Journalism and Mass Communication: Emerging career of the century

Dr. DJ Pati, dean, Academics, at Institute of Management Studies, Noida

The modern age can be referred to as the age of communication. The communication industry and technology has bloomed in the past few years. The world, because of advancement in the communication technology, has been unified as a whole beyond question. This is where Mass Communication has digged into the situation, throwing up brilliant and unconventional career opportunities for the aspiring students who are looking forward to working in the dynamic roles offered by this sector. Mass communication includes an integral component – journalism. Although, journalism constitutes a large chunk of mass communication, the latter is not limited to journalism alone.

Talking about mass communication that works predominantly on mass media, is the reality of the modern world covering all aspects of human life. Students can explore to the farthest levels of their creativity working as a media person or journalist as that value flows from its purpose, to provide people with verified information they can use to make better decisions. It also brings along the most important and systematic process of discipline of verification that journalists use to find not just the facts, but also the truth about the facts.

What makes journalism different from other forms of communication?

The theory of the interlocking public

The splintering of mass media audiences and the migration of information to thousands of niche web sites catering to audiences in bulk is further evidence that everyone is interested, and expert, in something. The diversity and magnitude of the public, in fact, is its strength. A mix of public is usually much wiser than a public comprised of just the elite or one segment of special interest.

The wisdom of decision-making by an interlocking public is embedded in the notion that government by the people means citizens have the duty to keep themselves informed. This vision of governance is central to the notion that journalism has to be pluralistic.

Discipline of verification

Journalists often describe the essence of their work as finding and presenting the facts and also the truth about the facts. The Elements of Journalism have a scientific approach to get the right facts. Called the discipline of verification, its intellectual foundation rests on three core concepts of transparency, humility and originality.

Transparency means show your work so readers can decide for themselves why they should believe it. The journalists job is to provide information in such a way that people can assess it and then make up their own minds what to think. By giving the audience the background on how you arrived at a certain conclusion, you allow them to replicate the process for themselves.

Humility refers to keeping an open mind. Being in this field, one needs to keep an open mind not only about what they hear but also about their own ability to understand what it means. A career like journalism welcomes utmost modesty without giving a room to arrogance.

Originality indicates working honestly for oneself. This requires the ability to research and the desire of knowing more about eventualities in order to generate the best of the results.

Out-of-box thinking in order to analyse the trends and situations the journalist must explore the areas of concern with an open mind and in an impartial way with attributing factors responsible in terms of the magnitude of the problem and always come up with solutions

The journalist is a ‘committed observer:

Even the most conventional situations should be seen with a different perspective by the journalist as an observer. Being a part of this sector, you need to be equally clear about their role, both to themselves and to the public.

What is the purpose of journalism?

The purpose of Journalism is not defined by technology, nor by journalists or the techniques do they employ. Rather, the principles and purpose of journalism are defined by something more basic: the function news plays in the lives of people.

News is that part of communication that keeps us informed of the changing events, issues, and characters in the world outside. Though it may be interesting or even entertaining, the foremost value of news is as a utility to empower the uninformed. The purpose of journalism is, thus, to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments.

Apart from journalism, mass communication offers the youngsters a great deal of career options to choose from accommodating to their creative side.

Advertising is one of the most innovative mediums of communication. The advertising industry in itself is an ocean of opportunities. It provides a scope to everyone ranging from visualisers, copywriters, researchers, client servicing professionals, brand consultants, designers, etc. public relations also called PR is an influential sphere of mass communication. Both traditional and digital PR is currently flying high as an industry. Mass communication is the route to many of the avant garde industries such as alternate media, photo journalism, photography, radio jockeying and many others. Below the line activities, Out of Home and digital marketing have also emerged as the new communications and marketing trends

Here are a few things you should know about this industry, to help you choose the right career path for you, and start developing all the skills you’ll need to succeed.

All that glitters is not gold

First, a word of caution. If you want to pursue mass communication just thinking of it as a glamorous job, you might want to stop right there. The news anchors you admire, the bylines that amaze you and the reporters who you believe get to meet a lot of superstars and celebrities, do plenty of much less dazzling work behind the scenes.

One has to be on toes all the time to meet the pressure of being as aware as possible about everything, even if it is happening in the other sphere of the earth. For the people working in media and related sectors, there is no limitation to the work. It can start early in the morning and can go on till late at night. They might have to work through weekends and holidays. All in all, it is not a cakewalk.

Playing with the words

You must develop your writing skills right from day one if you want to be successful in this play. Be a wordsmith, the one that everyone would love to have in their organisation. Other than writing for newspapers, developing your writing skills can take you forward in various fields like copy writing for advertisements, blog writing, writing for online media, generating press releases in Public Relations, writing scripts for T.V programs and news. Last but not the least, writing skills can help you set a full fledged career in the print media.

Get that tech

Keep yourself updated about the latest technologies and get them right. This can place you excellently in the electronic and the online media. Knowing about the latest advancements and tools used in various fields in prior can help you clear your thought about their final implications. Due to the emerging trends of online media and electronic media, it is very effective and helpful to have the knowledge of how to handle a camera and edit audio and video recordings. Though, all this is taught if you pursue mass communication, but being well informed would be a cherry on top.

There are a few important things to note here. Many students aspiring to work in and for media are not naturally very good with words or voice but a scope of improvement is always there and everything can be worked upon.

A degree in Mass Communication can get you the most glorified and well paid jobs as this sector will not be slowing down anytime soon. Global entertainment and media revenues will continue to grow slightly behind the global GDP, as it always has. Yet, in this seeming sameness dichotomies abound, according to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). PWC report or FICCI reports must be highlighted to invigorate the trend analysis of the media growth perspective also.

These are just basic guidelines about what you can do with a degree in Mass Communication. There is much more to it. For instance, we havent even touched the marketing aspect. There is a lot more to this profession, but hopefully this will serve as a helpful reference point for early-stage planning. Pursuing Mass Communication with strongest of the passion and desire will provide an edge to your career for sure. This industry has seen growth in a multi faceted way and will continue doing so.

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