The Department of Journalism at Lady Shri Ram College for Women held Juxtapose- its Annual Academic Meet on September 26-27. The theme of the meet this year was ‘Redefining Media: The rise of a new digital space’ and the two day meet saw engagement with experts and student competitions based on it. Over the two days, the department played host to three panel discussions, poster and ad-making competitions, online photography and video- making competitions and their most popular events- the Media Quiz and Vox Populi– the debate.
The inaugural panel discussion, held on September 26, was on the topic ‘Election 2014: In Retrospect’ and had Ravish Kumar, Senior Executive Editor at NDTV India and R. Jagannathan, Editor at Firstpost and Firstbiz and was moderated by Venkitesh Ramakrishnan, Associate Editor at the Frontline. The topic was discussed in the context of the rise of the new media in election reportage. Mr.Jagannathan highlighted that the future of media ownership was not corporate but more individual and philanthropic. He also said that the ‘mainstream’ is now increasingly becoming ‘sidestream’. Mr. Kumar expressed his opinion on the election reportage being biased and said that bias was becoming the new objectivity in journalism.
In the Media Congress, the ‘Changing Contours of Conflict Journalism’ was discussed, again, in the context of the digital place. The panelists for the Congress were Srinivasan Jain, Managing Editor at NDTV 24X7, Suddhabrata Sengupta, Co-Initiator at Sarai, CSDS and Samanth Subramanan, author of The Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War. The session was moderated by journalist Shazia Nigar. The discussion not only focused on the problem of reporting from international conflict zones that journalists are currently mired in but also the reportage of internal conflicts- ranging from the Naxalite insurgency to the Maruti labour conflicts.
Mr. Jain was of the view that while new media is an extremely important tool in reporting on conflict zones abroad, in India, a country where the daily newspaper still holds its relevance, the traditional media is more important. He said that while rumours or news spread on social media have tractions outside of the conflict, in India conflicts are mostly spread by traditional means for traditional reasons. Mr. Suddhabrata Sengupta spoke from the point of view of the reader rather than the media and talked about social media being an alternative space. He illustrated the importance of the social media with the example of the J & K government withdrawing internet services from time to time and the Hokkolorob movement. Mr. Sengupta spoke about the job still being the same, whether it was new media or traditional media and how the two actually complement each other.
The third panel was a more conversational one where Anshul Tewari, Founder of Youth ki Awaaz and Tamseel Hussain from Oxfam India discussed about new media letting one be one’s own boss. The importance of alternative, pen and more democratic digital spaces was emphasized. The panelists also judged the ‘Minimize it’- the poster making competition where participants were given a news story which they to present in the form of a minimalist poster. The Ad-Mad competition, another on-ground competition, was also attended by a number of teams. Participants were asked to market products like ‘Humshakal Cds’ ‘Used toothbrush’ and ‘Weight gain belt’.
The online competitions Panorama- the photography competition was based on the theme ‘Conflict’ and the V-Campaign- the video making contest was based on ‘social fads’.
The Media Quiz saw the highest turnout and was hosted by quizmaster Kunal Savarkar from Express Minds, the top place was bagged by an IIT-JNU after a tie-breaker with a team from AIIMS. The debate was an equally successful event where students debated whether new media was killing journalism or not, it was judged by Karuna John from Tehelka.
Image Credits: Mugdha for DU Beat