Rajdeep Sardesai is a household name in India today. He is, of course, also a consulting editor at India Today (the news conglomerate), one of the nation’s most well-respected and recognized news anchors, part of India’s rampant Twitterati (with a blue tick to prove it), and an acclaimed author to boot. A man who dons many caps, then, and one who has earned a reputation of being firm in his convictions but fair in his approach to journalism.
A modern-day newsman, Rajdeep has seen the rise of web-based journalism, experienced the influence of television journalism, and truly put the axiom of the pen being mightier than the sword in a glittering journalistic career that has spanned over 20 years. An outspoken man with definite views and a fundamentally unique way with words, Rajdeep is the epitome of journalistic fortitude in India.
As such, he made for the perfect guest lecturer at Seamedu School of Pro-Expressionism, when he graced our Pune campus for an interactive session with students of our Broadcast Journalism program.
In an entertaining interaction that showcased his sharp wit, refined eloquence, and an innate understanding of India’s ever changing news industry, Rajdeep left the students enraptured and hanging on to his every word, as he wove his way through lighthearted and serious topics ranging from why he became a journalist, to the power of journalism in today’s day and age.
Pearls of wisdom and wit from Rajdeep Sardesai’s session
“Most people become journalists after they have failed at everything else. I tried to become a cricketer, I failed. I wanted to be Sunil Gavaskar, could not be. I decided I wanted to be a lawyer, found it was a lot of hard work, so eventually I found my peace in journalism.”
“Even in 2002 there were barely five or six news channels, maybe even less. Today there are three hundred and ninety five news channels, or 400-odd news channels in the country.
“I believe, in this country, no riot takes place unless the government is incompetent or complicit.”
“You are hoping that journalism will provide you with a window to a wider world, through journalism you can explore a wider world. Which is a good reason to be a journalist. A bad reason to be a journalist, is to become a journalist to become famous. It’s the worst reason in the world. So I think the great thing about journalism is to see it as a voyage of discovery. This is not a nine-to-five profession. But journalism is a unique profession in the sense that if it is done with commitment and passion, in a small way, you can change peoples’ lives. Or in forcing society to change, the Jessica Lal case is a good example where journalism played a constructive role in actually ensuring justice for a family which the courts were not giving.”
“Everything is fast, this is the fast food – McDonaldisation of news. News is now like a McDonald’s burger. You have it, you feel good for five seconds, but the moment you’ve left the restaurant you’re still hungry. And that’s like television news today.”
“I was told once, when a nuclear blast takes place, whenever there’s going to be a nuclear explosion in any part of the world, the one creature that will survive is the cockroach. Why? Because the cockroach next day has to report that the nuclear blast took place. Journalists are that. Journalists are not meant to be butterflies, journalists are not meant to be the people who are the VVIPs in our system.”
This is but a taste of what was an engaging, informative, and educational session, regularly punctuated by peals of laughter and applause as Rajdeep regaled our broadcast journalism students with anecdotes, ideals, and insights into the world of news and journalism.
The session, which lasted over 90 minutes, was one that will remain with our students throughout their lives in the news dissemination industry.
At Seamedu, we believe in learning by doing (and observing) and we frequently invite distinguished industry experts to have intellectually-stimulating sessions and projects with our learners so they can make a seamless transition – from the classroom to the newsroom.
Shaped under the guidance of industry experts, our external partners, and a capable faculty, our 70:30 practical-to-theory ratio ensures that students not only receive the knowledge, but also get to apply it to real-world news scenarios.
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