The Next generation Journalism School
08/01/2010

The 9.9 programme, as I found out, has a distinctive course structure, as different from the rote systems of lower and higher education in India as possible.

Online PR News – 01-August-2010 – – It’s college; the typical stereotype of a DU student is a kid in a khadi kurta, slightly scruffy and sitting around looking either bored or intellectual. It applies to many, but as stereotypes go, rarely to all. The outward appearance at least does sometimes fit the bill for what has come to be called “the journalist type”. Looking it may seem fairly simple, but getting there is no easy task. Everyone knows catching a break in the industry is hard, but there are a few things that help, and no, you Delhiite, I’m not talking about ‘knowing the right people’.

We’ve all railed against our teachers at some point or the other, because usually none of us can find an ounce of relevance in what we’re studying to what we want to do. Rarely do we look at a curriculum and think to ourselves, “Bingo! That’s exactly what I’ll need to know to get where I want to go!” I recently had the privilege of experiencing that moment. I came across the description of an institute called the 9.9 School of Convergence and began reading about their post-graduate diploma programme in Applied Journalism and Media Communication. I’m in third year now, and it’s about time for me to start thinking about what I want to do with my life after college. Having left it till now, I know I’m already late!

What makes a college, course, or institution the right one for you? The bottomline usually is that you should gain considerable learning and it should get you your dream job after completing it, or at least start you off along the way. A strong curriculum and accomplished faculty are extremely important factors, since they concretely shape the learning that you are going to receive. You must understand what you are going to learn, and it helps if you know that top professionals from the field will be participating in your training. Another parameter of comparison is the placements the course has seen in the past, and if it’s an old institute, the careers of alumni. Add considerations like student to teacher ratio, costs and campus, and any benefits over and above are just another argument in favour of the institute or course in question.

The 9.9 programme, as I found out, has a distinctive course structure, as different from the rote systems of lower and higher education in India as possible. It offers a combination of theoretical and practical learning, the kind that most universities universally eulogize and never implement. The faculty and administration include graduates from the prestigious institutes all the way from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and IIT, Kanpur to Columbia University, New York. The diverse award-winning faculty and Advisory Board members would provide perspective lacking in the run of the mill, theoretical and often outdated courses found elsewhere.

For practicality, students are offered opportunities to publish their work during the one-year course, including through an integrated professional internship. This means that by the time the student leaves, they have built up a presentable portfolio that they can offer at any job interview. The institute has what they aptly term “strong industry backing”, which translates to a minimal gap between the skills demanded by recruiters and those developed in the students by the programme. Boasting a 100% placement record over the last few years, the school has found students jobs with companies like, among others, NDTV, CNN-IBN, Discovery Channel and Times of India.

At a time when the rat race is getting rattier, and cutthroat competition has become matter-of-fact, every extra inch counts. And the “real world experience” provided by SoC, according to 2008 alumnus Pranati Oza, is what has allowed her to survive and flourish in her chosen field. She got to work with Vishal Bhardwaj making Maqbool, so it doesn’t come as a surprise! The in-depth exposure to every prominent media form, like print, TV, radio, online, movies and fiction has helped students identify and work towards their own areas of passion.

So I found a practical and holistic course that seems like it will help me reach the position I see myself in 5-10 years from now. It’ll take diligence, focus and a love for trying new things, but platitudes like “fake it till you make it” prove, like stereotypes, to be hollow. There’s clearly a lot more that goes into becoming a media professional than ethnic wear, silver earrings and a jhola.

By: Sanjana Manktala, Lady Shriram College