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Workshops & Seminars

Broadcast Students hone their skills at lighting workshop

Venkata Ashwath, a professional  cameraman, who has previously worked with CNN-IBN shared his technical expertise with broadcast students on the 26th of November.

The workshop started off with one of the most important parts of cinematographic jargon- lighting. Students were taught to work with natural light to achieve the perfect shot. They were also shown how to control colour temperature so as to get the right tones in order to get perfect skin tone and colours in their videos. 

This was followed by a practical session where students learned skills such as the proper use of reflectors while working in light and shade to achieve proper contrast.

IIJNM Broadcast student Adarsh Srivastava said, “The workshop was quite informative and interesting.”


IIJNM successfully concluded its first workshop series on Friday the 15th of March 2013

A pilot effort, the “IIJNM Workshops” were four, free, day-long workshops that invited students from colleges across Bangalore to come and experience the craft of Journalism in a most hands-on manner.

This year’s workshops began with “Being a TV Journalist” a workshop that had its participants understanding the fundamental concepts behind TV news and implementing them in studio sessions in front of a live camera. Surekha Deepak, our Associate Professor for Broadcast conducted the workshop with Vinyasa Hegade assisting the studio procedures. Due to the overwhelming number of respondents for this workshop, IIJNM had to schedule a second edition of the same workshop to accommodate all those interested in participating.

Following the broadcast workshop was an “Economics for Journalists” workshop on the 8th of March 2013. This two-part workshop conducted jointly by Dr. Rajaram Krishnan, Professor of Economics,  from Earlham College, Indiana and Prof. Charles Lavery, Associate professor for Print, IIJNM aimed at helping participants understand and analyse a recent economic event. This process of analysis would then be used to learn how to cover such a story for the Print medium.

The series concluded with the “Multimedia: The tools of the future” workshop where Prof, Mark Austin, Associate Professor for Multimedia introduced the fundamental concepts of multimedia news reporting while our Associate Professor for media applications, Girish Bhadri taught participants the basic tools and software that go into using the online medium as a journalistic tool.

“This was the first time we were exposed to a workshop that was so hands-on,” said Diti Pujara from Christ University. “It was a very educative experience,”

Sarah Fazal of Mount Carmel College said. "The workshop was very interactive; subject oriented and did not put us to sleep (as opposed to other seminars)"

Sezel of Christ University said she found the workshop practical and wondered if IIJNM could extend the length of these workshops so they encompass more topics and allow more time for participants to absorb knowledge.
IIJNM plans to conduct many more such workshops in the coming year and will definitely take the feedback given into account.


Journalism aspirants get their hands dirty

It is not often that Journalism aspirants from in and around Bangalore get to spend an entire day in the company of a Producer from one of the big names in American news channels. So when Dr. Indira Somani, conducted a day long workshop for students of Journalism & Mass Communication at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, it was an uncommon treat for the participants.

Dr. Indira Somani is an Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications with Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia with over 10 years of broadcast journalism experience from CNBC and the ABC affiliate in Washington, DC. She has been awarded a Fulbright senior research fellowship to study the Western influence of Indian programming in India and is currently at IIJNM conducting workshops on how to produce websites that display IIJNM students’ broadcast stories.

The Workshop, titled, ‘Being a broadcast journalist…’ was a peek into the world of T.V. News reporting and production. Participants learnt first – hand of the elements that go into making a T.V. news story; from writing scripts, shooting and using natural sound for better effect to anchoring a news broadcast. Participants also worked in the in-house T.V. studio practicing anchoring techniques.

“I now know the scope of opportunities in this field” said Ila Asthana who travelled from Chennai to attend the workshop. “Dr. Somani made it very clear that perseverance is a very important quality. It is not a good idea to job-hop in the broadcast industry.” she added.

A total of 31 Students from Christ University, Jyothi Nivas College and Garden City College among others participated in the workshop.

Students of the Mount Carmel College in Bangalore found the hands-on experience unique and reflected that they learnt of the options they have. That they got to meet and interact with people in the field was a big advantage, a sentiment echoed by other participants.

IIJNM intends to conduct more workshops and events that will further stimulate interest in journalism as a career.


United Press International's University to train IIJNM students

UPI's (United Press International) journalism training organization, UPIU.com will run two online mentoring workshops for IIJNM students in the academic year 2011-12.

This program is free and allows for students to engage in an internship-like experience writing local stories for international audiences and getting individual feedback on stories from working journalists.

IIJNM students will be part of this program twice this academic year—in October and in February.


Broadcast Workshop

A CNN news producer from New York will be conducting a 6-week workshop for Broadcast and Multimedia students of IIJNM during the second semester. This intensive session will have three segments: news-of-the-day reporting, in-studio interview, and feature reporting. The goal is to apply the skills already acquired by IIJNM students since the start of the curriculum in a practical real-life broadcast newsroom environment.


Study-abroad Workshop

IIJNM and Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, USA have agreed to hold joint “study-abroad workshop” at IIJNM campus for 3 weeks periodically on the subject of Globalization in the Indian Context. These sessions involve the participation of students and faculty from both institutions, and is open to the journalism community.


City University London and IIJNM have agreed to a Student Exchange Program whereby a select number of students from each other's college will be able to attend the other's program for a full semester without payment of additional tuition fees. The goal is to offer an opportunity for students to learn about the media in the other's country, and to expose them to their industry practices


Journalists must regulate themselves: Seminar at IIJNM

Bangalore, March 12—A regulatory body for journalists cannot do much until journalists take it upon themselves to be accountable to their readers. This is more the case at a time when almost all news media establishment are politically aligned in today's competitive world, said speakers in a seminar Journalism: Time to look within organized by Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media on the occasion of their annual alumni meet on Saturday.

The seminar focused on changing trends in media and posed the question of media’s accountability and credibility in the politically inclined environment along with the cut throat competition among the media establishments.

Raising the point of changing media‘s role in society and politics, speakers deliberated that the journalists will have to grow with the change.

The speakers included S. Raghottam, senior editor of Deccan Herald, who specializes in defence and security issues, Mark Austin, who worked for The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan for 13 years till 2010 and now is a visiting faculty at IIJNM, and Vinu Syriac, an alumnus from the first batch of IIJNM 2000-01.

The seminar was moderated by K. S. Dakshina Murthy, who was a key member of the editorial team that launched the English version of Al-Jazeera news website, presently working as an editorial consultant and the trainer with Hindu.

The discussion encompassed wide range of issues starting from Radia tapes, to paid news, to celebrity journalists, and the emergence of new sources of information in the form of social networks like facebook and twitter.

Regarding the blogging being a form of journalism and bloggers being journalists, Mark Austin said, “It is not so much about you being journalist but about your writing being journalistic.”

Speakers also pondered over the relationship between journalists and public relation managers as well as the growing trend of advertised news.

Talking about investigating journalism’s role in the politically influenced environment, Syriac said “There is no investigative journalism as such because each journalism activity itself is investigative.”

Raghottam, responding to a point on planted stories added that, “Investigative journalism starts with a tip-off.” But, he, added you need to see the story for what it is actually worth.

Taking the discussion further Syriac said that “If anyone gives you information, be sure that he has an agenda.”

After the seminar, alumni were given the Alumni Awards for Exemplary Journalism for their work in the industry over the past year and a half. The first two prizes in the Print Category went to Vaishnavi Vittal and Supriya Khandekar respectively. They now work for News X and The Alternative. The first two prizes in the broadcast category went to Zoya Thomas of NDTV Hindu and Vineetha Athrey of CNBC TV 18.

The award ceremony also included an award for Aspiring Journalist Contest, hosted by IIJNM for undergraduate students across Bangalore, which required them to make a short film on any issue. The first prize went to Lynn Martha Wilson, a BA journalism student from Kristu Jayanti College.

After the seminar, the students presented a performance for the alumni, refreshing memories of their days at IIJNM.

“It feels very good to be back here. The institute has taught us so much. We were challenged here and made to work hard, which is now really helpful to us,” said Krishna Merchant, IIJNM alumni, currently working in Business Standard.


Bangalore students find IIJNM television workshop most useful

"Who wants to be a TV journalist?" asked CNN news producer Aziza Jamgerchinova. All hands went up in the air and faces lit up. The students could almost see a part of their dream coming true.

Aziza Jamgerchinova, who is presently a guest faculty at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, conducted a technical workshop in television and studio production for undergraduate and post-graduate students from different colleges all over Bangalore.

Students from Mount Carmel, Garden City College, Jyoti Nivas, Christ University and CMR College attended an all-day workshop on February 11, 2011 at the IIJNM campus.

The workshop covered various aspects of television journalism like news reading skills and analysis, visual elements and their role in enhancing news value, the Indian context and its relevance and how to cover package stories.

They also got a first-hand experience of news reading in a studio setting, where they were taught basic news reading techniques, how to merge breaking news with the ongoing schedule and also got feedback from the faculty.

“The practical exposure is very helpful. I have a clear idea of what it would be like if I start working in a news channel,” said Uzma, a student of Mount Carmel.

They were taught how to write briefs for a news story by viewing a few bulletins and news stories.

“It was a very interesting and an interactive workshop. We got to experience the whole studio setting, which gave an idea as to how a news channel works,” said Varsha Nandini, a student from Garden City College.

The students had interactive sessions with the present IIJNM students, who are pursuing their post graduate diploma in television journalism.

“The interaction with students studying here was really helpful as they were able to explain what challenges they face and how to overcome them,” said Harish, a student from Christ University.

Discussions on topics like sting operations, sensationalism and the difference between journalism and activism were a few moments where there was active participation from all the students.  The students exchanged thoughts and also agreed and disagreed on a few.

They received certificates for participation in the workshop from the institution.

“The workshop was very informative and it gave a feel of broadcast journalism,” said Shreya, a student of Jyoti Nivas College.

 “Aziza was very good. I now have a better perspective of how things work in TV journalism,” said, Snigdha, a student of Christ University.

“It was very exciting to see kids coming in and showing so much interest. There are a lot of people who are already form mass communication background, but I was very happy to see a few from different backgrounds as well. I was very happy to introduce them to journalism and TV news,” said Aziza on her experience in the workshop.

“All the students had interesting questions and discussions about media and role of journalists in the country. I tried giving them a sense of what’s in store for them if they end up pursuing careers on-air or off-air,” she added.

By Kruthi Gonwar


RTI must be used as a journalistic tool says activist

A good-government activist from rural Karnataka state has urged IIJNM students to use the new Right To Information (RTI) Act as a journalistic tool to expose rampant corruption among government officials.

Chandran M.C, founder and director of Association for Social Transparency Right and Action (ASTRA), made the appeal on September 15 while conducting a workshop on the RTI for 60 IIJNM students and faculty members at the institute's campus, just south of Bangalore.

During his opening remarks, Mr. Chandran challenged budding journalists to overcome the traditional reverence of government officials and regard instead them as "public servants," accountable to the taxpayers for how they spend government money. This accountability extends even to the poorest citizens, he added, because "even a beggar pays taxes."

He said the Indian Supreme Court has long recognized a citizen's access to government information as a fundamental right under Article 19. But he added that it has only been with the passage of the RTI Act in 2005 that Indians have had a way to exercise that right, and force transparency and fairness onto a hidebound and notoriously corrupt bureaucracy.

"No need to become terrorists," said Mr. Chandran. "We don't need AK – 47s. Just know your rights, duties and responsibilities and ask questions."

A former member of the National Cadet Corps, Mr. Chandran, 25, turned to social work in college and founded ASTRA after receiving his Masters degree from Bangalore University.

Mr. Chandran has personally filed more than 2,600 RTI applications and conducted about 25 RTI workshops for engineering, law, social work students—even government Public Information Officers. His workshop at IIJNM was the first for journalists.

Mr. Chandran said he has aimed most of his RTI requests at the panchayat raj, the three-tiered system of local governments that controls the distribution of government money for development, anti-poverty programs, construction and utilities.

It is at these local levels that the greatest opportunity for graft exists, Chandran explained. He cited a 2005 Transparency International survey that estimated Indian citizens as a whole pay Rs. 21,069 crores in bribes a year to local police, judges, educators and for basic utility services. He added that his own experiences show that while the long-held wisdom is only 15% of India's anti-poverty money ever reaches the poor, the reality is closer to .05%.

"So you have to consider it is zero," he said. "And if it reaches, it reaches only the rich, not the poor…. So we thought we needed to work on the panchayats to stop corruption and bring about transparency."

Mr. Chandran has used the RTI in the Raichur district, Karnataka's poorest, to shake loose documents such as poverty program budgets, certified copies of construction bills, vouchers, measurement books—even actual samples of a road. His efforts have shown that, among other things, contractors skimped on the thickness of road construction and, in one case, a Jilla Panchayat official was skimming off lakhs of rupees intended for poverty aid..

He said in one instance, he succeeded in winning a penalty of Rs. 25 lakhs—the maximum allowed—against one local official who refused to release public information. Mr. Chandran said the official called him up and threatened suicide if ASTRA didn't withdraw its complaint. Mr. Chandran refused and the official did not follow through with his threat.

In his presentation on the RTI Act, Mr. Chandran said that Section 4 of the law requires the majority of public bodies to proactively publish information such as the name of employees, job titles, salaries, their net worth and agency expenditures. They must also catalogue all files going back 25 years, listing a description of what they contain and how they are classified.

Meanwhile, the public has the right to request additional information under Section 6 by contacting the agency's Public Information Officer, who in turn is bound to release the information within 30 days—or 48 hours, if the information relates to the life and liberty of the requester. There is no special form required to seek the information, and a request can be handed to the PIO on ordinary stationery, he said.

If the official balks, or the information is deemed exempted, a requester can either file an appeal with the state's Information Commission or lodge a complaint, which if upheld can result in a fine of Rs. 250 a day, for up to 100 days.

The fine is unique to the Indian RTI. Mr. Chandran said it provides strong incentive for reluctant public officials to turn over documents, rather than risk a black mark on their records or pay out of their own pockets.

By Priyanjali Ghose and Priyanka

 

Media must regulate itself

Bangalore, August 25, 2007 -- The media should impose self-censorship before the government decides to bring in restrictions in the name of regulations, said speakers at a seminar this morning, on Media and Terror: A critical look.

The seminar was held at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM). The speakers included personalities from television and print media, and a rights activist lawyer.

In the effort to catch up with competition, television tends to lay less emphasis on facts and more on drama, said Mr. Vidya Shankar Aiyar, Senior Editor, CNN-IBN. Media organisations are to blame for the fact that the government wants to introduce the Broadcast Bill, he said. Whether it was the Haneef case, or Sanjay Dutt, the media hyped what was popular without much research, he added, primarily because television had no time for research.

The media, he pointed out, needs to give credibility to its audience, and needs to maintain a sense of integrity. The temptation to bow to TRP ratings is great, he added, but the editorial and the marketing departments need to work together to ensure credibility.

Mr. Vivek Narayan, Output Editor, Times Now, agreed that the media should impose self-censorship. The worldview of terrorism has changed since September 11, 2001, he said, adding that defining a terrorist was a difficult job because one man's patriot is the other's terrorist.

Mr. R. Shankar, Resident Editor, Indian Express, Karnataka and Kerala explained how television was driving newspaper headlines today. Newspapers were under pressure to publish news shown on television, even if it did not merit space, and was simply differently packaged. The concerns for print today were lack of research, television exclusives and one-sided information from only one kind of sources, he said.

Human rights lawyer B.T. Venkatesh explained how the media carried stories from "informed" sources when they got no information at all from credible sources. Using the Haneef and Kafeel cases as examples, he said that the families have stories to tell, but no media organization is willing to tell them. Media, he added, only wanted to tell stories they wanted to.

However, he agreed with the other speakers that the Broadcast Bill was a bad idea because only the media can bring the reality out, and there can be no restrictions on the media. He added that the media, however, needed to have a concern to lay out the truth.


A holiday, a workshop, and a day well spent

Kumbalgudu, Aug 24-Seven a.m. Bleary-eyed and tired. August 24 was Varahamalaxmi, one of our oasis-like holidays at Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) and we still couldn't spend it in bed. The faculty decided to ruin it for us by organizing a day-long workshop. How furious the print students were when we thought we figured it was a TV workshop! Armed with phones (mobile and ear), books, magazines, and the ever-present Polo, we trudged to attend it.

Surprise Number One (for I am one of those who never know what's going to happen until it actually does!): The man of the moment was Vidya Shankar Aiyar, Senior Editor, CNN-IBN. Surprise Number Two: We wouldn't be sleeping through this one. He started by giving us an idea of what the media industry looks like from the inside. Contrary to what many of us believed, working in the television industry especially as an anchor is not at all about glitz and glamour. One wrong move and the world will know. He seemed quite impressed by the ideals we held, yet established the fact that reality does not stick to ideals. It will be up to us, tomorrow's scribes, to blend our ideals into reality, thus, bringing the two as close together as possible.

The students were asked, as groups, to simulate a live news report and also write a print report for a story idea (real or fabricated). The whole exercise had everyone in splits with major gaffes being played out on camera. Aiyar finally reviewed the exercise by emphasizing the do's and don'ts while on camera. Although it seemed like he had too much of a critical eye, it did drive home the point of being natural and refraining from behaving like an excited bee when Breaking News comes in.

It was a day well spent.


Sting journalism only for the lazy

Bangalore, January 22, 2007 -- “Sting operation is not journalism, it’s stupid,” said Phil Smith, the South Asia Editor, Reuters, at a public seminar on news agency journalism today. He said there was a vast gulf between snaring or tempting politicians and exposing existing corruption.

He emphasized that balance was very important to wire services, since they catered to media around the world. He said the Indian government itself was considering outlawing sting journalism, which, he said, was for the lazy. It was hard work that led to the Watergate expose; that was real investigative journalism, he added.

At the seminar, titled “Guarding the LoC (Line of Credibility) around the world” organized by the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, he told the audience about the difficulties of presenting news objectively. He added that advertorials put the credibility of the media in the line of fire.

He compared the average consumer of news to a milkman from Kansas City, who wouldn’t know anything about the world around him. It was therefore necessary to put all news in context and explain why events happened around the globe, so that he can understand.

Speed, accuracy and freedom from bias were the core principles on which Reuters was built, he said.

This was reflected by Margaret Hicks, Group Production Editor and Head of India Operations, the Press Association (PA), Britain’s national news agency. She said that the PA Group had diversified into a company that delivered dynamic content to all platforms, including television and even supplied print-ready news pages.

She said that while production journalism wasn’t as glamorous as reporting, it was very satisfying. “You’re the one who makes sense of what the reporters feed in from everywhere, and you get to make the decisions,” she said.

Christina Pantin, Senior Editor Equities gave the audience - journalism students from across city colleges, a presentation on careers in business journalism at Reuters in Bangalore. Her slideshow included comments from fresh recruits on the work environment there. She said that students needed to demonstrate good grammar, spelling and punctuation and basic general knowledge.

Ms. Pantin and Ms Hicks said that their organizations were looking out for journalism graduates interested in joining them.


Three, two, one, cue!

On August 12, 2006, only two weeks into the course, IIJNM organised a daylong workshop on anchoring for television, conducted by CNN-IBN’s Vidya Shankar Aiyar.

He quickly caught our attention with a brief history of news and reporting on television, which started with Doordarshan, and met modern times through NDTV. By citing examples of television shows in early days, he explained the transition media has gone through. Today, with technology by our side, Aiyar attributed the importance of television journalism to good presentation, which brought us to the difference between a news anchor and a reporter. His humorous anecdotes firmly established common mistakes made by anchors in pronunciation, presentation, speech and voice modulation.

According to Aiyar, sufficient viewer-channel interaction, providing continuous updates, honest reporting and reliable graphics to support a story were the key highlights of a good report. He rounded up the first part of the workshop by giving us brief inputs on how to present a news report.

This made way for the second and more exciting part of the day. With about 30 minutes preparation time given, students were asked to present a news report. As each one took their turn, as an anchor, host, reporter or guest, in front of the camera, Aiyar woked at interrupting the news bulletin, giving us a taste of real life anchoring. As many students fumbled and floundered to keep their thoughts clear and speech coherent, others dealt with the interruptions with absolute ease.

After the recording was over, Aiyar replayed the tapes to help analyse and correct our mistakes. Through muffled laughter we understood the importance of body language, tone of voice, clarity of speech, eye contact with the camera, multi-tasking, having presence of mind and awareness, organising thoughts, etc, all of which were important aspects to being a successful anchor.

As our workshop drew to a close, Aiyar reiterated, “In journalism you need to be shameless. If you’re shy, you’re in the wrong business.”


Lighting workshop

Lights, Camera, Action! The lighting workshop held on 24th April in IIJNM campus was truly a two-day long experience of learning and fun. "Light plays a very important role in enhancing a face of a person," said Mr Ananth Urs, a freelance Cameraman who had come to take a workshop exclusively on lights and their importance in shooting. Students individually got a hang of how lights altered the look of a person in the daytime, under natural light and also under artificial lighting with the help of thermocol, butter paper and reflectors.

By the end of the workshop students had become confident about removing shadows from a person's face in a normal setup through reflectors.

After lunch it was time for students to experiment in the use of a multi-camera set-up along with lights and live switchers. Each student tried his or her hands on each task involved in making a multi-camera setup work. From being a cameraperson to a floor manager to a switcher to a director, each student got a chance to place a role in learning, what is called the most used technique of working during interviews. Students got to know that the task of a director could be very tiring. Pavitra said, "It needs a lot of practice to be doing multi-tasking, where you not only need to instruct the floor manager but also see the multiple monitors and instruct the switcher to switch between the monitors in live setups, keeping in mind that the shot sizes of the cameras are right and that there are editing tools used to the optimum."

Day-two was a continuation of day one. Everyone had to play all the roles at least once in such a setup. This was the motive of this workshop. The day ended with a new learning for the students: The magic of Chroma Key. Now we learnt how to use it for our live shows. Thanks to the light men who were with us with the entire setup throughout the two days of the workshop. Students did learn as a floor manager that a countdown begins from 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, and 5 but there is silence on the set thereafter.


QuarkXpress Workshop

Print students of IIJNM got a taste of how QuarkXpress is used in the work place. Having used it over the academic year to bring out The Weekly Observer, the students were in for a surprise when B.S. Arun Kumar of the Times of India took a workshop for them. Known for his layout designing skills, Arun Kumar gave them a few tricks of the trade.

He reinforced the use of the different tools in QuarkXpress and explained their uses. He concentrated on the different shortcuts and commands that are used for designing pages, ensuring the optimum utilization of time. "After all, speed is crucial for meeting the set deadlines in this profession," Arun Kumar remarked.

He added that they need to practice the skills learnt. “You will learn only when you spend more time with these software and try them out yourself,” he said, adding, “For me, all this is fun!”


"A Brand is a thought."

Bangalore, March 19 “Each of us is a brand,” said Mr Harish Bijoor, CEO Harish Bijoor Consults. He was speaking at a seminar organized by The Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media. The seminar was a platform for the students to learn the intricacies of handling job interviews.

Mr Harish Bijoor said, “ Brand is a thought, it is what you make yourself.” Apart from Mr Harish Bijoor, Dola Mukherjee, Manager-Corporate HR, Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd was also present. She spoke about the various tactics and methods to face an interview. The most important thing while preparing for an interview is to have a powerful CV. She said it is important to have things written in simple format. “While facing an interview it is important to be yourself,” Ms Dola Mukherjee. Apart from this she also emphasized on having a positive attitude, have a good body language and above all be confident. She added,“ it is important that you should know what the job is all about while facing an interview.”

“Be creative, be different” was the point emphasized by Mr R.Shankar. Mr R Shankar is a resident editor, Karnataka and Kerala, New Indian Express. According to Mr Shankar young journalists have a lot of potential and it is important that print media allows them to come out with different and powerful headlines. He laid emphasis on what an editor wants from job applicants. However he said it is also important that the editor should also make the interviewee comfortable. “You should be determined, different and it should show.”

The purpose of the seminar was to make the students aware as to how to prepare a good CV and make them more comfortable when they face an interview. All the three sessions were interactive. The floor was open for any number of questions. The students asked various questions. Does the name of the institution count while selecting a candidate? Is it necessary to be diplomatic while answering the questions? How can a fresher make her CV look impressive? Is branding the only way to be successful? All of them were answered to the satisfaction of the students. They emerged from the seminar a little more confident about facing the future.


Multimedia and multi-tasking, order of the day: BBC Correspondent

Bangalore, December 13. "Today, multimedia and multitasking are indispensable in the field of journalism," said Sunil Raman, BBC correspondent (South India), at Radio'Active, a radio seminar-cum-workshop conducted by the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media on Tuesday. "As journalists, you cannot restrict yourself to a single task or medium anymore," he added. He spoke about the different challenges that a journalist faces in today's technology-driven workplace where a tech-lapse is almost inevitable. "You not only need to learn the technology but also need to know how to cope with all its problems," he said. Mr. Raman further spoke of tri-media-a combination of print, television and the web. However, according to him what is crucial to all journalists irrespective of the medium s/he chooses is sensitivity and awareness.

VS Suryanarayana, Director, News, Doordarshan, on the other hand, stressed on the objectivity and credibility of news and cautioned students against using adjectives or opinion in news reporting. "Use words very economically and meticulously in this profession. Especially in the vernacular media where words can have different connotations and can prove catastrophic," he added.

This seminar, Radio: A The Career of The Future attempted to inform students of the opportunities in radio for a career not just in journalism but also in entertainment.

Sheetal Iyer, Programme Director, World Space, who defined radio as a "mass and intimate" media, gave a presentation on the requirements and scope of radio as a career in entertainment. She highlighted the difference between FM radio and Satellite radio. "It [Radio] reaffirms our belief in the power of the spoken word," she added.

Moving away from the technical aspect, Geoffrey Thomas Head, Programming and Content, of Radio Indigo spoke primarily of the prevailing competition in the media-market today where creativity and good marketing are the sole saviors. He referred to 'creativity' as the main ingredient to counter the cutthroat competition in the world of radio. "It is the show promos, package promos, station identities, and other elements that differentiate a radio station from another and determine its listener-ship, though the high license fee compels radio stations to air mostly commercial music," he said. "Above all, it is the type of music that is played and its content that differentiate one from the other," he added.

The day's event concluded with a workshop held by Geoffrey Thomas and Vasanti Hariprakash of Radio City.


Mise-en scene workshop

Bangalore, 7 February 2005: "Keeping the genre of cinema in mind, one decides the Mise-en-scene," said Narendar Katkar, while conducting a three day workshop at Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM). A student of the French Etienne Decroux's school of Mime art in Paris, and having worked with several ad agencies, Mr. Katkar has now specialized in the Mise-en-scene technique of filmmaking. He has taught this in several colleges and TV channels all over the country.

Mise-en-scene is described as an arrangement of scenery and properties to represent the place where a movie is enacted.

"Colours have their own meaning. Red depicts passion, anger, rage, and love. Pink is for romance, yellow is for desert and loneliness. Light is life. If a person walks towards a room where there is no light, you feel danger. On the other hand if a person walks towards a room which is illuminated, one feels relieved", added Katkar. He explained to a rapt audience, that the Tim Burton directed 'Sleepy Hollow' is a classic example of how of how dark gloomy colours can create an atmosphere of suspense and fear.

He went on to illustrate in great detail how camera framing, movement of the camera and characters, lighting, set design and general visual movement and sound breathe life into, and add soul and character to a film. That is the very purpose of Mise-en scene, to establish a relationship between the camera and what is being framed in its sights.

He explained that Mise-en-scene was closely linked with Montage, which is the editing together of disparate shots in order to create meaning. Katkar brought forth an excellent use of montage through Steven Spielberg's 'Schindler's List'.

Katkar peppered his workshop with a wide range of films covering various spectrums, including 'Conspiracy Theory', 'Apocalypse Now' and more. He even invited volunteers from the audience and gave them a chance to demonstrate what they had imbibed through the workshop with the camera.

The workshop, which was also attended by students of Christ College, and professionals from various fields proved to be an enlightening experience, dispensing away various myths about film making and answering previously unanswered queries.


"The 2004 Presidential Election is a win-win for India"

With U.S. presidential elections two weeks away, U.S. Political Science Professor Stephen J. Farnsworth of Mary Washington University is on a one-week lecture tour of India. Speaking at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore, Professor Farnsworth, who is an authority on American politics and media in the US said the race for the presidency was too close to call. "America is a 50-50 country. Those that are more concerned about foreign policy will vote for Bush, those concerned with domestic issues will back Kerry."

"The 2004 Presidential Election is a win-win for India," said Professor Stephen J. Farnsworth. Citing the current strength of Indo-American relations, he said that regardless of the outcome of the United States presidential election, there would be no dramatic change in the current economic status between the two countries. "Kerry doesn't want to stop outsourcing, he wants to change the laws to make it more expensive for U.S. business to outsource," Professor Farnsworth said.

Professor Farnsworth spoke candidly about American media's tendency to cover politics as a series of sound-bites. This decline in political coverage, he said, has lead to elections that are not issue centered. Instead what we have is horse race politics, in which who is winning becomes takes precedence over discussion on issues. This "horse race coverage" as Professor Farnsworth calls it, results in less discussion of issues, which in turn means less understanding and ultimately lower voter turnout.

His lecture at the IIJNM was organized in collaboration with the American Consulate General, Chennai.


Investigative Reporting WorkshopThe Investigative Journalism workshop held on 12 June 2003 was an overwhelming success with stimulating participation from journalists and students.

If the morning session inspired the participants with video clippings from documentaries on unusual feats of investigative journalism, the post - lunch session had the participants sparkling with investigative ideas, discussing about sources, confrontation, ethics and the content of today’s journalism.

The Chief guest K. Sathyanarayna, a senior journalist and former editor of Kannada Prabha gave his insights about the beginning of investigative journalism in India. Jeff Hodson of ICJ, Professor Anand Sagar, Viji and Narayana interjected, facilitated and steered the animated discussion with appropriate local, regional and international examples of investigative journalism.


Newscapades-II : Media Film Festival

Journalist: Not just a reporter but an Interpreter

Mr. G. V. Iyer inaugurating the film festivalIndian Institute of Journalism & New Media and Media Alumni Association of Mangalagangotri (Mangalore University) jointly organized a two-day festival of films on Journalism on Saturday, December 14 and Sunday December 15, 2002 at the IIJNM campus in Bangalore. Noted filmmaker and director G.V. Iyer inaugurated the festival.

G.V. Iyer, who has received a number of awards, said that he made films with the intention of sharing his experience with people and translating knowledge on to the celluloid screen. He said that he was not bothered by failure or success, but that he enjoyed experimenting with different film techniques.

Mr. G. V. IyerHe said after a certain point of time in life, money and awards did not mean much and that his films were adventures rooted in a search for a unique identity of his own. "After making many successful commercial movies, I am experimenting with movies to create an identity of my own and my next film on the Ramayana is an example in that direction," he said.

Iyer's earlier films include Hamsageete, Adi Shankaracharya, Madvacharya and Vivekananda. The inaugural speech was followed by screening of three films in English: All the President's men, Citizen Kane and His girl Friday.

Mr. Girish KasaravalliThe second day of the film festival started with a panel discussion on Media and Films. The panel had distinguishing members such as noted film director Girish Kasaravalli, senior critic and journalist M.N. Chakravarthy and scientist Sundar Sarukkai. During the discussion Kasaravalli remarked that the "press is controlled by outside forces like industrialists who dictate terms, which has a direct impact on the quality of journalism." He lamented the superficial reviews of films in the media and suggested that the media delve deeper into the central image of the film instead of just giving its story outline. Kasaravalli has to his credit films such as Ghatashradda, Akramana, Tabarana Kathe, Thayi saheba and Dweepa.

Film critic M.N. Chakravarthy believed that although the journalists work under the pressure of deadlines and space constraints, quality writing could be still practiced within the limitations.

Scientist Sundar Sarukkai said that the journalistic notion of objectivity does not go well with appreciating films, which is a very subjective activity. He suggested that instead of reporting reviews, media should focus on interpreting films. Differentiating between 'doers' (film makers) and 'analysts' (critics), he remarked that that filmmakers are not always the best critics of their films and the role of a journalist should be that of an analyst and not of a judge, deciding the film is good or bad without any benchmark.

The screening of two films The insider and Network followed the panel discussion. The film festival was well attended and received by both the press and the students of various city colleges.


Environmental Journalism Seminar & Workshop

Environmental WorkshopA two-day environmental seminar and workshop for journalists, jointly organized by the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM) and the Washington D.C. based International Center for Journalists (ICJ) was inaugurated by Upendra Tripathy, chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board on Friday November 29 at the IIJNM campus Bangalore.

Mr Adam Glenn, ICFJ"What we need is preventive technology to control environmental pollution, where as in the existing situation we try to put the facilities later after things have gone wrong, and this is not the right thing to do" said Dr. Tripathy during his inaugural speech. The speech was followed by a panel discussion and questions from the representatives of the media. There were questions related to the Kudremukh mining industry, the Ganga-Cauvery linking of water and environmental law.

Environmental WorkshopDistinguished members of the panel included Mr. Ullas Karanth, Director of Wildlife Conservation Society, India program, Mr. Nagesh Hegde, assistant editor of Prajavani, Mr. Sairam Bhat of Center for Environmental law. A film presentation titled ‘Mindless Mining’ on Kudremukh mining industry was well received and was the highlight of the day. There was a lively interaction from the media and students of journalism on the topics that were presented. Mr. Adam Glenn, Ford Environmental Journalism Fellow and senior producer, ABCNEWS.com, New York moderated the workshop in the morning session. The afternoon session had Glenn presenting an international perspective on the global environmental trends.


Of taps and tigers- IIJNM celebrates 32nd Earth Day

Want more water in Bangalore taps? Get more tigers in Talakavery first, argued Mr. M K Srinath, wild life activist. He was speaking at 'Environment & Media,' a workshop organized jointly by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), EcoWatch (an NGO), and IIJNM on 22 April 2002.

Mr. Srinath regaled the audience with his explanation of the synergy between vegetation, rainfall, wildlife and our daily water supply- which can be adequate only if river catchment areas are replenished. "Every animal you see around you is an indicator of your environment," he said.

The underlying thread of discussion was the balance between policy, practicability, and practice in environment conservation. Professor Madhav Gadgil (Chairman, Centre for Ecological Studies) pointed out red tape, corruption, blind aping of western technologies, public sloth, and absence of real- time testing as some of the hindrances to efficient environment management. "Development looks to me like a continuous and wasteful expenditure of public money," he said.

In the Bedthi Power Project, figures were hedged to arrive at the scientifically correct ratio of Economic Benefit to Cost figure of 5, whereas the true figure was less than 1.7. Six of Bangalore's air monitoring centres are useless since the German made machinery does not work on locally available electricity levels. But Chief Secretary Dr A Ravindra gave the other side of the story, when he asked, "How can we build hydro power plants without cutting down trees and submerging huge tracts of land?"

Small acts, when practiced on a mass level, go a long way in conserving energy, said both Professor D K Subramanian (Secretary, Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology) and Dr Raghumohan, soil scientist. Use fluorescent bulbs, clean house- hold fans and light bulbs periodically, recycle water- you save 60 per cent of your power consumption: each of the saved energy units yield 20 more.

Dr. Upendra Tripathy, Chairman, KSPCB, announced trouble-30 per cent of Karnataka industries function without government clearance; 73 per cent of water sources in Karnataka are unfit for human consumption, and, only 87 lakes of the original 200 now survive in Bangalore.

The government is building two biomedical waste incineration centres in Kanakapura and Dobspet, making ISO 14001 certification mandatory for 17 RED (highly polluting) industries like paper pulp and textiles, setting up two toll-free lines to enable the public to inform the board about government vehicles causing pollution, and training Bangalore auto drivers in energy efficient measures- but these would be ineffectual if individuals didn't come forward and participate, Mr. Tripathy said. The government has instituted 53 fellowships for environmental research, and it plans to open 9,000 eco- clubs to increase public awareness.

The Media must play a more proactive role, everyone exhorted. Dr. Ravindra asked young journalists to develop an analytical and balanced mind. "Opinion is free, but facts are sacred," he said. And Mr. Srinath wondered where it was that the Press saw rabbits and parrots when neither exist in India (We only have hares and parakeets), and how it called a normal avian flight of 70 kms as 'migration.' He said, "Media people should be knowledge rich and dispel superstitions."

The old mantra of sustainable development was revived by Mr. Suresh Heblikar, founder, EcoWatch, and a slide show by Mr. Harish Bhatt (CSE) on the continual erosion of the biodiversity of the Western Ghats supported Mr. Heblikar's plea for improvement of traditional, eco friendly technologies.

Mr. Shiva Kumar, an attendee and a consultant to the silk textile industry, said, "The only useful announcement was the reduction in the volume of an application for a no objection certificate from 48 to 8 pages."

Interested cynics like him might be just the ray of hope environmentalism needs.


Debating Media: Frame after frame

The year is 1972. The time is 3 a.m. The newsroom of the Washington Post is empty, save two young journalists. Shrouded in cigarette smoke, they pound away furiously at a typewriter on a story that could expose the President in the biggest scandal of our time. Watergate. Their yet-unrevealed source: Deep Throat. The movie: All The President’s Men.
M V Krishnaswamy and B D Garga and D V Guruprasad inaugrating the festivalTwo decades later, the search for truth continues. The time is 3 a.m. The producer of CBS’ 60 Minutes sits in a seedy motel room, preparing to fight his corporate bosses. To air an interview that will reveal the tobacco industry’s nastiest secret - the peddling of a poisonous and addictive product. His source: a former research chief in a leading tobacco firm. The movie: The Insider.
Then there were typewriters. Now there are computers. But it's all still there. Cigarette smoke, meetings in dark alleyways, secret contacts, hushed phone conversations. So has journalism changed at all?

This was the question on the minds of the audience at Newscapades, a two-day media film festival organized jointly by the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore and the Department of Information, Government of Karnataka. The festival, held recently, was attended by people from various branches of the media - journalism students, reporters, filmmakers, film critics, photographers and journalism educators. The intent of the festival according to the organizers was "simply to inspire a debate on media practices and also see how journalism renders itself as a subject of cinema." The festival had a welcome response, especially because the much-hyped International Film Festival of India - 2001 (IFFI) scheduled in Bangalore had been cancelled in the last minute by the state government. As if it were a co-incidence the media fest was inaugurated the same day the IFFI was to begin.

Eminent filmmaker and historian Bhagwan Das Garga inaugurated the festival. It was an inspiring moment to listen to the 77-year-old doyen of documentary filmmaking, whose voice was loud and clear despite the shiver of ill health. In his speech, B. D. Garga spoke of the parallels between cinema, journalism and art. "Cinema is an art and as with all other arts, man's interest in cinema is natural and instinctive." He referred to a number of journalists who had started out studying filmmaking, and well-known filmmakers who began their career as reporters. Notable among the names he mentioned were K. A. Abbas and Dileep Padgaonkar. Not many may be aware that B.D. Garga was the first to make a documentary film on Satyajit Ray, much before Ray shot to international fame.
The festival began with the screening of the documentary film on legendary Kannada writer and journalist D. V. Gundappa, directed by M.V. Krishnaswamy 30 years ago. The filmmaker was present for the screening and was the maintstay of most debates that took place on the films screened during the festival. The only other documentary film that was screened during the festival was on theatre personality B V Karnath, directed by Nagabharana. It was a national preview of the 30-minute documentary and the director was around to present his work.
Lighting the lampBlow Up, Michelangelo Antonioni’s first English film, did not fall into the general narrative sequence of films that were screened at the festival. It emphasized the blurring of the lines between the genres in the media. In this bizarre 1967 film, a fashion photographer is gripped by the realization that he might have witnessed a murder. His role is akin to that of an investigative reporter, delving deeper and deeper into the mystery. The film was recognized, and then quickly forgotten.

After the screening, M. K. Raghavendra, National Award-winning film critic, initiated a discussion that dealt with the concepts of reality and illusion in the film. He also spoke of cinematic techniques and how they have evolved over the years. Further, he offered several interpretations in an attempt to resolve the ambiguity present in some of the films screened. One of the films discussed was The Truman Show. Made in 1998, the film shows how the media and corporations have begun to surround us with a universe of illusions. The protagonist in The Truman Show goes on a journey to escape this realm of smoke and mirrors, and then he discovers something unexpected - what he believed was an open horizon and a way out, is really a wall. The movie is a metaphor for the power wielded by the media today.

Technology has enabled the media to penetrate every area of our lives. Newspapers play a different role today than they did a decade ago. They provide analysis and interpretation, rather than breaking news. This function has been taken over by television, radio, and most importantly the Internet, which have revolutionized the ways in which news is delivered. Film has benefited tremendously from the advancements in technology, allowing greater scope for the subversion of reality as we know it.

Moving to a diametric branch of film, veteran filmmaker M V Krishnaswamy spoke of documentary films being an extension of journalism, in that they represent life as is. The two are linked; words and pictures lend strength and meaning to each other. Krishnaswamy reminisced about his early days with the media, recounting his experiences with John Grierson in England and Roberto Rossellini in Italy (he worked as Rossellini’s assistant for the film Viaggio in Italian starring Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders). His advice to filmgoers: "Approach films with an open mind; don’t have prejudices and preferences. Form your own point of view as you go through the movie."

Well-founded advice when watching what has been hailed as the best movie of all time. Made in 1941, Citizen Kane combines innovative film techniques with the excitement and glamour associated with journalism. Pointedly ignored at the Oscars, it won only one award for best original screenplay. This controversial film caricatured several events and individuals in the life of William Randolph Hearst, a powerful newspaper magnate and publisher.

Today, 60 years after the making of the film, perceptions about a journalist are not very different. He remains the eccentric, fiercely committed, unscrupulous, cigarette-smoking crusader on a quest for truth. Or scandal, at any rate. Not a wholly untrue image, at that. It is the reason that many join the profession today. The excitement, the unpredictability, the risk, the controversy.
Put simply, in the words of a certain Charles Foster Kane, "I think it would be fun to run a newspaper."

The feature films screened at NEWSCAPADES:

ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN directed by Alan J Pakula
THE INSIDER directed by Michael Mann
CITIZEN KANE directed by Orson Welles
BLOW UP directed by Michaelangelo Antonioni
THE TRUMAN SHOW directed by Peter Weir
THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY directed by Peter Weir


Workshop on Investigative Journalism

In continuation of IIJNM's effort to work closely with the journalism fraternity in Bangalore and debate issues that are central to the practice of journalism, a workshop on Investigative Journalism was organised on Saturday 12 May 2001.

The prime investigator in the recent armsgate expose that shook the nation, Mr Aniruddha Bahal of tehelka.com conducted the the workshop. Mr Krishna Prasad, the Special Issues editor of the Outlook magazine and one of the two journalists who broke the cricket match-fixing scam a few years ago, lent academic support to the workshop. Nearly 100 people from diverse streams of the media from Bangalore, Dharwad and Mysore participated in the workshop.

As part of the workshop a panel discussion on "Handling a Scandal" was also organised. Dr. Narendra Pani of Economic Times; Mr. A. V. S. Namboodiri of Deccan Herald; Mr. A. Jayaram of The Hindu and Mr. Ravindra Reshme of Lankesh Patrike were the panelists. 
Prof. B. S. Chandrashekar, former Director of Audience Research, Doordarshan, moderated the discussion. Among the prominent participants in the workshop were: Mr. Nagesh Hegde, Assitant Editor of Prajavani; Mr. K. B. Ganapathy, editor, Star of Mysore; Mr. S. K. Sheshachandrika, former Press Secretary to the chief minister of Karnataka and Special Correspondent of Dainik Bhaskar; Mr. Dakshina Murthy, special correspondent of Hindustan Times, Bangalore; Mr. B. R. Srikanth, Special Correspondent of Outlook, Bangalore; Mr. H. N. Anand, senior editor of Prajavani and Mr. C. Rudrappa, chief reporter of Vijaya Karnataka.


Workshop on Surfing the Internet 

It was a treat - the first academic programme by the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM). The journalists of Bangalore got to participate in a workshop conducted by Prof. Sreenath Sreenivasan of the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, New York.

Although the response was overwhelming IIJNM decided to invite only 26 journalists from both print and new media publications.

'Surfing the Internet' is a popular workshop conducted by Prof. Sreenivasan at Columbia. Prof. Sreenivasan or Sree as he prefers to call himself, has also conducted it at more than 1000 newsrooms around the world.

Prof Sreenat Sreenivasan

Sreenivasan stressed the importance of discerning the quality of information on the Net. Interspersing his talk with digs at journalistic callousness Sreenivasan walked the participants through an exhaustive array of websites.

For the uninitiated journalists Sreenivasan suggested a few good sources for information. Sreenivasan also showed how to avoid being bombarded with irrelevant search results. He listed out important sites for facts.

The Professor also stressed the need to use newsgroups and mailing list effectively by journalists.

According to Chetan Krishnaswamy, Assitant Editor, Times of India, Bangalore, the session was: "Extremely helpful for journalists like me - who think we know everything."

More an indication of how useful the session was than the humbling affect it had on the participant.

Bhumika K, from the The New Indian Express felt that the workshop: " Helps lazy people who haven't bothered to check out many sites."

Participants at the workshopPrajavani's (leading Kannada daily) Prashant Rai wanted IIJNM to: "organize something exclusively for language journalists."

Listed below are the names the participants and the reactions of a few of them:

"Extremely helpful for journalists like me - who think we know everything"
Chetan Krishnaswamy
Assistant Editor (IT)
The Times of India, Bangalore

"Looking forward to more such workshops for journalists"
Anupama Bijur
The New Indian Express

"Very useful. Looking for a workshop on defamation, reporting technologies for new media"
Anita Santhanam
Explocity.Com

"Very interesting and resourceful. Looking forward to more of similar information"
Reshmi Ray
ITSpace.Com

"Very useful seminar. If you can organise something exclusively for language journalists, it will be very nice"
Prashanth Rai
Sub Editor
Prajavani, Bangalore

"Interesting, informative"
Preethi Gandhi
ITSpace.com

"Interesting and useful"
Shivakumar C
ITSpace.com

"Very useful one. But it should be extended to regional language also"
Lokesh Kayarga
Chief Sub Editor
Vijaya Karnataka (Kannada Daily)

"Very interesting topic. A great idea to hold such session. Could invite more colleges"
Anil
Student, Communicative English
Christ College

"A useful seminar"
S.Shailaja
Sub Editor
Deccan Herald

"An interesting and informative platform. Nice to see the kind of work we do to be fed into us. A dose of one's own medicine. Would be interested in Convergence media, Internet and Broadcast media"
Kauser Jabeen
Production Co-ordinator
Siti Cable Network

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