Mass media or media studies have struck a chord with the student who wants to make a big shot in the industry, given the glamour and the challenges it offers. And when it comes to pursuing this course people think of Bombay, Pune, and Delhi etc. There is a common belief among many that this course in Kolkata is not as popular as in other cities whereas the irony is that Kolkata is the birthplace of film makers like Sayajit Ray, Hrithik Ghatak, and the first newspaper and advertising agency in India all started here! But the truth is there are good colleges and universities that do teach this course. However saying that, the course needs to be given more impetus and certain changes are required. Given below are 8 changes recommended below – Text : Shriya Sarkar
1) More inclusivity: They say “the more the better”. The course can be made more interdisciplinary and inclusive. By combining it with other subjects, it becomes more interesting and engaging and the students get to learn a lot. Just like in Symbiosis Institute of Media, Pune, there are a lot of subjects taught along with media studies like psychology, sociology, creative writing, theatre, linguistics and the students get to choose from these electives according to their interests.
2) Offering specializations in under graduation: After studying this course, students are spoiled with the gamut of choices, given how vast this field is. Some might aspire to be the next Shoojit Sir car and there are some who might want to own an ad agency just like Donald Cooper of Mad Men series but if this is treated more like a specialized than general course, students get a chance to choose their interest. For e.g. In Xavier’s Bombay, the BMM (Bachelors of Mass media) course branches out into two specializations: journalism or advertising. Students get to choose their line of interest in the third year itself.
3) Practical training: Practical knowledge is required in the course. More amount of practical training should be given to students. Field trips/study tours should be made a part of this training. For e.g. when an election is going on, students should be taken to the place to make them understand how media reporting is done, how political campaigns are handled etc. They get to learn much more than only books and texts.This also breaks the idea of rote learning as Ranchoddas of 3 idiots proposed “raata marke kuch nahi hoga,kabil bano,kamyabi jhakmarke peechi aayegi”
4) Seminars/Workshops: Since mass media is a much more practical course and the media industry is changing rapidly, it is important for colleges to organize seminars and workshops where people from the media industry and other professions are invited to interact and share their life experiences with the students. Workshops should be made part of this course for practical training. The journalism department of Lady Shri Ram organizes short term courses during summer for its students.
5) More qualified faculty: There is a need for more qualified and well experienced faculty, especially people who have been a part of the media industry and have contributed in some way or the other. Since mass communication is a much more practical course interspersed with theory, it’s important to have teachers and professors with technical and theoretical knowledge who can deliver these concepts and make an impact on students. There should be more guest lecturers and visiting faculty on the board. These should include eminent media personalities whom the students idolize, so that the learning gets even better.
6) More tie-ups with industry: Internships are mandatory and thus the colleges should have tie-ups with the industry so that they can provide with more internships to gain a firsthand knowledge on the matter and more practical lessons can be given.
7) More in depth learning of the topics: More than adding a number of subjects and topics, it is important to teach the existing topics in greater details. More than just knowing the name of the subject and what is it, students should know the content in “between the lines”
8) Better equipped library: The libraries in most colleges should upgrade their infrastructure. They should stock updated study materials, resources, audio-visual samples, books, publications, modules etc.
(Cover pic: Sheejal Maskara)