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18 Apr
8 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Are Prepared for a Career in Media

In Blog

Media might seem all glamorous from the outside, but the reality, is quite different. Before you take the plunge, a little self-reflection is necessary. 

Here are 8 things you should be looking for in yourself, when deciding whether a media career, particularly in the three broad areas of journalism, advertising and public relations, is for you or not.

You must be socialized to a mediatized world

Which means being aware of how media is impacting you and whatever you do throughout the rest of your life, in a way that earlier generations could never imagine.

This in turn leads to industrial-strength reading, listening, watching.

Preserve us from nightmare kids who confide that they really want to be journalists, but they HATE HATE HATE reading.

For most media careerists, this is a major part of their lives, whether you are in journalism, advertising, or public relations.

Communicate

Communicate at various levels, superficially and at a deeper level, consciously or subliminally. At all times be aware of not just HOW you communicate, but also the WHAT, WHEN, HOW & WHY.

Read different newspapers daily, watch how news is presented on TV, analyze commercials to see how a brand is represented, go through magazines to see the style of writing.

After you do this, try emulating it in the real world. Practice makes perfect and effective communication is the key to make it big in the Media industry.

Get Social

Blog, Instagram, Facebook, tweet. This keeps your mind constantly turning over in its efforts to think laterally, or out of the box.

There is a premium on originality in the media industry. Develop your abilities in this area. Start NOW.

Make Technology Your Friend

Acquaint yourself with technology as much as you can. Don’t just use it, understand it.

Media loves those who can work with resources at hand in seasons of scarcity as well as plenty. For instance, learn how technology can enhance the quality of your content or any other output.

Understand that learning in any sphere never stops, that it is a lifelong process. Now practice it, online and offline.

Adapt to Changing Trends

Adapt to changing trends. Both in the way you carry out processes and in how these impact that way your place of work is structured.

The media industry is constantly evolving, with processes in a particular subject to built-in obsolescence that requires continuous updating of skills.

Practice, Practice, Practice

As I had mentioned earlier, practice make perfect.

In the media business, doing stuff again and again helps as much as mugging helped you crack an exam.

Every time you do something, no matter that it seems repetitious at first, brings something new to the table.

Stay Strong & Healthy

Stay STRONG and HEALTHY. Long hours, hard work, mental and, yes, physical, makes this a number 1 priority.

This is no 9 to 5 industry. Prepare yourself for late nights in the office, mental fatigue and even last minute event trips.

You have to be fit to survive.

Patience is the Key

Cultivate patience in everything, and a sense of team work. Rome wasn’t built in a day or by one person.

Above all, nourish a sense of excitement over what you do.

For few other jobs have the power to keep surprising you as media does.

 

)…

6 Apr
My First Day at Mirror Now

In Blog

‘Current affairs’ was quite a distant affair until I joined SPICE. Every new professor began their lecture with, “Do you all read the newspapers daily?” And our answer to it would be “kind of”.

It is ten months now; I'm almost at the end of my course and on the threshold of internship. From being a partial recipient of news to a producer of one, it's not out of force but out of responsibility that I read the daily morning updates, the medium doesn't matter.

This attitude did a lot more than just making me more aware, it bagged me an internship at one of the most prestigious channels - Mirror Now. Times Network believes in 'Now or Nothing’.

The catchphrase didn't mean much to me until my interview where I was asked to comment on a trending topic that caught my attention. I jumped at the opportunity to comment on the previous night's press release by the I&B ministry.

The government, known for unprecedented decisions, laid down guidelines to curb fake news. If a journalist was found to have ‘created and/or propagated’ fake news, his or her accreditation would be suspended.

Thanks to our Dean, Carol Andrade, who often pointed out the serious deficiencies existing in the Indian media, I knew what I could speak on - the ill-conceived order that posed a threat to democracy.

The framework could easily limit the rights of a few journalists who talk about the underbellies of the government and its inner workings.

Natural cynicism, nose for news and being aware of what's trending sums up journalism; and if you are in broadcast, speed, accuracy and quality complicates the equation further.

My first day at Mirror Now was like battling a stormy night. Journalists racing with time, screaming and ordering to get the breaking news up first was far from sanity.

Finding method to the madness is the ultimate challenge. No one's going to serve you knowledge on a platter. You have to ask for it and ask LOUD.

Shadowing every desk and computer was the only way out. The best way to learn is through observation. I have crossed the entrance and begun crawling through this maze; hopeful to run through it in future.

As a conclusion, I'd like to quote Horace Greeley,

'Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you're at it'.

If you want to pursue a post graduate course in Journalism like Sharlene, have a look at our PG course in Journalsim

If you are an undergrad, check out our B.Voc in Journalsim course.

)…

31 Mar
Vocational Courses Are The New Big Thing in India and Here Is Why

In Blog

The word vocational course might have a negative connotation to a majority people; however, the reality may be far from the truth.

Vocational courses can be life-changing . They combine theory with practical learning, in a way that will prepare you for the real world.

Popularly known as Skill Based Education, a vocational course has the same quality of assurance and standard as compared to that of a basic Degree course.

The National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) was launched on December 2013 by the Government of India to organize the flow of Vocational Training on the level of 3 major principals, they are: knowledge, skills & aptitude.

These courses are designed in a way that make the student industry ready by the end of the program.

Vocational Courses have been creating quite a buzz in the Job Sector, because of their work-oriented nature.

It is profitable for an organization to hire a candidate who has more than just a degree by the end of their graduation. Students of vocational courses are exposed to the job market at a very early stage because a major part of these type of courses are learning on the job via internships.

The best part about these courses are that they are economical and time-efficient. Imagine graduating with work experience as well. That will definitely set you apart from a person who has no work experience at all.

Research studies have shown that people are happiest when they choose careers that mesh with their vocational interests.

With today's competitive world, everyone wants to be the best. But how do you become the best without burning holes in your finance?

That is where vocational courses stand tall.

Vocational Training has surely changed Suma's life. She grew up in Thakurgaon district in Northwest Bangladesh and completed her Secondary School Certificate (SSC).

When she decided to enroll in college to acquire a Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC), she was suggested to take a vocational course instead. After a lot of convincing from her teacher, she finally agreed to join the Diploma Program in the food industry.

Suma has now made a successful career for herself & is financially independent. - Source ILO

Few Reasons to Choose a Vocational Degree

Questions like WHAT TO DO AFTER 12th or ARE THESE COURSES A GOOD OPTION COMPARED TO YOUR REGULAR DEGREE might come to mind when considering a vocational degree.  Here are the answers to that question.

1. Already have a Career in Mind
You are focused on what you want. You just require the right training and guidance for it. These vocational courses offer a wide range of programs, plus the curriculum are revamped as per the requirement of the specific industry. Therefore, it gives you an edge over the others, which means your degree helps you ace over others in the career you have been aiming for.

2. Hands-On Training
Vocational Courses mix classroom training with real-world experience via supervised workshops & internships at off-campus facilities. This helps you to apply what you learn in class to actual situations on the field. The programs are job oriented.

3. Duration
Vocational Courses are designed to prepare you for entry-level employment in the field you choose. In fact, some programs can take as little as six months, with many others taking three years for a degree.

More than your classroom training it also gives them a reflection of their life goals.

Trains them to become professionals before they even graduate. A student who completes a vocational degree does not have the shyness or insecurities that many young graduates face when they go for their first job.

That is because their entire course is one big job learning experience.

)…

7 Mar
Covering Sridevi

In Blog

A reporters perspective on this whole phenomenon of media melees and outraged readers and viewers who seem to despise reporters for over- coverage of sensitive issues, and fail to recognize that they are very much a part of the problem.

Now that social media is done outraging over TV media's coverage of Sridevis death, let us talk about those unfortunate reporters who were busy reporting the event while everybody was abusing them. Yours truly was one of them.

It all started with a late night call (at around 3.30 am) from the boss informing about the untimely demise of the first female superstar of the country. I was asked to move to her residence as the fans had started coming there.

I got out of my bed half-heartedly. Made necessary calls regarding my camera unit and other logistics, I also called my friends from the industry who cover Bollywood/Entertainment to get more info as that is not my beat.

When I reached the Lokhandwala residence of the actress, many TV crews were already there, reporting and doing live coverage. I joined in, not knowing that this was the start of four trying, tiring days for us.

All the reporters were on the field before 6 am. Bulletins were rolled early and we were supposed to show the situation outside Sridevis residence.

Continuously, we kept telling our respective desks that there is nothing to show other than our faces. But the desk had to fill the bulletin without doing much of writing work.

 For people who are not from the industry, taking a reporter “on the live” is the easiest way of filing a bulletin. It saves everybody the pain of digging out information, writing packages and editing.

 Anyway, the coverage continued, all the reporters and camerapersons were doing continuous ‘lives’. As the day passed the sun became ever more harsh.

As often happens, there was no place to sit. And when our feet began to disobey us, we sat on the ground. We took turns to sit under a tree (for shade), on some stones, the base of police barricades (man, it hurts!).

Then came the so-called fans of the late actress. I know I will be hated for saying this. But the people who blocked the roads of the city claiming devotion to Sridevi are, 99 percent of them, just star stuck. Meaning, like ghoulish voyeurs, they were out to catch a glimpse of just anyone from Bollywood.

They were not Sridevi's fans. Many of them were drunk. They started troubling the suffering press and targeted female reporters and camerapersons.

They shot our videos, they showed us to their friends on video chat when we were doing our ‘lives’, and because we can't react during broadcast, there was little we could do to stop the nuisance.

We sought help from Mumbai police but cops also decided to fight with us. I can understand their pressure as well, but media people are also common citizens and protecting us was their job. It took a number of calls to senior cops to get help from the general gundagardi of cops on the field.

But these incidents took place daily at all the locations. It seemed as if cops were having fun while shoving us around.

We had very little choice in the way of food. Have you checked out the prices of restaurants in Lokahndwala?

Plus it was the end-of-the-month!  Still, we continued our coverage. I remember female reporters not drinking enough water on that hot day as there was no place to pee. It was only after we requested the nearby restaurant people to let us use their washrooms that our bladders got some peace.

Mosquitoes also had a field day; with so many blood groups present on one location, they had a feast.

Harassed by the crowd, manhandled by the police, hungry, thirsty, bitten by mosquitoes, we continued our coverage - nonstop.

Then a lot of anchors and senior reporters were parachuted to Mumbai. The reporters who cover the beat did not even get a chance to do crucial coverage, instead, they were asked to do stupid things, like getting visuals of the crematorium and all.

Meanwhile, the parachuted princes and princesses, being clueless initially, chose to go the way of sensationalism.

The remaining three days were exactly the same. We all have different tales to tell. We, who do not have the luxury of sitting in our AC cabins are used to of all these inhuman situations. Generally. But this was taking a toll on our self-esteem as well.

While we were busy doing lives from Sridevi's Lokhandwala and Versova residence, Anil Kapoor's house and the airport, the news regarding the accidental drowning as the cause of death, broke.

All hell broke loose after that. But we were busy on the field, with little idea of how our respective channels were busy making graphics of Sridevi in a bathtub.

 Please trust me, not even a single reporter or cameraperson had any say in those obnoxious and insensitive reports. But we bore the brunt of it.

We were mocked on social media, we were humiliated by those who don't have the brains to understand that we are the smallest unit of our channels. We simply follow orders. That is it.

We all remember the screenshot of a reporter lying in an empty bathtub with the boom of his channel in his hand, the one who was humiliated on social media. Please, guys,  do you really think that he wasn't smart enough to understand that what he was doing was stupid? 

But because I come from the same field, I can say that he was simply following instructions, the poor guy was trying to do his job. He did not have the power to take a stand.

On all these four days we worked for more than 18-20 hours a day. We were exhausted, hungry, thirsty, embarrassed, humiliated and fed up.

Then came last nail in the coffin; almost every channel claiming that theirs was the only dignified, sensitive, considered coverage of the death.

Let me repeat this, the people on field do not have any say in what goes on air. So please understand this and spare us your judgments and convenient social media outrage.

We’d like you to come and show us, how you would do it better, given the timelines, the conditions and the technological processes around, under and over which we work.

Till then, shut the hell up.

)…

24 Feb
4 Tips for making it big in the PR Industry

In Blog

If you are new to the world of PR and are wondering how to make it big in the industry, you are definitely not alone.

This is a question a lot of PR Experts receive and quite rightly so considering the sheer size of the public relations industry.

Catering to multiple sectors such as fashion, healthcare, technology, entertainment, education and so on and with each of them operating in a different way, it can become a bit overwhelming when you’re considering to take PR as a career.

So how does one make it big in an industry that is so diverse?

The fact is that there are some common principles that can be applied across the board.

Your personality can take you places.

When you have just started your career as a PR professional, nobody expects you to know everything about the industry.

However that being said, one thing that every company is looking out for is how sharp, intelligent and adaptable to change you’re.

These traits need to trickle down to your personality because you will be actively dealing with a lot of brands, journalists, media coordinators, managers and even CEO’s for your clients.

A pleasing personality will always trump your experience because ultimately, PR is all about building and maintaining good relationships with various parties.

Enrol in an Internship Program

Theoretical knowledge is one thing however practically applying what you have learned on the job is a whole new ball game altogether.

A PR manager will always hire an applicant who has relevant experience in the field compared to someone who has no experience whatsoever.

So how do you get an internship? You can try applying for an internship program the old fashioned way by approaching major PR companies or you can use the power of Social Media and check on groups and communities on Facebook and LinkedIn for internship opportunities online.

Of course, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you should consider joining a media institute that specializes in Public Relations and offers an internship program as part of the course curriculum.    

Prepare for your interview

This is a no-brainer. If you’re going to apply for a job, you need to be prepared for your interview. Too many applicants come underprepared for an interview and wonder why they did not get the offer.

How do you prepare for an interview?

  • Research the company
  • Review their social media channels
  • Check who they have been working with
  • Carry copies of your resume
  • See what recent events or campaigns they have been a part of

Basically, you need to do your homework. You can also go a step ahead and read about what their competitors are doing.  This will give you some major points to elaborate on when you’re giving your interview.

Think of it this way, your interview is a PR pitch for yourself!

Be prepared to Hustle

PR is an extremely challenging yet incredibly rewarding field. You will be doing loads of research, creating reports, press releases, making phone calls and a lot more.

And you will also have to be prepared to shift gears depending on the number of clients you’re handling at a time.

Your clients need you to maximize their brands reach and the media needs you to pitch them with amazing stories. But don’t be afraid, it might sound difficult but there is a whole lot of fun in PR.

You will have to work hard but the rewards of your hard work will always be fruitful.

At the end of the day, if you can manage to strike a balance between your clients and the media, you will end up becoming an expert PR professional

)…

14 Feb
Think about PR as a Career

In Blog

First things first. The media industry in India is booming, with year on year growth that is the envy of many nations even in the west.

Advertising is growing by leaps and bounds. In a consumption-driven economy, with half the population under the age of 25 years, people are buying, buying, buying. And to get people to buy, you need advertising, hence the growth.

The news industry is growing, television, and internet and of course, the mobile, which has become the screen of choice for hundreds of millions of Indians. Why, at a time when Europe, the US and the UK are declaring shrinking numbers when it comes to print publications in favour of the internet, even this segment is growing in India, and at almost 10 percent a year.

And then there is Public Relations, the youngest of the three largest media segments (not counting film-making).  First, there was liberalisation in the early nineties. This was followed by the entry into India of large numbers of foreign corporations, attracted by our consumer economy. Suddenly, the India story could not be ignored any longer. It had to be told to the world, and in return, the world had to woo India and its mouth-watering market. And at this point, the practice of Public Relations, which was doddering along as a media relations exercise till then, just exploded.

 

In terms of numbers of people that the Public Relations Industry is employing today, it may not seem too large at around 8,000. Now consider this.

In 2008, the industry was evaluated at around Rs 490 crore. According to the Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI), in a report released in September 2016, the PR industry is expected to nearly double in size, from Rs 1,120 crore rupees to Rs 2,100 crores by 2020. In 2015, it grew 13 percent over the previous year. Last year it grew 19 percent, which is mind-boggling. And as more and more job portfolios and descriptions open up, the number of employees required will increase exponentially. In fact, don’t be surprised if these numbers MORE than double.

So if you are considering a career in Public Relations, now would be a very good time to jump in and qualify.

There is a huge, acknowledged gap right now in the industry which is suffering from a dearth of trained professionals.

There is so much exaggeration. Public Relations has moved far beyond the traditional role of making your client seem great to the world through a series of well-placed articles in the media. Sure, they speak on behalf of their clients, but they do much more than this now. Public Relations professionals:

  • Inform constituents (customers, suppliers etc.)
  • Educate audiences on important issues related to their area of specialisation)
  • Represent the client to different audiences
  • Act as a go-between for the client with the media
  • Do crises management when the client is in trouble so that he or she does not look too bad
  • Strategize future plans and carry out a host of activities depending on a client’s needs
  • Generally, make sure that the lines of communication remain constantly open and responsive to the need of the moment

Public Relations (or PR) is much, much more than getting publicity for a company or an individual or a corporation. It is about creating and maintaining reputations and this requires a host of activities.

On a day-to-day basis, PR people are constantly looking for new ideas on how to deliver messages to people through a variety of platforms and formats. This is what makes the profession unendingly interesting, infinitely full of possibilities. There really never is a dull moment.

So you may find yourself drafting press releases or speeches, planning events or even arranging for your CEO to speak to the media on specialist subjects. Here it helps immensely if you have friends in the press or at least you know who to talk to in the media.

On other days, you may be working on the publicity needed for the launch of a product, or planning an event linked to its appearance on the market. The idea is to think out of the box, beyond the traditional methods, to grab attention.

PR industry in India grows 18% to reach Rs 1, 315 crores in 2017

The media and entertainment industry leans heavily on PR to get their initial messages out. Imagine being the PR person for a film or a television star, a media house or a television and film corporation. Nowadays, every celebrity either hires a PR company or an individual to do their publicity projects. Sometimes this is on a retainer basis, but increasingly, the business model is beginning to lean towards the project-oriented pattern. Now imagine the opportunities this offers to people who would rather freelance than join a company.

As more and more the importance of good, constructive, trust-building publicity is acknowledged, the greater the room to grow for those who are suited to the field. What are these particular qualifications? Actually, they are much like those required for journalists, which is why you hear of quite a lot of journalists actually moving into public relations! So here are some of those qualities one requires to be a successful PR professional.

  • A good general education, with a strong degree. No, it does not matter that you have not done Media as part of your undergraduate qualification. You can do a Post-Graduation after this. A good general education is one that exposes you to a worldview while keeping you rooted in your own culture and traditions.

You should like people, or rather, the public. Of course!

Strong language skills are absolutely essential. In India, this could mean English (very desirable) or even a regional language, depending upon whether you want to go mainstream of vernacular. This will also enable you to decide where you want to do your PG in Public Relations. Usually, this would be a Diploma, as the academic skeleton to support a PR qualification does not exist in India through a degree.

You need some knowledge of mass media. Particularly it will help if you understand some social media and how to use technology to choose the platform and format for your communication and marketing exercises.

Interact with PR professionals, do internships to gather a working knowledge of the profession. The only way you can hone what you learn is by constantly practicing.

Finally what kind of designations can you expect when you become a PR professional in a company?

Account Co-ordinator: this is usually a supportive role where you work with an Account Executive. Sometimes the work can be tedious, involving newspaper clippings and filing, doing a bit of research, making phone calls, keeping databases, sending mail out to the media etc.

Account Executive: You usually work directly with a client, getting the brief, translating this, planning special events, doing annual reports, looking for opportunities for publicity where your client could fit in. For example, during the annual Budget, you could pre-empt newspaper or media requests for reactions on the Budget from your client before they are even requested.

Account Supervisor: This personality oversees accounts, managing both Executive and Co-ordinator. Sort of a big shot.

Media Relations Manager: This is the guy who makes the phone calls to his friends or acquaintances in the press. It is your job to pitch stories and persuade reporters to write about them.

Director, VP: Big cheeses, who manage the firm, meet the clients, create overall communication strategies, and decide on the form all the company media releases will take. You will be responsible for getting new accounts and generally seeing that everyone is happy with the job done and with spending money on publicity.

Entrepreneur: This is the gift of the age of technology, and it stretches across Media. Technology has enabled us to work as freelancers, whether in journalism, in Advertising or in Public Relations. As long as content is king and the platform matters, more and more young people are going to strike out for themselves.

Good luck as you make up your mind

)…

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