It was the first time an invite mentioned I should have enough stuff to engage the audience for close to 75 minutes and should have a ‘presentation’, something I am not most comfortable with.
As I reached the University, I was amazed to see students decked impeccably for the welcome. If that wasn’t a shock enough, once at the auditorium I was to do the customary lamp lighting. It didn’t help much to calm my nerves.
One last time before I could brush up my presentation, the Vice Chancellor Lt. Gen R K Karwal, mentioned in his address the role media plays in shaping up public perceptions, at times goes overboard, exaggerates and has to give to the demands of the market and consumers.
All valid points and they turned on its head what I had prepared for the talk. The hack in me who is trying to carve a niche using mass media to his advantage got a perfect start. I began emphasizing what Mass media does in today’s time. How it empowers individuals to question what at times goes wrong in the mainstream media.
Over the next hour shared my experiences, things I learnt at the University of Westminster, how my professor David Dunkely Gyimah converted a print journalist to an online practitioner and how Western Media was miles ahead when it came to using Mass Media in not just journalism but in other fields.
We went a bit beyond journalism for the betterment of the larger audience which had a majority of Engineering and MBA students. Touched on developments in the digital world and how corporate and individuals are using them to their benefit.
Lucky enough, I was successful in engaging my 200 strong audiences engaged for a little over the scheduled time. The house was open to questions and students asked how can freelancers make a head start in journalism, how mass media tools can be used for national integration and what page three journalism is? There was considerable interest in knowing how different education system in India and UK are.
The second half of the session was to be addressed by Prabhat Sharma of Media Mirchi. He started in wonderful Hindi, loved the ease with which he used words, some heavy for me, but I did my best to catch up.
Prabhat stressed on the various streams of Mass media and various roles a journalist and other experts play in electronic media. His aim was to enlighten students about various roles in a news organization to help students find a suitable role for themselves.
When his turn came to answer questions, there were some serious questions posed: What is the role of national broadcaster Doordarshan in today’s media? A loaded question that Prabhat tried best to defend by saying the broadcaster still holds a lot of promise in the 24/7 breaking news environment.
Well something I quite don’t agree. Some time back I had expressed my views on the national broadcaster in my blog.
The best one came when a student asks should there be a censor body for news channels? Prabhat’s safe response ‘use remote’.
But as a scribe the last two questions set me thinking as I moved out after an eventful day in quite some time.