Educating Future Journalists

Don’t shelf a dream

This past week was a busy one. But who cares when you get to live out a long awaited dream? It was around fall last year when the thought of teaching journalism crossed my mind. I had made a memorable foreign reporting trip that summer to India with a group of J-school students from Stony Brook University and thoroughly enjoyed mentoring and learning from these young minds.

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J-school students from Stony Brook University visited Bengaluru, India to report on the city. Check out more here

So, when life began to do what it does best, change, the notion of possibly contributing back into education featured on my many ‘things to do’ list. Timing is crucial for any dreamer.

Friday, July 15 was the day I got to sit in on an orientation that welcomed a new batch of future journalists who’d be attending class at the National School of Journalism. There were renowned names among the teaching staff for the batch of 2016-17. Among those were editors, commentators, best-selling authors and personalities within the journalism fraternity.

IMG_2813[1]I heard veteran journalist and founder of Bhasha News Media, Saswati Chakravarty extemporize about the challenges in journalism.  Just hours before her brief talk, the world had woken up to the tragic news of a truck driver that mowed down by-standers at a Bastille Day celebration in the holiday town of Nice, France.  Chakravarty didn’t miss her point about the reality of a de-globalized world. “The world is getting insular…leading to identity politics,” she said, while putting the breaking news of the day into perspective.

Journalism is like the human skull- its job is to protect the brain—the reporters who work among others and on their own, firing away perpetually on the issues that go beyond the headlines.

The world is grappling with a media monster- having a voracious appetite for the sensational, shocking and shallow reaches for the race we call humanity.

The change begins now.

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Too Young To Die

Official Picture from Alison Parker Twitter Profile

Official Picture from Alison Parker Twitter Profile

It’s not everyday that a journalist gets to become the news. However, in the recent past, more and more journalists have. From ISIS killings to today’s tragic loss of two upcoming journalists from Virginia’s WBDJ7 news.

While I sit in my office in Brooklyn, New York, it pains me to read the news, watch the moments of the reporter and cameraman’s lives cut shot by- gun shots-  while doing their job.

Too young to die.

What really hurts is the question of why? What did this young woman and man do to deserve this?

While so many eminent journalists have lost their lives in the line of war or reporting in war tone areas around the world, today marks another territory, our own soil.

Reporting from home base is no safer than being in a war ravaged zone. For local journalists this is now our war zone. What should be a good challenge is rapidly becoming a fight for our own and the lives of those we are united with through this profession.

While more soldiers are preparing to step into this profession, remember, fear isn’t here to conquer, its here to motivate.

Take a moment today to think about the journalists who have laid their lives down for others. If you had a moment in the recent past where stories didn’t come together, or deadlines were missed, think again. Isn’t it a privilege to have another day to go back to do those things again?

The tenets of journalism teaches us to be fair and balanced. When ruthless people take the lives of those who have stood at the battle lines to report with their ammunition-a camera and microphone, it tells us one thing: journalism is doing something right.

Let us unite together at this time of loss and remember these two young journalists, Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27 who lost their lives doing what they loved most. Telling stories.

 

A Morning At City Market, Bangalore, India

An Indulgence

Vendors and shoppers make their way through the busy corridors of City Market in Bangalore, India Vendors and shoppers make their way through the busy corridors of City Market in Bangalore, India

Students from the Stony Brook University  Journalism School interact withe sellers at the city market on the Journalism Without Walls 2015 foreign reporting trip.  Students from the Stony Brook University Journalism School interact withe sellers at the city market on the Journalism Without Walls 2015 foreign reporting trip.

Tied bunches of wood sticks used for pujas in Hindu households are one of the many items on sale at City Market. Tied bunches of wood sticks used for pujas in Hindu households are one of the many items on sale at City Market.

People in India purchase chillies by the 'handful' for approximately ten-15 rupees. Hopcoms, a popular neighborhood vegetable store sells chillies for 22 rupees or $0.34. People in India purchase chillies by the ‘handful’ for approximately ten-15 rupees. Hopcoms, a popular neighborhood vegetable store sells chillies for 22 rupees or $0.34.

Indian weddings or any occasion calls for garlands. A garland like this sells for 60 rupees or $1 approximately. Indian weddings or any occasion calls for garlands. A garland like this sells for 60 rupees or $1 approximately.

Women wholesalers haggle with customers to get the best price. Women wholesalers haggle with customers to get the best price.

A wholesalers closes a purchase deal with a customer. A wholesalers closes a purchase deal with a customer.

A rose seller is up before the crack of dawn in Bangalore. Getting a spot at the entrance of the market is crucial to getting more customers to purchase. A rose seller is up before the crack of dawn in Bangalore. Getting a spot at the entrance of the market is crucial to getting…

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JOURNALISM WITHOUT WALLS 2015- BENGALURU, INDIA

The journalism school at Stony Brook University undertook a foreign reporting trip to Bengaluru, India in the summer of 2015. The program, Journalism Without Walls is a unique experience for budding journalists to experience the thrill, challenges and learning that comes from foreign reporting.

Having done one of these trips back in 2013 to Turkana, Kenya as a student at the time taught me to value reporting and story telling in a whole new light. The journey to such regions is not only exciting, it’s filled with passion that you discover each day during the 10 day trip.

The students I co-led to Bengaluru as a fixer and mentor helped me understand better the workings behind a journey to a foreign land. It’s no easy task-especially when you are handed the responsibility to lead a team to report in the city you spent most of your years growing up. Breaking stereotypes, defining the city for what it is, today, and most of all, telling unforgettable stories that will, now, live on in the world of journalism.

Breaking News -Video

On September 22, 2014, the busy Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights became a crime scene after a dispute broke out between a contractor and his boss turned deadly leading the former to attack the boss with a knife and shortly thereafter attempted to run away.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle was on the scene to capture the moments and interview the hero of the episode, a young man who put his life in harm’s way to capture the perp.

Dipti Kumar filmed, reported and edited the video.