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15 Dec
Blog Writing Contest - Terms And Conditions

In Blog

1.) Only residents of India are eligible to enter the competition.

2.) There is no entry fee and/or purchase necessary to enter this competition.

3.) Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same entrant will lead to his/her disqualification.

4.) The closing date for the competition will be on December 22 nd, 2017. Entries submitted after the aforementioned date will not be considered.

5.) St Pauls Institute of Communication Education will not undertake any responsibility for entries not received for whatever reason.

6.) St Pauls Institute of Communication Education reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition, and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside the control of the Institute. Any changes to the competition will be notified to the entrants as soon as possible.

7.) St Pauls Institute of Communication Education is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by
any third party connected with this competition.

8.) Winners will be chosen by an independent adjudicator or panel of judges appointed by the Management of St Pauls
Institute of Communication Education.

9.) St Pauls Institute of Communication Education reserves the right to publish any of the content recieved on any of their properties digital or otherwise, however credit will be given if all necessary details have been provided by enterant appropriately.

10.) The winner will be notified by email or phone within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or
does not claim the prize within 7 days of notification, St Pauls Institute of Communication Education reserves the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

11.) The winner agrees to the use of his/her name, image as well as their entry in any publicity material. Personal data relating to the winner or any other entrant will be used solely in accordance with the prevalent data and privacy protection laws in India, and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.

12.) This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network. You are providing your information to St Pauls Instituteof Communication Education and not to any other party.

13.) Only students that are currently studying in an educational institute are eligible to participate in the content.

14.) By entering this competition, the entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by the above terms and conditions.


14 Dec
Power of The Media

In Blog

This is the winning essay that was originally submitted for the Altina Essay Contest 2017 organised by Altina Securities Pvt. Ltd

Media is the fourth estate of democracy. The textual analogue places media on par with the
legislative, the executive and the judiciary. However, reality births its own tragic flaws.

The BJP used ‘advertorials’ to create hard-hitting, table-thumping, in your face “Acche Din”
slogans. Next, their Augean stable grabbed seats like hot vadas and the game of thrones was
conquered. A struggling party used and perhaps misused (remember the fake Assange-Modi
endorsement) the fourth estate to christen itself as the law makers (or breakers).

The power of media, subsequently, saw a downward spiral. It lost its unanimity and like
Bollywood, divided itself into mainstream and parallel, left and right. Accessibility of digital
and social media opened the floodgates of languishing chaos. The power of media was scattered
among untrustworthy hands followed by fake news, unabashed pat-on-the-back policies, news
hour hullabaloos and consequential confusion in people’s minds. Media has the power to
infiltrate minds, thanks to its ‘assumed credibility’. Remember how it handled the Arushi
Talwar case with complete ineptitude, hawking like vultures to contort facts. Eventually,
people believed in the culpability of the Talwars for a convenient self-designed closure.

Media has the power to influence opinions. Half-baked truths, sadly, misguide them.
Nonetheless, there are a few nimble footed websites and organizations that speak truth to power
and pursue tough stories. What’s appalling about media is its resilience to survive on. Despite

being suppressed, oppressed, smothered and subjugated, it still grows, through an off shoot like
lizards that regenerate.

The power of media cannot be contained. But can it be used to contain the ‘Voice of Dissent’
which, ironically, like a weakling, dangles on the threshold of life and death? How often has
‘Dissent’ naturalized death more than life? In the light of certain events, I’m moved to question
how much power the media has in the first place. As much as Article 19 holds good to any
Indian citizen.

The world thrives on binaries. But, in between the lines are hidden more than fifty shades of
grey. Ordinary is treated like dregs and elite is placed on a pedestal by the media. A Bandra
cardiologist trips over uneven pavement and merits a 500 word report while a 17-year-old
Maitri Shah, from Vasai, falls off a local train and dies and she is dismissed in passing. It’s a piteous fact
that media believes in ‘news values’. It conveniently tailors facts to suit complacence. Media
lacks the power of inclusivity let alone objectivity.

Judicial order, class prejudice and political influences cripple the power of media. This compels
me to ridicule its power. After all, it does not seem all that mighty and powerful. Mainstream
media have reduced to mere puppets at the hands of ‘you know who’. Illicit celebrity
relationship is treated as national news while shrinking economy takes a backseat.

Loosely handled Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp certainly cannot contest absolute
freedom of expression; for beware, there’s always a legal voyeur checking you out! Let’s be
honest, I don’t want to be another Shaheen Dhada who’s penalized for speaking my mind out;
or another Rohini Singh who’s mocked and slammed with a case of defamation against Shah.

Media has become a vulnerable faculty. Hitting ‘Post’ or ‘Share’ on any social medium isn’t
that easy; and if it is not easy, is it even power? Media is contagious and regenerative like
lizards or planarians. But who cherishes the power to decide which part of it grows? Does it
grow in head or tail? Even a garbage dump grows, but does it develop? Dump, like media, has
the power to grow and spread stink. Inevitably, the power to fashion its fate still rests in
alternate hands. Indeed, the fourth pillar of democracy is still shorter than the first three.


24 Nov
Crisis Management in PR: What Indigo Airlines Should Have Done

In Blog

The word ‘reputation’ is an important word that brands carefully cultivate over the years. On the other hand, we as consumers have a choice which one we should pick over the other, but loyalty always plays a pivotal role in making a brand versatile and withstanding against all odds.

However, despite their best efforts, brands can face crisis situations following an episode. An outburst by anyone on social media, senior management behavior, sexual harassment issues or an ad campaign gone horribly wrong catches the eyes of the readers and no sooner people start becoming judgemental about the whole episode. All it takes is one viral social media post which will send the brand into a downward spiral that quickly unfolds into a public relations disaster.

Indigo’s numero uno position crashes: Why assaulting a passenger damaged the reputation of the reputed airline.

The recent Indigo airlines incident, where a passenger was assaulted by ground staff, is now on a long list of events that quickly escalated and became a talking point on social media. United Airlines’ forcible removal of a passenger, Uber’s unending troubles over policy issues all over the world, private company owned drivers, regularly misbehaving with the passengers are some of the instances this year which have immensely damaged their reputation cycle.

In such a crises, brands should not only focus upon managing or fixing the issue; but the criticism needs to be addressed immediately, publicly and honestly and making sure that a particular issue is managed successfully in a time-bound manner.  While most of the brands have a habit of remaining quiet or being ‘unavailable for comments or telling a PR agency to ‘Stop Press’, this strategy further escalates the issue and makes the brand lose its sheen and credibility in the market.

As our ancestors have said - Honesty is the Best Policy, so be the first, to tell the truth. Answer every question and don’t hide dust under the carpet.  Answer it before it is asked. When you are wrong, just admit it quickly. 

Always cooperate with the investigating authorities, on the other hand, don’t wait for an external investigation or social media to spill the beans; always do it yourself.  Always acknowledge what has gone wrong and an admission of immediate rectifying action is critical. What has to come across clearly and unequivocally is that the brand is being transparent and genuine and have a strong corporate social responsibility model which is not only on paper but in their actions too.

So what Indigo could have done?

1. While the avenues of communication and the speed at which news spreads have changed dramatically over the years, conventional wisdom continues to rule the management of a crisis. Anticipate, plan, communicate, and then wait.

2. When Indigo was made aware of this episode, they should have spoken to the affected passenger, investigated the case involving all stakeholders, including the whistle-blower and the employee who manhandled the customer.

3. Once the internal investigation was done, the Indigo management should have personally apologized to the passenger.

4. When it comes to media briefing, Indigo should have identified a spokesperson who will take all the media queries.

5. The most critical aspect of the crisis response is the message that Indigo should have communicated - The message would have reached out to the heart of the customer, but with rational parameters and rectifying actions.

6. Your employees are your best brand ambassadors. So keeping employees engaged, reduces the spread of false information on social media through unnamed sources.  At that critical juncture, frequent updates were important; so that media and employees would have been aware what steps Indigo has taken or will take with regards to this particular incident.  

While Indigo may not emerge unscathed from this untoward incident, had they followed the above crisis mitigation initiatives, the handling of the situation would have helped them to win back some respect, especially when customers see you are willing to publicly accept your mistake and take necessary action.

The message that should have gone to the whole world: Even we are human ….not perfect always though we strive to be.



20 Nov
What journalism courses should be teaching students

In Blog

Thousands of journalism schools all over the world are teaching the subject through its core requirements. So you learn to analyse newspapers, to recognise a news story, develop sources and to protect them, learn how to navigate the tricky terrain between media and the law, to write a good, strong lead (or lede!), do an interview, take a decent photograph, write captions and headlines….you get the picture.

Increasing numbers have also recognized the importance of computer literacy to advance informed, sustainable journalism. You cannot afford not to – not when the whole world is constantly innovating technology, especially media technology, and what you teach (or learn) can be obsolete in six months.

Simultaneously, there is a debate going on among j-school graduates and academics, on the one hand, and senior practitioners in the field on the other.

The subject of the debate largely is not what is being taught, but what we should be teaching in journalism courses in the new millennium which is already almost two decades old.

One thing is certain – there is a need to constantly evaluate, update, and change curriculum to keep abreast of changes in technology and in newsrooms, on social media and in studios, in traditional broadcast and on the digital platform.

And while the core competencies required by journalism have not changed, much else has, especially in face of new requirements mandated by the way news and information is now being gathered, processed, disseminated and finally CONSUMED!

What are these core competencies, which you absolutely should have, by the way? Reporting, feature writing, media, and the law, how to do media research. Sourcing a story, keeping lists of contacts, learning how to recognize a story, interviewing etc.

Also, part of the core competencies are taking photographs, shooting basic video stories, recording audio, and learning the software to process such stories – Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro for editing.

But while many journalism schools are teaching modules on setting context by learning about society, communications and media (for example), how many are actually pushing the idea of understanding PROCESSES in the knowledge that this gives students the latitude to decide what aspects of journalism interest them?

Let’s face it – in the 21st century, it is possible to be a journalist without writing much!  Here, MUCH is the operative word. You really cannot be a journalist if you do not understand the PROCESSES involved in the writing, whether you actually write or not, as in being a television correspondent or a print reporter. Or an anchor for whom the grunt work is done by a team of people doing the actual feeding, leaving you to be the face of a program or even channel.  And yes, it IS possible to be a journalist who does nothing but research!

Convergence or switching between platforms should be taught in every j-school as a matter of course so that students know how to ADAPT swiftly and easily.  This is why it is important to be on top of new tools, after learning the older ones, including InDesign, Editing Suites, and stuff like Avid, because this is what the channels are using as platforms in their studios.

Data journalism and the importance of infographics for new journalism are other subjects that should be taught. These are the fields offering the richest mines of stories these days, yet few schools actually offer them. Can you just imagine the turned-up noses at the mere mention of spreadsheets? And while they are about it, the best journalism courses should be cracking the whip and raising the bar at the time of admission itself, warning that a basic knowledge of math, as well as good language skills, would not hurt. When statistics offer human interest, trends, and patterns for social behavior, why aren’t students taught how to read columns of numbers for these stories?

Let me ruin it a bit more for today’s spoiled student of media with dreams of a related career. EVERYTHING is data, and managing and analyzing it should be all important for reporters, editors, graphic designers and practically anyone who has pretensions to journalism. Yet media schools just skip this part. Too hard?

We painstakingly trach students to write leads, recognise a nutgraf, edit, video, do headlines and captions, yet even the significant or the best journalism courses don’t show students how to analyse a city budget, pull down census data or figure out a per capita rate, all of which make the best stories because they deal with money and where it is going.

The theory is all very well, but the meat is in the practical’s. Courses should offer practical modules that include how to network, freelance, even write an invoice and of course, to pitch a story. Did you think that pitching should be reserved for people trying to sell something? Today journalists are always selling, themselves, their stories, their ideas to audiences.

Social media should not be one more activity but a proper subject which is analyzed and understood to establish the importance of ensuring more engagement and as a way to monitor news.

And finally, when it comes to television, remember that only five percent of students will ever make to the front of the camera as anchors or “faces”. So opt for schools that teach production as the major takeaway of this specialization, preferably through astutely breaking down news programmes and sifting through the data for details of the various job descriptions offered by the modern, converged newsroom.

You get hold of a story, gather the facts, verify them, get your quotes, your pictures, your video footage, decide your angle, winkle out the peg – and that’s just for starters. How you deal with it, the platform, the format, the form it will take, how you out it out, who it goes to, the words that you use depending upon the audience, that’s 95 per cent of the work. It’s up to journalism courses to see that their students are properly equipped to deal with the challenges that gathering and disseminating information in the 21st century poses.


26 Sep
Millennials & Freelancing: The Love-Hate Relationship

In Blog

In an age where our world’s latest generation of rebels have redefined the concept of life, love, humanity, war, politics, technology, the word ‘awesome’ and the meaning of Apple, it only seems fair that they have found the next best alternative to corporate jobs as well.

Most freelancing roles allow you to work virtually within the comforts of our own home and with (mostly) minimal experience while still being able to sell your talents at a nominal fee. Musicians, journalists, photographers and other such roles are still required to get onto the field, but freelancing allows them to work by their own rules and then sell their work to anyone they choose to, even virtually. With technology constantly finding its tendrils into various fragments of our lives, it seems only natural for us to let it invade our main source of income.

But the relationship between millennials and freelancing remains bittersweet. Here’s why...

So, what we love…

  • Knowing your Talent’s Worth

Those ancient doodles crafted in a fit of boredom during your Economics lecture could actually be worth monies. So could your constant need to be the ultimate Grammar Nazi or your inbound talent of being able to type faster than average without formal training. With the scale at which technology is expanding, art and talent are increasingly appreciated, shared and in demand.

  • The Flexibility of Fields and Interests

Freelancing is no longer restricted to low-slung musicians; it has been welcomed within multiple industries, across various fields and with many job profiles. The includes the well-known Writers, Proofreaders, Developers, Designers, Translators and the lesser known PR Professionals, Journalists, Online Marketers, Online Tutors, Data Entry Operators, Call Centre Professionals and so many others that are being created in the spirit of technology.

  • Pick your own Client & Project!

Unlike in a permanent job, temporary workers such as freelancers are typically hired by various clients for a short period as per the needs of specific projects. You could be working with multiple clients at a time and if they like your work they will approach you again. With freelancing, you are your own boss and you get a say on the deadlines, the client, the project and, of course, the pay.

  • The Virtual Age is Here

Long queues at the station, traffic at the signal, the need to follow a fixed schedule, the daily lack of time are what most would say define typical corporate jobs. With most freelancing roles all you need is access to excellent WiFi, period. Your role might also demand you to have a good telephone line, maybe a webcam and other little nicknacks specific to your profile. While freelancing in certain fields might still require you to get out there, todays century allows you to approach clients and sell your material virtually.

  • You can work in your underwear!

No, seriously! Except when you need the webcam, in which case you can simply wear a shirt and a tie, that is all.

  • And with your Pet too

Turn your loyal doggy or your fluffy cat into your very own Motivational Manager!

  • The World’s a Global Metropolis (No Villages for the Millennials)

Think about how fast technology connects us; phone calls are placed in an instant, data can be sent across in seconds and time zones are being increasingly interceded. The seven seas aren’t as daunting anymore and travelling across continents can be done within a day. As a freelancer, you may contact and deal with clients or talents from literally across the globe at a far more regular scale.

  • We Ain’t Broke Anymore

Ensure what you’ve paid for work is balanced by working for pay, i.e.,  balance your student life by freelancing your talents so you gain both cash and experience. Together let’s make the concept of broke students a thing of the past!

What we most definitely don’t love.

  • The Lack of Legal Security & Guidelines for Freelancers

Before virtual freelancing, there were independent workers. Either way, our country lacks the legal guidelines to protect either and both. While corporates have councils, guidelines and laws protecting them from exploiting and being exploited, our government is increasingly making it harder for us freelancers to get on with our work. The tax laws are hazy and the transferring of payments from foreign clients or countries is a hassle. While most resort to contracts to ease misunderstandings, non-payment of dues it typical and you might still need to lawyer up.

  • Oh and GST *Facepalm*

Filing returns before the GST era was relatively simpler; the Service Tax & TDS were comprehensible and well defined in comparison. The post GST era, however, has left the entire industry, beyond and above just freelancers, absolutely baffled about the way ahead. Do we need to register? Can students register as freelancers? How much do we need to pay? Monthly returns? What?!

  • Prostituting Your Talent

The laws of demand and supply apply here too; you can only supply and create the sort of work that the client demands. The fact remains that when you are being paid to execute your talents, you are no longer creating it for yourself but selling it to another. This may sometimes include commercialising your work by creating material that holds mass appeal and is meant for the pleasure of others.

  • You are your Own Boss

Yay, you need not work with an unappreciative boss! Except, with being your own boss comes added authority and responsibility of a whole another level. With freelancing, you will need to sell your talent, tackle your clients, manage your own finances and set your own guidelines. You no longer have the comfort of a team to pass the buck with and the need for being professional is necessary.

  • The Hard Work Doubles

Freelancing isn’t as simple as Netflix and chill. It demands double the hard work and dedication as a full-time job would due to your increase in responsibility. Take this; as a working freelancing journalist your task is handed over to you, you will need to step out of your comfort zone and capture the truth of the world and then hand over your work to your base and they will handle the rest. As a freelancing journalist, you will have to identify areas that need coverage, still get out there and capture the world’s secrets, compete with multiple other freelancers and then try hard to have your articles listed on some known platform.




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St Pauls Institute of Communication Education (SPICE) has created a benchmark in educating and training students from across India to become skilled media professionals. Located in Bandra - at the very heart of Mumbai city - it is one of the India’s finest media schools with another campus in Bangalore.

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