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Journalism and Mass Communication MA – Q&A with Department Head, Dr. Prashanth Venugopal

We sat down with Dr. Prashanth Venugopal, Head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at ST PAULS COLLEGE. His research and teaching focus on Health Communication & Development Studies, which is supported by numerous projects he has undertaken. To name a few, he was a project Fellow of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and has also worked on prestigious projects funded by UGC, the State Knowledge Commission, and NCW among others.

He has also been a part of projects of the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) – a project that focused on ‘Science for Women’. Another project he participated in was ‘Media for Community’ (M4C), and he contributed to a project on ‘Radio Mathematics’ under the leadership of Dr. R. Sreedher and Prof. Karthik. His recent venture has been a NABARD-funded project focusing on Farmers’ Distress in Karnataka.

  1. Can you share your experience as a faculty member at ST PAULS COLLEGE, as well as your general experience in academia?

Reflecting on my 13-year journey as a faculty member at Manipal University, Bangalore University, and now at ST PAULS COLLEGE, Bengaluru, I find a sense of pride in fulfilling my responsibilities with unwavering commitment. Teaching, for me, is not just a profession but an expression of wisdom, energy, passion, and dedication. At ST PAULS, I’ve been fortunate to have the freedom to express myself; it’s a space where teaching is akin to artistry. While teaching is a structured endeavor, ensuring a consistent vibe or response from students often demands extra effort. However, at ST PAULS, both teachers and students are deeply invested in their careers and visions, making this task a rewarding challenge.

  1. How do you perceive the changes in education today compared to when you were a student?

Transitioning from a student to an industry professional and now an academician, I’ve come to understand the competitive and complex nature of the world. What once seemed like excessive pressure from teachers now appears as necessary preparation for navigating the challenges of life with happiness and fulfillment. Education, I’ve realized, aims to perfect us, but true ownership of knowledge comes from understanding its nuances.

  1. As a faculty member, what positive traits or qualities have you observed in students that you believe contribute to their success?

I’ve observed students to be inherently creative, requiring minimal intervention and encouragement to excel. While they crave freedom, it falls upon teachers to provide a solid foundation and guide them along the path to success. Sometimes, a mere nudge is all it takes for them to achieve their aspirations.

  1. What are your expectations from students both inside and outside the classroom?

As an educator, witnessing the success of my students brings me immense joy. I believe in imparting values that help them recognize the significance of their lives, both academically and personally. Additionally, when we meet on any occasion, a smile, a cup of chai, or a call discussing their success and journey further adds to the fulfilment of my role.

  1. How do you envision their engagement with the learning process beyond traditional academic settings?

As a faculty member, I strongly encourage students to embrace experiential learning beyond the conventional classroom setting (journalism is learned outside the walls of the classroom). For the students of our MA in Journalism and Mass Communication, we implement a comprehensive approach, integrating weekly fieldwork sessions dedicated to first-hand reporting and journalistic perspectives, which are then published on our portal youngreporter.in, Daily Chronicle (Newsletter),ST PAULS TV – A Weekly News Bulletin (youtube.com), and Daily Chronicle Newsletter. We also have LENCA – a platform for photographers.

Additionally, during semester breaks, we facilitate internships, forge industry partnerships, spearhead community projects, and support independent research endeavours. These immersive experiences not only cultivate practical skills but also foster critical thinking and networking abilities—key components for their holistic development and future pursuits in the field of journalism.

  1. Could you elaborate on the opportunities provided to students by the department, including involvement in festivals, activities, and projects?

In our Journalism and Mass Communication department, we prioritize fostering a culture of exploration and experimentation among our students. We have meticulously crafted an environment that facilitates hands-on experience with advanced studio facilities, providing practical learning opportunities. This empowers students to translate theoretical knowledge into tangible skills applicable in real-world scenarios through fieldwork.

By offering opportunities for creative expression and problem-solving, we aim to equip our students with the confidence and adaptability needed to thrive in the dynamic landscape of media and communication. Through this approach, we not only prepare them for the challenges of their academic journey but also instill in them a passion for lifelong learning and innovation.

  1. How do these initiatives enhance the overall student experience and academic growth?

The initiatives of Journalism and Mass Communication MA, enrich the student experience and academic growth by bridging the gap between theory and practice. Participation in festivals, activities, and projects cultivates problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, and communication skills—essential attributes for success in any field. Moreover, our equipped studio with advanced technology and interaction with industry professionals during these endeavours offers invaluable insights and networking opportunities, preparing students for the challenges of their future careers. Ultimately, such initiatives shape well-rounded individuals equipped with the skills and confidence to thrive in diverse professional settings.

That was the end of a wonderful conversation with the Head of the Department of Journalism. This is the ST PAULS Team, taking our leave to come back again soon.

Learn more about MA Journalism and Mass Communicationat ST PAULS COLLEGE, Bengaluru.

 

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