what to do and what not to do to ensure clarity of a shot. She also showed the students portable and handy gadgets and accessories they could use in situations where they might not have access to their usual cameras.



Mahatma, Martin Luther King and Mandela: Three men who changed the world

Responsibility in leadership, exemplary focus on public need and perseverance were common attributes shared by three of the world’s great leaders , according to David Gainer, Public Affairs Officer at the U. S. Consulate General, Chennai.

Gainer addressed students of four journalism colleges via a Google Hangouts live-link, on “Building a better world: Influence of the 3Ms - Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi,” 

On the eve of the Unites States celebrating Black History Month, the US Consulate General Office at Chennai had organized the combined talk with IIJNM, Manipal University, University of Mysore and the Karnataka State Women’s University in Bijapur.  Journalism students from all colleges took part in the event, on Wednesday.

“I don’t agree that racism is over and done with in the US. It is a constant battle. Everything is always getting better and there is a constant conflict between equality and justice. Each generation needs to tackle and talk about it,” Mr Gainer said.

He added that he believes the United States has become more integrated over time but still had some serious issues to tackle, but believed that The US was now largely a country where children go to school together without any discrimination and people are allowed to marry without any restrictions.

In the last 15 to 20 years there has been a remarkable growth in both the Indian and American economies, he said. “In Chennai at the Consulate, we are the largest processor and issuer for work visas than any other US consulate office in the world, by far. Lots of American companies are investing in India.”

The discussion focused on topics of concern in relation to US and India and Gainer spoke about Black History Month in order to celebrate the achievements of America and the history of black Americans in the US.

“In the US, outsiders face discrimination but the problem persists in other countries of the world as well. You might grow up to accepting different cultures and religious beliefs but in the end we are all the same,” he said.

He also admitted that his country had made some foreign policy mistakes in the past, especially with its support of the Apartheid movement in South Africa and its classification of Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. He said all countries - including his – had learned from past mistakes.

Mr Gainer mainly spoke about education and its importance. The core goal of a good educational institution should be education that teaches rational thinking. He added: “I believe that with the technology that we are using today we can get a lot of information that cannot be trusted. It should inculcate the ability to use reason and think about credibility.”

He concluded the discussion with a piece of advice: “Challenge yourself and do something different, something unusual and remember that this is a complicated world.”

Veeraraghav: ‘What will make you better as a journalist?’

Aspiring journalists should make long-term plans when deciding where to start their professional careers, former CNN-IBN senior editor T.M. Veeraraghav told students of the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media on Tuesday.

Speaking on how to make the choice of where to work in tandem with where one wants to reach as a journalist, Veeraraghav said analyzing career options should be one’s priority.

Referring to students aspiring for jobs in big media houses, he started his presentation with the question of how relevant is the tag of having worked in a big media house after five years.

He said almost 90 percent of the freshers working in large organizations are frustrated within three to four years of joining. He said that these large organizations take a lot out of these journalists and regard these journalists as cheap labor.

In today’s world, organizations want to build a relation based on trust with their audience, as do individuals.

A holistic approach to journalism and doing the stories a person wants to do eventually helps the person build his own audience—an audience that respects the individual journalist more than the organization for which he works.

A better cost-to-company ought not to be the only consideration while choosing a job.

Citing the example of veteran journalist, P. Sainath, Veeraraghav stressed the point of working in an organization where the individual efforts are not overshadowed.

He said that while some stories help the newspapers grow; the individual journalist needs to tread away from the beaten track and work on issues others don’t really care to cover.

Continuous introspection is essential for the development of a journalist. The question that very journalist must ask himself, “What will make me better?”

Speaking on the changing trends of news viewership, he said that the internet has taken over from the television as the medium of viewership.

He suggested journalists to use blogging as a method to build their credentials and win public confidence.

Telling the students not to get overawed by the brands they work for, he suggested that they figure out what they get out of the brand.

Responding to questions on how long a journalist should generally stay at a place, Veeraraghav said that the first stint should ideally be five years, since it teaches them the virtue of patience.

Responding to queries about situations when a person really wants to write about something, he said that the first thing to be understood was if the person was genuinely capable of writing on the topic.

By Mayukh Mukherjee

Veeraraghav: Journalists part of the system

Journalists are part of the system so it becomes difficult for them to change the system, according to veteran TV journalist T.M. Veeraraghav.

Speaking to students at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media on Tuesday, Veeraraghav, who has worked with top TV channels in India, pointed out that 24/7 news channels use "shock," "outrage" and "shame" to garner viewers.

This, he explained, was due to a "lazy, low-cost, super business model" that has become the norm within most channels in order to keep the audience happy. It is easier to call people on a panel and hold a discussion than send off three reporting teams in different directions to produce one story, he said. In due course, they forget the ethics of journalism that were once familiar to them, he added.

Taking the example of the Mumbai gang-rape case, he said that when two rapes happen, the one occurring in the urban area is given more importance than the one in the village. A rape is a rape, and a crime is a crime, he said, adding that a journalist must not prioritize news cavalierly.

Journalists who have become household names today do not really contribute to bringing a change in the society, he said. Rather, they seem to be caught in a rat race to get more advertisers for their channels.

He said, this is because of a transition in the audience’s perception. Thanks to misleading TV ratings and therefore a skewed viewer-news choice relationship, journalists deviate from their real mission and set out to showcase stories that will be mostly watched and liked. 

Journalists, he pointed out, are neither elected nor chosen by the people. Yet they play the role of torch-bearers in society. Therefore, they have responsibility to ensure that they do not abuse the power they wield, nor are used by people with agendas, Veeraraghav said.

By Prutha Subhash Bhosle

Journalists can influence the game: Syed Kirmani

Journalists must adhere to basic ethics of journalism and be true to their audiences, said Syed Kirmani, former Indian cricketer. Media can influence the game and the people involved, he said, speaking at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, recentlyMr. Kirmani spoke about how print and the electronic media played a major role in his own successes. He said that the print media brought him into the limelight and made him a public figure over a period of time. However, Mr. Kirmani also claimed that he was a victim of paid news.

He said:”A journalist was hired by an association to write ill about me just so that I could be dropped and some other player can replace me. They were actually successful in their motive as I was dropped. I did make a comeback and confront him.”

He was quite candid when he said that media can be irresponsible, judgmental and have short-term goals. Media learns something, puts its own spin to it and presents an entirely wrong picture, he said.

He said: “One doesn’t need to spice things up in order to get mileage. One can write with utmost authenticity and can be guaranteed that people will read. They will in fact look out for one’s articles because they know that the person has done thorough research and the report is written considering all sides of the story.”

He also cleared the air about his statements on M. S. Dhoni, the Indian national cricket team’s current captain. “I have always liked Dhoni. I believe he is an epitome of captaincy. He is cool and calm and takes the team along by leading them from the front. But, I was misquoted by one of the reporters who claimed in his headline that I wasn’t happy with Dhoni’s technique.” Mr. Kirmani said.

Journalists have to apply their own thought processes while reporting on anything, he said. It’s imperative that they try and get to know both sides of the story. But, what is more important is that one has to put his foot down and say no to something that one believes is wrong.

By Durgesh Pramod Malvadkar

Corruption is the bane of the state’s health system says Dr. Sudarshan

Corruption in Karnataka’s healthcare system is making it impossible for basic healthcare to reach the tribal and rural population, says Dr. H. Sudarshan, former chairman of the State Task Force on Health and Family Welfare.

Dr. Sudarshan was speaking to the students of IIJNM Wednesday morning.

He said that if India had more equity, more sustainable development and a corruption-free government, health care would reach all citizens. “The basic aim of all my efforts in the healthcare department was ‘reaching the unreached’ and my inspiration comes from people like Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda,” he said, and explained how he worked for tribal healthcare in naxal-affected areas and areas which prone to insurgency.

Dr. Sudarshan, who is best known for his work with the Soliga Tribes in B.R. Hills said, “Poverty is the main problem with providing healthcare to the tribes.”  He has been promoting public-private partnerships (PPP) in public health and said, “Public health is of prime importance and PPP is important to make healthcare affordable to the tribes.”

The partnership should not be purely profit or loss-based but should revolve around policy making, Dr. Sudarshan said, and explained how the Karuna trust that he runs was instrumental in bringing down the cases of infant and maternal mortalities Gumballi primary health care centre.

Though the Karnataka government had increased its expenditure on healthcare, Dr. Sudarshan said that it had to go up further. The decentralized healthcare expenditure, he said was Rs. 100 per person, and far lesser than the government’s actual spending. He called for the decentralization of health care, but added,: “We are left to choose with centralized corruption or decentralized corruption.”

As head of the Task Force, Dr. Sudarshan had recommended that the government not increase the number of medical, nursing and pharmacy colleges in the State, but the State government went ahead permitting so many institutions that Karnataka has the highest number of medical colleges in the country, he said.

The right to offend and freedom of expression go hand-in-hand says legal activist

“Freedom of speech and expression should be accompanied by the right to offend”, said Lawrence Liang, legal activist and co-founder of Alternative Law Forum. He talked about censorship and freedom of speech and expression in India at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bangalore.

Liang believes that the right to freedom of expression is meaningless unless you also have a right to offend because “expression of dissent will obviously offend someone.”

Liang, spoke about the IT Act 66(A) under which Shaheen Dhadha and her friend who made a comment on Facebook after the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, and two Air India employees who liked a post on Facebook that was critical of the Congress party were arrested. He said: “Article 66(A) uses a category as loose as ‘causing grave annoyance’ to take action against. ‘Grave annoyance’ is so subjective that anybody can take action for anything on anyone.”

He called Aaron Swartz, the developer of the RSS news feed, as the first martyr of the free information movement for the work he did for writers who were losing money while websites were rolling in dollars. He also pointed out that the internet had resulted in drawbacks in following constitutional law in India. When Caravan magazine wrote an article about Arindham Choudhary, a case was filed against them in remote Silchar, Assam. This was because the law states that a case can be filed anywhere the publication in circulated. “Thanks to the internet, it means literally anywhere,” he said.

Liang discussed issues of sedition, hate speech and obscenity and the problems arising from what he labelled their subjective nature. What may be offensive to one may not be offensive to another, he argued.

The laws against sedition had led to about 14,000 people being charged with sedition for protesting against the the Kudankulam nuclear plant, as they fear a fate similar to Fukushima.

Liang told his audience of trainee journalists that Mahatma Gandhi believed people should be allowed to voice their opinions—even if they didn’t match the government’s.

He asked whether reasonable restrictions were needed on freedom of expression and on what rationale they would be imposed.

Describing communal disharmony, in the context of hate speech, Liang said: “The Muslims found Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses disrespectful. Hindus were offended when MF Hussain painted the Bharat Mata and Christians were hurt when Dan Brown came out with The Da Vinci Code.” This was even though none of the people in each community read the book nor saw the paintings.

He questioned how one could measure the impact and intensity of words. How much could words hurt and what would hurt who.

He reminded students that India has a really rich history of freedom of speech and expression but added that renowned documentary maker Anant Patwardhan’s work still doesn’t receive clearance from the censor board.

Liang said censorship had played a major role in the Indian cinema since its very inception. Till very recently, there had been complete censorship on nudity, sex scenes and even kissing on screen.

He recounted what  Lala Lajpat Rai had once said: “I don’t want the future generation to grow up in a nursery.” He wanted the people of the country to be open to both things good and bad and decide for themselves and not have other people impose censorship on them, Liang added.

Minorities in “battleground states” such as Florida and Ohio helped Barack Obama get re-elected, said David Gainer, Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Chennai, India.

Gainer, along with the Information Officer of the U.S. Consulate, Ms. Heera Kamboj, was addressing students at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media on the 2012 U.S. Presidential Elections.   Speaking about the electoral process of the United States and quoting statistics from the Pew Research Center, Gainer said that Hispanics and African Americans in key swing states voted for Obama and helped him get re-elected.
“In Ohio for example, African Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of Obama,” he said.

Gainer said that the strong backing of the minorities helped “offset a strong tilt against President Obama, who had actually lost some of the white voters.”

He added that huge gains with other key audiences such as young people, women and minorities had also contributed greatly to Obama’s campaign.

Unemployment was one of the major issues which voters in the U.S. were concerned about, claimed Gainer. He said that though there was an almost even split in voter confidence on which candidate would handle the economic situation better, almost 53% of those involved in the Pew Research Poll blamed Former U.S. President, George W. Bush for the current state of the economy.

Switching focus to how U.S. Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney used the media in their campaigns to get their messages across, Heera Kamboj,a United States Information Officer also based in Chennai , said that while Romney invested heavily in television campaign messages, Obama "was leveraging social media to get young people to come out and vote.” Apart from the elections, Gainer also spoke in glowing terms about the growing relationship between India and the U.S.

He said that the relations between the two countries will “continue to deepen, widen and grow,” in the coming years.

Journalists have to fight for stories in a shrinking space: DNA editor

“Every newsroom is slimed, it’s a continuous war,” said Yogesh Pawar, Bureau Chief of DNA Mumbai. We have to fight for our stories in the ever shrinking space, be it a newspaper or a channel. He also talked about how there will be conflict of interests with the kind of stories we do and the stance our media organization has. Fighting for a story in that small space available is very important, he said.

Mr. Pawar said that these large monoliths in the media industry cannot maintain objective neutrality, due to the stakes they hold outside the media world.

This is because the media industry is experiencing convergence on various levels. On one hand there is convergence of the various mediums, while on the other hand, there is convergence of professions where we see media houses that are owned by builders, lobbyists, corporate houses, etc.

“Finance and Journalism do not go together,” he added. And that’s why he does not believe in financial journalism; for him, these two are conflicting ideas.

As a graduate out of Tata institute of Social Sciences, he is interested in development, environment and cultural issues. During his graduation in TISS he was very impressed with Thomas Ross’ theory.

He drew parallels from Ross’ theory and talks about the locality development model bringing about change in the status quo. He illustrated an incident from the time he was doing his internship at The Centurion, in their welfare department. He told us about how the women of the staff members got together and stopped their men from gambling. In this context he spoke about the Narmada Bachao Andolan. In his views, it is by far the most impressive movement in terms of mobilizing masses towards bringing about a change. Though it is seen as a failure, the efforts cannot be dismissed, according to Pawar.

He spoke about his experiences while looking for a job with the Times of India. When asked if self regulation was the way forward for the Indian media, he expressed his disapproval for it. He said some laws need to be in place. Self regulation at the moment is not the best option as the media houses which default the most have stakes somewhere else and there is conflict of interests.

Another question raised was about the future of investigative journalism and how there are very few media houses which have a strong investigative cell. To which he replied that investigative journalism is very narrow in India and thus more often than not does not get that space.

“Urban India is like Mona Lisa’s painting,” said Geeta Menon who works for the rights of the unorganised sector.

She explains, the painting exhibits a woman’s charming smile but behind her smile there are hidden secrets; similarly urban India looks very glorious and is full of promises but there is darker side to this glory.

Menon is one of the founding members of the Stree Jaagruti Samathi, an organization working for the rights of the unorganized sector. Speaking to students at the at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) on November 18, 2011, she emphasised that the labour class of India has played a major role in forming the glorious image of India; but has been mistreated and ignored by the other sections of the society.

She proved her point by citing an example of how the news of a labourer’s death in an accident on a construction site will get little space in newspapers, but Aishwarya Rai’s new born baby will be covered extensively.

Menon feels the Indian society has a schizophrenic attitude, people in this country believe that there is a divide that prevails--that there exists a class system of high and low, of mental and physical division, of labour and of purity and pollution. And these notions are very strong in every section of the society, be it urban or rural.    

She also discussed the issue of domestic help in Bangalore; of how people derogate them by calling them servants or referring to them as untouchable. Many housing societies in Bangalore even have a separate lift for them, she pointed out.

Even when it comes to civic planning they are not considered as part of the society. The civic planning divides a city into residential complex, commercial complex and has sections for industrialization but there are no divisions made for the weaker section of the society.   

The need of the hour is to get the unorganized labours registered she said, adding that registration will help them get equal rights in an unjust society.

She also stressed the importance of citizen participation in gathering data of the unorganized labour force in the city, especially the ones who migrating here.   

By Manu Bhan

"If you want to report on urban issues, you need to know how the city functions."

Dr. Ashwin Mahesh, Professor at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and CEO of Mapunity. "And to know about it you should know what is the difference between what is happening and what is supposed to happen in our system."> Taking the example of BBMP ward elections he said that the elections are supposed to happen every 5 years but after 2001 the election were held in 2010. This illustrates the situation of the system and the corruption that flows in it.

"According to the rules a city can only have a corporation if its population exceeds 10 lakh. Karnataka has eight Municipal corporations which clearly show that the rules are followed loosely", he said.

In his talk on Governance in Urban Issues, he discussed urban governance, elections, politics, corruption, budget and the way the government functions.

As far as the facilities in the city were concerned, the rules should be regulated by the city not the state government, he said. “If there are any issues regarding water, transport, electricity, potholes, etc we should be able to report them to the departments concerned, but all the decisions or rules are regulated by the state government. Every department needs to report to the state government and take actions accordingly so regulation cannot be changed for a particular part of the city.” Discussing housing, Dr. Mahesh said that everyday around 1000 migrants from different part of the country move to Bangalore and the city does not have enough space to accommodate all of them in it. The soil of the city isn’t suitable for growing it vertically and for moving horizontally it really hard to connect all the parts of the city. We do not have enough resources also to accommodate everyone and give the same share of facilities.

He said that if we want governance to be in regulated in a systematic manner, we must know how it runs and make sure everything happens in the way it’s supposed to happen.

By Lalita

Destructive mining will lead to shortages

“The rate at which India is making wasteful use of mineral resources like aluminum for packaging of soft drinks, when we will need it for building spacecrafts we will not have enough bauxite,” said Dr. R. Sreedhar, Chairperson, Mines Minerals and People, a national alliance setup for combating the destructive nature of mining.

Dr. Sreedhar brought into light a very important issue faced by the country and especially by Karnataka after the recent scam, mining. Mining has been the oldest known activity apart from agriculture in the country. Dr. Sreedhar explained the depth of the situation by saying that if deforestation is carried out, new saplings can be planted to recover the loss incurred by the ecosystem but if we exploit iron ore irrationally then we have no way of putting it back. He unveiled the picture by saying that for mining of every one ton of aluminum five to six tons of earth is dug up.

In his hour long session he talked about exports of iron ore, the nationalization of coal mining and illegal mining in parts of the country like Karnataka, Orissa and Goa. He gave an eye opening fact by saying that this year 82,423 illegal mines have been reported in the Parliament.

He then listed the concerns of illegal mining namely, revenue loss, pollution, degradation of land and displacement of people.

Dr. Sreedhar exposed the reality of the mining hubs by telling about the way children and women are sexually abused. With this he talked about places like Talche and Angul in Orissa where the forest is nowhere to be found and where maximum numbers of unwed mothers live. In 1980s Kolar used to have 21,000 people engaged in this profession but today its source of livelihood has turned it into a ghost town.

Reaching the end of the session he discussed some alternatives like decentralization of energy sources and promotion of wind and solar energy. Some of the proposals by Mines Minerals and People are to have a new moratorium of new mining leases and, as half a million people have been displaced, a time-bound program must be there to deal with legacy issues.

By Isha Bajpai

Are we media houses or propaganda factories?

In every disaster zone the needy don’t get what they deserve and not much of this is covered by the media. The relief packages sent are consumed by the more powerful in the area, leaving the poor helpless, said Dr.Unnikrishnan, disaster response policy coordinator. In his lecture on ‘media and humanitarian issues’ at IIJNM, he widely discussed the role of information, communication and media in sustaining lives and protecting rights.

During times of crisis it’s not only doctors who can save lives but also journalists by passing on reliable information, he said. In his 90-minute lecture he spoke on an array of topics ranging from relief measures, increasing poverty, fast growing globalization to changing trends in disasters.

Sharing his personal experiences on working with victims of landmines in Afghanistan, earthquake in Haiti and with raped women in Congo he said there was an urgent need for journalists to report on post disaster issues. War, blood-shed, political conflicts and natural disasters destroy human dignity and valuable resources. “When two big elephants fight it’s the grass that suffers,” he said.

Today there are more internal conflicts than external ones. The Congo rapes have had a harsh impact, especially on children and women. Refugees suffered from depression, he pointed out. In the Rwanda Genocide more than 1 million people are yet to be identified. Fifty percent of them died in relief camps Dr. Unnikrishnan said.

He added that an average disaster kills 573 people in a poor country whereas in a rich country it kills only 51 people. Most conflict-related deaths take place in developing countries.

Questioning the media’s role in conflicts like Palestine, Iraq Gulf War 2 and Rwanda genocide Unnikrishnan remarked “Do you remember the reason then President Bush gave for his attack on Iraq? Was it justified? Every story has my version, your version and the truth. Are we media houses or propaganda factories?”

Journalists shouldn’t serve as a platform for corporate houses to promote their products nor pharmaceutical companies to sell their medicines, he said. During the bird flu saga three companies hurriedly created vaccines and sold them at exorbitant rates neither of which stated they could prevent or heal the infection.

 “As many as 892 journalists were killed covering conflicts. 56% of them were covering politics. How do you motivate the next generation of journalist to cover serious issues and not fall for glam and glitz,” asked a student Abhijit Bhambra. To which Unnikrishnan stated “Take inspiration of courageous journalism from the recent Tunisia revolution. Good reporting does not come from PhD degrees. Take a risk and see because that’s what makes a difference.”

“I remember during an earthquake disaster a woman asked for a radio and not any medical facility. Such is the demand for information,” concluded Dr. Unnikrishnan. Media’s role is not just to report or expose but to inform, educate and empower. Lives can be saved with accurate and well targeted information.

By Dipika Pillay

Dirty Dishes, Human Rights and the GDP

“India still ranks 136 in the gender development index, and we speak of equality”, said Geeta Menon, of Stree Jagruti Samiti, speaking to the students at Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore on March 14, 2011.

She has been working for the rights of the unorganized sector for the Stree Jagruti Samiti that began in 1980s.

Menon considers the domestic workers to be the most exploited sector of the service sector in India. There has been no law in the country that provides benefits to these workers. According to a National Sample Survey report, there are 1.1 million domestic workers in the country and the maximum of them are women.

“Household work is still considered to be the exclusive domain of the female gender,” said Menon.

She put forward an argument on how these domestic workers pave the way for the country’s GDP though they themselves do not contribute to it. The workers work in the homes of people who contribute to the GDP as it would not have been possible for them to go to work with such an ease if the workers were not there to help them out at home.
“We still have the feudal mental setup that these workers are untouchable, they are different from us only because they are poor,” said Menon.

She pointed out the hypocrisy in the society that on one hand, worships women as goddess and on the other they treat her as bonded laborers.

According to Geeta Menon, the media response to their protests has been derogatory, with people asking that being journalists they do not get holidays, how do domestic workers seek holiday in a month.

She ended her discussion with the point that there should be a regulatory body within the government which would recognize the domestic workers and give them benefits such as pension and health facilities.

This is the only way to empower them, she said.

Finding new ways to break the news

Throwing light on a new generation of journalism, managing editor Steve Myers spoke to students at IIJNM on how new media resources can be used more effectively to report news.

“The values of journalism remain the same, but we’ve found new ways of doing the old thing,” Myers said, explaining that the web was a great way to reach a larger global audience.

He looked at how Twitter was innovatory in spreading news, especially during the recent revolts across North Africa. He looked at using a “storify” method to track developing stories and said that social media was a great way of going about this.

He also flagged other trends in new media that would soon impact journalism, such as the move to curate information.

“As journalists, we think that we must report primary information, but we should also look at acting as filters for our audiences,” Myers said. “Curation is the next big movement in journalism, where we curate information and spread it.”

Starting out by adding that everything he was speaking about were thing he only learnt two years ago, Myers reflected on the dynamism of journalism in the world of growing technology.

He discussed several news applications that have been programmed to make information dissemination more comprehensive and reader friendly. He gave the students a list of applications that they could get started on, like DocumentCloud, to sort and annotate government documents.

Myers used several examples of new media usage in the field to illustrate his examples, from Andy Carvin of NPR using Twitter to find sources in North Africa to making census data more user-friendly. He looked at how online editions, like the New York Times’ website engaged with their readers during the last American elections.

Myers has been with Poynter since 2007 and has worked as a journalist for 15 years. He started out as a crime and investigative journalist and most notably exposed the faulty flood maps while working with a Katrina Media fellowship.

Monsanto ignoring moratorium says activist

In spite of the ongoing moratorium on GM crops in India, Monsanto is coming up with herbicide tolerant maize later this year, which would affect non- GE crops. It will make weeds herbicide resistant, says Kavitha Kuruganti, Bangalore based activist with special interest in agricultural issues.

Earlier best quality seeds were selected carefully for breeding. Now, genetic modification has taken over the conventional forms. Specific genes can be taken out of an organism and inserted into a plant. The procedure of fishing out the desired gene is easy; however, obtaining the desired output is not. Hence, there is a great risk involved in genetically modified crops. “There can be a lot of permutation and combinations as a result of the gene sequence modification, which is unimaginable,” Kuruganti said. Have changed the quote for it to make sense.

Extensive use of pesticides and chemicals in agriculture made Punjab the “cancer capital of India”. Surface water has been contaminated to the extent of being declared unfit for irrigation. More than 50% of India’s land is classified as degraded. G.M crops are supposed to have more harmful effects on environment.

Kavitha raised a few questions about the safety of G.M crops – does the technology increase cost of production? The kind of food we eat is no more nutritious and safer. Are these crops pests resistant? She gave examples of recent cases of genetic engineering experimentation in Germany where spider gene was mixed with goat, in China Fire fly gene was mixed with tobacco plants and again in Germany the scorpion’s gene was mixed with maize plant which has been unsuccessful.

Farmers have been suffering after using GM crops since 2002, she said. “Majority of farmers can’t meet even their basic needs. People don’t even meet Minimum Support Price”, Says Kavitha. Later she added that M.S.P has been announced on few crops based on the cultivation price but the cost of cultivation is far more than believed.

One of the major issues Indian agriculture is facing is displacement. People are shifting away from agriculture and this is happening without any debate.

“Farmers get negative net returns and 82% of farming household is indebted. Loan waiver things only waived loan from banks but loan from money lenders didn’t seem to be waived,” said Kavitha talking on reasons for shifting to non agriculture areas. She further added while talking about subsidies it was industries which got subsidy not the farmers but now even that is getting phased out.

She suggested that to overcome all these problems democratization of science and technology is needed. “We as a citizen have full rights to know whether their expertise is enough and what kind of transparency level they have,” said Kavitha.

She also suggested that in India there is no independent authentic testing centre or verification centre for genetically modified crops. There should be a good regulatory regime where at least the problems would come out. She suggested formation of a National Bio Safe Protection Authority in India instead of Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India which has certain flaws in it.

Srilankan filmmaker seeks peace

“It’s the time to bring peace to Srilanka,” said S. Someetharan, a Srilankan filmmaker, speaking to the students at Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore on February 14, 2011.

 His movies, Burning Memories and Mullaitivu Saga, on burning issues in his country show the reactions of people and the government, covering both sides of the picture.

Speaking about Mullaitivu Saga, which  focuses on the action taken by the Srilankan government in 2009 to wipe out LTTE, which in turn took the lives of many more civilians, he said that 300,000 civilians were fatally injured and dead in the process of shelling and firing.

“The UN is a mere observer not even close to a powerful body when it comes to disputes of this extent,” said Someetharan, when asked about the role of UN in asking the Srilankan government to ceasefire.

He gave an example from his movie where Ban Ki-moon, secretary general, UN, said how different it would have been if the international community had acted in time. This was spoken at the time when the killings were going on.

“This proves the nature of UN that cannot do anything but be observers,” said Someetharan

The filmmaker had an interesting observation to make about the Tamils in Srilanka. He said that the LTTE is like a God to them and they feel that they will defend them against the oppression of the government. They feel that the LTTE will fight for their justice.

Burning Memories is based on the burning of 97,000 books in the Jaffna library. It was when the youth movement in Srilanka began and more and more people began joining it.

“The LTTE and even the Maoists are the outcome of deprivation of rights of some sort,” said Someetharan. However, he was quick to state that he doesn’t support them and that the Srilankan people were trapped between the government forces and the LTTE.

He said that the country has been under an emergency situation from the year 1978 and narrated how they have not seen street lights since there used to be a curfew after 6p.m. He recounted tales of collecting gunfire shells and selling them to the LTTE for Rs. 150 per 100 shells.

Someetharan ended his discussion with his views on how Srilanka should achieve peace now since it is the right time to do so as the LTTE, whom the government blamed throughout are absent now.

Another interesting point made during the discussion was that 48 journalists have been killed in Srilanka in the past three years which shows how free press is a myth there.

‘Important to push the boundaries and do things differently’

BANGALORE, Nov. 10, 2012—“An account of the world that not only takes account of the what, but also the why,” said Chandrahas Choudhury on the similarities between journalists and novelists at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media.

Chandrahaas Choudhury, author of the novel, “Arzee the dwarf”, poetry and fiction editor at the Caravan magazine, was speaking to students, alumni and other participants at IIJNM on “Why journalism and novels walk hand in hand in India—and how to draw on the power of both." 
Speaking to aspiring journalists, Choudhury said that journalism is not just representing facts, but representing them in the best possible way, and he urged that journalists should write with some ideals, as an individual, disinterested with market forces.

Talking about paid news, he said it was, “intellectually shabby and shameful,” and that it was a scandal that one of the largest selling papers in the country was resorting to paid news.

Chandrahas said that a journalist should look beneath the news and ask difficult questions, incorporating the urgency, desire and the anger of a novelist in his or her work.

As someone with a little more experience, he advised the students, “When you go out in to the world, the first five years, you must work for love and not for money.”

He ended by sharing with the students a list of novels that he felt would help them be better journalists.

People are victims of high prices of commodities

Devinder Sharma, a well known journalist, writer and thinker who has been the Development Editor of the Indian Express highlighted how “speculation” has driven up the prices of commodities globally.

“People have become the victims of high prices for commodity trade”, said Sharma, speaking to students at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bangalore on January 21.

Sharma claimed that the biggest “challenge” our country faces is how it has defined the poverty line.

“The average monthly income of an Indian farmer is less than Rs.2400 and most of them fall under below poverty line (BPL) category,” he added.

Speaking on the food security act and the public distribution system (PDS), he stated that more than 40 percent of farmers in India want to quit farming.

Explaining the food crisis, he said three categories of companies --seed and technology companies, trading companies and super markets--in the agriculture sector worldwide are responsible for the crisis.

“When thirty seven countries in the world were facing food crisis in 2008, India did not have that problem. But, this year food inflation has risen to a point that even in a country as self sufficient as India, the prices of commodities are very high.”

He criticized the government’s plans to remove horticulture products (vegetables, fruits and flowers) from the agricultural mandis.

Comparing the agriculture in India and the U.S, he said that U.S. first feeds its people, its animals and then exports the food to other countries. “But, it happens the other way round in India which leaves 320 million people hungry every day”.

Giving an example of how food crisis arises, he pointed out that the rate of interest for TATA Nano factory set-up in Gujarat was 0.1 percent. However, a woman who is a part of self-help group (SHG) has to pay about 24 to 46 percent as the rate of interest per year.

 “If we make the poor pay greater rate of interest than the Corporations, this directly or indirectly pushes them into debt which compels them to commit suicide,” he said.

Speaking on genetically modified (GM) food or products, he said the research related to genetic engineering is exciting and at the same time, a cause for worry.

“If a gene enters the body, it disrupts the entire system creating problems. Similarly, GM crops have affected our agricultural produce,” he added.

He emphasized that journalists should analyze and question policies, plans or schemes. “The challenge is to identify the complexities and simplify it for your readers,” he said.

Vandana Shiva to launch Global campaign against Monsanto.

Vandana Shiva, a renowned environmental activist plans to launch an attack on Monsanto to reveal the ill effects of Monsanto GM seeds on the environment.“We are in the process of collecting substantial data about GM seeds and will be launching a campaign against them by April,” said Shiva, while speaking to the aspiring journalists at Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore yesterday.Shiva claimed that in next five years there will be a severe food crisis. She blames the companies that make GM seeds.

GM seeds are sterile and unable to produce a new generation of seeds. Farmers have to buy them every year, exposing themselves to debt and possible financial ruin.

“It is wiping out the agriculture,” she said. She further held companies that produce GM seeds responsible for declining biodiversity. “There used to be 5000 varieties of cotton, but since Monsanto came government has released only one variety, which is BT cotton,” she said. There were 2000 varieties of rice and numerous other crops earlier but now all we get is cotton, rice, canola and corn, she told the students. She also spoke to the students about farmers’ suicides in India. “There were 4,000 suicides last year in Vidarbha and 2.5 lakh in all of India because of liberalization policies,” she said, noting that wealthier farmers seeking higher returns were more likely to use the GM seeds and go into debt to pay for them. “About 84 percent of suicides are related to BT issue.”The suicides are all related to debt, she said.

She explained how farmers using hybrid crops take out loans to buy seeds again every year, and in case the harvest is not good, the bank agents take away the land they put up as collateral, which ultimately leads to farmers’ suicide. Shiva also criticized the government for raiding people who stack up six sacks of onion, not taking action against the companies who have large warehouses and are responsible for increase in cost of production. She supports indigenous seeds and said that they may be lower yielding in some cases but have high yielding value in varieties. Shiva also told aspiring journalists to write the story that matters. “It’s an only profession where you can get paid and also keep you mind and consciense,” she said.

When architecture meets journalism

Students were introduced to a “new dimension of journalism” on Friday, as architectural journalist Apurva Bose spoke at IIJNM.

“Architecture often represents the society we live in,” Bose, who has worked with India’s architectural publications, said.

With an architecture degree from Chandigarh College of Architecture and a journalism diploma from Stonebridge College, Bose has worked with some of India’s biggest Architectural and design publications, including Architecture+Design and Indian Architect and Builder.

While defining the niche field, she pointed how “archi-journalism” dove-tailed of two fields that are intrinsically linked.

“The premise and principle of both fields are the same,” Bose said, explaining how much common ground there is between the functional elements, form, and aesthetic choices of both professions.

Bose highlighted the areas of media coverage that architecture receives, from building material innovations and design trends to eco-architecture and construction critique.

She drew from examples of her own work, such as her critique of the Bangalore International Airport in its infancy, to better illustrate the issues an archi-journalist would delve into.

Bose also looked at disaster management/mitigation in journalism, bringing up the Carlton Towers fire as a case in point.

Journalism has always been about a service to society and architectural journalism is no different, the 2010 winner of First Friday Forum’s creative excellence award, said.

Bose also raised shortcomings in the Indian media coverage of events with an architectural angle. The Commonwealth Games, for instance, had little analysis of what the event’s infrastructure needed.  She also contrasted the coverage between the Indian and Western media at events like Shanghai’s World expo, pointing out that the former were not always on the top of things.

Her concise presentation also clearly showed students how they could go about learning the ropes in this field. She listed several employment and career options, and cleared students’ queries on the two.

An interactive session followed, with questions about issues the field faces and whether its niche characteristic limits it. Architecture journalism, Bose responded, was moving beyond just the glossy pages of a weekend magazine and several Indian publications are slowly waking up to it.

TOI News Editor Visits IIJNM

“Nine out of 10 times, a reader always picks up a more visually pleasing newspaper compared to one that has less visual elements,” said Mr. Shirish Koyal in his speech to the print and new media students at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media. Mr Koyal is the news editor of the Times of India (TOI), Bangalore edition.

Sharing his 23 years of experience at the TOI, Mr. Koyal gave the students hints on what are acceptable in design and layout and what are not. He advised that it is essential to “pepper the stories with blurbs, boxes and quotes.” The purpose of using design is to make your product sell, while signalling to the reader what are the most important stories of the day, he said.

Mr Koyal recounted from his experience how he was initially interested in reporting but on the job he was forced to work at the desk. “It is imperative that every journalist should know how to edit and also know how to report. Most young enthusiastic journalists these days prefer reporting to editing,” he pointed out. 

One of the major challenges faced by newspapers today involves sifting news from fluff. Another challenge is providing smart headlines that sum up the story for today’s urban readers, who are scanners and not readers. Newspapers are not only competing with other newspapers, they are also competing with the TV medium, which is a lingering threat as it has the “power of visuals,” he said.

This is where the print journalists require an edge over TV reporters. “A reporter must give a 360-degree view of the entire story,” Mr. Koyal said. In times of conflict, it always helps to give a positive perspective instead of infusing negativity, he added.

He ended his talk with a word of advice for the students - “Don’t let your temperaments rise to the sky once you become a journalist!”

We need to redefine GDP, growth

One of the biggest problems in our country today is the misconception of many on the meaning of growth, said Dr. Devinder Sharma, agriculture scientist and journalist.

Speaking to the IIJNM students on August 29, Dr Sharma said that most policy makers in the country have followed the text-book definition of the term, believing theoretical assumptions that a GDP rise would translate into a decline of poverty. Statistics however tell a different story—the average daily earnings of a farming family in India stand at Rs.8, and 320 million Indians go to bed hungry despite no shortage of food in the country.

The media can play an important role in fighting such problems in our country by beginning to talk about what growth really means and what it truly represents. Emphasizing on the need to redefine growth and GDP, Dr Sharma said that existing inequalities are not reflected in our current growth system.

If journalists wake up and challenge the current model of development on the basis of its inappropriateness for our country, society too would wake up, he said. Journalists need to sensitize themselves and be exposed to the realities that are prevalent in our country. India needs a growth and development model that will indicate the true state of the economy in all its aspects, Dr. Sharma said.

Today's youth are probably complacent as they have never experienced any food insecurity, even during the global food crisis in early 2008, he said, adding that the farmer had been overlooked in the media, though it is he who provides us with food.

Ironically, though agriculture provides a livelihood to 600 million Indians, the IT sector which employs a fraction of that figure is boosted heavily by the government, Dr. Sharma said. Karnataka has the highest number of farmer suicides though it is home to the IT capital of India, he added. The media can make a difference, if it chooses to.

Needed: Alternatives to the market economy

Modern market society is not a natural evolution but is a human construction, imposed upon mankind by a market system, said Trent Schroyer, professor of Sociology and Philosophy at Ramapo College of New Jersey. He was speaking at a guest lecture at the IIJNM campus.

Schroyer spoke about the application of economics in the world today, based on his experiences while working with TOES (The Other Economic Summit-a movement against the G8 agenda of creating uniform economic strategies for all countries). He said that powerful countries and organizations like G8, World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations (UN) and World Bank develop policies that are not very feasible to the poorer nations. The basic propaganda is for a capital-driven market economy, and most nations still believe that economic growth is the only solution for removal of the vices of human society like poverty, rich-poor gap, etc.

He said, "An economy led by the market does not take into account the axioms of human behaviour and rationality."

Schroyer said that the world now needs to look at alternatives to the capitalist economy. One of them is the regeneration of natural assets. Environmentalism, as well as sustainable growth, is an effective way, he said. But unfortunately, during the Earth Summits too, people were not looking beyond economic growth as a way of the sustaining environment, he remarked.

He said that NGOs had helped a great deal in educating the illiterate mass about the alternatives and was confident that such micro-level ideas would come to the forefront.

Writing Workshop provides insights

Bangalore-Many myths were shattered in a writing workshop held by Michael Cobden at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM). The students of IIJNM were pleasantly surprised when Cobden condemned to damnation, all that they had taken for granted.

Cobden started off with a review of all the write-ups that the students had sent across to him. "There is a lot of warmth in your writing," he said. And then followed the earth-shattering revelations. It takes lesser time to read long sentences than a series of short sentences, it's better to write short sentences, avoid adjectives and adverbs, do not use big words - these are just a few of the many eye-openers. The class was taken aback at first, but quickly recovered to ask some insightful questions.

The workshop was generously sprinkled with anecdotes. The anecdotes varied from E.B.White's penchant for making seven drafts of a simple news story to Tom Wolfe's near-resignation experience.

The hourglass need not just refer to a woman's proportions. It can even be a style of writing news stories creatively, revealed Cobden. The students were amazed when they learnt that a news story doesn't necessarily have to be boring. But always remember to put the news first. Period.

Demystify Science

“The biggest challenge that confronts the science writer is today is of demystifying science,” said Edward Friedman from the Stevens Institute of Technology who was here to talk to the students about Science Writing.

He gave the students tips to make the science articles more reader- friendly. He illustrated by example how the technical science words, which are also used in everyday language, can lead to confusion. He said the only way to obviate confusion is to define the words clearly and not to take the understanding of the readers for granted.

He interacted with students and discussed some of the issues that have appeared in the media like exclusion of Pluto from the list of planets and the more recent controversy involving James Watson. He elaborated on his views about some of the basic science phenomena like Einstein’s relativity theory, time travel etc.

He explained the importance of staying objective, keeping the personal bias out and understanding the national policies. Towards the end of the lecture, he took questions by the students. He wrapped the lecture by encouraging the students to take up science writing as a career and report on the issues in science as well as the issues in the society that are directly related to science.

‘Science journalists should look into life’

Science journalists should look more into life and less into the lab said Professor Holger Wormer, a German science journalist.

Prof. Wormer, who is the Chair of the Science Journalism Department at the Dortmund University said that though medicine, biology, technology, astrophysics etc. were the most widely-covered areas in science journalism today, there was a need to bring science reporting into facets of everyday life. This would make science journalism more popular as the layman would then be able to relate to it, he said.

Natural Hazards were widely covered by science journalists, Prof. Wormer said, followed by major diseases. Science journalism had grown tremendously in the last two decades, especially after the birth of Dolly, the cloned sheep, Prof. Wormer said. The cloned sheep had set off a series of political debates about cloning and stem cell research, he pointed out, which led to science journalism becoming more popular.

Germany, especially, was concerned about stem cell research due to its history of biological experiments in the Second World War, Prof. Wormer explained.

Talking about how the basics of good journalism applied to science journalism as well, Prof. Wormer said that a balance between the story’s importance and the people factor was crucial. Science journalists need to verify the information they receive, just as much as regular journalists have to, he said, adding that in the case of science journalism it was even more important for them to do so.

He said that articles must be interesting; flat and boring articles would be ignored by the readers. The market for science journalists was expanding in Germany, Prof. Wormer said, adding that science journalism became more popular as media expanded.

Prof. Wormer also emphasized the need to stick to ethics in science journalism.

'Internet Radio: the quickest way to connect people'

Bangalore, Sep 13-It isn’t everyday that we get to listen to music and watch YouTube videos during our class hours in the auditorium. When Gaurav Vaz and Shreyas Srinivasan of RadioVerve came to speak to us, we got to do that and much more.

Starting with the story of how sliced bread came into existence and that it wasn’t bought by anyone for the first 15 years of its existence, the speakers got us hooked onto the session right from the start. RadioVerve is an Internet radio station that is the dream of three men who work in the software sector. The station was started in June 2006 with barely five listeners for their one-hour shows. Broadcasting from a basement, today they have an audience of more than 10,000 listeners, round the clock . Indians living abroad can listen to Indian music under various categories like rock, gospel, Konkani, metal, folk, classical and easy. Many an artist has received opportunities to go perform in a foreign country as a result of this.

Pointing out the vastness of the reach of the Internet, the duo explained how Internet radio can quickly become widely listened-to.The Internet is a whole different world and Internet radio is connecting people more quickly, they said.

Shreyas and Gaurav followed their dreams and stuck to them. They have created something remarkable and different through their forum for Independent Indian Music. They have opened doors of opportunities to Indian musicians who haven’t necessarily got their due.

Taking what you have to the masses and appealing to their needs is what Internet radio is all about. The immediacy and vastness of the Internet makes it a tougher and challenging job to bring Radio IIJNM to life. But we are all looking forward to it because ideas that spread can sure help us win!

Continue the watchdog tradition: Susan King

In today’s era of information overload, it is the job of the journalist to guide, sort, prioritize, verify and analyze the information for the reader, said Susan King, Vice President, External Affairs, Carnegie Corporation.

Ms. King, who is Director, Journalism Initiative, Special Initiatives and Strategy at the Corporation spoke to the students of IIJNM on Digital Democracy on Monday, August 13.

Pointing out that more and more young people in America are accessing the internet for news that they want, in the form they want, Ms. King said that this has shifted the emphasis from what a journalist says to how s/he says it.

Nevertheless, said the two-time Emmy award-winner, the key words for a journalist remain Content, Context and Commitment.

Ms. King, who was anchor and political analyst during her career as a journalist pointed out that apart from the five Ws and one H, journalists must also learn the seven Is of Integrity, Independent, International, Interactive, Individual and Illuminating.

She added that journalists must continue the watchdog tradition of journalism held by people like Rachel Carson, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

“Journalistic writing and literary writing follow different styles,” said Eddy L. Harris, addressing the students of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media. “My style of writing is flowery,” he said, adding, “it is like a poem that flows freely and is full of emotions.” A journalistic piece of writing, he pointed out, should present plain facts, with objectivity. “The story is more important than your voice or ideas.”

Eddy Harris is the author of several critically acclaimed books including: Mississippi Solo, Native Stranger, South of Haunted Dreams, and Still Life in Harlem. Harris said that he would never like to write for a newspaper because the writing style is very structured and limits the freedom of the writer, whereas his writing is more spontaneous and poetic. He did, however, recognize newspapers as one of the most important sources of information. He lives in France, and reads the International Herald Tribune. His all time favourite magazine is the Time magazine.

Stating that the whole world was governed by the profit motive, including the media, Harris however, said that journalists should try to strike a balance between “freedom and responsibility.”

Almost all his writing is in the form of a memoir, an adventure tale, and a travelogue, inspired by the journeys undertaken by him. Another important aspect of his writing is the questioning of his black and American identity.

Describing his journey down the Mississippi River and how it helped him as a writer, he said that he has spent years trying to resolve the identity crisis-“to figure out what makes me black and what makes me American.” This is what made him take the long journey down the Mississippi River, chronicled in his book Mississippi Solo. This journey, he said, made him understand that, “I cannot buy the colonisers’ view of me. I will buy only what I am or who I am.”

“Racism is prevalent in every sphere and every community,” says Harris, who has, in his writing, has tried to capture and bring forth the experience of being black in different settings.

Lokayukta to prosecute eight under IPC

Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde said that proceedings would begin next week against elected representatives who had not declared their assets and liabilities under the Lokayukta Act.

Justice Hegde said that though the deadline of June 2006 had long gone past, these eight members had still not submitted the statement. He said that proceedings would begin under the Indian Penal Code, where non-declaration of assets and liabilities by a public servant was a punishable offence.

The Lokayukta was speaking to the students of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) here this morning.

Justice Hegde said that he was trying to make the Lokayukta more proactive. He has proposed amendments to the Lokayukta Act by which the Lokayukta would get suo motto powers. "It's a psychological war between the government and Lokayukta. They are nervous that the Lokayukta will conduct a raid at any time," he said.

He said that anti-corruption was only one facet of the Lokayukta's responsibilities, although it was the most publicised. He said that the Lokayukta could and did make a huge impact on redressal of grievances that went unaddressed, maladministration and administrative hindrances, but since these were individual cases, they went unnoticed in the media. He said the Lokayukta was an institution formed to oversee good governance.

At the interactive seminar on The Lokayukta and the Media, he said that courts were overburdened, with 3.36 crore cases pending. Since people were now more aware of their rights, they had become more litigious. There were 1,80,000 cases that came before the Supreme Court alone, in the past year, while between 1950 and 1960, there were only 8000 cases. He spoke in favour of an alternative dispute resolution system, which has worked successfully in other countries.

He said that judgements in courts were made by parameters laid down by law and not perceptions or personalities. He came down heavily on SMS polls regarding cases that were pending or under trial, conducted by the news media. He said that these were done without consideration of evidence or the due process of the law.

"Opinion poll in the judicial system is dangerous since it interferes with the process of justice delivery," he said. He added that writing about a trial or a pending case influenced the mind of the judge and amounted to contempt of court, but no action could be taken because of the personalities involved.

He asked the media to show responsibility, accountability and positive thinking since it played an important role in moulding public opinion, and hoped that loose journalism would become a thing of the past. He said that the collective voice of the public could be heard only if people showed more initiative and interest.

Radio with verve

What started out as fun and a means to connect with music lovers in India slowly grew into India’s first Internet radio station. This is Radio Verve, (formerly known as Infinity Radio), which was started by Kaustabh Srikanth in late 2003 to help independent musicians across the country promote themselves. Gaurav Vaz and Shreyas Srinivasan who joined in 2005, form Radio Verve’s core team.

In an age, where recording labels charge a fortune to cut an album, Radio Verve provides an opportunity to any artist or group who has difficulty in broadcasting their music. The station plays music that is original and by people who have no affiliations to any record label.

Internet radio stations differ from radio stations as the broadcast service is transmitted through the World Wide Web than through wireless means. Internet radio stations also don’t have to deal with bandwidth restrictions. Drawing on the limitless possibility of the World Wide Web, Kaustabh, Gaurav and Shreyas, who are IT professionals, came up with their independent Internet radio station so that talented musicians across India can come together and share music not restricted to a niche audience or a geographical area.

The station also has a number of one-hour shows that run through the day, so that there is something to listen to all the time. A user who wants to listen to Verve’s programmes can go to the site ( and click on the link provided to stream the content directly. Radio Verve is also built on free and open source software, and has a permanent loop allowing music lovers to listen to their favourite numbers all day. With compositions of more than 70 bands across India, Radio Verve is running on the money that the three promoters pool in, besides sponsorship from friends who believe in their cause.

However, the trio doesn’t plan to stop here. Their plans for the future include interviews with bands, special features ranging from death metal to hip hop and even story telling for children.

Daily TV Reporting through the eyes of a professional

In today’s competitive environment, content and objectivity in news is important, said Nidhi Mahesh, Principal Correspondent, Times Now. Ms. Mahesh said that news should be like a full course meal that should be appetizing, nutritious and filling. She was speaking to IIJNM students about daily reporting in 24 X 7 news channels.

In order to ensure that there was something for each hour on the channel that could keep the audience glued, Ms. Mahesh pointed out that the channel must explore all angels of news to provide a comprehensive picture. She emphasized that it is important for 24X7 news channels to pay attention to events happening in the area, routine developments of any issue, human interest stories, popular interests and to take up issues/campaigns. “It’s very important to keep stories alive and updated,” she said.

Ms. Mahesh has worked with Doordarshan and ETV before joining Times Now. Sharing her experiences, she said that since television is an audio-visual medium, it’s important to think visually. She reports live a lot of times and she emphasized that it is important to know why you are going live, what the viewer wants to see, how long can the story last and how much you can cover. She added that it’s important for journalists to do background research for a story and work in tandem with their camerapersons.

She gave some tips for budding journalists, telling them to plan their days in advance. She also said that timeliness is very important in this field. She added that all journalists should be aware of the events and happenings in and around their area.

Foreign policy won’t influence US voters: Kurtz

OCTOBER 30: The Iraq war is not likely to affect the forthcoming Congressional elections in the according to Karl Kurtz, Director of the National Conference of Legislatures in Washington DC. "Most Americans agree that the Iraq war was a mistake, but there is very little consensus on the solution," said Dr Kurtz in an address to students at the IIJNM. The political pundit who heads the body that researches and gives inputs for all two houses of Congress and legislatures of the states explained that elections in the United States were fought on local issues like education and not foreign policy. This was one reason why despite the growing disappointment among Americans at the way the war turned out, George Bush was re-elected in 2004.

Mr. Kurtz whose thurst of the speech was on cynicism and its effects on elected governments, said that although America’s political system was based on scepticism and debate, cynicism was demoralising. He said that excessive focus by the media on conflict and disagreement increased cynicism among the people. He said that many journalists and reporters in the United States did not understand the process of governance. He pointed out that in American, just like in India, there was a disconnect between elections and governing. He said that it was important to be aware of who was in power to improve accountability among the political figures

New Media is the future

‘Journalism is a calling it is neither a profession nor a job’ said Jeff Gralnick, former CBS, ABC and NBC producer addressing students on October 18. A journalist is known and is remembered by what he actuates, truth lives and lives not to be chased but to be chosen for the common good.said the veteran journalist who now lectures at the Columbia School of Journalism. Faced with an ethics question from the floor "Will you shoot (film) a man dying or save him," the man who has covered the Vietnam war remarked with authority: "Shoot him to save him." His explanation was that depiction of truth should have an effect on society by prompting the offer of help and preventing a recurrence.

He cited instances of how the media has played a role in moulding the public mind and espoused the cause of New Media which he said was all set to make a difference, He predicted New Media was on the verge of taking over the media world for two reasons: Internet's rapid rate of growth and its ability to provide ulimited amount of information in quick time. With the advent of blogs and the spread of wireless connectivity the dependence on the New Media is unshakeable, said Prof.Gralnick who serves as Special Consultant on Internet and Mew Media technologies to the NBC News besides heading his own firm Explosion Consulting.

August 28, 2006: Mustafa Stefan Dill, a web journalist and editor of news website run from Santa Fe, New Mexico, says a good journalist has to bridge the gap between the newsroom and the community. And to do that, he told students of IIJNM, that there should be trust. These days the people don’t trust the media, so a journalist in turn must trust the public,” he said, delivering a guest lecture. The key ingredients for good journalists, he said, are; responsiveness to the public, reacting to the public and listening to the public. He said web journalism works well in this cause, as it is much easier and more comfortable for the people to read than a newspaper.

A web journalist should see what the public wants and should give public the space to raise their voice. He said public comments on a news website draws the attention of the government. He also emphasised a web journalist should present the news with enough hyperlinks so that the people get additional information and backgrounders which distinguish a web report from a newspaper report.

S. NarendraAugust 23, 2006: Mr. S. Narendra, former Principal Information Officer to the Union Government, and the head of the Center for Media Studies (New Delhi), kicked off his talk to IIJNM students with the question: “Is the government a credible source of information?” Seeing many who had “nay” for an answer, his counter poser was: “What makes you think the private agencies or corporates tell only the truth.”

Speaking from his experience of having served four prime ministers as PIO (I K Gujral, Deve Gowda, Narasimha Rao and A B Vajpayee) and one PM (Chandra Sekhar) as Director-General DAVP, he told us that throughout his tenure he had tried his best to be transparent and honest in his dealings with the media. Questions were raised regarding the importance of the PIO and its credibility in the current scenario. He accepted that successive governments have undermined the importance of the chief source of information for the government and explained that it was reflective of the larger divide in the ranks of the government. Mr. Narendra himself moved out from the hot seat of the Union Government's chief spokesman in 1998 to become Principal Adviser to the Planning Commission from where he opted to retire in 2000.

The talk was a peek into the future for journalists-to-be, as he spoke about the nitty-gritty of the media-government interface. Students found it interesting to get the views of an insider and he spoke about the tendency of the media to conduct a trial instead of an investigation and the responsibility of the media to the people as well as the functioning of the democracy. Mr. Narendra spoke about instances like the Ayodhya riots and Charar-e-sharif, when he had to haggle with the media to refrain from broadcasting news that would escalate tensions in the country. He admitted that the government did withhold information in the name of “national and public” interest, and said that it was often dictated by political exigencies of the day.

A wide range of topics from the Prasar Bharati broadcast bill to the RTI act was discussed. When asked about ethicality of ‘sting operations’, he said that the media tended to trivialise news. In doing so, it took away from its own credibility. His anecdotes provided valuable insights into the ways of the government and made them think about the ethical aspect of reporting. The seminar raised various questions that future journalists would have to deal with and gave them a perspective view of the world of political reporting.

G. K. MadhavThe students at IIJNM yet again had the opportunity to learn and interact with a journalist from the television industry. G. K. Madhav of 'Times Now', a channel started by The Times of India spoke about the various technical skills involved in being a television reporter. Mr. Madhav reviewed the daily bulletins brought out by the students and discussed how to improve on them. He emphasized that in broadcast journalism, visuals are the key elements. "Try and marry the visuals and the script to reach the audience, " he said.

He also took the students through a tour of words that form the jargon in television journalism. He also conducted a scripting exercise where in students re-worked a news agency report from Reuters. He emphasized the idea of KISS-'Keep It Simple and Short', when one writes for a news channel.

Though IIJNM students continually learn to script news stories, try and make the story look visually much more appealing, this work shop has been a insightful experience as the students got to know how it is done out there in the field.

New technology in journalismKevin Burden

November 9, 2005. All living things have their roots, and so does technology. Over the years, technology has changed so much that although it has made work easier it also is man's greatest competitor.

Students and faculty of IIJNM had the opportunity of interacting with Kevin Burden, Managing Editor, iLearn, BBC whO took the listeners through a journey of changing technology in journalism. He spoke of the times when cameras were as expensive as buying a house, yet they were so bulky that it required a special trained cameraman. Over the years, cameras have evolved to become light and user-friendly equipment that can perform miracles.

A journalist for 16 years, Mr. Burden has worked with print, radio and television media. IIJNM had the opportunity to view a documentary he made on Asians displaced from Uganda and rehabilitated in Bristol.

Mr. Burden's visit was a highly informative one. The students enjoyed talking to him over lunch, too, and exchanged some cultural trivia.

Lucky breaks in foreign lands

November 4, 2005. Nose for news and experience are not the only criteria that go in to making an international correspondent. Along with these qualities come aspects such as effective communication, building a network of sources and sensitivity to issues.

Mr. Shyam Bhatia, an international war correspondent, spoke to students at IIJNM about international reporting. Speaking with 30 years of experience in the field of journalism, he gave an insight to the job of an international correspondent. He blended it with his experience as a war correspondent in several countries such as Egypt, Iran, and Afghanistan.

Shyam Bhatia, speaking from his experience, said that luck plays an important role in the life of an international correspondent. He also said that one should be able to expand one's sources in different areas, so that a probable scoop is never lost.

According to Shyam Bhatia, media has turned more dramatic and lost its content, especially in the case of television.

By recounting his own experiences in Cairo, Iran and war-torn Afghanistan, Shyam Bhatia has opened the doors for the student-audience to venture in to the field of international journalism and have an out-of-the-world experience!

Google that has almost become a household name, came visiting to IIJNM. Shahela Sajanlal of the Human Resources department of Google conducted a short workshop on "How to Ace an Interview."

The workshop was part of Google's hiring process and aimed at preparing the students for their first interviews. The workshop was meant to build their confidence and give them a perspective on answering frequently asked questions at interviews.

Google plans to return to IIJNM later this academic year for campus recruitment.
Two of our alumni, Anushuka Rathour and Sohna Ravindran, are already working for Google in Hyderabad.

The Concerned for Working Children (CWC) has been working in the area of children's rights for several years. Director, CWC, Kavita Ratna, visited IIJNM recently and spoke to the students on the need for an alternative media, as well as on the question of media and children's rights.

She spoke of the impact media reports had on children's lives and said that media needed to work with a certain amount of sensitivity when it came to reporting on children.

She also explained the working of the Bhima Sangha, an organization for and by working children that runs several children's panchayats in villages. Kavita showed the students a wall newspaper, Bhima Patrike brought out by working children. She elaborated on the role played by the newspaper in networking working children and making them aware of their rights.

Ashok Pannikar, an expert on Alternative Dispute Resolution and Meta Culture spoke to the students of IIJNM. He spoke on the need for mediation in a modern society and said that in an increasingly complex world, organizations and communities have to deal with difficult communication and cultural challenges. These challenges could be met with Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution he said, adding that these concepts, while relatively news in India, are becoming increasingly popular in the West.

Mr. Pannikar's presentation introduced students to simple and innovative methodologies that could help them respond effectively to disputes and conflicts.

Shankar Aiyer, the man with a difference

Shankar AiyerJuly 29, 2005. IIJNM saw a man who enthralled its students and faculty with his lecture on journalism. When he spoke of his experiences, the listeners were impressed by this young gentleman, who talked about how he lived as a journalist.

He played a tape which featured some celebrities whom he had interviewed. They included Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, former Indian Prime Minister A.B Vajpayee, former Indian Deputy Prime Minister L.K.Advani, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

He spoke about the practical difficulties faced by journalists while working and enriched the audience's knowledge about the flip side of journalism. The impact made by television was discussed and all the students and faculty participated. Everyone felt that TV indeed had a great impact on the thought process of people.

He added that a good journalist has some social responsibility and must always think of the welfare of the society.

He went on to add how one should report matters on TV by giving out important details and not stating the obvious. He said that whatever one reports should have an interesting point of view and should attract the viewers.

He is working as a freelancer. His visit was definitely a memorable experience for IIJNM.

Andrew LihRight when the blogging business had taken effect on our class debates and spurred many discussions crucial to battle out the "blogging vs. journalism" see-saw, there arrived Andrew Lih, the man himself who helped create the new media program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism from 1995 to 2000, and who is now the Assistant professor and the Director of technology at the University of Hong Kong.

On a recent visit to the IIJNM campus, he left many of us filled with a double dose of insight on blogging, its benefits and drawbacks, and ways to have a certain amount of control over it. Starting with what is termed the "common- based peer production" (CBPP), he went on to explain what kind of output collaboration with peers can generate, particularly in the field of journalism, when each individual brings out the best of his abilities in the aspect he is best at.Relaying real-life examples that had us all smiling in our seats, thinking back on our own reporting days, he brought the entire class closer to his thinking and belief in everyone's potential- the kind of push every aspiring journalist needs at one point on their ladder to success.

Among his deep-rooted discussions were the growing number of collaborative efforts of citizens on the net, resulting in a site completely controlled by the general public who want their voices heard in the context of both reporting and commenting. In order to seize our bafflement of the clash between blogging and journalism, he would never fail to assure us with the professionalism and credibility of mainstream journalism, something blogging, regardless of how much it improved, can never take away from real journalism. "Do not be threatened by the takeover of the blog revolution, journalism will always remain in its rightful stand and will in no way blend in with it," was what Andrew had to say. It was a moment of truth and confirmation of our high hopes in the career we had chosen.

Thanks to Mr. Lih, we are now able to look ahead without creasing our foreheads and constantly worrying about our career prospects being overshadowed by new evolutions. We, in fact, already have our hands full with the responsiblities of exercising the best of our journalism abilities and making a difference in a world that "needs" journalism.

John Thomas"Never challenge the authority of your intellectual inferior. Because intellect is inversely proportional to the ego of a person", said John Thomas, Editor Operations at Vijay Times, while addressing the class of 2004-05 at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media. With this witty statement that both amused and astounded the aspiring journalists, he proceeded to explain the dark murky politics, which lurk behind the publishing of any newspaper.

He cautioned the students in a tongue and cheek fashion that there will be grouchy, prehistoric specimens of editors, who will be as immovable as the Rock of Gibraltar, and refuse to budge from their esteemed posts, giving one almost zilch opportunities to grow and expand professionally in the near future. "I myself tried my best not to look my age", he added, poker faced. And then of course, he added that journalism is a grossly underpaid job, where gender discrimination is rampant, and the kind of stories one usually ends up doing are a far cry from what passionate journalism students fresh out of college aspire for.

He had his audience giggling in helpless peals of laughter as he continued to make a caricature of the innumerable problems one would face as a journalist. Behind all the farce of cynicism and worldly wisdom was sparkling wit and humour. He was what every journalist aspires to be: brutally honest, incisive, humorously intelligent, and above all refreshingly outrageous. His passion for journalism shone through brightly, and despite his bitingly caustic remarks, apparently trying to downplay his emotions, he instilled the students with a renewed fervor towards the profession along with being an eye opener for the future, not a small task by any means.

Gauri LankeshGauri Lankesh, the former editor of Kannada weekly, Lankesh Patrike, discussed the future of Naxalism and her controversial association with the movement at the IIJNM Campus on Friday April 1.

Though she lamented the fact that the "Naxal issue" receives little coverage in India Today, Outolook, or even Tehelka, Lankesh was adamant that she is neither a member nor a spokesperson for the movement. She said that while she respected their cause, she could not reconcile herself to the means used to achieve it. An armed struggle in the name of the common man was not effective in a nation largely predisposed to the Gandhian path of non-violent civil disobedience.

In the brief but wide ranging question and answer session with IIJNM's class of 2005, Lankesh weighed in on the current state of print journalism: "The media has become totally over-trivialized-with credit to The Times of India"; the credibility of television: "To really do anything in depth, television is not the medium. If they [television] want to go in depth they have something like "The Big Fight" but that is just talking heads"; and what her new magazine is looking for from young reporters: "no corruption, liberal democrat ideology, and the ability to write and communicate well.

Michael AndersonMichael Anderson Minister Counselor for Public Affairs U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, and Ravi Candadai Consul for Public Affairs South Asia U.S. Embassy Chennai addressed the students of IIJNM on Friday October 1. They spoke on three subjects Indo - U.S. relations, journalism as a profession and student exchange programs between India and U.S.

Anderson stated that India is important in the eyes of the U.S. It is fast becoming a world power and that ties between India and U.S. had become close in the recent past. He said that in the past there had been disagreement between the U.S. and India over nuclear testing, but America was now trying to reduce restrictions on India and was looking at selling high-level technology to India.

Candadai commented on the need for journalists to familiarize themselves with official jargon. He suggested adapting papers like The Minneapolis Star and St Paul Dispatch. Anderson also spoke about the importance of journalism. He said it was a calling with less pay. He stressed the role journalism can play in improving society and in representing the people.

Rebecca McDuffRebecca McDuff, information resource officer at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India visited the IIJNM on April 22 and gave a presentation to its students on Internet as an information resource for journalists. An exhaustive list of online resources was brought to the attention of the students. She also gave a brief introduction to the Internet and its related terms.

McDuffworks as a consultant for the seven American Information Resource Centers (AIRCs), also known as American Libraries, in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Shelectures widely on the Internet resources available on a variety of topics including e-government, business, journalism, NGOs, democracy and American culture.

Deepa DhanrajDeepa Dhanraj, an experienced documentary maker from Bangalore spoke to IIJNM students on 11 February 2004. She shared valuable thoughts based on her 20 years experience with video documentary production on development issues. Her recent documentary on state Information Act gave opportunity to IIJNM students to understand the nuances of the Act. Along with Deepa delivered lecture on history and evolution of Information Act in India, from MKSS to contemporary situation.


K.S. DakshinamurthyK.S. Dakshinamurthy, website editor for al-Jazeera visited IIJNM on 23 January 2004. He had a detailed discussion with IIJNM students on Arab media scenario in general and al-Jazeera in particular. The first independent mass medium from Arab world, al-Jazeera, was in trouble during and after the recent Iraq war. "We have broken the rules on many fronts," Dakshinamurthy said. "al-Jazeera is used by the public to let out their steam." Since the channel has been on the air, it has brought many issues to focus, which have helped in making people's minds broader, he said.



Suresh JayaramArt critic Suresh Jayaram visited IIJNM campus on June 11 and addressed the students on the finer aspects of critiquing art. He also admitted that art is an elite occupation and that the poor have no time for it as they are too busy surviving. He spoke about contemporary Indian artists, their influences, their medium and about their display subjects.

Jayaram is the HOD of Art History at the The Chitrakala Parishat, Bangalore. He is a recipient of the Nehru Small Study Grant from the Nehru Trust and the Victoria & Albert Museum for his M.FA. Research. He was commissioned by the Asian Women’s Human Rights Council, Manila and Bangalore to design their Logo and poster for the Beijing Summit in 1995. He has designed postage stamps for SAHMAT to commemorate 50 years of Independence. He has had many group shows in India and one in Nepal. His work was included in the “Human Form in Art”, an exhibition curated by the Lalit Kala Academy, in 1997. He has reviewed art for the Times of India, Bangalore and has written many exhibition catalogues. He has also co-edited an anthology of quilts titled "Star Quilt."

Dr. N.S. RajaramVedic heritage scholar Dr. N.S. Rajaram, made a powerpoint presentation on the Sindhu civilization on May 9. Dr. N.S. Rajaram is a mathematician, a linguist and historian of science who has written several books on ancient India. They include Vedic Aryans and the Origins of Civilization (with David Frawley, Voice of India) and The Deciphered Indus Script (with N. Jha, Aditya Prakashan). His columns on history, culture and current affairs have appeared in publications worldwide. His most recent book, A Hindu View of the World, examines India and the world from a pluralistic Hindu viewpoint.

He is regarded an authority on Christianity also having authored a book on the early history of Christianity called The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Crisis of Christianity, published in England in 1997. His two other books on the subject are Christianity's collapsing Empire and Its Designs in India and Christianity's Scramble for India and the Failure of the Indian Elite.

Yoginder Singh SikandIslamic scholar Yoginder Singh Sikand addressed the students of IIJNM on the evolution of Madarasas in India on May 02. Sikand, who has written a number of books and articles on Islam, spoke about its many aspects, its traditions and religious practice. His PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London on Tablighi Jama'at has been published by Orient Longman. He also edits a webzine, Qalandar, available online at Sikand is a Bangalorean who travels extensively in India and abroad advocating interfaith harmony.


Anand ParthasarathySenior IT journalist of The Hindu, Anand Parthasarathy presented a Power Point program on IT and New Media at the IIJNM campus on April 30. In his presentation, he emphasized that IT programs should be people friendly. He remarked sadly that the silicon city, Bangalore is lagging behind in bridging the digital divide where as other cities of the country are catching up fast on IT services for the common people. Speaking about the convergence technology, he said that the dividing line between print, television and the Internet has disappeared and that today's journalist must leverage the advantages provided by convergence technology and be totally equipped in working with multi media. "Today's journalist should not expect a separate team of photographers and cameramen to go along with him to cover his assignments, but he should be willing to do all of these if the need arises." he said.

Anand completed his B.E. from the University of Pune and did his Masters from Birmingham University, UK in 1975. He has worked on parallel computing systems development and served as a Systems Manager for Surface-Air Missile on the Indian Missile Program in Hyderabad. He has written a number of articles on E-commerce, Convergence technologies and on the Internet. He is currently based in Bangalore.

Richard O’ ReganRichard O’ Regan, senior producer and writer of Granada Television/NY Times, visited IIJNM on Thursday, April 17. He is currently working on a project for the Discovery channel on south-Indian weddings. Addressing the IIJNM students, Regan remarked that the quality of writing in the Indian newspapers is appalling. He said that the newspapers resorted to cheap word play and that there was a sense of artificial enthusiasm in covering events. He advocated for a more transparent journalism, which speaks to the reader instead of calling attention to the writer, who thinks that he/she is smarter than the audience. Regan, who also teaches Tools for Television at Columbia University, New York spoke about how the broadcast industry has changed since the last few years, especially in terms of technology and noted that nowadays it was far easier to control 'your journalistic destiny' than it used to be before.

Poornima MakaramPoornima Makaram, one of the few women photojournalists in the city visited IIJNM on Friday, March 28. A woman of few words, she let her pictures speak and showed some of her work to the students. She also enlightened the students of the professional hazards of photojournalism while covering communal riots and fire accidents, which can be quite dangerous if you are not cautious. But, "you have to learn how to get around the problems" she also told the students the difference between war, travel, sports, and feature photography.

Poornima was earlier with The New Indian Express, but currently she works for the Deccan Herald as a photojournalist.

Smita PaulSmita Paul, a New York-based multimedia freelance journalist with more than a decade of experience visited the IIJNM campus on Saturday, March 22. Smita shared her experience as a freelance Journalist and Instructor at the Columbia University New York, with the IIJNM faculty and students. Smita started her career as a newspaper journalist in Cincinnati. She found her way to New York City by way of Phoenix, Memphis, and New Delhi. In 1995, she attended the Columbia University Graduate School for Journalism and graduated with a master's degree in broadcast and New Media journalism.

She received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern University. She has worked as a freelancer, employing all of her multimedia skills. Her work includes digital video documentaries for The Discovery Channel and the New York Times television company; radio reports for National Public Radio; and magazine articles for Civilization, Hemispheres and the Asian Wall Street Journal. Her online work includes several expedition stories with the Discovery Channel online.

Donna Fernandes of Vimochana, a women's organization in Bangalore, addressed the students of IIJNM on Friday, October 31, 2003. Fernandes touched upon a wide range of women's issues in India, including female infanticide, female feticide, sexual abuse and the evils of dowry. This is Fernandes's second visit to IIJNM.

During her first visit, Donna spoke about the feminist movement in India on Wednesday March 19, 2003. She noted how the patriarchal system in India continues to exploit women in the form of dowry and female infanticide. She said that the problem of such social evils cannot be eradicated only by a few NGOs, but both men and women in general should come forward to solve the problem. She also believed that there are plenty of loopholes in the existing legal framework and that many of the laws need to be updated and amended. Quoting the example of the Mathura rape case, she mentioned how a women's organization was successful in securing justice to a victim of rape, who otherwise was accused of being characterless and therefore did not deserve justice.

Priya GanapathyPriya Ganapathy of FM Radiocity, Banaglore visited IIJNM on Saturday, 22 March to give a talk about radio journalism. Very popular among the students, who were quite familiar with her Lingo Leela and Sister Stella acts on the radio, Priya spoke about the invisible medium of radio. She said that radio journalists should have a talent with their voice because it was a medium that depended mostly on sound. She spoke about the various segments in radiocity and how popular it had become in such a short period of time.

She also compared how radio journalism had changed over the years and how light and people- friendly it had become of late. Radio journalism where she worked, was more of a media entertainment business than about hardcore journalism, she added that people tuned to radio city not for news but in order to connect with other music lovers in the city.

Abdul Rahman KamruddinAbdul Rahman Kamruddin, a former advisor to UNESCO, UNIDO and IDB visited IIJNM on Wednesday, March 5, along with the Director of Al-Ameen Management College to give a talk about Islam after 9/11. Kamruddin spoke about the growing misrepresentation of Islam in the media and proceeded to give a quick introduction to the basic tenets of Islam. Kamruddin, who is also well versed in Vedic literature interspersed his speech with Sanskrit quotations and comparisons with Indian philosophy.

At the end of the lecture, there was an intensive interactive session with the faculty and the students who bombarded the visitors with questions related to women in Islam and Islamic fundamentalism to which both the guests Kamruddin and Ataulla, responded patiently and diplomatically.

Mr Sauvik ChakravertiNoted journalist and author Sauvik Chakraverti gave an economics workshop for all IIJNM students on Wednesday Nov 5 and Thursday Nov. 6. Internationally renowned economist Sauvik Chakraborti's two-day campus workshop got the IIJNM students thinking about his revolutionary ideas, including one that portrayed democracy as being "hazardous" to one's health.

Chakraverti, who now writes for the Economic Times of India, is a winner of the Frédéric Bastiat Prize for Journalism, an award given by the International Policy Network of London to journalists who through their writing support institutions of a free society. Chakraverti writes about free market economics and free trade. He is the author of Antidote - Essays Against The Socialist Indian State, published by Macmillan India Ltd. in 2000. He studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science and has long been a freelance writer for Indian publications. He is currently on the editorial team of The Economic Times, and writes a fortnightly column called Antidote.

In his earlier visit to IIJNM, Sauvik Chakraverti gave a lecture on "Why democracy may be bad for you" on Friday, 28th February 2003. He spoke about a society based on free market, which was an eye opener to many of the non initiated audience members of economics. "Is being able to vote better than freedom? What is the point in having political freedom but no economic freedom? and "why is it that our text books don't teach about political failures but only talk about market failures? he said questioning democracy as practiced in the country. He gave examples of societies based on free market like Geneva and Hong kong and asked rhetorically why we are afraid to choose prosperity and continue to advocate a system that continues to encourage poverty? Currently he is the Editorial Director of a libertarian organization called Centre for Civil Society.

Dr Asha KiranDr Asha Kiran, a doctor of homeopathy working in Australia, during a brief visit to Bangalore, spared some time off her busy schedule to speak to the students. She was speaking on the topic of health and culture and the link between the two concepts. She said that culture affects health and thus by effecting changes in the culture of a nation, its health can be influenced to a very large extent. Public health systems in India have failed, she said because the country has done very little to deal with its own health issues.

The mistake has been that we have focussed too much on 'disease' rather than on 'health' itself, while these two concepts are distinct and should be dealt with differently.

Mr Jeremy ChaplanThe new semester at IIJNM commenced with an address by the New York based journalist Jeremy Caplan. Caplan, who has worked on staff of such reputed publications as Newsweek, Yahoo Internet Life, and The Paris Review, spoke on the "Trends in American Journalism." Caplan vehemently argued the steady degeneration of magazines in America - how they have fallen prey to pop culture, and how they have essentially become an advertising vehicle. A technology and Internet writer, he also shed some light on the need for a journalist to package himself well in today's times.


Mr. Madanmohan RaoInternet consultant and author Madanmohan Rao visited the IIJNM campus on Tuesday, December 24. Rao gave an audio visual presentation on the challenges and opportunities in wirelss content. He spoke about the 8 Cs of the Digital economy: Connectivity, content, community, commerce, capacity(human resource), culture, cooperation and capital. He remarked how Asia was ahead of the European market in the wireless revolution that is changing the way we think and behave in the world today. He said that there was one billion cell phone users and this was the fastest growing media in the world today. He spoke about the opportunities that was available because of this growing market, both in the areas of content as well as in the hardware market. At the same time he cautioned to tread carefully as there were certain ethical issues that still needed to be ironed out in this new field.

Madanmohan Rao is an Internet consultant and writer based in Bangalore, India. He is the co-author of the handbook "The Internet Economy of India, 2001." Madan was formerly the communications director at the United Nations Inter Press Service bureau in New York, and vice president at IndiaWorld Communications in Bombay. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology at Bombay and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, with an M.S. in computer science and a Ph.D. in communications.

Madan is a frequent speaker on the international conference circuit, and has given talks and lectures on Internet-related issues in about 40 countries. He has worked with online services in the U.S., Brazil, and India. He is on the board of editors of the magazines Electronic Markets ( - published from Switzerland) and On The Internet (published by the Internet Society in the U.S.). His articles have appeared in New Asia Review, Asia Internet Business, Economic Times, Business Standard, Economic and Political Weekly, IndiaInfoline, ValueNotes, TechMail, LAN Magazine, Express Computer, Thailand’s Bangkok Post, New York-based Editor&Publisher magazine's MediaInfo site, and Malaysia-based Skali (the Altavista mirror site in Asia); some of his writing has also been translated into Spanish and German.

Mr. Pradeep NairMr. Pradeep Nair, the chief copy editor of The Times of India, Bangalore, visited the campus on Friday, November 22. Addressing the students on the topic of copy editing, he said that copy editing is more of a precis writing exercise than about knocking off sentences and censoring content.

Explaining the process of editing, he discussed the fine points of selection & rejection of stories, prioritization of news based on contextual importance, and the aspects involved in design and layout. He also commented on how the newsroom had transformed itself over the years.

"The telegrams, the faxes, the telex are of the bygone era. News today is recieved via the E-mail. The technological transformation has made the copy editor more independent than before. It has got rid of the harrowing experience of pleading with the cut & paste pagemakers, who had little knowledge about journalism, to make any last minute changes." Mr. Nair said.

Dr. Ali Asghar Engineer'Communalism is a political and not a religious phenonmenon' said Dr. Ali Asghar Engineer during his visit to the IIJNM campus on Tuesday, November 12.

In his lecture to the students on communalism in India, he reiterated the importance of the role played by the media in imparting the correct information to the public. He said that contrary to the general perception, communalism has its roots in the middle class India and not in the poor masses. He substantiated this theory by citing well-researched and interesting examples from Indian history.

He believes that, prior to the British political strategy of divide and rule, India was well integrated and the hindus and the muslims had no problem living together. He cited the example of the first war of Indian independence (1857) when the hindus and the muslims came together to fight their common enemy, the British. "It was very tragic that they did not think on the same lines when Jinnah demanded a separate nation for the muslims," he said. He also believes that the partition of India would never have happenned had there been an adult fanchise in India then.

Dr. Engineer is a human rights activist and heads the two organisations, Institute of Islamic Studies and Centre for Study of Society and Secularism. He has authored/edited 44 books on such issues as Islam and communal and ethnic problems in India and South Asia in general.

Ms. Naazreen BhuraMs. Naazreen Bhura, the Resident Editor of Asian Age, Bangalore visited the campus on Friday, October 18.

Ms Bhura engaged the class with a variety of topics including trends in journalism, Page 3 Journalism and the trivialization of news. She feels that trivialization of news consists in the treatment of news and that there is no such thing as trivial news. She believes that there is nothing wrong in carrying front-page stories on celebrities on lean news days.

Ms Bhura said she as very pleased to be working for a news paper like Asian Age which carries alternative news stories on the front-page when most other Indian news papers relegate such stories to small items in the inside pages. Here she gave the example of a young blind boy with exceptional skills such as telling time without looking at a watch. She is extremely critical of cynical reporters who see nothing interesting in life to report and write about.

Mr. Max MartinMax Martin, the chief reporter of New Indian Express, Bangalore briefed the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM) students about the intricacies of environmental reporting and specifically the coverage of World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Max discussed issues as wide ranging as the Stockholm conference, the Rio summit, and the Conference of Parties meetings in context of the WSSD.

In his frank opinion, Max said that he was disappointed by the WSSD as pro-trade lobbies hijacked the sustainable development agenda. Max was also disappointed with the cynical approach of the Indian Government to the WSSD.


Ms Helen LaFaveMs Helen LaFave, Deputy Public Affairs Officer from the US Consulate in Chennai visited the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media on August 22.

Prof Anand Sagar took her around the campus and gave a presentation on the activities of IIJNM.

During an hour-long interaction with the faculty members, Ms LaFave spoke about her own experience with the press as a diplomat in India.

Ms LaFave also had a brief interactive session with the students. Most student queries were related to higher education in the United States. Responding to the students’ questions, she stated that contrary to popular belief, the number of students going to study in the US had increased post-September 11. She also maintained that increased surveillance of foreign students in the US would not infringe upon their civil liberties.

Quite Impressed by IIJNM, and sharing her enthusiasm for a vibrant and independent media culture she said in a parting note, "I think you have a fabulous idea and vision and hope we can work to fulfill it".

Mr. K. N. Harikumar, former editor of the Deccan Herald visited IIJNM on Friday, May 3, 2002.

K N Harikumar Responding to students' question "why Deccan Herald is steering away from controversial issues and not taking risks to expose scams", Mr. Hari Kumar replied "Gundu Rao wouldn’t be mad at us and Ramakrishna Hegde wouldn’t want to burn down DH if we had stayed away from controversial issues. DH may not have done many investigations, but it has been adventurous in many other ways. We have fought Kannada chauvinism, for instance. The most important thing for a newspaper is to have a strongly independent and secular stance and I think we have done it.

Mr. Hari Kumar is now the Managing Director of Kaveri Communications which recently launched e-tapaal, the multi-lingual, multi-feature e-mail service provider.

M. K. MadhusoodanM. K. Madhusoodan, the chief reporter of Tech Mail, visited the IIJNM campus on Monday, April 15, 2002. Addressing the students on the techniques of reporting, Mr. Madhusoodan gave them a '100 metres' reporters mantra.

According to this mantra, he said that there was a story within every 100 meters. "The distance of 100 meters refers not to the actual distance but to the length and breadth of your thinking" he said.

"Being inquisitive and asking questions is the foremost requirement for a successful journalist," he told the students. He advised the students to see things in a historical perspective and asked the students to think beyond the 'press conference' mentality.

M. K. Madhusoodan has worked for the Indian Express, India Abroad News Service, and taught Journalism in the Mysore University.

Bala Murali KrishnaBala Murali Krishna, business editor of India West, shared his many years of journalism expertise with the students of IIJNM on Friday, April 12, 2002.

Bala discussed the techniques of page layout with the students. Comparing the page layout of a few international publications with that of the Indian publications, he offered suggestions on how to improve the IIJNM student publications.

Bala also gave them tips on reporting and writing. While critiquing the student publications, he told the students to write more in-depth articles, and suggested that they prepare and submit to the faculty a brief outline of their stories before actually going on their beat reporting.

Bala advised the students to take criticism in a positive way. He said that even the most seasoned writers have experienced the sharp edges of the editors’ knife sometime or the other in their journalism career.

After working for a few years in a daily in Hyderabad and then at the Deccan Herald in Bangalore, Bala worked as a reporter at India Abroad in New York, as business editor at India West in San Francisco and a reporter at Silicon India in California’s Silicon Valley. He also helped set up He is currently heading India-West’s Bangalore bureau.

Srikanta KunigalDeputy Superintendent of Police Srikanta Kunigal visited the IIJNM campus and delivered a lecture on Cyber Law on Saturday, April 6, 2002. According to the Dy. S.P., it appears that the Silicon Valley of India is all set to nab cyber offenders by making the law keep up with changing technology.

In a proposal to the government of India, the cyber police of Bangalore have asked all the Internet users in the cyber cafes to carry photo identities on them. Further, in an attempt to keep the judiciary informed about new technology, they were conducting many training programs in Law schools across the city and state.

Dy. S.P. Kunigal is very popular with both officals and journalists. He was recently awarded the Chief Minister's Medal, the second time for his innovative role and valuable contribution to the department of Police.

Professor C.K.N. RajaProfessor C.K.N. Raja enthralled the audience of students and faculty with a lecture on Indian Constitution and Limits to the Freedom of Press on Monday, March 25, 2002.

Professor Raja has over 44 years of teaching experience and is the first person to have a doctorate degree in Constitution law. He is the former Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Mysore, and his specialization is international law. Following his retirement, he now speaks at the best institutions across the country. He has to his credit, five books published on Law, over 250 articles and two novels in Kannada.


Allen J MendoncaAllen J. Mendonca the editor of Bangalore Times, a supplement of Times of India, had the entire class spellbound with his human-interest stories. Reaching out to people through his stories is what Mendonca does best. And that is precisely what he did when he visited the IIJNM campus on Saturday March 23, 2002.

Talking about the lack of a world-class newspaper in the country he remarked that the ‘journalism of courage had given way to a journalism of consensus. He further added that "although there are some world -class writers in the country, there are very few world-class journalists”.

Mendonca believes that the need of the hour is to write stories that would act as ‘catalyst of change in the society’. He urged the students to write with passion and fire in their belly and not to go after ‘bylines and perks.

Justice H G BalakrishnaJustice H G Balakrishna, Former Judge, High Court of Karnataka

"The greater the efficacy of press, the greater the strength of democracy” said Justice H.G. Balakrishna while speaking on “Press laws relating to Defamation and Libel” at the IIJNM campus on Saturday, March 16 2002.

Talking about the declining standards of journalism, Justice Balakrishna expressed sadly that the state of reporting in the country was "not up to my expectation”. Noting the similarity between the professions of Journalism and that of Law in its pursuit of truth, he advised the students to practice “Clarity of thought, Brevity of expression and Lucidity of exposition”, which were the three guiding principles that aided in achieving truth.

Justice Balakrishna had the students up to their ears with information related to defamation and libel. The students in turn overwhelmed the Justice with tons of questions related to press laws and practice. Author of “New Dimensions of Law and Justice”, a book prescribed as reference material for all law colleges in India, Justice Balakrishna has a great passion for teaching and this is his second address to the students of IIJNM.

Students engrossed in Javascript magicHarish Yadav, Software Analyst, Inertia Technologies Inc.,

It was a session of technology on fast track for the new media students of IIJNM when Harish Yadav of Inertia Technologies Inc., addressed the class on “Enhancing your web pages with JavaScript” on Saturday, March 9, 2002.

The students got a preview on what advanced technology could do to enhance web pages. They understood new concepts of media from a technological standpoint. They particularly enjoyed the little magic tricks that JavaScript allowed them to do without having to learn tons of code.

Roger BinnyRoger Binny, the all-round cricketer of yester-years, was at IIJNM on 19 November 2001. He played a major role in India's victorious World Cup campaign in 1983. He later became the coach of the Under-19 team, and under his direction India won the World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2000. Besides being in-charge of the various junior teams, Binny has now been appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as a Development Officer for popularising cricket in non-cricketing Asian countries.

Binny was not very forthcoming in criticising the present cricket team or the administration for the lackadaisical performances of the national team. He admitted there had been some faults in administration but he did not dwell much on them saying administration was not a very easy job. He also remarked that he felt honoured to represent the Anglo-Indian community in the Karnataka legislature.

Prakash PadukonePrakash Padukone, the 1980 All England Badminton Champion, visited IIJNM on the 20 November 2001. His achievement brought about great interest in the sport in India. The shuttler explained how the system worked in India that no badminton player reaches international standards. He stressed on how the three Ds---Determination, Dedication and Discipline were essential if a player wanted to succeed and this had to be imparted early to a student of the game.


Dr. Narendra PaniDr. Narendra Pani, novelist and Senior Editor, Economic Times delivered a couple of lectures on Business Journalism on 6 and 7 September 2001.

He also shared with the students his experience of covering the World Trade Organisation(WTO) meeting at Seattle, Washington.



Feeling Tabloid tremors

Prof. John TullochProf. John Tulloch, the chairman of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the School of Communication, Design & Media, University of Westminster, Harrow, delivered a public lecture on 'Tabloid Tales - Trends in the British Tabloid Press' in Bangalore city on 12 July 2001. IIJNM had jointly organised the lecture with the British Library, Bangalore. Prof. Tulloch, who was on his annual visit to India to pick scholars for the Chevening Young Indian Journalists Programme, also visited IIJNM campus on 13 July. He had this to say about his visit to the campus: "A striking piece of modern architecture and an educational enterprise of great promise and vision".


Dr. N. L. Mitra, former director of National Law School of India Unviersity, visited IIJNM on 4 June 2001. He spent time with the faculty and students and felt that IIJNM was "an excellent enterprise of learning".

Armsgate hero at IIJNM

Mr Aniruddha Bahal of, the prime investigator in the armsgate expose that shook the nation, visited IIJNM on 12 May 2001 evening. Earlier in the day he held a workshop on Investigative Journalism, organised by IIJNM for the media community in Bangalore. 
Mr Bahal had this to say about IIJNM:
"Well, you guys certainly have the potential to become ndia's premier insitute of journalism. Wishing you all the best." Reports on the workshop

Karnataka Information Director visits IIJNM

Dr D V Guruprasad, Director, Department of Information, Government of Karnataka visited the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media on May 5. Dr Guruprasad appreciated the facilities offered by the institute. He said he was impressed with both "physical infrastructure and intellectually stimulating academic program" of the institute. Dr Guruprasad had a detailed interaction with faculty members and students.

Justice P B Sawant at the institute

Justice P B SawantPress Council of India has suggested to the Union Government that electronic media should also be brought under its jurisdiction.

Addressing students and faculty members of the IIJNM, on 26 April 2001, Chairman of the Press Council of India and World Association of Press Councils, Justice P B Sawant said during his recent meeting with the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sushma Swaraj, he had told her that it would not be wise to have a separate council for the electronic media.

Justice Sawant also argued that the Press Council should have powers to punish those who do not comply with the orders issued by it. "Without such power, the council is a toothless organization," he said.
Besides delving on the gray area of media ethics, Justice Sawant also explained the structure of Press Council of India and it’s functioning.

The following is his entry in the IIJNM visitor’s book: "I must express my gratitude to this institution for giving me an opportunity to visit it and know its working. I was happy particularly to meet its great benefactor Swami Balagangadharanath who was so kind to spare time to remain here just to meet me. I wish the institution all success."

S Raghunandhan conducting a workshop at IIJNMTheatre workshop on 19 April 2001

S Raghunandhan, well-known theatre director(formerly with National School of Drama, New Delhi and Rangayana, Mysore) conducting a theatre workshop for the students.


German Parliamentary Delegation visits IIJNM

An eight-member German Parliamentary delegation on Media and Culture, led by Ms Monika Griefahn visited IIJNM on 25 April 2001.

German Parliamentary Delegation at IIJNMMr R Devdas, senior advisor and the faculty members took the delegation around the institute.
Prof. Sugata Srinivasaraju briefed the delegation about the activities of the institute. The delegation members interacted with the faculty members and students for over an hour. Ms Monika Griefahn

They showed keen interest in the curriculum developed by the the institute, its online library project, new media laboratory and state-of-the art computer network. They were especially interested in ethical issues faced by Indian journalists and how the institute was training its students to confront them.
Other members of the delegation were: Ms Margarete Spate, Mr Eckardt Barthel, Mr Horst Kubatschka, Dr Norbert Lammert, Dr Antje Vollmer, Mr Hans-Joachim Otto, and Mr Christopher Speer.
The German Consul General in Chennai, Mr Ulf Hanel also accompanied the delegation.
Later in the day, Prof. Sugata participated in a round-table conference, attended by the Parliamentary delegation and Bangalore’s cultural personalities, at the Max Mueller Bhavan and presented his notes on culture, media and post-modernity.

Mr T Z Mani at the IIJNMMr T Z Mani, chief commissioner of income-tax (Karnataka and Goa), visited IIJNM and engaged our students for nearly four hours on 31 March, 2001.

During the first couple of hours he spoke about the functioning of his department and the principles of taxation in India. The rest of his time, he lectured and demonstrated on the tabla, the unity of rhythm and time and their relevance for a writer/journalist. Students and the faculty enjoyed participating in the session.

This is what he wrote about his visit: "It is a great joy to see a great institution taking shape amidst the pristine beauty of nature. Along with knowledge, may the students imbibe the value of freedom - the freedom of the winds that surround their life here. Thanks for the opportunity to be here with the first batch of future makers of public opinion in India."


Two top-ranking US Embassy officials visit IIJNM

Here’s what they had to say:

Visitors from USIS"What a creative place! Best of luck. I will be back. We look forward to working with you."
James J Callahan
Counselor for Public Affairs, Embassy of the United States of America, New Delhi.

"It was an honor to be introduced to such a promising center for journalism education at its inception. I think the success of IIJNM is guaranteed."
Mark Larsen
Consul for Public Affairs, US Consulate General, Chennai.


Renowned scholar and writer Mr Jeremy Seabrook, in a letter from London recalls his visit to IIJNM on March 10, 2001:

Jeremy Seabrook at IIJNM"...The Institute is so beautiful, and I’m sure the content and the substance will be every bit as memorable and significant as the wonderful material fabric of the building.

It is a wonderful place and my heart and spirit are with you, as you turn it into a powerhouse of journalistic integrity and competence in order to combat the destructive and cynical opportunism of what passes for journalism in the world today. I think this is a truly noble project..."

8th March 2001, IIJNM played host to Jeremy Seabrook, renowned British writer
Reproduced below is the introductory speech by Prof. Sugata Srinivasaraju at a meeting hosted by Central Sahitya Akademi(National Academy of Letters, New Delhi) and IIJNM. Mr. Seabrook also visited our campus and spoke to our students.

Jeremy Seabrook being welcomedI first met Mr. Jeremy Seabrook in London in early 2000. I was there on a fellowship at the University of Westminster. The initial days at the university in Harrow were frustrating, because I was experiencing a struggle to get my ideas across. It was not because I lacked communication skills or my English language abilities were inadequate. But, it was mostly because I was trying to represent a fairly uncommon or even an unpopular world view.
I was trying very hard to elevate what was condemned as local thinking systems beyond the pejorative label of provincialism. I was trying to contrast, to give an immediate example, a writer like Girish Karnad with a writer like P Lankesh.
In the process, I was trying to construct a critique of a certain pan-Indian, pan-world or, in larger terms, a cosmopolitan world view, which dominated the thinking process, both at the university and in London’s intellectual circles.
The fact that I was not getting my ideas across was a very frustrating experience. To cite from the life of one of my favorite cultural theorists, Raymond Williams, I experienced a similar feeling that Williams experienced when he moved from the peripheries of English culture, the Welsh border country, to a place like Cambridge, which was at the very center of a dominant cultural system. I too had moved from a middle-class Kannada household to the heart of a cosmopolitan culture. It is at this crucial juncture that I met my teacher, Jeremy Seabrook, at Muswell Hill.

I shared the stories of my local culture, its anxieties and the self-effacing endeavour of people like my father to keep it alive and vibrant. To my good fortune and surprise he was more than sympathetic. He perfectly well understood the context of my stories and helped me raise crucial questions that would strengthen my arguments against the methods of cosmopolitan intellectualism.

After we started having a regular dialogue, I should say, although there is a fear of sounding pompous, we won many battles even at institutions like London School of Economics and the Trinity College in Dublin.
It is only a little later that I realized, after I had read his essay, the ‘English Exile’ (published in Granta’s volume on Britain’s Valedictory Realism) and the second part of his book Colonies of the Heart, as to how he had so readily recognized my intellectual condition. He too, like Raymond Williams, had moved from the small tanning town of Northampton to Cambridge. I suppose this brief background precisely explains as to why Mr. Jeremy Seabrook is so eminently qualified to share the platform of the Sahitya Akademi, which represents India’s local literatures.
Jeremy Seabrook is an author of more than 30 books in English. He has written plays for stage, radio, and television and also directed television documentaries. Besides this he has been a columnist and contributor to many international publications, including the Guardian. From December last he has also been writing a column for the Sunday Statesman in Calcutta.

In his writings he has mostly concentrated on "uncelebrated struggles against injustice and insufficiency" and the "sacrifice and altruism of popular movements." The Guardian has described him as "one of England’s most imaginative and creative writers reminiscent of George Orwell."

Dr. Robert J Zydenbos, Professor of Indology at the University of Munich, GermanyDr. Robert Zydenbos at the IIJNM
Dr. Zydenbos is a great friend of India. When he speaks on India, he has the 16 years he stayed here to back him up.
He is a keen student of Indian culture and languages. The Professor is especially conversant with Kannada language and literature.
Speaking to the students of IIJNM on the 6th of March, 2001, Dr. Zydenbos spoke about how an average Indian saw a European and vice versa. He felt that Indians still clung to the Anglo-Saxon view - Europe meant the UK. The average Indian saw Europe as one entity and did not seem to realise there were so many different facets of Europe.
He felt that the average European also considered India as one single culture entity. He said that the earlier understanding of India as a land of superstitious, illiterate and unreliable people has changed.

Dr. Zydenbos fielded questions shot to him by the students with aplomb.

Chidanand Rajghatta, Washington Correspondent of Indian Express was at IIJNM
Here is Chitra Bonam’s(student) report on Rajghatta’s talk with them:
Reports in India’s English language newspapers in India always leave you with the feeling that they’re incomplete, a lot’s missing, a lot that the reporter never looked into, Mr Chidanand Rajghatta told IIJNM trainees on Tuesday, 20 February.

Chidanand Rajghatta at IIJNM The informal, interactive session with the Washington correspondent of the Indian Express continued without a moment of silence immediately he invited questions from trainees.
He was stormed with questions about how Indo-American relationship was affected by the software boom, the Kargil war and the Pokhran blasts.
Mr Rajghatta said that India had much to gain from the software boom. For a change, our population is working to our advantage; it will make the Indian diaspora one of the strongest in the world.
The Kargil war, however, was the turning point in Indo-American relations. He claimed that it established India as a "credible and responsible government."



Mr M V Kamath, veteran journalist and member of the Prasar Bharati paid a brief visit to the IIJNM. Mr Kamath was "impressed" with the facilities and the curriculum offered at the institute.

Mr Arnold Zeitlin of the Freedom Forum was one of the earliest to visit our campus. Mr Zeitlin spent a couple of days with us. He termed his interaction with the students as "refreshing and interesting".

Mr Derek Hooper, a management and media consultant stimulated the minds of our unsuspecting students. Derek confronted students to question the media projected terms: North/South, Developing/Developed or the First/World Third divide. The students found Derek’s animated and incisive talk inspiring.


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