Engaging with Jaipur’s 21st Century 90210 students.
First, to the UK. Its media courses, journalism in particular, face a looming problem in the government’s white paper on higher education.
A new rating system pegs graduate salaries and student engagement as crucial criteria to a university’s performance. This will undoubtedly hit journalism courses hard. Why?
- Because traditional journalism courses find it difficult to quantify contact hours. Power points happen in classes, then the students go out into the field.
- Few courses involve deep level entrepreneurial and creative skills — the sort where you’re uniquely sought after because of your blend of panoramic journalism knowledge and business acumen.
- And, media students generally avoid filling in feedback forms to assess their course’s strength.
For journalism students with print or broadcast skills, who face some of the toughest competition for the limited and diminishing traditional jobs in the media, and who also traditionally take time off finding work after graduation, this will have a deleterious affect when assessing universities.
What can be done? There’s no quick solution but devising courses that do the converse to the above will be critical for Unis. The need to embrace:
- Real-world problem solving in communities.
- Exploring diversity in its broadest sense, as an engine of growth, and a business model.
- The entrails of business: Why paywalls work. They do! And why for instance, Facebook’s Instant Articles for journalism outfits is not sustainable.
In India, something’s happening. India’s next digital wave to emerge through improved mass connectivity is on the horizon. A slow digital train, gaining momentum, is about to confront India’s healthy-profits journalism industry. There’s opportunity for those who’ve seen what’s happened elsewhere across the world.