Gone are the days when there used to be a prime time news bulletin and people used to adjust their schedule and reach home to watch 7 pm or 9 pm bulletin. Today, animated discussions and debates have taken the place of the much-loved prime time bulletin. There are four, six, eight or sometimes even more windows on a single screen and all the guests are shouting at the same time. It’s quite disorienting, to be honest, since the viewers do not understand where to look and whom to listen to.
Television does not need to give news all the time; thanks to mobile phones and stellar news apps. News channels are increasingly becoming ‘views’ channels. In the battle for the highest TRPs, what viewers see on the screen is only chaos. The presenter already has set some agenda, sticks to it, and starts behaving like a ringmaster. So we have a journalist-cum-anchor-cum-expert-cum-editor…all rolled into one.
Students from top journalism schools look at these news anchors as their role models. After completing their media studies, they are interested in journalism careers but they do not want to become news readers. They want to anchor a show – their own show. It could be a debate or an exclusive interview slot (like that of Sunny Leone by Shekhar Gupta or Bhupen Chaubey).
Often, we see some anchors on the field, with a boom mic in their hand, covering events as they happen (live coverage). We have seen the likes of Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt do that on many occasions. It works both ways. Good reporters are also asked to go to studios and conduct discussions and deliberations. Ravish Kumar is a classic example of that. Does it make you wonder how they are able to do this role reversal so effortlessly? It is because they are journalists first.
What students need to keep in mind is that they can conduct a debate or do live reporting if they have a strong news sense and general awareness. The best journalism schools provide ample hands-on training and groom their students for such scenarios. The presentation style may change, the programs may change, but what will not change is the news.
This is news business. One has to be sharp, prompt, punctual, disciplined, and updated with the dynamic world of journalism at all times. There is no alternative to that.
If you see yourself fitting into such a role, it’s about time you explored Seamedu’s professional degree in Broadcast Journalism. Spread over six semesters, the course is customized to help you build a strong foundation and step into the demanding field of journalism with all the skills you need.
– Sagar Gokhale