© Copyright First Draft

Common Room to Digital Dialogue: JSJC students strike out on their own

Some are writing about cinema, others about social issue, while yet others are exploring podcasts and videos

Shaardhool Shreenath

How can a journalism school like ours have no student-run publications?

This was what motivated three Jindal School of Journalism and Communication (JSJC) students — Tushar Verma, Harleenn Agarwal and Puneet — to start The Common Room.

“We will cover topics and issues that the university students can relate to,” said Harleenn.

The first unofficial blog from JSJC, The Common Room began in November 2019. But as physical classes came to a halt due to the pandemic and lockdown in late March this year,

they produced several audio interviews such as one with Professor Sonia Shukla, who spent the lockdown with her family in the Nilgiris. Recently, they have expanded their operations to YouTube as well.

“We might look into expanding our horizons later and covering other topics as well,” said Harleenn.

With classes being suspended or going online, other students also ventured into the online space.

Sidhant Koshi and Bhavya Vemulapalli of JSJC’18, along with former JSJC student Sparsh Agarwal started The Ambiguous Bioscope — to write about regional and foreign language films.

“We ignore Bollywood and Hollywood, and try to introduce our readers to films they would have

ignored because of language barriers,” said Koshi.

All three members pick and review the same film and come up with their own interpretations of it.

“We decided to attach the word ‘Ambiguous’ for this reason,” said Koshi.

Their first post, which went up in late June, was a review of the Tamil film, Super Deluxe. They are now looking at the South Korean film The Hand Maiden.

A group of five students started a podcast channel called Pop Wind (@popwind_official) which discusses everything from pop culture to politics.

The podcast was the brainchild of Jahanvi Maurya and Bhavya Vemulapalli. Their team includes their batchmates Sidhant Koshi, Avi Prasad and Jasmine Singh.

They are also plan to expand to other topics in the future. They released their first video in July, where they introduced the entire production team and since then have been consistently uploading every week.

They’ve covered topics like racism in Bollywood and the border crisis between India and China.

Bhavya described the show as “factual and informative yet informal and entertaining.”

Avi is responsible for editing, Bhavya does the designing, Jasmine handles the research while Jahnavi and Sidhant focus on scripting and presentation.

When asked about future episodes, Jasmine said, “We’ll be having more episodes on films and the (film) industry. We’re working on it right now.”

One of their recent episodes that focused on the issue of portrayal of women in crime films had Professor Kajori Sen appear as a guest speaker.

Kshitij Ojha and his team of nine students, all from different schools in JGU, were inspired by similar blogs by other students therefore they launched Digital Dialogue

(@digital__dialogue). Their website focuses on highlighting relevant social issues and contemporary politics. “Through this blog, we’ll highlight all those issues and topics that are ignored and dismissed by mainstream media,” said Kshitij. The name hints at the effect this blog will have on its audience, or as Kshitij says, “through this blog, we are talking to our audience and will also be encouraging discussions. Hence we decided to name it Digital Dialogue.” They recently uploaded a story on the issue of “Period Leaves” and are also in pursuit of a research-intensive study between Ambedkar and Gandhi’s policies. Furthermore, Kshitij and the team plan to start their podcast series where they’ll be inviting students and faculty members to have candid discussions about relevant social issues.

(Edited by Sidhant Koshi and Bhavya Vemulapalli)