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Journalism — then and now, with Mrinal Pande

JSJC welcomes freshers with a virtual commencement lecture

Aishwarya Seth & Tanishaa Vikas Jain

Indian media prioritizes sensational news and glosses over important issues is a sentiment Pratkyash Dutta, a new student at Jindal School of Journalism and Communication (JSJC), can relate to.

For instance, recently, a high-profile TV news anchor shut-up a panelist for trying to talk about India’s economic growth — which plummeted 23.9 per cent in the last quarter (April-June) — and instead took the discussion towards a much-discussed suicide of a Bollywood actor.

“I am eager to learn more about how to do real journalism,” he added.

For welcoming Dutta and his batch, JSJC organised an online commencement lecture on Sept. 2. Attendance, however, was low. Emails sent to the organizers seeking their response on the low attendance went unanswered till the time of publishing.

Those who missed the lecture can watch the entire video on Jindal Global University’s YouTube and Facebook pages. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvnqsmkiqdM&t=63s)

The keynote speaker at the event was Mrinal Pande, a Padma Shri awardee and journalist.

“It is a cycle we are moving through,” she said. “We started with the oral tradition and moved to print. Print created a public sphere, the public sphere consisted of people who spoke in vernacular and in turn created a commercial sphere.”

Pande who has been an editor at Hindustan and also worked with Doordarshan and Star News shared her experience with the students. She also spoke about the changing dynamics in the media industry, and the future of media.

She said the changes in the new digital space were challenging.

“As visual media, inter-com, and net have become an important part of lives in urban India, there are so many new things that this generation can work with,” said Pande.

Shravani Singh, a student of the new batch, told First Draft that she was intrigued after listening to the guest speaker. “JGU has created a prestige platform for all of us to interact in an online space,” she said. “I personally am already getting to know my peers and professors and look forward to being on campus.”

Other faculty members also joined Pande in welcoming the new JSJC students.

Vice-Chancellor Professor C Raj Kumar expressed his desire to have the students on campus “sooner rather than later”. Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, registrar, guaranteed the students an “engaging and enriching time” in the university.

The founding dean of JSJC, Tom Goldstein, also welcomed the 2020 batch and expressed the importance of the comforting ritual of a commencement lecture during these testing times. “Like you, I long for and wait impatiently for the day our lives return to normal,” he said.

Professor Kajori Sen moderated the commencement lecture. She said it was quite unfortunate that the batch of 2020 were going to miss out on the exciting experience of the first semester.

But the students are nevertheless very excited about classes.

“The course has some really interesting subjects and an excellent faculty,” said Dutta.

(Edited by Sakshi Jain & Manu Kaushal.)