Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Review of the Media Institute of NDTV: Naam Bade Aur Darshan Chote

There is a saying in Hindi 'naam bade aur darshan chote'. Another is 'jo dikhta hai woh bikta hai'. These ideas work very well when we apply them to well established business models. The psychology of the end consumers quickly trusts those brands that have existed for a long time, and achieved credibility in the market. There is a strange psychology in India, I would call it a dynastic psychology, which leaves me with a big question. The question is about expectation. We have always expected the derivatives of a product to share the same remarkable qualities that the product was known for. Varsha Bhosle couldn't do justice to Asha's stature. But why Varsha should have even bothered to mirror her mother's public image? There is a ridiculous expectation that hangs like a naked sword on the children of who's who. While Ranbir Kapoor vindicated the expectation that people had from him, many don't manage to, and a few struggle to keep meeting expectations.

The story of India's journalism couldn't be written without the mention of NDTV. It's a trustworthy source of news. The media company has also kept pace with the dot com outburst, and their news website is one of the few sites in India that receive very high traffic. The heads of the two channels CNN IBN and Times Now have worked with NDTV for a good long time. Prannoy Roy has a sense of rare gravitas. What more? The media company has existed for more than two decades. Yes! this is enough for our dynastic psychology to now start expecting the same from anything NDTV decides to put its name on. And thus the Media Institute of NDTV should match our expectation. Does it really need to match? Maybe. A few people don't do necessary research before buying something, as the dominating thought of having bought it from a brand is overpowering. And if the product doesn't match their expectation, they curse , abuse and talk shit. But shouldn't they bang their head against the wall that they didn't bother to do the hygiene check about the product before buying it?

At the helm of NDTVmi sits an overly eloquent old man, who will take you by surprise with his long tangential discourse on nearly everything that you would strike a conversation with him. And if you don't, he will make sure that you do. He'll question the fundamentals of your beliefs that you'll gather yourself up from the most uncomfortable chairs in the class and defend yourself. But you'll just defend yourself, and not win over him. Because you're a miserable tiny intelligence while he is a God with a Halo about his head. Interestingly, he denies that there exist a God. When God denies that God exists what should his children think of him? It's okay to think of him as one of us, we live in a world where people hold erroneous beliefs in the face of evidence to the contrary. There is not much journalism in his classes. Most of his classes will touch upon irrelevant subjects. What happens to a man who is the knower of not much, and stands in front of a man who is the knower of everything? Precisely what happens to a buyer who wants to purchase wheat, but the seller dispenses a mixture of rice, pulses, pickle, vegetables in one packet with two grains of wheat in it? But then a Journalist needs to be a generalist. He needs to be a Jack of all trades and Master of none. Agreed. However, all the knowledge of general things are organised and can be learned through an organised process. If you walk in the class and let the class take your session's direction, why should you even then walk in the class? Many a time in the class I felt that I was wasting my time and resources. Because we were discussing what I thought was not only irrelevant but crazily expensive for the money that I have paid. Still, I was also in the race with the remainder of the people to not only impress the lecturer but to hear good from him about me. All the ideas that we'd throw at him would fall on their head - as not many were evocative enough to impress him while he was in an endless pursuit of something visually appealing. But he is lovely, of course superficially, maybe because I love intelligence and if it is clubbed with eloquence, I go crazy about that person. Have I met anyone like him before? No. Would I love to meet him again? Yes. What do you learn from him? You'll learn a little bit of Photography, Camera, perhaps Editing and writing.

In the class, you'll most probably learn people skills. Why? When you don't have much to deal with, you have really different people to deal with. And trust me you will keep yourself busy with that.

Also there is another guy with features that will make you mistake him as a typical yesterday's Bollywood villain. He would conduct sessions on newspaper. What would happen in those sessions? You need to know the news of the day, and he would ask you questions on them. That is it. Nothing Earth Shattering. The sessions were devoid of organisation. There was a sense of rift between him and the man with a Halo. Thus he didn't have much good to talk about him. His job was a mystery if it was only within the confines of the Institute. As there is nothing comparably typical to a job that he would do.

Indian Media Industry is strange when it comes to hiring employees or interns. Many friends of mine in the US or the UK find our industry strange. You can't possibly get a job there without a proper Resume. Here, you can get hired as an intern if you're an editor's friend or relative. So it's true if you're who's who, you can get on board easily. Many students in their first year, second year get to work as interns in media industry. A few get paid and a few work for free. There is no difference between these interns who have not paid the exorbitant fees to NDTV Ltd. than those who have. However, you really need to have contacts to get internship without enrolling in the so called course of the Media Institute. The internship is a longish affair. And you're not taught separately as a student. You're treated as a paid employee though you don't get paid. You may have to run, do all sorts of trivial jobs for weeks or months. And for good long time you'll just wonder whether you've come here to assist them or learn something good. You may not get value for your money. Perhaps you may, it all depends on the time and place. At times, I would laugh at myself that after paying a good crazy amount of money I am in a misery. I wish I had toured Europe with that money.

The course is a really lucrative business. Every year there are two batches with almost 50 people per batch. So there is an influx of a good number of people every year to do jobs that don't require great technical know-how. Also, there is a good amount of money coming in every year. The big question is that what's wrong? There is absolutely nothing wrong. It's a business at the end of the day. And they are doing it in a legitimate way. There are thousands of institutes in India where Education meets Business of minting money. Particularly in Media Education, there is no standard like the AICTE in management. Therefore Shakespeare's quote 'what's in a name?' stands incorrect here. It's all in a name!

It's the internship that you really pay for. And in my internship a pseudo HR told me that I think I can buy internship. Interestingly, I don't think I can buy, in fact, I had really bought it. Funny. The most painful experience is when you sit for hours archiving and transcribing nonsense after making deep perforations in your pocket. However, if you're someone who is just trying to make ends meet. You should think several times before purchasing this product. And if you have the money at your immediate disposal to just do anything then try doing this. The experience is good. You'll understand your place in media better or at least understand whether you're suitable to work in a news channel. The End.

Disclaimer: As I was a part of the institute, although I tried to avoid it, still there could be a few elements of subjective experience. Readers are cautioned to use their conscience. I hold zero ownership of the image to this article, and it is sourced from Google. The article has no interest in maligning any individual or institute. The sole purpose of this post is to express my understanding of the course and write a review for people who want to know about my experience and about the course. They are advised to check other sources to corroborate facts. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi,after reading this post I am reconsidering my decision to apply for the diploma course(broadcast journalism) in this institute..I dnt stay in delhi and to take up this course i will have to come all the way and also leave my baby back home..Since you have taken up this course ,can you tell me if its worth it.Also whats with the placement thing..I have no contacts in this field and no background either in journalism..Please suggest..Thanks

Faraz Salat

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Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Admirer of all things that make up a global human society.