27 Oct 2023

Journalism is a calling, not a profession: Pankaj Aher

The Informist Media CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Pankaj Aher, spoke about the importance of discipline, reading newspapers, embracing work ethics, and honesty in reporting. Whether you are interested or not, you must read the newspaper from beginning to end, including the advertisements and editorials. I read papers like my life depends on it,” he said.

Mr. Aher emphasized the significance of words as a journalist’s tools and urged the students to stay well-informed, highlighting the importance of asking the right questions. “What you don’t know is always going to be more than what you know,” Mr. Aher said, underlining the importance of being well-rounded individuals and informed citizens.

Emphasizing the importance of discipline in journalism, he questioned the students about their motivations to become journalists.

He said, “By the time half of your life is already over, you should not be figuring out what to do. You need to know what you want to do to excel in it. Journalism is not just a job or a profession; it is a calling.”

Mr. Pankaj Aher delivered a guest lecture on October 27, 2023 to the 2023-24 batch of students at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM). During his lecture, he shared insights into his organization’s history of recruiting students from journalism schools since around 2003, citing this as his primary reason for addressing the students.

Mr. Aher spoke about his impoverished background and the challenges he faced as a young boy, working odd jobs to support himself. Despite failing in math during his 10th standard exams, he has now risen to lead one of the country’s prominent financial news media organizations. He encouraged students to invest in an Oxford dictionary subscription and a digital subscription to a reputable newspaper, recommending The Indian Express as the “boldest newspaper in the country.”

He highlighted the challenges of storytelling and emphasized the significance of reading good literature to produce quality work. He also shared how his reading habits, despite being unable to afford journalism school, gave him a competitive edge. “I was the only one who knew how to edit a copy because I read it in a book,” he said.

The CEO delved into the importance of work ethics and professional communication, encouraging a formal, respectful, and polite tone when interacting. He noted that the younger generation often focuses on convenience, but life, according to him, demands more.

He told the students that one should view journalism as a labor of love and as a means of speaking truth to power without fear or favor. “If you can’t be honest, you can’t be a journalist,” he said. He encouraged students to engage in discussions and read each other’s work to foster a culture of learning and growth.

Pankaj Aher’s lecture at IIJNM underscored the essence of journalism as a calling, discipline, and integrity, inspiring students to embrace these principles in their future endeavors.

By Mansi Jagani

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