I spent some time today as an invigilator during the entrance test for admissions to PG Diploma courses in Journalism at the Institute of Journalism (IJT) run by the Press Club in Trivandrum. About 125 candidates attended the three hour test. A glance at the answer sheets left me assured that the future of journalism is indeed going to be in safe hands. Have a look at some of answers by the prospective journalists:
Edward Snowden: Famous sportsperson / economist
Amartya Sen: She is a popular linguist / social worker / model cum actress who got arrested for cheating, etc, etc.
Nirupama Rao: Journalist / IAS officer caught by Police for stealing money
Durga Nagpal: IAS officer suspended by Robert Vadra
Dreamliner: An editing software / famous business magazine
INS Vikrant: A satellite launched by India
Newsweek: News in one week / famous news channel
Al Jazeera: A peace group / a terrorist organisation active only in Afghanistan
Frontline: A foreign magazine
Washington Post: A royal baby born in Washington
I have not mentioned the answers given for Kerala specific questions which were also equally hilarious. But seriously, I did not have the guts to see more answer-sheets but a quick chat with other invigilators also revealed the same shocking experience.
Anyone who would have read newspapers in the last one month could have got about 75% of the answers easily but the sad reality is that most youngsters don’t read newspapers. Their general knowledge is abysmally bad. But when you are aspiring to be journalists, reading newspapers and keeping yourself abreast of the latest news and developments, is the least expected of you.
It doesn’t matter which newspaper you are reading, as long as you are reading some newspaper. Btw, I am a guest faculty at IJT since 2007 and this is the same scene every year. The intake is about 75 students in three batches and most of them get placed every year. Many go on to become star reporters and anchors. Today all newspapers and news channels in Kerala have students who have passed out from IJT. But if you ask about their quality or standards, the lesser said, the better.