03 Jun 2020

Entrepreneurship as potential employment in the time of COVID-19

Amidst massive job losses and layoffs owing to the pandemic COVID-19, students of IIJNM received firsthand guidance about starting their own business in journalism, from alumni-turned-entrepreneurs in a webinar held on June 3.

IIJNM alumni Gangadhar Patil and Shreya Pareek shared their experiences about pursuing journalism as independent entrepreneurs. In the light of various media houses firing a large number of employees and deferring college placements, the batch of 2019-2020 gained insights
about exploring the option of entrepreneurial journalism.

Shreya Pareek, who is a development journalist and founder of the digital platform The Stories of Change, told the students, “I was sure about what I wanted to do and hence compromised on various factors like salary, placements etc. Clarity of thought is of the utmost importance.” She counselled students to utilize their time in undertaking journalistic reporting and send it to various publications, publishing them on YouTube and other social media channels and to apply for short gigs. She added that being a polyglot might enhance the possibility of getting recruited.

She also proceeded to talk about the travails of building a profitable media business. She added, “My organization began getting paid projects only a year after we started. But, if you are passionate enough to keep doing it every day without getting disheartened, there is nothing more

Gangadhar Patil, who is the founder of 101 reporters- an organization focusing on grassroots journalism agreed with Shreya and said that his organisation started making profits only last year. He said that passion and money have to be placed in different compartments. He pointed
out that contrary to the perception that journalists have no hard skills like doctors or engineers; journalists do possess skills like striking up a conversation, telling stories through their writing,

collecting and verifying data, which are valued by many organizations. He added that one should capitalize on existing skills and use that money to fund one’s passion.

Later, the floor was thrown open to questions from audience. The speakers provided further clarity on how to deal with recruitments during the pandemic and resources to build soft skills and pitch stories to organizations as freelancers. Students across streams shared their positive
comments about the utility of the session.

Nissim, student of PGD in Print Journalism opined that the session aided him to identify multiple opportunities in journalism. He said, “I liked Gangadhar's advice how to use our skills that we acquired as journalists to look for employment in other areas such as social media manager, photography/ videography, content writing and data mining to be useful and to pursue our passion in journalism simultaneously.”

“The biggest takeaway for me was that we don't need to wait to follow our passions. I liked what was said about starting one's own business, if you don't find a publication catering to stories of your interest, just do them yourself. I believe that besides this being personally satisfying, it will also build our portfolio,” said Niket Nishant, PGD in Multimedia Journalism.

Nikita Gupta, PGD in Broadcast Journalism, found the session extremely helpful and said, “I liked that Gangadhar spoke about keeping business and passions separate. It helps you do good stories and not compromise on them.”

The session concluded with a thank you note from Kanchan Kaur, Dean of IIJNM.

By Shoby Krishna

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