Journalism Awards 2018: A Tribute to Journalism of Courage
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Journalism Awards 2018: A Tribute to Journalism of Courage

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Once again, it is time to pay a tribute to our country’s able journalists. Nominations are being invited for the 13th edition of the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards. The annual journalism awards in Print, Digital and Broadcast Journalism were instituted in 2005.

The criteria for these journalism awards are:

  • The significance of a news story
  • Resourcefulness and courage in gathering information
  • Skill in relating the story

Named after the pioneering personality, Ramnath Goenka.

What is the Significance of the Journalism Awards?

It is quite interesting (and slightly disheartening) to analyse how journalism has changed over a period of time. Journalism today is very different from the journalism that existed a decade ago. Astrology, Bollywood, Cricket and Crime (ABC) have become the most important news values. The sorry state of journalism in the country (and most parts of the world) is such that sensationalism has overshadowed truth and verification. Ethics and integrity were considered a massive part of this evergreen profession, but they seem to have gotten lost in the race for TRPs, viewership, readership and the ‘viral’ effect.

However, all is not lost. There are several respected journalists – both in print and broadcast media – in national as well as regional media. It is time to support, encourage and honour those journalists who are working with integrity. The significance of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards, hence, lies in the very fact that they acknowledge and reward journalists who put their heart and soul into the profession, ensuring that the general public isn’t misled.

Past winners of the award include virtuosos like Shashi Tharoor, Muzamil Jaleel, Neelesh Mishra, Mark Tully, Kuldip Nayar and Siddharth Varadarajan.

The award categories for the Print Journalism domain include:

  • Reporting from J&K and the Northeast
  • Hindi
  • Regional Languages
  • Environmental Reporting
  • Uncovering India Invisible
  • Business & Economic Journalism
  • Political Reporting
  • Sports Journalism
  • On the Spot Reporting
  • Investigative Reporting
  • Feature Writing
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Commentary and Interpretative Writing
  • Civic Journalism
  • Photo Journalism

Similarly, there are various award categories for Broadcast Journalism:

  • Reporting from J&K and the Northeast
  • Hindi
  • Regional Languages
  • Environmental Reporting
  • Uncovering India Invisible
  • Business & Economic Journalism
  • Political Reporting
  • Sports Journalism
  • On the Spot Reporting
  • Investigative Reporting

Is the End of Print Journalism Near?

With the rise of the digital era, newspaper readership has gone down significantly all over the world. How new technology has changed journalism is no secret. With a huge chunk of the populace in developed, developing and even underdeveloped nations getting easy (and cheap) access to the internet and smartphones, the adoption of new forms of technology and media have somewhat pushed aside the status quo.

That said, newspapers and news channels are still very relevant in India.

There are more than 900 TV channels and about 17,000 newspapers and India, making the most vibrant media market in the world. With the rapid growth of 4G across the nation, the young generation is mostly relying on digital media and online platforms. Anybody and everybody is generating the content on social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. It is called citizen journalism. But they are criticised for misinformation, propaganda, and the epidemic of fake news. However, citizen journalism need not necessarily be a bad thing, as is evident from events and instances from the recent past.

Indian news media is facing the challenge of corporatization with a handful of media houses controlling a major chunk of news media. They can influence and convince the readers, viewers and consumers into believing something. Besides that, there is great deal of political pressure on journalists and news channels. Recently, there was an attempt made by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to curb the freedom of press. The Ministry announced that journalists accused of creating or propagating fake news would lose their accreditation. That the guidelines allowed a journalist’s accreditation to be suspended merely on an accusation was particularly worrisome, since it opened the door to frivolous complaints and harassment. After widespread criticism, the Prime Minister’s Office intervened and the circular was withdrawn.

There are challenges before journalists and journalism as a profession. Yet journalism still remains one of the rare professions that draw people on the basis of ideals. And expecting ‘good change’ to the state of journalism today and restoring people’s faith in the profession is in the hands of a select few righteous journalists – those that will make the nominees list.

We are excited about the awards and about the future of journalism, too. With a strong focus on inculcating good practices and ethics, our respected faculties leave no stone unturned when it comes to training the next-generation journalists at Seamedu. Who knows, one of these young talents might someday win a prestigious digital journalism award!

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