Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Admissions to courses in Department of communication and Journalism, University of Pune

Admissions to courses in Department of communication and Journalism, University of Pune
Dr. Ujjwala Barve has sent in the following announcement regarding the entrance examination for admission to courses offered in Department of Communication and Journalism:
The entrance exam will be held on Sunday, June 26, 2011 from 11.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. in the
department in Ranade Institute Building on Fergusson College Road, Pune 411016.

For details of the admission, visit http://www.unipune.ac.in/dept/mental_moral_and_social_science/communication_journalism/cj_webfiles/admissions.htm

Dr. Ujjwala Barve
Reader and Head
Department of Communication and Journalism
University of Pune

Ph. 25654069, 25673188

Mailing address:
Ranade Institute Building
Fergusson College Road

Pune 411004

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Admission to M.Sc., Communication Studies course, University of Pune

Dr.R. K Madhavi Reddy, Associate Professor & Head, Department of communication Studies, University of Pune has mailed me the following announcement:

This is to inform you that the entrance examination for two years M.Sc., Communication Studies course will be held on Wednesday, 8th June, 2011, between 10.00 am to 01.00pm. at Department of Communication Studies, University of Pune.

Details about the courses are available at http://unipune.ac.in/dept/science/dcs/cour.html 

Please get touch with her if you need details:

Dr.R. K Madhavi Reddy
Associate Professor & Head
Department of communication Studies
University of Pune
Ganeshkhind,Pune -411 007
Tel: 020-25696348, 25696349.
Fax: 020-25690315
email: hod_dcs@unipune.ac.in

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Mass Media Support to Agriculture Extension

Dr. J.S. Yadav, Chairman, Communication Management Foundation, New Delhi, has sent in the announcement about the project " Mass Media Support to Agriculture Extension." Please contact him, and spread the word around among those who you think, may be interested.

This is to explore the possibility of working with you on a project that our organization- Communication management Foundation is planning to bid.

The project is about "Mass Media Support to Agriculture Extension."

Last date of application is 28th March 2010

Project duration is 60 days.

Maharashtra, UP, AP, and West Bengal are the states to be covered in the study.

In each state, two districts are covered.

For this we need in each state two research teams.

Each team of five persons

These preferably be

1. Project Director 
2. Media/ Communication Expert 
3. Agriculture/ Agriculture Extension Expert 
4. Sociologist/ Anthropologist 
5. Other- economics/history or any other subject background.

They should have M.A. in these subjects and preferably some work experience.

So, for Maharashtra, we need CVs of 10 people: Two project directors could be senior with some experience, Two experts in Communication/Media; Two experts in agriculture extension, Two experts in social anthropology/ sociologists, and Two others.


For Details: Please get in touch with
Dr. J.S. Yadav
Communication Management Foundation
D-7/7490, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi -110 070
Tel: 011-42147867, Mob: 9313610690, 9810355350

International Media Institute
Gurgaon, Haryana
Tel: 0124-4088472
Mob: 9810355350

Monday, 21 March 2011

The mystery of missing Indian languages

I reproduce this article for wider awareness. Let me add only one point, to what she has said, that we do not have even a comprehensive list of web editions of Indian newspapers (both, English and non-English). I am trying to my bit to compile such a list. 
Penetration of computers and Internet is indeed a very important issue, as she has mentioned, but this should not deter Indian language enthusiasts to keep creating web contents in their mother tongues. Marathi Abhyas Kendra, a Thane-based voluntary organisation, has made serious efforts to improve the situation, including spreading the message that using Unicode fonts for the  text in Indian languages will be the right step in this direction. Kiran Thakur 
 The mystery of missing Indian languages
Vanita Kohli-Khandekar:
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - Business Standard
Why don’t we see more Indian language content on the internet?
For instance, there are over 200 odd million people who can read and write in Hindi. But Hindi doesn’t figure in any listing of the top ten languages used on the internet globally. Japanese, a cussedly difficult language to read or write, makes it to the top five. This, from a country with less than one-tenth the population of India.
It is not as if Indian languages fare better at home. Any listing of top ten websites out of India brings up only English portals. “On an average, Indian language websites get about 12-15 per cent of the traffic that English sites get,” says Prashanth Rao, general manager, Times Internet. Advertiser interest in them is even more abysmal. He would know. Rao earlier worked with one of the largest language portals in India, Webdunia.com.
The reasons seem elusive. It can’t be because there isn’t a market for language content in India. The fastest growth in audience and revenue numbers is coming from language newspaper groups such as Jagran Prakashan, DB Corporation or Malayala Manorama, among others. In television the most exciting companies, as any investor will tell you, are the ones with a “language play” in their portfolio. There is Sun, Eenadu, Zee and more recently Star India. There are others such as Viacom and Sony, which are now aggressively pursuing Indian language markets.
This is not surprising. In the Indian media and entertainment business, scale and profitability can only be achieved by catering to its heterogeneity.
Take TV news for instance. In 2000, the only challenger to state-owned DD News was Star News, an upmarket English news channel (then). That is when Aaj Tak came along and made news more relevant and real. It set the Hindi news market and finally the language news market on fire. Ditto for entertainment television after the success of Zee Marathi and Sun TV.
So why haven’t we seen an Aaj Tak on the net? Or a Sun TV or a Dainik Jagran? Three reasons emerge.
One is penetration. At last count, there were over 83 million internet users in India going by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India numbers. India is the world’s fourth-largest internet market in the world, according to Internet World Stats. Yet both Rao, and Rediff.com founder Ajit Balakrishnan reckon that penetration is a huge issue. “The internet is working its way very slowly through the 75 million ‘English-knowing’ group; once it crosses that level it will move to Indian languages,” says Balakrishnan. Rao adds that till the whole broadband/penetration story really hits small-town India, a la mobile phones, language content cannot take off.
They have a point. Cable penetration took off fastest in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. That is when the language television industries in each of these states took off. Globally, take a look at Japan and Korea, where everyone is on broadband across devices. So, usage is very high and therefore their languages figure in the top ten.
Two, “The effort so far has been to ‘translate’ content into local languages rather than actually ‘create’ content that is relevant to a particular language group,” says Sanjay Trehan, head, MSN India. For example, says an IAMAI-IMRB report on vernacular content, Hindi websites tend to be too literal and true to the classical Hindi instead of the spoken Hindi. This makes it inaccessible even to Hindi speaking people.
Three, “There is no one language domination unlike Mandarin in China,” says R, Sundar, CEO, Times Business Solutions. Most of the hardware is still configured to English. The sheer variety of languages makes configuring hardware and software around one language somewhat uneconomical. Besides English remains, says Sundar, an aspirational language.
The bottom-line; inspite of a ready market, the eco-system to serve it is not yet ready. A successful Indian language search engine could have kick-started it. While there is the odd Raftaar (a Hindi search engine), “India has so far not come up with its own version of Baidu (a very popular Chinese search engine),” says Trehan.
If much of this sounds chicken and eggish, it is. Penetration will drive content or vice versa. But one of them has to take off first. The question is what will?
Sourced from:

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Snake bites model's breasts, dies

 Journalist colleague Kaustubh Kulkarni has sent in the following from http://www.hindustantimes.com/Snake-bites-model-s-enhanced-breasts-dies/H1-Article1-673607.aspx :

A snake attacked an Israeli model during a sexy photoshoot by biting into her surgically enhanced breast and later died from silicone poisoning.
Orit Fox, a B-list model and actress initially looked comfortable during the shoot in Tel Aviv, wrapping the massive boa constrictor around her legs, waist and neck while doing her best to look sexy, reports the Daily Mail.
In a figure hugging red and white striped dress, which revealed maximum cleavage, she gamely tried to take their bonding to the next level by licking the snake's face.
As she manoeuvered the animal into position for the 'kiss' Fox loosened her grip on its neck, and after being licked the reptile reacted angrily.
It aimed straight for Fox's prized assets and sunk its teeth deep into her left breast. An assistant rushed in to help her pull the snake off and after a few seconds of struggle the creature released its grip.
The peroxide-blonde model was rushed to a nearby hospital and given a tetanus shot. However, the snake wasn't so lucky and died from silicone poisoning.

(The story has a video clip. My comment: Do they have a friends of animals society out there?KT)

Trends in Media Writing

I have received the following from Dr. Bandana Pandey

Department of Advertising Mgt. & Public Relations
Guru Jambheshwar University of Science & Technology, Hisar

National Workshop
28TH March 2011
Venue: Seminar Hall, Teaching Block 4
Time: 11:00 AM
You are kindly requested to be a part of this Workshop and grace with your benign presence.

                                   Workshop Director
Dr. Bandana Pandey


·        No Registration Fee 

Dalits and a Lack of Diversity in the Newsroom

The following is reproduced from http://beta.epw.in/newsItem/comment/189549/ as it has highlighted an important issue none raises elsewhere. It needs to be discussed among journalists, media teachers and publishers. Please do share your experience in the Comments section at the end of this post. KT

Dalits and a Lack of Diversity in the Newsroom
By: J Balasubramaniam
Vol XLVI No.11 March 12, 2011

This article explores the issue of dalits’ inclusion in the media industry. It argues that under-representation of dalits in Indian media leads to an exclusion of news on dalits.
[This was presented in the “National Conference on Ethical Issues and Indian Media” held on 26 and 27 November 2010 and in Periyar University, Salem, Tamil Nadu.]

[J Balasubramaniam (balumids@gmail.com) is with the Department of Journalism and Science Communication, Madurai Kamaraj University.]
The basis of this article started with my personal experience when searching for a job. After completing my MA in Communication, I came to Chennai to become a journalist in the Tamil media; I was called by a Tamil daily to attend an ­interview for the job of a r­eporter. In the first stage of the interview, they asked me to write about myself in both Tamil and English. I wrote and gave it to the editor, after which I had to attend a personal interview. I was nervous and was recalling the ethics of the media, the first newspaper of India and the day’s headlines. At the interview session, the editor of the newspaper, ­began his first question with a smile and asked in Tamil,
Balasubramaniam, where are you from?
I am from Tirunelveli sir.
Editor: I hope Pillamars1 are numerically in majority, isn’t it?
Me: Yes sir, most of them reside in town.
Editor: Do you belong to the pillamar caste? Me: No sir.
Editor: Then?
Me: SC.
Editor: Ok...(silence).
Editor: We will inform you when we need people, ok.
Me:Thank you sir.
I did not receive a call from that office after the interview.
No Dalits in Indian Media
Kenneth J Cooper, an African-American and the then New Delhi bureau chief of The Washington Post, noted in the mid-1990s that “I­ndia’s majority lower castes are minor voices in newspapers” (Cooper 1996). B N Uniyal, a Delhi-based journalist, followed it up and he wrote, “Suddenly I realised that in all the 30 years, I had worked as a journalist, I had never met a fellow journalist who was a dalit; no, not one” (Uniyal 1996). Based on this information, in the late 1998 a dalit organisation presented a memorandum to the Press Council of I­ndia. The memorandum was titled “End Apartheid in Indian media – Democratise N­ation’s Opi­nion” and called for the creation of a national commission for democracy in the Indian media to ­ensure that by 2005 the caste composition of Indian media organi­sations was roughly in proportion to the numbers in the population (Jeffrey 2001).
Robin Jeffrey writes in his article that, “Almost no dalits worked in the Indian press as reporters or subeditors. There were no dalit editors and no dalit-run d­ailies.” Siddharth Varada­rajan (2006) also wrote in The Hindu, “if television and newspaper coverage of the anti-­reservation agitation was indulgent and one-sided, the lack of diversity in the newsroom is surely a major culprit” and concludes with a suggestion “to diversify the newsroom by consciously bringing in those sections (dalit, tribal, OBC, and Muslims) of society who have hitherto been excluded. There are a million stories out there waiting to be told. If only we a­llow the storytellers to do the telling”. In 2006 the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, conducted a survey which found that “of the 315 key decision-­makers surveyed from 37 Delhi-based (Hindi and English) publications and t­elevision c­han­nels, almost 90% of decision-makers in the English language print m­edia and 79% in television were...from the ‘u­pper caste’?”.
We cannot argue that the absence of dalit journalists is the result of a conscious discrimination by the management of a ­media because there is no evidence that news­papers had caste criteria for recruitment of their personnel. Moreover, the opaqueness in the process of recruitment in media organisations makes it difficult to come to a definite conclusion. But informal factors, like journalists’ networks may influence the recruitment process. In Indian ­society, human networks mostly function within the formula of caste. The reality of dalit absence in Indian media shows the ­inattention of managements in the media to the social diversity of the editorial desk. It has been reproducing the s­ocial prejudice in the content of the m­edia for the last 60 years.
Media Coverage
During the last two decades, coverage of dalit issues in the mainstream I­ndian media is more than earlier. After 1990, the year of the Ambedkar centenary, dalit movements got more visibility in several states. The other important factors include the e­mer­gence of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and human rights activists who were also busy in exposing several atrocities committed against dalits across India.
In Tamil Nadu, the English print media especially Outlook, Frontline, The Hindu and The Indian Express gave more space for dalit issues than the Tamil news­papers and periodicals. It does not mean that the English media have employed more dalits in their editorial departments. The English media operate at the all-India l­evel and they have to exhibit themselves as progressive before the ­nation. At the same time, the English ­media was more keen on narrating the violence (as Chomsky said “road crime”) against dalits than questioning the system of caste and state policies on dalits. However, there is no such compulsion for the vernacular m­edia, because the functioning space of vernacular media is like a “village” which a­lways operates within the system of caste. In Tamil Nadu, the space given by the English print media to dalit issues also facilitated the spread of dalit movements across the state. The problem is not only with the inclusion or e­xclusion of news on dalit issues. How the media r­epre­sents the issues is a pertinent question.
Many violent incidents against dalits had taken place in post-independence ­India. For instance, the Keelavenmani ­incident (42 dalit people burnt alive by the caste Hindus in 1968) was reported in the Dinamani with the heading of “Clashes between Farmers”. This issue was seen by the media as a class issue, but after many years it was redefined by the dalit parties as caste oppression. The ­media failed to see the violence against dalits from the angle of untouchability or human rights violations. Even a­fter the 1990s, some important dalit issues have been reported in a negative way. As Hugo Gorringe (2006) said, in the Tirunelveli massacre (17 dalits were brutally murdered in a police attack on 23 July 1999), “the media tried to convince the people to believe that the victims of the incident died by drowning in the river and not by the ­attack of police”. The Khairlanji massacre2 also shows the ugly face of the media towards the dalit issues, in which DNA was the first newspaper to carry the news but that was already a good eight days after the atrocity. Some Hindi language newspapers published the police version of “moral justice”,3 without any hesitation. Anand Teltumbde (2008) writes that “such reporting masked caste realities and ensured that readers had no sympathy for the victims”. It is not overdetermination to come to a conclusion that the exclusion and misrepresentation of dalit issues in the mainstream media is the direct result of the social e­xclusion of the dalits in the Indian media. Social exclusion is the
denial of equal o­pportunities imposed by certain groups of society upon others which leads to i­nability of an individual to p­articipate in the basic political, economic and social functioning of the s­ociety (­Buvinic et al 2005).
In the Newsrooms
In the United States it was observed that, “There is no doubt that, from the standpoint of s­ocial responsibility, achieving a balance of staff in our newsrooms that more a­ccurately reflect the make-up of the c­ommunities we serve is the right thing to do” (Benson 2004).
In 1975, the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) found that blacks/other social minorities comprised only 3.95% of the journalistic workforce in America. At its annual conference in 1978, it set a “Year 2000 goal” – by 2000, blacks/­others must have proportionate representation in all American newspapers. To a­ccomplish this goal, it was resolved that: (1) newspapers open a diversity department, (2) offer special scholarship to train blacks/other candidates in journa­lism, (3) organise job fairs to recruit them, and (4) participate in an annual newsroom r­acial/ethnic census.
The result was stunning: out of 1,446 American newspapers, 950 (66%) decided to abide by ASNE’s resolutions, including all newspapers with a daily circulation of above one lakh (Prasad 2004). The US experiences proved that most of the major publishers recruited from the ­ethnic ­minorities in order to maintain news ­diversity. It is not only the standpoint of social responsibility of the media ­industry, but also that the publishers felt that in order to sustain themselves in the ­market, they have to maintain diver­sity in the newsroom.
The American model of diversity in newsrooms is the best solution for the u­nder-representation of dalits in the Indian media. This may raise a debate among the media owners about quality, availability, etc. The Indian media cannot reject the ­issue simply by saying dalits are not ready to take the job or they are not competent enough for the “challenging” job. How­ever, the media companies are owned by private players, who have a social re­sponsibility to diversify their newsrooms. ­Recently, the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, P L Punia, while arguing for reservation in the ­private sector stressed that “private sector depends on the government, nationalised banks and state-owned f­inancial insti­tutions for its survival, and thus, cannot insulate itself from reservation (Viswanathan 2010).
Recruiting people from various social groups is not an easy process because journalism is a profession, so they must be trained for the profession. To accomplish this goal, the media should offer special scholarships to train dalit/other candidates in journalism and organise job fairs to recruit them. This model was more or less adopted by the Asian College of ­Journalism (ACJ), Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Asian College Experience
The Media Development Foundation s­tarted the ACJ with the aim of training media professionals to meet the future needs of the media industry. The institute offers a one-year postgraduate diploma in four streams in media education, like print journalism, radio, television and new media. From its official website, we came to know that the fee for the course per year is more than Rs2.5 lakh. In 2005, the ACJ instituted four fellowships for SC/ST students. Under this fellowship, the entire study at ACJ was free in addition to the provision of a modest monthly stipend. It was the first major private journalism college to introduce such a comprehensive fellowship for dalit students. In the first year, three dalit students were admitted in the ACJ. They had successfully completed the programme and among the three, one student joined The Hindu as a reporter, the other as a s­ubeditor. But in the next academic year (2006-07) there were not enough a­ppli­cations for the four scholarships for SCs/STs. This pro­blem remained until 2010. In March 2010 ACJ advertised for its 2010-11 academic year’s admission. The school r­eceived very few applications from the SC/ST candidates. So the management of the ACJ decided to take special efforts to fill up the seats for dalit students.
Interested people mobilised applications through email, SMS, personal calls, group meetings, lectures and other informal ways. With this campaign more ­people came to know about the ACJ and its fellowships. While campaigning in Tamil Nadu, the campaig­ners immediately were confronted with the question: would they allow us to write the entrance exam in Tamil?
The campaign was quite successful in eliciting 107 applications. In the results, unfortunately most of the candidates were not able to clear the entrance examination. Only three dalit students were selected for the fellowship for the 2010-11 batch.
This experience explains why the dalit students are not willing to apply to the ACJ. First, most of the students do not know about the institute. Even the students who are doing journalism courses (undergraduation or postgraduation) are not aware of the fellow­ships offered by the ACJ. The second problem is with the medium of education. Dalit students who are willing to make journa­lism their career come from a vernacular medium background. From this experience the people who campaigned for the cause came to a decision that from the next year onwards the dalit applicants must be given training with a foundation course to be able to take the entrance examination.
Inclusion of dalits in media is not just about seeking reservation in media industries. It is a larger issue because without the representation of people of every section of society, the opinion of the media tends to become partial and biased. In ­order to make the media content more ­diversified and socially relevant, the policy of inclusion becomes inevitable. There are two standpoints on admitting dalits into the media industry; one is the moral view that the people who form close to 20% of the country’s population must have their say in the nation’s opinion. From the commercial point of view, if the media rejects the demand of dalit content, it may lose circulation in the future.
1 In Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, Pillamar is a Vellalar caste. In social order it comes next to the brahmin. As per the official category it is a f­orward caste.
2 On 29 September 2006 Bhotmange’s entire family wife Sureka (40), sons Roshan (21) and Sudir (19) and daughter Priyanka (17) were lynched by a mob of caste Hindus of the village. It was not a simple murder/gang rape, but public humiliation and torture, culminating in the lynching of four lives at the village centre.
3 Language newspapers published news that the village people gave moral punishment because the mother Sureka had a relationship with a man (Siddharth Gajbhiye).
Benson, Neil (2004): Diversity in the Newsroom-­Employment of Minority Ethnic Journalists in Newspapers, “A Report by the Training Committee of the Society of Editors”, October.
Buvinic, Mayara et al ed. (2005): Social Inclusion and Economic Development in Latin America (­Columbia: IDB).
Cooper, J Kenneth (1996): “India’s Majority Lower Castes Are Minor Voice in Newspapers; Few Journa­lists, Periodicals Advocate Interests of the U­nderclass”, The Washington Post, 5 September.
Gorringe, Hugo (2006): Untouchable Citizens (New Delhi: Sage publications).
Jeffrey, Robin (1999): India’s Newspaper Revolution: Capitalism, Politics and the Indian Language Press, 1977-97 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press).
Prasad, Chandra Bhan (2004): Dalit Diary: 1999-2003 – Reflections on Apartheid in India (Chennai: Navayana Publishers).
– (2001): “[Not] Being There: Dalits and India’s Newspapers”, South Asia, Vol 24 (2): 225-38.
Robin Jeffrey (2001): “[Not] Being There: Dalits and India’s Newspapers”, South Asia, Vol 24 (2): 225-238.
Teltumbde, Anand (2008): Khairlanji: A Strange and Bitter Crop (New Delhi: Navayana Publishers).
Uniyal, B N (1996): “In Search of a Dalit Journalist”, The Pioneer, 16 November.
Varadarajan, Siddharth (2006): “Caste Matters in the Indian Media”, The Hindu, 3 November.
Viswanathan (2010): “The Plight of Dalits and the News Media”, The Hindu, 25 October.