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.