SPJS joins Asian J-school network

The Statesman
Asia News Network

Phnom Penh, 13 February

Leading media academic institutions from five Asian countries, including the Statesman Print Journalism School, have reached an agreement to forge a regional collaboration on media education that will be called the Alliance of Asian Media Schools.
Besides SPJS, the schools are the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism (ACFJ) at Philippines` Ateneo de Manila University, Nation University`s Faculty of Communication Arts from Thailand, Royal University of Phnom Penh`s Department of Media and Communication (DMC) from Cambodia and National Management College in Yangon, Myanmar.
The media schools will work together to synergise their media courses so as to allow students to access education across the five countries, exchange teachers, and introduce a new pan-Asian knowledge curriculum.The five met at the Asian J-School Summit in Phnom Penh last weekend organised by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung`s Media Programme Asia. Also participating at the meeting were the Asia News Network, an alliance of 22 media organisations in 19 Asian countries including The Statesman, and the Rural Media Network of Pakistan.
``These are top journalism schools,`` said Torben Stephan, director of the KAS Media Programme, Asia. ``The time has come to join and work on a new regional perspective of journalism education.``
The initiative will be put together under the direction of Dr Violet Valdez, associate professor and executive director of ACFJ. She said, `` AMS is envisioned as a platform for sharing experiences and resources, and forging a journalism curriculum that is relevant to the culture and aspirations of Asian societies.``


SPJS students attended the workshop titled `` IN ADVOCACY OF ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALISM IN INDIA``, organized by Millenium Institute of Energy & Environment Managementand in association with the Council for Scientific & Cultural Research, Government of India on 13 September, 2014 ( Saturday) at Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute (CGCRI), Jadavpur. Environmentalists, social commentators and legal experts gave presentations on emerging environmental issues and the need to take steps to minimize environmental degradation. Dignitaries who enlightened the audience included Mr. Manash Ghosh, Editor, Dainik Statesman; Mr. Swapan Mullick, Director, SPJS; Mr. Samar Bagchi, former Director, BITM; Dr. Asis Kr. Ghosh, Dr. Jayanta Kumar Biswas, Prof. Shameek Sen, Dr. Abhijit Mitra and Dr. Dipankar Chakraborty. Environmental Journalism is part the SPJS curriculum. The speakers went into the history of environmental reporting and the efforts being made recently to raise the level of awareness on environmental issues. The students benefited from the experience and reported on the event as part of their project.
SPJS students attend Rural Reporting awards function

The Statesman Awards for Rural Reporting 2014 and the Cushrow Irani Prize for Environmental Reporting were given away at Kala Mandir on September 16, 2014.SPJS students participated in the programme and for the first time recited the citations for the award winners.The award winners were,Mr Saji Mulanthuruthy for his story on the plight of tribals on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border,Mr Ashraff Vattapara for his report on flesh trade in the border areas of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and Mr Ketan Trivedi for his report on the Desar village. The environmental reporting award was given to Mr Bharat Dogra.
     The award giving ceremony was followed by a panel discussion on the topic ``For India`s sake the Congress must survive``.The panelists were distinguished personalities-Prof Hari Vasudevan,Mr MG Devashayam,Mr Krishnan Srinavasan,Ms Kalyani Shankar,Prof Omprakash  Mishra and Mr Sidharth Bhatia.The SPJS students were in the audience to absorb the arguments raised which they would later discuss in class.The discussion was fruitful especially for the students as it allowed them the opportunity to study various opinions regarding the present political scenario.

SPJS students attend workshop on Social Media

The seminar on impact of the social media and the possibility of media careers was attended by students of The Statesman Print Journalism School along with the Director, Mr. Swapan Mullick, at the American Center on 2 September, 2014.Ms. Mandy Jenkins, an American social news consultant, digital media trainer and news editor at Storyful addressed the seminar explaining ``How social media is changing news and its evolution``.
The seminar was conducted with various target groups, students, journalists, businessmen and NGO leaders. The seminar was an exposure for the mass communication and journalism students as it revolved around an important and sensitive issue. The programme was wrapped up with an interactive session and a thanksgiving speech by Ms. J.Joria, Director of the American Center.


For the first time students of SPJS went to Basirhat on 9 September 2014 during the by~ election campaign to get a fair idea of the election fever. They talked to the Congress candidate of Basirhat constituency Asit Mazumdar. He explained why he was hopeful of victory. The students gathered information about the political scenario of Taki and Basirhat and the problems affecting the people of the locality such as arsenic contamination of water and cattle smuggling across the Bangladesh border. They got to see the miserable condition of the roads in the locality which was also an election issue. The students witnessed the mood of the campaign from mobile vans and local rallies organised by different parties. The most prominent candidate who had the largest number of hoardings was Dibyendu Biswas of Trinamul Congress. The students talked to a local tea shop owner to understand the prospects of the candidate and their image among the the local villagers. The students tried to investigate whether the mood of the villagers would be reflected in the ballot box. This was a fruitful experience of visiting a constituency during an election campaign. It helped the students understand the process in which elections are conducted and the response of the different stake-holders, the candidates and the voters.


Students of the Statesman Print Journalism School attended the sixth Editors` Conclave organised by the C R Irani Foundation in association with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung at Vedic Village from 11~13 November, 2014. The topic of the conclave was `India 2014` in which eminent editors spoke mainly about the six month performance of the Modi government.
The conclave was divided into three sessions~(1) Has India changed? (2) Is the world viewing India differently and (3) The Media and Modi. The conclave started with the welcome remarks by Mr Ravindra Kumar, Editor, The Statesman followed by a keynote address by Mr Krishnan Srinivasan, former Foreign Secretary. Mr Pankaj Madan, KAS, New Delhi, outlined the fruitful collaboration between KAS and C R Irani Foundation which has resulted in the Print Journalism course.
The other panelists present were Mr Sidharth Bhatia, senior journalist and commentator, Mr Mukund Padmanabhan, Editor, The Hindu Business Line, Ms Arati Jerath, senior journalist and commentator, Mr Manash Ghosh, Editor, Dainik Statesman, Mr Ajoy Bose, senior journalist and commentator, Ms Aunohita Mojumdar, Editor, Himal, Mr Akhilesh Upadhyay, Editor~in~chief, Kathmandu Post, Mr Shah Hossain Imam, Associate Editor, The Daily Star, Bangladesh, Mr Raj Kamal Jha, Editor, The Indian Express, Ms Isha Malhotra, Press Officer, German Consulate, Kolkata, Mr Benjamin Bidder, Moscow Correspondent, Der Spiegel/Spiegel online, Dr Violet Valdez, Executive Director, Asian Centre for Journalism, Manila. The moderators were Mr Swapan Mullick, Director, SPJS and Mr Shameek Sen, Asst. Prof. West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences(NUJS).
The discussions ranged from new expectations that have come from the Modi regime to India`s current foreign policy, development issues and national politics. The SPJS students took active part in the proceedings which ended with an open house discussion. They also filed reports on the proceedings which were published in The Statesman. Students of SPJS and NUJS engaged in a lively debate on the relative merits of the social media and print journalism.

Comments of participants at the 6th Editors` Conclave

The students were the best part of the event I thought. Really bright, curious and intelligent. I hope we in Himal can work with some of them in the future. At a time when the media scenario seems gloomy, meeting the students and seeing their interest in real journalism warmed the cockles of my heart. I think their presence also spurred a lot of the editors and senior journalists to point out the opportunities and interesting challenges - something that I found quite motivating. ~Aunohita Mojumdar, Editor, Himal.

The real pleasure about this event is its character; almost like a bunch of friends coming together on a platform, which makes it very unique. ~Mukund Padmanabhan, Editor, The Hindu Business Line.

The discussions were of a high order and the students were extremely focussed and participative.  One and a half days well spent. ~ Sidharth Bhatia, veteran journalist and author.

The Statesman editors` conclave was once again a most enjoyable experience. ~Ajoy Bose, veteran journalist and author.

I really enjoyed the discussions with your colleagues and - especially your students. ~ Benjamin Bidder, Moscow correspondent, Der Spiegel and Spiegel Online.

Thanks to all the participants including the students. I found the whole exercise very useful. ~ Akhilesh Upadhyay, Editor~in~Chief, Kathmandu Post.

We as journalists get to attend many conferences, but the Kolkata Conclave struck a different note with me. The unique tripodal participatory format engaging Indian Editors/commentators, Editors from the region and a brilliant teacher-led group of journalism students ensured lively and mutually rewarding exchanges of views. ~ Shah Husain Imam, Associate Editor, The Daily Star, Bangladesh.

I don`t know whether we enriched SPJS students in any manner but I certainly enjoyed the discussions and interactions. ~Arati R Jerath, senior journalist and commentator.

The Philippines connection

Dr Violet B. Valdez, Executive Director of the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University (ACFJ), Philippines, conducted two classroom sessions with students of The Statesman Print Journalsim School on 10 and 14 November, 2014. In the first session, she gave an overview of the ACFJ MA Journalism programmes which are meant for training working journalists in a Pan-Asian context. Thereafter, she went on to conduct an interactive session on “Journalism Ethics” citing the example of the local television coverage of the Manila bus hostage crisis of 2010. Dr Valdez has said that the ACFJ will open a new online portal specially for SPJS students soon, paving the way for regular exchanges in future.


Benjamin Bidder, Moscow correspondent, Der Spiegel/ Spiegel on line, met students of SPJS on the sidelines of the Editors` Conclave 2014 at Vedic Village on 11 November. In an inormal interaction with the students he revealed that, unlike India, investigative journalism is not a separate beat in Germany. Investigation is an integral part of the regular job of reporting.
Mr Bidder shared his personal experience of unravelling a fake newspaper which tried to distort Germany`s image and malign its relation with Ukraine. He also discussed issues of the Crimean crisis, Ukraine and Russia`s conflict over the peninsular and Vladimir Putin`s image in the international political scenario.
He advised the students of SPJS that patience and conviction are the keys to success in the field of journalism.