Times School of Media, Bennett University: Strengthening the Fourth Pillar of Democracy
Times School of Media, Bennett University

Journalism is a part of daily life. There is something for everyone, from television and radio to newspapers and periodicals, online, and social media. News and journalism are methods through which people throughout the world learn about current events, and journalists may influence the general public in ways that few other professions can.

Today, journalists with their talent are devoted to the craft of storytelling, whether in sports stadiums or combat zones.

Studying journalism is essential for developing these talents and expanding the knowledge in the areas of interest. For prospective learners in the vast world of media, education in this discipline can be viewed as a stepping stone to success. The media sector is brimming with specialists and professionals who have appropriate experience and knowledge. Legions of motivated and energetic media workers labour throughout the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through various sets of positions and duties.

The variety of opportunities offered to Journalism and Mass Communication students is enormous. This is why there is an increasing demand for this education. Numerous public and private universities offer it at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Stand-alone media institutions that have sprouted up across the country and media schools established by various television channels have found takers for the diploma or certificate programmes they offer.

Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd. (BCCL), established over 178 years ago, has always undertaken projects for the improvement of Indian society, extending the key journalistic principles of Trust, Knowledge, and Public Service. The group extended its presence in education by creating Bennett University, which provides multi-disciplinary education to prepare students for life and work. One such disciple under the university is the The Times School of Media, which provides a premium journalism and mass media education for the students.

Breaking Grounds

The Times School of Media is a Digital and Mobile First media school established by The Times of India Group in 2017 to break new ground in media education. The objective of the school, which is part of Bennett University, is to prepare students to excel in the new and emerging forms of media as well as traditional media.

The school currently runs two undergraduate programmes – BA in Journalism and Mass Communication and BA in Film, Television and Web Series. It also runs three Postgraduate Diploma programmes. These are Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Journalism, Postgraduate Diploma in Advertising and Marketing and Postgraduate Diploma in Film, Television and Web Series.

Besides this, the school also offers a PhD programme.

Blending Academic Rigour with Professional Skills

The school aspires to provide holistic media education that blends academic rigour with professional skills. It has set a mission to conduct a program that is industry relevant.

It strives to continue to nurture students to become effective and ethical communicators. And sensitise students to humanitarian and socio-economic issues.

The school is also trying to ensure that teaching keeps pace with changing technology. Hence, it conducts research and usability studies on issues that impact society and the nation.

The core values of the schools are

  • Excellence in Teaching
  • learning and research built around Truth
  • Fairness
  • Independence
  • Diversity
  • Inclusivity

Redefining Journalism Education

The Times School of Media is trying to redefine media education in India. The school believes that media education should not be confined to classrooms; instead, it should be taught in the field and in the labs. Therefore, it has created a curriculum with the help of Times Group editors whose focus is dramatically different from the existing media programmes. Without diluting academic rigour, the school’s programmes impart 360-degree skills required to succeed in today’s highly competitive and rapidly changing media.

Making Things Fall into one Place

The key challenge faced by the school was finding faculty that was well-versed in media skills and passionate about teaching. The school hired 70 per cent of the faculty from the industry; the remaining 30 per cent came from academia. This helped the school meet both its goals: teach concepts and build skills.

The second big challenge was developing a curriculum that prepared students for both traditional media and emerging media. This required pacing the student’s progress from traditional to digital and ensuring that the industry’s latest requirements were met. The school was able to create a programme that met both needs thanks to the insights provided by the Times Group editors.

A key change that the Times School of Media has brought about is the sharp focus on skill building. The students learn to produce broadsheet newspapers, create podcasts, prepare TV news bulletins, create advertising and public relations campaigns, make video films, set up blogs, work on social media platforms, create radio programming, etc. All this work is done against tough deadlines because the school believes that the best way to learn is to learn under pressure.

Running with Time

The management of the school suggests to students that, “In the twentieth-century media education revolved around the craft of storytelling. In the twenty-first century, students must also learn the technology and the tools to tell the story. This is one critical change that all media schools need to introduce.”

This is why the Times School of Media teaches nine different kinds of software to its students. These include Affinity Publisher to make newspaper pages, Audacity to edit audio stories, Final Cut Pro to edit television footage, Photopea to edit photographs, Canva to make Infographics and Social Media posts, Times Group’s Content Management System to upload reports on the web, FilmoraGo and iMovie to edit video stories on mobile phones and Celtx to plan films.

The school realises the importance of updating its curriculum regularly to keep pace with changing technology. In this, the school is constantly guided by Times Group professionals who share the need to introduce new skills.

The management of the school also states that, “A successful journalist has several qualities. The building blocks are the ability to tell a story and the knowledge of tools to tell the story. Over this, there should be a burning desire to find and tell the ‘Truth.’ Most importantly, journalists should never take sides and work without fear or favour. Be truthful, accurate, and fair and create credible and trustworthy content.”

Future of the industry

Technology is rapidly changing the creation, distribution and consumption of news. In view of this, both practising journalists and media schools need to adapt their storytelling and story-teaching techniques to the new technology. Media education will have to evolve if it has to stay relevant.

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