Bachelors of Mass Media (BMM) is one of the most soughtafter unaided courses offered by Mumbai University.
This year, BMM had the highest number of applicants across city colleges and also demanded high cut-offs marks for admissions.
While this suggests that journalism as a career is very popular among students, the truth is far from it.
The first two years of the course focus on the basics of history, economics, journalism, advertising, public relations and media studies etc, the third year offers students an option of a specialisation in either journalism or advertising. This is where journalism loses.
Touted as a ‘glamorous’ course, a BMM with specialisation in advertising is increasingly becoming the first choice of students.
With 60 students per batch, per college, more than 50 percent of students are choosing advertising.
In SIES College, Sion, there are only eight students for the j ournalism class while the advertising class has 52 students.
“Students generally believe that advertising is a more creative specialisation. Also, there is a perception that journalism jobs don’t pay as much advertising or public relations,” said Seema Narendran, BMM professor at Swami Vivekananda College, Chembur.
However, some students feel that the reputation of the profession has suffered in the recent years.
“I refused to be bogged down by allegations of corrupt media and paid news which keep floating around, which deter some students,” said Rutika Yeolekar, a third year journalism student from Ruia College.
But she also felt that advertising had more avenues, compared to journalism.
However, most students, according to S Varralakshmi, co-ordinator, BMM, at Jai Hind College, are ill informed.
“There is no clarity in students about what avenues are open to them in each specialisation. Journalism can give students a much larger platform in the future. But the notion is it will only lead to jobs in a newspaper or channel,” she said.
Gaurav Thapar, an advertising student of Jai Hind College, feels one can have a rewarding career in either field, depending on one’s abilities and willingness to work.
Students also believe that the present course-structure of journalism needs changes.
The present format includes projects in reporting, editing exercises and other field work.
However, students feel that more practical elements should be incorporated.
“Internships should be made compulsory in the third year at least” said a student from SIES College.