If you are one of those people who love new stories, travelling, challenging tasks, then Journalism is your true calling. The number of options within Journalism are insane, one can write, report, anchor, freelance and that too in various fields like news, feature, entertainment, lifestyle, food etc. Yes, Journalism doesn’t always mean reporting from the war front, it can be as stable as a 9 to 5 desk job.
So, if you want to try your hand at journalism, here is how you go about it-
Undergrad – One can stay focused from the minute they walk out of school. They can choose courses like Bachelors in Mass Media(BMM) which gives an overall view of the Mass Communication industry over a period of three years. The best part of BMM is the exposure that you get, you will be getting projects, events, magazines, photography assignments and what not. Most of the universities across the country offer this course with a fee structure of around 20 grand per year.
Internships – Interning while studying is the best thing that you could ask for to shape your career better, the best part is that in a field like journalism, the internships are just too much fun. Not everybody will pay you a stipend, but consider yourselves lucky if somebody does. One can intern in news channels like Times Now, CNN or can join a media house. Interning as a social media executive may be of great help because of the current inclination of the market.
Placements – Sitting for placements might seem like the right thing to do, but if you ask me, you need to do a Masters before getting into a job in Journalism because most of the media houses and news channels are looking for Post Graduates. Also, the current placement will not pay you more than Rs 10,000 per month, which is not what you want! So, you could do something like freelancing or part time and proceed to a Masters degree.
Masters – The Masters degree is mostly a one year PG diploma in most of the colleges in India, barring a few which give you a degree of the same level in 2 years. The fee for this course can be 2-5 lacs and banks are ready to fund your tuition fee. Some of the best colleges in India for Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication are- ACJ in Chennai, IIMC in Delhi, XIC in Mumbai, Symbiosis, MICA, AJ Kidwai of Jamia Milia Islamia in New Delhi, and IIJNM in Bangalore. These colleges have a selection process in place which consists of a written test which could be online, followed by a personal interview.
Getting a job – During the course you will be given hands on experience of journalism, various assignments will keep coming your way and it will be a crazy time. But most of the good colleges come with a guarantee of placements. While sitting for placements, you need to research about the packages and the history of the company and then be confident and talk your way into it. The salary package that you will be looking at will be around Rs25,000-40,000 per month, depending on the company, and can be much higher if you have prior experience.
Choosing what you want to do – It will take a little while for you to realize what your forte is, you can do a desk job which means writing stories or a production job which requires a lot of running around. You can go into print, television, radio or even in web journalism. The more you experiment with yourself, the closer you will get to your forte. And once you get into what you really like doing, there is no stopping you.
Journalism is definitely not rocket science because rocket science will be easier, journalism will pull you out of your comfort zone and make you so many things that you will be stunned. Becoming a successful journalist will take a while, but then the term successful is subjective itself. All you got to do is go out there and do some good work.