The BA (Honours) journalism course is a relative newcomer compared to other courses in DU but it has rapidly emerged as a popular and well-developed professional option for undergraduate students. It is offered by Lady Shri Ram College, Kamla Nehru College, Kalindi College, Maharaja Agrasen College and the Delhi College of Arts and Commerce.
With the rapid proliferation of media in India, journalism has become an attractive career choice for many. There is no special background required for this course and students from all three academic streams are eligible. A sharp mind, the ability to keenly observe, analyse and see beyond the obvious as well as clarity of expression are welcome attributes. The course is divided into six semesters over a period of three years and the university examinations are conducted at the end of each semester.
A career in the media is widely perceived as glamorous, but the journalism course is structured keeping in mind the rigorous and consistent hard work that good quality journalism requires.
It has often been argued that journalism can only be learnt on the job and not in the classroom. The journalism course focuses both on theoretical classroom learning and practical skills. The theoretical component plays a very important role in shaping the students’ understanding of the world, making them able to look at processes rather than events, and familiarising them with important socio-political and economic debates of our times. The theoretical component of the course includes papers on the Indian government and politics, international relations, economics, media and communication theory, international media scenario, history of journalism and Indian media law.
There are also papers on the Indian media industry, advertising and public relations and government information system. Over the three years there is increasing focus on developing practical skills. In the first semester a paper on newspaper journalism introduces the students to the basic concepts of newspaper design and fundamentals of writing for the media.
Papers on reporting and editing, in the subsequent semesters, require students to do practical reporting and produce in-house, self-written and edited publications.
In the final two semesters, the students are required to attend press conferences and write reports, learn the basics of radio and TV journalism and intern in a media house to gain practical experience of the field.
In the last semester they have to write a dissertation related to the media. Eminent media practitioners, journalists and critics are regularly invited to interact with the students. This exposure deepens the students’ understanding of the media scene. Classroom lectures are often combined with seminars and media workshops.