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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


12 Feb
Currently youth from Hong Kong and India do not have enough channels for sharing ideas and understanding: Jason Yuen

In Blog

At the age of 21, when most of us are confused about our aim in life and roam around disoriented looking for answers in friends and parties, ‘Jason’ Yuen has already achieved a lot to his credits. He may seem quiet from outside but the moment he presents himself, you see a future leader who can even give Mark Zuckerberg a run for his money. Jason is majoring in Operation Management & Marketing from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is the chairperson of the ‘Student Elites’ which aims at promoting foreign exchange program in Hong Kong.

He also initiated a program called “HKUST BeOurGuest Program” on campus which let the exchange students have a home dining experience at local students’ family. This program has gained more than 7 major media coverages from Hong Kong public. Other than that, he took several initiatives such as helping one of the major local public transport to set up the “Estimated Time of Arrival” system & devices and etc.

He is a young leader in the making who is both entrepreneurial and innovative.

How did you come up with the idea of ‘Student Elites’?

“Student Elites” is a subsidiary organization of “The Y.Elites Association”. It was newly established on August 2017, formed by a group of university students, with the aim of hosting various high-value events and program for Hong Kong university students. We believe that there has been a disconnection between students from tertiary education and youth elites ranging from political & business influencers and professionals. As a result, by leveraging on the extensive and premium network of “The Y.Elites Association”, we can implement a different high-value program for our target group, to connect them with a diverse premium social network.

What countries are you targeting?

Hong Kong. Our main focus is on HK university students

What difficulties did you face during the planning stage?

We encountered problems about how to attract the attention and awareness of the local university students. Since there are already quite a lot of youth organizations established in Hong Kong.

How relevant is it to Asia?

Some of our highlighted events and program are in Asia scale. For instances, we have organized Malaysia Elites tours visiting the China Embassy in Penang, Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Penang State Legislative Assembly etc. Another highlight is the Boao Forum for Asia, which China president Xi Jinping will also be present this year. And Student Elites will be responsible to send 30 university students from Hong Kong to assist the operation of this international forum.

Do you have any thoughts about expanding the program to India?

No. Since our network, connection & resources are mostly based in Hong Kong, such as the support from the Hong Kong government, the China government, both the local political & business influencers. However, we are welcome to collaborate with top-tier youth organizations in India for youth exchange program.

Do you think Student Elites will help in improving the relationship between India and Hong Kong for future generations?

I think currently youth from both regions do not have enough channels for sharing ideas and understanding. Even Student Elites can establish well in HK, we still do not know which parties to approach in India (coz I guess there are also many youth organizations in India). So I guess we may need a platform or middleman to line us up. Or some youth organization need to gain a certain popularity over the others first, so we both know which youth org to approach. And undoubtedly, it always helps with the mutual understanding!

How has the response been so far?

When Student Elites was established 6 months ago, we only had 15 executive committees who are responsible to organize youth events & program. And currently, we have been building our brands, programs & connection with all the universities in Hong Kong. So far, our committee board has more than 40 students for holding various program and more than 100 members.

What are the future plans of ‘Student Elites’?

We aim to become the most high-end youth platform for university students in Hong Kong. Through holding more high-value events & program, we can attract more abled & elite students, and we will cultivate them to become the future youth elites for Hong Kong. For examples, we have implemented a “Shadowing Elites Program” this year to let the selected university students have shadowing experience from more than 15 Hong Kong youth political & business elites.

How would you describe your journey so far?

The journey has been rewarding. However, I never thought about to stop. For the good sake of Hong Kong, as a local youth, it is always our responsibility to contribute to a better Hong Kong community. And I am just one of those passionate Hong Kong young adult.

Originally published on



1 Jan
Women and Safety in India

In Blog

                                 “Feminism isn’t about making women strong, women are already strong,

                                   It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.”

As I sit down to write this, the news channel in front of me is displaying a rape of a 4-year girl child by her own relative. Soon we will see people posting their resentment everywhere on social media and in a while, comments and announcements about protests will follow. The beneficent beasts of prey – So called ‘worthy politicians’’ remark:         

 “Humein is par khed hai....Hamari samvednaien Peedit parivaar ke saath hain ... Doshion ko Baksha nahi jaayegaa....”

And the same story repeats over and over again. We’ve been here before. And then there are hundreds of other times when we should have been there not only to speak up but to act, alas we haven’t.

This chilling month of December reminds me of an unfortunate incident five years ago when a girl named ‘Nirbhaya’ was assaulted and was murdered after rape after which these questions became national agenda – Are women safe in India? Why are the number of rape cases increasing day by day? Have we done enough for woman safety? What steps should we take to ensure safer roads for women? And the list goes on........

The need of the hour is to envision a change- a change that’s possible! This is nothing but a never-ending ‘blame-game’ – Why such types of things happen? We say it’s the police who failed, it’s the law which failed, it’s the governance which failed and then the politicians. If laws are made – we say they are not properly implemented-The police is corrupt-the judiciary is time-taking and what not! But have we gone deeper inside us to ask –Are they only to be blamed? Are we responsible? What I believe is it is more of everybody’s responsibility to ensure the safety of our mothers, our daughters, and our sisters.

One of the main reasons of violence against women is the mentality which deems women inferior to men and limits their importance to the maintenance of the family, the upbringing of children and satisfying their husbands and serving other members of the family.

Rape- an evil without boundaries fails to differentiate between a 4- year child and a 60-year-old lady. This heinous crime at once leaves the lady on her own to face the harsh society and even forces her to culminate her life just because she can’t tolerate what people speak! Is this what we are nurturing our girls to face? From parties to offices, from streets to highways, humiliation, rape, and harassment have become a never-ending norm.

Let us look from another angle- Are women safe at their homes? Are girls treated equally as boys? This speaks about the various incidences of dowry in which a woman is brutally beaten or is burnt alive just because her parents could not meet the never-ending dowry demands of her in-laws.Not only this but the relative who gropes, fondles or rapes the vulnerable is to be blamed, predators are also the family that thinks that a baby girl is a lesser child, or that the resident domestic worker offers sexual services also. Although strict laws have been framed regarding the same but many of them are unreported. This condition is what forces us to think whether those traditions, values exist which India always boasted of! Indian women should be of the thought that:

                              “A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman."

Then there are our immature politicians adding fuel to this by giving irresponsible statements that are unacceptable and uncalled for. Who can forget what SP Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said when asked about increasing incidences of rape – 

 “Ladke hain! Galtiyaan Ho jaati hain

It is these statements which inspire rapists. These orthodox ‘greedy good-doers’ blame their dressing sense and are of the opinion that women should be put behind the veil, never to see the light of day.

But the pertinent question that is still pestering us is –‘Are we doing justice to the 50% stakeholders of the nation?’ .The situation has become graver than we could imagine. No one can deny the fact that strict laws and better judicial system are one that could help change the present scene but apart from this it is women who have to be more empowered, more self-reliant and fighting against all such social norms and beating all odds and setting examples so that our future generations are in a safe and cosy environment. Making stringent laws is obligatory to guarantee that the guilty in such cases get the penalty that they deserve and don't walk freely due to the weak provisions or loopholes of the existing laws. But asserting that stringent laws will be able to curb male sexual overdrive in India cannot be justified. Proper implementation of these laws is equally important. A law which chastises a rapist, such that he remains alive example for the whole society, is the need of the hour. There is also an ardent need to establish “all women” police stations throughout the nation. Most of the survivors don’t report it because they don’t feel comfortable with male police.

A large number of policy solutions have been talked about and implemented since, including those that emphasize the use of technology, such as ‘panic buttons’, GPS tracking, and CCTVs. As a response to the sharp media attention, the noisy public demand, and pressure from civil society organizations, attempts at forging more gender-sensitive policies and strategies have begun at different levels of government. The concept of Smart Cities initiative has the agenda of making cities safer for women. Leaving apart everything, a revolutionary change in the mindset and conscience of Indian men is needed so that they stop seeing women as objects of sexual pleasure. This justifies the true independence of India :

                           “The day a woman can walk freely at night,

                             we can say that India has achieved independence”

India is a growing economy with unprecedented potential. If our life, dignity, and honor are at stake, then everything else, including the economy is secondary. Development neglecting human dignity, respect and security is not true development in the real sense.

We have remarkable human capital in the face of females. It is they who can create new possibilities of development but only if they feel safe at their workplace. We need to reinstate the dignity of women in our society and give them the utmost position in our society, for Elysium lies beneath her feet. It’s my urge for all men and women with a hope to see the change to come forward to restore “her” status as it is said that:

             “There is no tool for development more effective than empowerment of women”


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.




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