How do you become a journalist? what is journalism and mass communication? journalism courses after 12th or journalism courses after graduation is possible? I get this question frequently from teenagers, sometimes young men and women in their 20s.
My honest answer is that you can’t become a journalist simply by taking Journalism Courses and graduating with Honors. You won’t be a journalist if you have a journalism degree.
This unexpected response may surprise you. As a journalist who has more than 28 years of experience, 22 of those years being abroad, let me tell you what journalism is.
Journalism is not a career, job, or profession. It is not glamorous as it has become.
Journalism is, in my honest opinion, a mission. It is a dangerous mission, one that could cost you your life or leave you permanently traumatized.
Here are some facts about journalists. In 2019, 49 journalists were killed, and 57 were held hostage, with no end in sight. Three hundred eighty-nine journalists were also in jail.
Numerous journalists disappeared mysteriously from the streets, despite their families hoping they would return home one day.
Is this scary? This should.
You can’t learn how to be a journalist just by taking a course. Journalism takes passion and fire that is not taught in college.
It takes courage to pursue unknown facts, discovers dark secrets, and venture into dangerous zones, risking one’s life and resisting intimidation and threats.
You learn journalism in the streets, in everyday life, and without all the comforts we take for granted.
Journalism is hard work that requires dedication and the ability to work long hours without food or sleep.
A great journalist is always ready to go and will do anything to get the story.
As a journalist, I have been in every stressful situation possible for close to 30 years.
Journalism is based on your instincts to find the news and present it in a way that appeals to as many people as possible.
I am not a journalist graduate or a mass communication expert. Despite this, I have seen remarkable success during my time as a journalist. This is a success many can only dream of, but very few can achieve.
Don’t Get Scared
My personal journalism story may put you off making that “career” or choosing journalism as your “profession.”
It doesn’t have to be this way. Nowadays, anyone can become a journalist by obtaining a degree from a respected journalism college or university.
But a degree does not mean that you will put in the extra effort and passion that I mentioned earlier.
It is possible to get a job in journalism by taking only journalism courses. However, you won’t be an actual journalist if you don’t go through the same experiences.
Let’s now see which journalism degrees you can earn.
Journalism Degrees and Courses
There were very few journalism courses available in the past. The mid-1990s saw a sudden increase in the number and quality of journalism degrees and courses offered by both state-run and private colleges.
There are many journalism degrees and courses available in India.
- Diploma in Journalism
- Bachelor of Journalism
- Bachelor of Journalism & Communications
- Bachelor of Media and Communications
- Bachelor of Mass Media & Journalism
- Bachelor of Media & Advertising
- Basic Course in Photography and Videography
These qualifications are usually sufficient to obtain entry-level jobs in newspapers, magazines, news websites, TV channels, or the Public Information Bureau. This is the public relations wing of the Central, Indian state governments, and Union Territory administrations.
You can also get a Master’s in any of the above subjects. The syllabus for these journalism courses is usually very similar.
A master’s degree is required for journalism research.
If you are interested in pursuing any of these degrees and want to work for a news media company as a journalist, I recommend that you only attend the top journalism colleges in India.
India’s Best Journalism Colleges
Journalism courses are available at many colleges and universities. The curriculum would be similar, as I mentioned earlier.
It doesn’t matter what college courses you take to become a journalist. These colleges offer classes that can help you get into journalism.
Department of Communication & Journalism, Pune, Maharashtra
The Department of Communication & Journalism is one of the oldest colleges in India. It dates back to 1956.
The department offers many courses for journalists who wish to become professionals. It is affiliated with the Savitribai Phule Pune University in Pune.
Department of Journalism & Mass Communications, Hyderabad, Telangana
The Department of Journalism & Mass Communications, Hyderabad, is one of India’s oldest journalism colleges. It functions under Osmania University, a highly respected university. This department will help you get a job at any media outlet in India if you have a degree.
Department of Communication & Journalism, Mumbai, Maharashtra
This field is relatively new to the University of Mumbai’s Department of Communication & Journalism. It has been in operation since 2003. This journalism college only offers Master’s degrees in various areas of journalism.
This college offers a highly prestigious degree that can lead to excellent careers in newspapers and corporations that need public relations managers.
Jadavpur University (Kolkata, West Bengal)
The prestigious Jadavpur University, Kolkata, West Bengal, offers a Master’s Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications.
This post-graduate course is for those who have a Bachelor’s degree in any other stream and are interested in journalism.
The Department of Adult, Continuing Education & Extension of Jadavpur University offers a two-year Master’s degree program.
The university has strict admission criteria. They only admit exceptional students who are interested in journalism courses.
Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, NCR
You can find work in news media organizations if you are already employed.
You can complete the course in as little as one year, but it can be completed in as much as four.
IGNOU also offers the Certificate in Community Radio (CCR), which has a two-year duration.
This course is for those who want to work in small community radio stations across India. They will be able to provide news and education to rural families and remote communities.
IGNOU’s journalism courses do not require additional qualifications beyond a Higher Secondary Certificate. Candidates are not restricted by age or other factors.
Department of Journalism & Mass Communication, Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
This college is ideal for anyone who wants to make a career in the booming Hindi media industry and government-owned media outlets like All India Radio, Doordarshan, and Press Information Bureau.
Some of India’s most respected Hindi journalists have been trained by the Banaras Hindu University’s Journalism & Mass Communication Department.
Since 1973, the department has been part of BHU’s Department of Arts.
BHU offers three different journalism programs. These are Master’s degrees in Journalism & Mass Communication and Masters in Corporate Communication Management and Doctorates in Journalism & Mass Communication.
Remember that BHU is a highly respected institution of higher learning in India. Therefore, any degree can be used to help you get into the journalism field. BHU has excellent resources to provide in-house training.
Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Various Places)
Tata Institute of Social Sciences offers an excellent Master of Arts in Media & Cultural Studies. There are campuses in Mumbai and Tuljapur and Guwahati, Chennai, Hyderabad, Guwahati, and Guwahati.
This course is designed to help journalists create documentaries about culture, society and present them in various formats for the public. You will also learn skills that can be used to start or work for community radio stations.
TISS is a highly specialized course that focuses on creating video content for media, culture, heritage, and TV.
This course is unique in India and is only suitable for those who wish to work in documentary journalism. Additionally, you will learn presentation and writing skills.
This course doesn’t cover politics, crime, or other topics that news organizations are usually interested in. This course is about cultural understanding and not politics.
Department of Journalism & Communication, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
The reputed Department of Journalism & Communication, the University of Madras in Chennai, offers journalism courses that include collaborations with foreign institutions and online lectures and classroom training.
It is also the oldest and most revered seat of learning in India.
This department in journalism studies offers four courses. The Certificate in Journalism was first launched in 1947. It was relaunched in 1995.
These eight colleges are among the top in India for journalism education. These colleges will teach you a lot about journalism, news reporting, photography, and other skills that could help you become a journalist.
You can apply for many jobs once you have completed these journalism courses.
Journalism Degrees Lead to Jobs
Here are some details about the types of jobs that you could apply for after completing a journalism degree.
- Reporter: For newspaper, TV, website, and magazine.
- Subeditor: Newspaper, TV, website, or magazine
- Photographer: Newspaper, TV, website, magazine, and newswires
- For newspaper, TV, website, and magazine research
- Archivist: Newspaper, TV, website, magazine, newswires
- Videographer: Documentaries, News
- For newspaper, TV, website, and magazine.
- Content writer: For blogs, companies, and other clients.
- For companies and blogs that have websites
- Blogger: creating content for your blog.
There are entry-level jobs available in nearly every category I have listed above. You could also be a freelance journalist.
Internships are important
It is crucial that you do a great internship at a news agency in your final year of journalism studies. You’ll be able to learn a lot about working in a media outlet during your training.
A newsroom is the most crucial part of any media company. Because news from India and all over the globe continues to pour in every second of every day, it’s no surprise that the newsroom is the busiest part of any media organization. People in India have to be aware of the most important and relevant information.
Internships are a great way to find out if you’re able to become a journalist. Believe me when I tell you that I have seen most journalism students abandon internships or quit their journalism programs within the first few days.
Unfortunately, many of them realized that they were taking journalism courses for the wrong reasons.
It is therefore vital to intern at media organizations after or during a journalism course.
Journalism Salaries & Perks
In reality, Indian journalists are paid according to the Wage Board for Working Journalists of the Central Ministry of Labor and Employment.
Recent years have seen working journalists demand parity with the 7 th Pay Commission, which decides the pay scales for government employees.
Revising salaries to 7 th pay Commission has been a source of significant contention between different trade unions representing journalists and their employers.
Media companies claim that they are unable to pay high salaries because of falling profits from advertising revenues.
On the other hand, journalists claim that the existing pay scales don’t justify the long hours of effort required to be a journalist and do not compensate for the risks associated with the job.
This impasse seems to have no resolution. Several cases and petitions are pending in Indian courts.
A media company will not hire you as an employee. You will be required to sign short-term to long-term contracts for news media organizations. These can range from six months to three years.
What Does This Mean?
Working on media companies’ short- or medium-term contracts has many disadvantages. Job security is the most important.
It is unlikely that the news organization will renew your contract as it approaches expiry. This means that you may have to look for new jobs that match your skills.
News organizations can eliminate certain benefits like Provident Fund or other perks by using the contract system. They can instead offer a fixed salary and allowances.
In some cases, you may be given an all-inclusive, fixed amount of money with no perks.
Some news organizations won’t even send you a contract or a letter. Instead, you will need to submit an invoice to the company in the last week of each month. This invoice should contain the agreed amount between you and management for your services.
This means that you are not on the payroll of the news agency but only work on a freelance basis.
Journalist Jobs: Age Restrictions
Although no media outlet clarifies this, many do not hire journalists over 35 unless they are looking for experienced journalists to fill a very senior role.
It is not easy to find employment in very high-ranking positions. As a result, your options for jobs start to diminish once you turn 50. You might need to quit journalism and look into other career options, such as public relations or corporate communications.
But, I will provide an average salary scale for journalists today. These figures are based on various sources I found online.
Average Journalist Salary Scale
An intern typically earns between Rs.5,000 to Rs.7,000 monthly at any medium-sized media organization in a significant city.
- Experience of 1 to 3 years: Rs.15,000 to R.25,000
- Experience of 3 to 5 years: Rs.25,000 to R.40,000
- Experience of 5+ years: Rs.50,000 or more
If you are lucky enough to rise the ranks and reach the senior level, your monthly earnings can be as high as Rs.500,000 or higher, depending on your title and media organization.
Important facts about journalism in India
Another important point to remember: India is ranked 142 on the World Press Freedom Index. This is a highly shameful ranking for India.
India is the country that has the most problems. These countries are primarily underdeveloped and sponsored by terrorism. India is already included on the “Red List” of countries on the World Press Freedom Index (RSF) of Paris-based non-profit Reporters without Borders.
India’s press freedom rating has taken a severe beating over the past few years for various reasons. Anyone who reads newspapers and watches TV news will see this.
Paid news is a deplorable practice that some unscrupulous news media outlets indulge in. This has further degraded India’s once healthy press.
The current situation suggests that India could soon slip to the ‘Black List” of countries on the World Press Freedom Index.
Yes, I will end by stating again that journalism is an extraordinary mission. However, becoming a journalist requires more than a degree and a job as a journalist. A journalism degree will help you get started with a news outlet in India.