Friday, 26 May 2017

Film Studies and its Impact on Indian Culture

Many traditions and practices of our society are based entirely on superstition, ignorance, lack of education and inequality. Indian caste-system, purdah system and other religious customs have played a prominent role in damaging the growth and progress of our country. We are highly influenced by Indian cinema specially Bollywood films. The characteristics of a perfect hero, villain, mother and heroine have defined the personalities of a common man, woman and youth.  For many, cinema has been inspiring them to dream, fantasize and induce drama in their lives.  Cinema reflects the society, its aspirations, hopes, problems and challenges.

On the hind sight, cinema has also done a lot to eradicate many of the social evils prevailing in India. It can be used as a tool or a device to address some of the deeply hidden issues in the society. Unquestionably, cinema has remained the most powerful tool for mass communication.  Filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Uttpal Dutt or Bimal Roy, have had in the past, picked up some of the most relevant and bold subjects, realism and modern progressive approach were the main components of their films.  Ray’s ‘Pather Pancheli’ talks about how with time one has to accept changes and move on. The story revolves around ‘Apu’ , who with his family, leaves his village but their ancestral house held them back, later the family lost their daughter in the midst of all the turmoil.   A strong story, script, cinematography and music made this film a ‘bible’ for many aspiring or existing filmmakers.  Filmmakers like Ray, have used many devices to send their message across their audiences more strongly and effectively.  Intense characters, deep metaphors, use of symbolism and irony were placed perfectly in the story.

Ritwik Ghatak used sound as simile that helped in highlighting the emotion of the scenes very effectively. For example, he shows the dilemma of a girl when she had to make a choice between her lover and her family, here in the back ground one could hear the sound of the whistling of the pressure cooker, which showed that she was in a tight spot. There films demanded change, rebel and a need to overcome the social evils, in the most powerful stories and characters possible.

Another very influential filmmaker, Bimal Roy, the women in his films, the neo-realist approach, the humanism and progressive subtext of his movies and his impact on the Indian new wave and parallel cinema cannot be sidelined. His film Sujata, portrayed the innate essence of Indian Society onscreen. The film raised many questions about the Indian society, like criticising the caste-system, untouchability and indiscrimination. 

Film studies course

Film studies is a very vast and fascinating field, students are introduced to the ever evolving nature of film, its impact and influence on the people can play a critical role. Cinema is a dynamic as well as cultural tool to represent the world in a more intense way. From studying and analyzing the most progressive films and how they were connected to the major political scenario during that time, like world war I and II, French revolution, Italian Neorealism etc. to understanding the role of the smallest part of a film i.e, a frame. Based on the inclination of the individual student it may launch students in their engagement with cinema and other visual narrative forms as critics or creators.
Based on students’ personal inclination towards the various domains and stages of filmmaking, like scriptwriting , Music Composition ,Costume Designing, ,Editing ,Production Designing, Director of Photography etc. Student will be able to demonstrate their skills, knowledge, awareness and creativity through their films. A student may also proceed to be a researcher and/or an academic in related fields.

Bachelor of Acting and Film Studies

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Fundamentals of Broadcast Journalism

Edward Murrow is the most significant name in the field of broadcast journalism. He not only contributed in the creation of modern broadcast journalism, but his exclusive radio coverage on the World War II made him the superman of world media during that time. Murrow’s name is associated with journalistic brilliance; he was regarded as the pioneer of television news and reporting. He built up the broadcast industry in the world. His reporting style and bold approach made him the master of Broadcast Journalism.

Defining Broadcast Journalism
In simpler words, Broadcast Journalism is a way of presenting news to the public; electronically or through radio transmission, some of the medium in broadcast journalism are Radio, Television and the Internet.  Traditionally, broadcasting comprised of the audio/ visual based programs; on television and radio, to reach the target audience and deliver the desired message. Advance and development in the technology has brought drastic change and expansion in this field; called ‘web journalism’.

Types of Broadcast Journalism

Radio Journalism:
Radio has its accessibility across borders and in remotest of areas possible; it can reach at places where internet or cable lines cannot reach. In earlier days, it was one of the fastest and most reliable sources of information as well as entertainment. With radio, one does not even requires electricity. A radio broadcast journalist is involved in identifying, researching and presenting news stories, recent events and important updates to the large amount a listeners.
During news broadcasting on radio, announcers are primarily concerned with the delivery of on-air reports, while television stations will also hire announcers to host variety and talk shows.

Television Journalism
Television is considered to be the most influential medium of journalism for various reasons. With the boom of numerous news channels television played a major role in defining the society and its political scenario.  It also impacted people in many ways; starting from breaking stereotypes to a whole new wave of entertainment culture.
A television journalist reports the news on-camera, sometimes live or pre-recorded. TV Broadcast Journalists collect, verify and analyse information about news and events, and present that information in an accurate, impartial and balanced way.

Web Journalism
While the morning reaches us at the set time and carried a few pages of information, similarly with television, the information is limited and time bound; Internet is the only source that is accessible anytime and contains vast information and regular updates.  More and more readers, viewers and listeners are going online for their news. New media is also giving rise to the concept of ‘citizen journalist’ , nowadays more and more people post news, information, opinions and share their perspective on the social media. It has lower distribution cost and a much wider audience and reach. Technologically also it accepts almost all types of formats, reader is free to choose between various options.
Whether you prefer to work in front of or behind the camera, a broadcast journalism career is sure to be an exciting and rewarding experience. It involves responsibilities like informing the public and reporting stories. Getting a professional degree in broadcast journalism course can prove to be very useful for the overall growth of an individual  and to gain wider understanding in the field.
Some of the jobs in Broadcast Journalism are Audio Production, Television Production, Radio Broadcasting,On-air Personality/Disc Jockey,News Reporter, Voice Overs, producing etc.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Media Discourse: Representation and Interaction

Media interacts with the public through various platforms called ‘Media Discourse’. The discourse is usually written or spoken. Media discourse is primarily a public oriented, created and manufactured form of interaction. There is hardly any tentativeness and uncertainty to it and it is not a private affair.  Dontcheva-Navratilova (2005) describes discourse as “Firstly, it is used to refer to unified, meaningful and purposive stretches of spoken and written language. Secondly it is used to refer to the language in action. Last but not least, it is used to refer to the language of particular language variety.”

Types of Media Discourse
It can be understood as multiple forms of communication, it is commonly divided in two main categories; written and spoken. Newspapers and magazines are some forms of written communication. Stories and articles published in a newspaper or a magazine are archetype of discourse. Brochures, pamphlets and written advertisements also fall under this category. 
Spoken communication includes Television and Radio which mainly relies on speech and spoken words. The news we watch on television uses speech, visuals and interviews to communicate with the masses.

The third category which is comparatively newer and technologically advanced is the ‘online media’ or ‘unconventional media’. Nowadays, online platform has become one of the most popular and common means of media discourse. It is much more spread out, fast and interactive. Some of its prominent features are- it usually happens in real time, it can communicate and send messages across the globe, instantly, it gives audience the privilege to put their opinion and thoughts forward. But it certainly lacks authenticity and careful reviewing.
All forms of online media communication are more participation driven. It is also called ‘user generated content’ because user has the complete hold of it, like uploading videos, adding comments and sharing personal thoughts and opinions. Here, the discourse is much more interactive, frequent and engaging.

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Media discourse and its effects
Whatever we read, watch and hear through various channels of communication, affects us and the society on the whole, in many hidden ways. Media discourse can also be viewed as the impact created on the public through media’s presentation. A particular article can be written keeping in mind the social and economic background of the people. The choice of words, the style of writing etc. plays a very important role in impacting the readers. In India media shapes up the society primarily. Media tells us about the current political situations and usually promotes discourse that is biased towards a certain people, beliefs and conservative ideals. This is also based on the channels’ personal ideologies and how they want the discourse to be done.

Like different states, region and countries have different traditions, ideals and principles, similarly media’s opinion, viewpoints, ideologies also vary from region to region. Due to this, many political groups use media to promote a particular viewpoint; this can lead to biased media discourse which can be prevented if media outlet is media is more fact –based rather than presenting their own perspective and opinion. It is very important for the media to value objectivity while gathering news and stay impartial.  

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Negative and Positive effects of Media : IIMMDELHI

“The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.” – Edward R. Murrow

Gone are the days when newspapers, television and radio were mainly used for informative purposes and much later for entertainment as well. But today, it has become an obsession; our day starts with getting exposed to media and ends with it too. Media is in our pockets, we have developed a certain kind of love-hate relationship with it. As they say, ‘You can hate media; you can love media but cannot ignore media’. Everyday more and more people are becoming dependent on mass media and cannot imagine their lives without it. It’s hard to feel its presence and its effects on children, youth, men and women.

Starting from billboards, pamphlets to YouTube and emails, we are fed with mostly advertisements events or incidents happening around us. Media technologies (TV, Games, Video, Music, Internet and Mobile phones) have brought substantial changes in the society.
Many sociological theories put forward the view that the media has direct and immediate effects on audience, such as Agenda Setting theory, Hypodermic Needle theory or Uses and Gratification theory.

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The Media Effects Theories
Media effects theories relates to how media affects our culture, society and opinions. Media has an immediate and direct influence on the audience’s mind. It can persuade our decision making and can manipulate behaviour. Television for instance, reflects our society and culture, masses cultivate perceptions of reality from television. The two common words that are associated with media are Propaganda and Persuasion, media decides our choice, decision and reaction. Most media’s effects are direct rather than indirect.

The Hypodermic Needle Theory:  According to this theory, audience is considered to be passive and easily influenced. Here, media messages are perpetually injected into the audience brains. The theory suggests that human reacts to the media uniformly and with equal effect. Media strategically creates the message to get the desired response; it manipulates and influences people.

The Agenda-Setting Theory:  Media uses the ‘Gate keeping’ and ‘Agenda setting’ method to decide which information in what amount and capacity, through which mode will reach the audience. Media then intervenes between the message and the audience, in order to influence the receiver (audience).  For example “if the media has close relationship with the elite society, that class will probably affect the media agenda and the public agenda in turn”

 Uses and Gratification theory: The purpose behind this theory is to ascertain, under what circumstances and deliberations people seek out to media; whether for information, entertainment or socializing. In the field of mass media studies, this is one of the most crucial theories. It is an instrument that connects media with people vis- a-vis technology. Today, people seek various gratifications from their mobile phones like entertainment or social networking. There are several needs and gratification for people like-

1.       Cognitive needs: Where people use media to obtain information and knowledge. They sue media as a tool to develop their intellectual skills and actively participate in the political, economical or technological changes in the world. Their want for knowledge gets satisfied through watching news, internet search or reading newspapers.

2.       Affective needs: For many, media is a source to fulfill their emotional needs and they seek out some kind of pleasure while watching fictional yet emotionally provoking programs and serials. Youth instance, seek gratification from reality shows or rom-coms. Similarly, soap-operas specifically targets women. Such programs are developed keeping in mind what can persuade and draw the target audience towards these shows.

Malcolm X rightly said “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the people.”

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Corporatisation of the Media : IIMM

In his paper Corporatisation of media and loss of credibility, the analyst Praful Bidwai argues that the media in India has rapidly seen corporatisation and its redesigned goal of profit-making as opposed to representing the interests of the public. Bidwai also decries the crisis in media credibility. He is not alone; concerns pertaining to the loss of ethics, values, and its agency are remarked by many writers, activists, and scholars. The corporatisation of the media refers to the ownership of production and news houses by institutional investors, leading to concentration of views and types of news.

With more investors vying to occupy the news agencies, the increasing trend is the sidelining or squeezing of regional and independent papers, journals, channels, and magazines. At least, in the early part of the 90s, there were more distinct newspapers upholding the regional and cultural diversity, linguistic diversity, and with different writing genres. Today, search through the print media, one finds that a few media groups such as the Times of India have more profits than the major international papers put together. Without doubt the regional and independent news have seen a stark decline in their circulation and sustenance.

Although some pundits argue in favour of corporatisation of the media, the history points otherwise. India as a new nation tried to oust the Raj’s control on leading newspapers by seeking assistance from industrial houses. The foreign owners changed and new owners took their places. The late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assigned a cap of 26 percent on foreign equity in newspapers (but, not on television). This period marked by its intensive suppression of the media and increasing state-control, led to fewer changes. Today, the print media and television are owned, invested, and controlled by politicians, businesses, and powerful individuals.

Media, throughout times has had an important role to play. It, being one of the pillars for functioning of a democracy, cannot submit itself to vested interests and revenues. However, by sidelining itself to cover news that is limited, unimportant or even, anti-democratic, it keeps shrouded the essential developments in the country. A recent trend is the perpetration of ideology or highlighting the achievements of the government in office. It means, as long as the public hears about development, about increased growth rate, about satisfying economic indicators, we keep ourselves away from matters which are shed less light. For instance, the farmer suicides, a phenomenon which has existed for over two decades, is projected as an act of desperation of a lone farmer, not as a pattern, as an underlining story whereas, we celebrate the launch of new car models and phones.

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Citizens of the democracy need to concern themselves with the trend. Corporatisation may be marching without much resistance, but it is time to strengthen and show our support to communal prints, individual agencies, and regional news. With technology, it is possible to bring dissenting voices to the mainstream and that is the first counter.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Mass Media and Social Awareness

For a country like India, where people from various backgrounds, communities, castes and religions co-exists, where impoverishment, lack of resources and illiteracy are usual topics of debate at schools and colleges , where politics is always a game changer, where youth has an  immense power to  rebel and fight back. Mass Media plays a very crucial role in running a country like ours, with all kind of colors and avatars. Mass Media is like a USB wire that connects Information (Sender) and Audience (Receiver) without which both will stay in isolation and cannot survive.

In earlier days, sending information was quite struggling, but its value was never underrated. People had access to a very few information sources, like newspapers, radio, television (limited to only Doordarshan), naturally, these sources could only cover the major events happening around and that too in an extremely restricted manner, unlike today, when news reaches your mobile phones within seconds, when public opinion and reactions are just a ‘click’ and a ‘comment’ away . If we look around then we would find that there is no aspect of our life which is not touched and affected by media.

But the million dollar question here is that, are we really socially aware? Do we have the ability to understand the society, its political scenario and economical condition? Do we get the right information and analysis? By simply having zillion channels of Mass Media would not suffice, unless the information we get is relevant and useful.

Non-issues as real issues

 Media often portray non-issues as real issues, while the real issues are sidelined. The real issues in India are economic, that is, the terrible economic conditions in which 80 per cent of our people are living, the poverty, and unemployment, lack of housing and medical care and so on. Instead of addressing these real issues, the media often try to divert the attention of people to non-issues.

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Social Awareness and Its Roots

School education here plays a vital role in building up a child’s intellect. A school can make a child aware and sensitive towards the issues that affects our society. For all aspiring politicians, journalists, activists, lawyers or even artists it is important to be truly aware and informed. Higher education shapes up a student into a grown up responsible citizen, therefore we have colleges that specializes in Mass Communication and various other fields and here a student understands the society from a broader perspective. Where opinions are not copy-pasted, but are formed after in-depth, theoretical and practical knowledge.

We are living in the time where being fast and rapid is the only acceptable way to survive. Where the process of learning and gaining experience is considered to be out-dated and waste. What makes it all worst is the fact that our youth believes only in overnight success and fame.