Journalism is a hot career option today and a much sought after course in Delhi University (DU). The problem is, only five DU colleges offer the course and there is stiff competition for seats. This is where private journalism and mass communication institutes come in.
Mushrooming at a rapid rate, one such institute opens up in South Extension or Satya Niketan before you could spell mass communication. Their snazzy websites, glossy prospectuses and media campaigns add to the confusion and help them draw students.
These fly-by-night operators claim tie-ups with ‘Big’ media houses and promise internships and job offers, in exchange for a hefty fee. Most, however, do not have a good faculty, facilities or even spacious classrooms. Once the course is over, students are usually left baffled and their parents disgruntled at the virtual disappearance of the tie-ups. Amreesh Saxena, a professor who used to teach in one such institute, said: “Students are given internships in the first year, courtesy our tie-ups with some media houses”.
However, once the course is over, the students are left on their own to find work. Education consultant Abha Adams says there is a huge demand for media courses, but everybody cannot get a chance in DU, so there is bound to be reliance on private institutes.
“Students should critically analyse the pedigree of such institutes. They should visit the institutes first to check out the infrastructure, faculty and placement,” she said. Adams said students should meet the faculty and check their qualifications.
“They should find out about the institute’s alumna and where they are placed now,” she said. She admits that this would mean a lot of research and hard work, but it is better to be on the safer side than being left in the lurch. Industry insiders say that students of such institutes find it very tough to get a good job or even internship.
“Though it is not necessary that top colleges or institutes produce top students, those from DU or prominent institutes like Asian College of Journalism, Indian Institute of Mass Communication or Xavier’s are given first preference,” said the head of a well-known news channel.
“Those from small institutes usually get a chance at local TV channels and have to work their way up while those from top institutes get into top channels easily,” he said. A senior editor of a prominent newspaper said those from DU or top institutes offering post-graduate diplomas are given first preference.
“Usually students from fly-by-night institutes are worse than even DU freshers,” she said. “Those from top PG institutes go through the tough entrance process and are usually good.” At undergraduate level, however, DU is the first choice. Colleges like IP College for women and Lady Shri Ram boasts of sophisticated studios and equipment. “DU’s brand value assists students to secure a respectable job,” said Nilima Bharadwaj of Delhi College of Arts and Commerce.