Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The 21st Century Journalist’s Creed

The 21st Century Journalist’s Creed

A former newspaper editor urges journalists to ‘let go of the sense that we have control and recognize how much better public service journalism can be when we accept the public as true partners.’

By MichaelThe whole world is watching.” Demonstrators chanted those words in the streets of Chicago in 1968, and many people throughout the world did watch as the story was told through the voices of professional print and broadcast journalists. 
That summer I had graduated from the University of Oregon and would spend those next 40 years in journalism, working for just two newspapers. I left The Kansas City Star as city editor in 1978 and spent the next 30 years at The Seattle Times, 20 of them as executive editor. I worked with amazingly talented journalists and for principled owners dedicated to public service journalism. When I retired in 2008, I could not have asked for a more fulfilling career.

Today, the words “the world is watching”—uttered from the streets of Iran and by President Obama—convey a wholly different sense of the instantaneous global reach of news reports and the multitude of ways that information is collected and delivered. Consider how the world watched Neda Agha Soltan, a 26-year-old music student, die in Tehran this summer. Independent news organizations were prohibited from being in the streets, but two amateur videos—one 37 seconds long and the other 15 seconds—put a tragically beautiful face on the story of post-election protests that the Iranian government sought to suppress. Try as it might, the government couldn’t block transmission of images from mobile phone cameras, e-mails, and social networking sites. 
 R. Fancher
In 1914 Williams wrote “The Journalist’s Creed,” which begins:
I believe in the profession of journalism. I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.
I first read “The Journalist’s Creed” as a sophomore working for my high school newspaper, and it inspired me throughout my career. Its core principles of clarity, accuracy, fairness, truth, independence and, above all, public service, remain the heart of journalism today.

But Williams’s “Creed” was written at a time when information was scarce and access to it was limited. Journalism was mostly a one-way relationship with journalists deciding what best served the public. Today, anyone can perform the traditional functions of journalism, and thus arises a serious question about whether the kind of public service journalism Williams advocated can remain viable in the digital age.

After I retired from The Seattle Times, I was offered a fellowship in the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism for the 2008-2009 academic year. Through public forums, research and study during my fellowship, I’ve come to believe that the imperatives facing journalism are far more fundamental than I had appreciated. They go beyond the collapse of the business model that supported journalism in the past century.

Restoring Public Trust

One particularly compelling explanation for what is happening comes out of Forrester Research and is captured in the book “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies,”published by Harvard Business School Press in 2008. The authors, Forrester analysts Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, define this “groundswell” as “a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.” They assert in “Groundswell” that this is “an important, irreversible, completely different way for people to relate to companies and to each other.”

Li and Bernoff offer this advice: This groundswell won’t be stopped, but it can and should be understood. We ought not only to live with it, but thrive in it. Doing so requires new thinking—skill, knowledge, experience and, eventually, enlightenment.

I think everyone associated with journalism and journalism education appreciates the need for acquiring new skills, knowledge and experience. New business models will and are emerging. Of necessity, journalists are rethinking what they do and how they do it.

As for enlightenment, my belief is that journalism must also develop a new ethic of public trust through public engagement. This will require that journalists let go of the sense that we have control and recognize how much better public service journalism can be when we accept the public as true partners. Instead of fearing and resisting this shift, journalists must embrace and lead the way. This fundamental change in perspective isn’t just necessary for journalism to survive; it is the right thing for journalists to do.

In the foreword to Charlie Beckett’s book “SuperMedia: Saving Journalism So It Can Save the World,” Jeff Jarvis calls this “the natural state of media: two-way and collaborative.” As he observes, “The one-way nature of news media until now was merely a result of the limitations of production and distribution. Properly done, news should be a conversation among those who know and those who want to know, with journalists—in their new roles as curators, enablers, organizers, educators—helping where they can.”

As the economics, architecture, tools and technology of journalism change, Jarvis writes that he hopes what changes most is the culture: “I hope journalism becomes more open, transparent, inclusive and flexible.”

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Career in Advertising


Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising. – Mark Twain

Advertising is the art of conveying a message to the masses. Advertisements generally persuade people about commercial products, services and even draw attention towards social issues. Advertising is one of the chief divisions of any industry that ensures the industry’s competitiveness in the corporate milieu. Indian advertising industry is on a roll and is all set to provide quality job to thousands of individuals in next few years.

A career in advertising is a lucrative employment option that one can choose in the rapidly growing Indian economy. Advertising agencies generally prefer highly creative and talented individuals who can think independently and at the same time work as excellent team players. If you are interested in pursuing a career in advertising, you must be highly target oriented and willing to work in a pressure cooker like environment. Since this industry is very competitive, you must be willing to give your best at all times to make a successful career.


Advertising firms employ people with different educational backgrounds in various departments at various levels. Possessing a professional Degree or Diploma in a particular field of study can give you a head start in this industry. Further, flair for language and excellent communication skills are other factors essential for breaking into the realm of the advertising business.

To get into a specific department of an advertisement agency, you could choose from the following courses:

1.    Client Servicing: A post graduate diploma or an MBA in marketing
2.    Studio: Course in commercial art or fine arts (BFA or MFA)
3.    Media: Journalism, Mass Communication or an MBA
4.    Finance: CA, ICWA, MBA (Finance)
5.    Films: Specialisation in audio visuals
6.    Production: A course in printing and pre – press processes.
The best way to get into this field after a course is to get on- the- job training. All good institutions offer internship as part of the curriculum.

Start early

The first and the foremost requisite to take up a position in advertising world is to have a creative spark in one’s life. This creativity can be in any form, be it in language, communication skills, drawing, innovative thinking, and so on.

Eligibility for most of the advertising postgraduate courses is graduation in any discipline with a minimum of 50 percent marks. Admission to most of these courses is based on an entrance exam and/or interview. Some institutions also offer graduate level courses in advertising, for which they admit students who have cleared class XII.

Is it the right career for me?

If you are enthusiastic, naturally driven, creative, optimistic, and have the ability to multi task then advertising is the best career option for you. People skills are a vital requirement for this career as it makes one understand what a client needs and also helps in effective decision making. An institution running advertising related courses can help train and develop students to pick up traits such as:
1. Effective communication
2. Presentation and management
3. Team and leadership skills
4. Stress and pressure management
5. Persuasiveness
6. Confidence
7. Competitiveness
Various domestic and multinational companies in India certainly need highly qualified and experienced manpower for advertising. However, individual creativity and capability for innovation any day counts more than academic degrees in this fast paced business.

What would it cost me

Studying at institutes such as the MICA (Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad) could cost you up to Rs.1 lakh per year. But at government and some other private institutions, the fee is much lower.


Earning a scholarship may be a difficult task.  In most cases, scholarships are awarded to applicants on the basis of excellent academic performances.

Job prospect

Job opportunities in advertising include openings in private advertising agencies; advertising departments of private and public sector companies. Job seekers can also find openings in newspapers, journals, magazines; commercial section of radio or television; market research organizations and so on. One can also work as a freelancer.
Advertising manager, sales manager, public relations director, creative director, copy writer, and marketing communications manager are some of the major job opportunities in this field.

Pay packet

Pay Structure can vary from one agency to another depending on the size and turnover. Accredited agencies have a large set up while small agencies may have just a handful of employees looking after all the various jobs.

Salary is generally not a constraint for the suitable candidate in this industry. This will, of course, depend on the individual's merit, qualifications, and experience. As a beginner, you get to do the basic stuff but experience enables you to negotiate deals.

You can easily get into an agency at the lowest levels but sheer quality is demanded as you move up the ladder. However, the pay packets get heavier and heavier as the workload and level of experience rises. A beginner in the creative department usually starts with an average monthly salary of 8 to 15 thousand rupees.

Demand and supply

There is ample scope for talented individuals in the advertising industry  in India. Those who are qualified in commercial art have great opportunities. MBAs can also play a significant role in client servicing. The advertising industry always has a perennial demand for creative talent. In order to succeed in the advertising arena, one has to have proficiency that is accompanied with varied talents.

Market watch

The Indian economy is on the move in spite of the global financial meltdown and the ad market is on a continuous trail of expansion. Growth in businesses has lead to a consecutive boom in the advertising industry as well.
Advertising in India is quite superior and the local talent boasts of high production values with interesting ideas and concepts. All this has made India a desirable hub for recruiters within the country as well as internationally.

International focus

The global impact of the Indian aptitude with respect to the advertising industry is not only being noticed but appreciated worldwide. Indian agencies today handle both national and international assignments. This is primarily because of the reason that the industry offers a host of functions to its clients. Some of the offerings include end-to-end solutions that consist of client media planning, servicing, media buying, pre and post campaign analysis, creative conceptualization, market research, marketing, public relation services, and branding. With all these services, there is definitely no looking back for the Indian advertising industry that is all set to win accolades worldwide.


• Challenging and satisfying job
• Hefty growth prospects that are one of the best in the country
• Heavy pay packets with dollops of project related incentives
• Chances of meeting the legends of advertising


• An industry that is known for its extremely long working hours
• High pressure and stress inducing work environment

Different roles, different names

Advertising field offers a range of lucrative and interesting careers. The job in this field is categorised into two broad categories, namely, Executive and Creative.

• Executive: The executive side includes: Client Servicing, Market Research and Media Research.

The executive department understands client requirements, seeks new business opportunities and retains existing business. This department also selects the appropriate media, analyses timing and placement of advertisements, and negotiates the financial aspects of a business deal.

• Creative: The creative team comprises of copywriters, scriptwriters, visualizers, creative directors, photographers, typographers, animators, and so on. The creative department creates the actual advertisement in different media formats. They verbalize and visualize the specific need of the client.

Since ads are of different kinds depending on the media- print (newspapers, magazines, billboards,etc) and broadcast(radio, television and the internet), you can choose the area of specialisation depending on your interest.

Top companies

Some of the giants in advertising and media planning that most students dream of working with are as follows:

Hindustan Thomson Associates (HTA), McCann Erickson, Leo Burnett, Grey, R K Swamy - BBDO, Bates, Redifussion Dy and R, Lintas India Ltd., Ogilvy & Mather Ltd., and Mudra Communications Ltd..

Tips for getting hired

1. For many people interested in a career in advertising or public relations, internships are the key to unlocking the door to the industry.

2. The advertising industry has a voracious appetite for creativity and innovative thinking. Though the industry is said to be in its infant stage as compared to the western world it has been receptive to the changing times.

3. Excellent communication skills along with a specialisation in your field of study from a reputed institution give you a cutting edge over fellow job seekers in this industry.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Indian print media will flourish for next 15 years: Robin Jeffrey

In contrast to the West, the Indian newspaper industry will grow strongly for another decade and a half due to mounting literacy, says international media watcher Robin Jeffrey.
"My prediction is that newspapers will continue to grow for at least another 10 years and television will consolidate - painfully," Jeffrey said in his Rajendra Mathur memorial lecture at here Saturday evening.
"I think print in India has 10 to 15 years to go before it hits the sorts of downturn that is changing the print landscapes in the US and elsewhere," said Jeffrey, author of " India's Newspaper Revolution" book.
He was speaking on "Media Meditation: History, Prospects and Challenges for India", organised by theEditors Guild of India.
He attributed the continued growth of the print media in India to rising literacy.
Pointing to the 30 percent illiterates, Jeffrey said, "more than 300 million people are still to be equipped with the ability to read a newspaper".
Re-use value of the old newspaper is another factor that Jeffrey thinks would not shrink the newspaper industry in the country unlike in the West where many media establishments have shut down.
He says in India, where hundreds of millions live without luxuries, newsprint is so useful because it can be recycled and "can be used for so many things - from lining walls and ceilings to packaging bhel puri".
Jeffrey, who has been a journalist in Canada, and has also lived and worked in India, Australia and Singapore, said the challenges the media faces in India were both "uncomfortable" and "exhilarating".
Cautioning the media to guard against paid news, Jeffrey said: "None of this is to say that the society - or the media industries - should tolerate 'paid news'." He described as abhorring the practice of "selling the news pages for propaganda masquerading as reporting".
He advised Indian media publications to be vigilant against the invasion of privacy.
Industry should not "tolerate the tasteless, cruel and illegal invasion of privacy that brought the downfall of the UK's News of the World", Jeffrey said.
He added: "The contest over ethics, taste and security in Indian media are similar to those that have gone on in the US, UK and other English speaking countries for more than 200 years."
Why is India not having a respected, " global Indian voice" like Al Jazeera, BBC and CNN?
Jeffrey said an Indian global news presence could become a world standard because India has it all and "there is no country in the world better able to reflect the world" than what India could do.
"India has a huge pool of talented, multilingual, English speaking journalists" coupled with the Indian diasporaon every continent who can provide both journalists and contacts.