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student journalism


Covering protests properly is important for journalists to present a real account of what the students actually think and how they behave. They are the tools for effective empowerment of a disgruntled section of the society.

In every University campus in the world, there have been agitations and instances of conflict between students and the people in power— whether they are teachers, student leaders or the administration. Sparks of dissent arise from such conflicts. Sometimes, these sparks also arise from everyday conversations among students. For instance, what happened in JNU in 2016 was an instance of conversations leading to protests.

Protests are perhaps the most spontaneous form of political action that would take place. Not surprisingly in the so-called liberal, freethinking, modern campuses of Indian education system, protests seem to become the norm and not the aberration. For better or for worse, these protests empower students to show their dissent, ideas, frustration, and their power. The protests also teach important lessons in organisation, mobilisation, symbolism, use of rhetoric and actual politics to the students. At an age when we are constantly evolving, the power of collective action, through protests, can be very stimulating for young minds. At the heart of their inception, therefore, protests represent battles fought everyday— between the all-powerful and the less powerful; the privileged and the dispossessed; the adulated and the marginalised. They are the quickest and best way to gauge the pulse of the youth.

So, is it any wonder that in DU Beat we cover protests diligently and doggedly? As a student journalist who has been to several protests, I can honestly say that it remains the most exciting part of the job. The interactions between students, teachers, police and the often unhelpful (seldom benevolent) University staff provide unique glimpses into the status quo. When these protests turn violent, it becomes all the more incumbent upon us to draw out the truth and find out what really happened. Providing an unbiased account of the ground reality has to be the aim of a good journalist.

Therefore, covering protests right— and not necessarily participating in them— become all the more important. In fact, it is almost unethical to be a part of protests which you are covering. Although it is true that journalism is hardly unbiased and journalists, like any other people, are political beings, some ground rules do apply on the field. For instance, I never indulge in sloganeering when I attend a protest I intend to cover. I try to talk to almost all the parties involved in the protest: the protesters, the opposition, the police and the officials. In fact, in one of the protests I covered one person asked me why I kept on sitting and clicking pictures for hours without uttering a single word. Did I not believe in the cause? My answer was that it was because I believe in the cause I cannot be seen to be biased when I report on it. My personal opinions can, in no way, clash with my professional practice.

However, what journalists in the country often succumb to is a false sense of objectivity. In pursuing a so-called “impartial” narrative, they often fall trap to a he-said/she-said view of events which leaves the reader more confused than ever. The primary goal of journalists has to be to uncover the truth, no matter the consequences, and present it in the best way possible.

In this vein, protests remain one of the most challenging aspects of the profession we are involved in. Its fast-paced nature, its unpredictability, the manifestations of power relations, which are themselves very fragile, the slogans that pulsate through the air— these are some of the reasons that will draw me to my cause of covering protests every single time.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Sara Sohail
[email protected]

On 31 January 2018, DU Beat organised Mushaira 2018 in collaboration with Hindu College. A literature and journalism fest, Mushaira also commemorated the benefaction of DU Beat as India’s largest student-run newspaper. The ceremony took place under the dignified presence of the esteemed administration of the University of Delhi.

Journalism requires the highest code of ethical conduct with integrity being its cornerstone. Student journalism, though sometimes considered irrelevant, is a creative pursuit of young minds who want to indulge into their campus surroundings and explore the innovative contours of their mind and their pens. Students, by traversing through layouts, stories, coverage, and graphics, learn to appreciate the spirit of integrity which is concomitant with journalism. With the DU School of Journalism being inaugurated this year, the University of Delhi has decided to shoulder efforts of student media outlets and presented its first-ever DU Chakra. The award was given to DU Beat on its completion of 10 years on 31 January at Mushaira.

DU Beat started as an experiment in 2007 with only a few print copies distributed at Lady Shri Ram College for Women and St. Stephen’s College. It achieved full shape in 2008, undergoing several shifts in form and display, be it through print or web. The team eventually came to consist of the University’s best talent as correspondents, graphic designers, photographers, and videographers, aided with a full functioning team of human resources and marketing from the various colleges of the varsity. The independent student newspaper went through its own trials and tribulations, striving to bring out the real and core issues of the campus and serve as the youth’s mouthpiece. Vineeta Rana, editor of DU Beat, thanked all the previous teams of the organisation for carrying on this 10-year journey. She also acknowledged this year’s team for bringing their creative energies together consistently throughout the year. Srivedant Kar, associate editor of DU Beat, extended gratitude to the administration of Delhi University for recognising DU Beat’s efforts as an authentic campus media outlet. Anagha Rakta, Head of Web at DU Beat, was almost in tears on stage while being handed the DU Chakra.

In his keynote address at Mushaira, Dr. Shashi Tharoor exalted the DU Beat team’s efforts and wished for another splendid 10 years of DU Beat at the University of Delhi. The entire team felt deeply moved, revered, and honoured with his praise and asked for his blessings to continue excelling in journalism.

With DU Beat completing a decade of youth representation, all members associated with it, both current and former, expressed their deepest gratitude to the platform and to the student population for building a space within the University to enact change.

Disclaimer: One of our most beloved features, Bazinga is our weekly column of almost believable fake news. It is only to be appreciated and not accepted!


Image Credits: DU Beat

Oorja Tapan
[email protected]

There has been a surge in the number of student-run media houses in universities recently. These outlets have an important role to play in the campus ecosystem when it comes to disseminating news and providing students with infotainment.

In the recent past, a surge in the number of media platforms has been observed in the university hemisphere. The mushrooming of student-run media houses stands as a testimony to this fact. To cater to the ever-increasing demand for information by university students, a lot of student-run media houses have been integrated into the campus ecosystem, and their work of student newspapers is to provide this public service to a university audience.

Many students go through distress about not having the official information at the right time. University offices have not been very effective when it comes to disseminating important information. Moreover, help lines issued by the administration do not cater to the students’ questions satisfactorily. More often than not, they are liable to technical glitches and fail to serve the students in the stipulated time frame. A university houses a huge number of students and it gets practically impossible to reach out to every student in person. This gave way to the proliferation of student-run media outlets in the universities.

The need got coupled with technology in the form of smart phones and easy internet access, which created a fertile field for the burgeoning of media houses in the universities. 

These media houses are fast emerging and students believe that it has a thriving market.  There is a steep competition among student-run media outlets, with each of these outlets delivering innovative content in a weekly cycle to outnumber each other’s subscribers. These media outlets are grooming entrepreneurs, writers, marketers, designers, and artists. Today, every student seeks opportunities to acquire practical knowledge by interning at myriad professional platforms. This compensates for the exposure that our university system fails to provide.

Student-run media outlets provide necessary information and promote democratic participation of the students. These media houses instill a sense of responsibility within students and inculcate leadership qualities in them. Not only do they create narratives and make the students aware of the issues around them, but also strive to be accessible to a larger audience.

Rather than just providing high-quality content, student journalists are also dedicated to connecting students, academic departments, alumni, and the world. Universities should acknowledge and encourage the student journalists with bubbling energy and should create porous gateways for the passing of information from the administration to the student-run media outlets to sustain such an ecosystem. 


Feature Image Credits: USA Today

Sandeep Samal
[email protected]