Posted on Monday, June 18, 2018
Bennett University, which has been set up by the Times Group, launched its School of Media and Liberal Arts last year to bridge the gap between academia, industry and media education. Education Times spoke to Prof Sunil Saxena, Head of Department, School of Media and Liberal Arts of Bennett University, to find out how the School is redefining media education. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. What are the programmes that the School runs?
A. The School currently runs a three-year undergraduate programme – BA in (Journalism and Mass Communication).
Q. How is this programme different to similar programmes offered by other schools?
A. The key difference is the time dedicated to practical work. The students spend 60% of the time in state-of-the-art media labs learning skills; the remaining 40% of the teaching is classroom based. Further, the programme at Bennett is structured to make the student a complete media professional in three years as against the five years it takes a student to finish media education elsewhere, providing a huge competitive advantage to the student.
Q. Can you give some examples of the practical work that students do?
A. Most certainly. The students bring out a 12-page weekly newspaper The Times of Bennett for which they write reports, edit them and make pages. All work is done against tough deadlines, and in a newsroom simulated environment. The students are also taught to shoot as well as edit videos on their mobile phones. Last semester, the students produced over 400 news and MoJo videos.
Q. Do you also teach students to work on the web?
A. The students are taught how to write search engine optimized reports. More important, they work on the same content management system (CMS) that the Times of India editors use to upload web content on their website www.timesofbennett.com. This is great learning. No other media school in India or abroad can provide this kind of learning. From the coming semester, the students will start posting agency stories also.
Q. How about radio and television?
A. The School is building a state-of-the-art radio and television studio that is being supervised by the technical teams of Radio Mirchi and Times Now. The students will be using these highly professional studios to run an Internet Radio Station and a You Tube-based Television channel.
Q. Is Advertising and Public Relations also taught?
A. Yes. It is a very important part of the programme. Here too the course is so structured that the students get hands on learning as to how to work in an advertising agency or in a public relations firm. Besides this, the students also learn Event Management skills. Our goal is to produce a complete media professional.
Q. What is the input of the Times Group in the programme?
A. The Times Group plays a key role in running the programme. The curriculum has been designed in consultation with the top Times Editors, who have brought in a high level of practical value to the programme. Senior Times Group editors regularly visit the campus to share their experiences and insights. Besides this, the same trainers who train the Times of India editors also come and train the students.
This constant exposure to the top media professionals helps in providing the best media education to the young minds.
Q. Have you added any new courses?
A. Yes. We are the first media school in India that has introduced Native Advertising. This is a new form of advertising that is expected to change the way advertisers take their message forward. The students have the advantage to learn from the Times Internet team that is pioneering this new genre of advertising. We are also the first media school to introduce Solutions Journalism course in India. This course sensitizes students to socio-economic realities and prepares them to look for positive stories.
Q. What kinds of jobs can a student expect after finishing the course?
A. This hands on programme prepares students for 11 possible careers: print journalism, television journalism, web journalism, social media, mobile media, advertising, public relations, event management, digital photography, radio and films. Most important, it will make them ready to work across devices and across platforms.
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