Friday, June 4, 2010

Media: Boundless opportunities and Challenges

Shekhar KC
Whether it is an education or a profession, media have no boundary, opines different media educators and working journalist of Nepal. According to them, opportunities and challenges travel in parallel to any Media Venture.

Opportunities in Media
According to the latest update, there are 2866 newspapers registered, 379 licenses issued for radios and 31 licenses issued for television till the date; similarly, 848 newspapers are regular, 231 radio stations are on air and more than a dozen of televisions have begun their everyday job. Just imagine, how many station managers news editors, reporters, program presenters are required in this country, says Bhanu Bhakta Acharya, who is the author of several books in journalism.
Yam Bahadur Dura, Head of Mass Communication and Journalism Department in Madan Bhandari Memorial College, wants to credit his teaching job for having good network of communication experts, teachers and students. Talking about the broader spectrum of media scope, he says," Most of the people think that media discipline opens avenue only for reporting or journalism. That's a misunderstood concept. Actually, it opens avenues for media research, investigative journalism, information and communication related jobs viz. communication expert, communication/media/information officer, and many more. Media can provide students with name and fame".
Puran Bista, a media educator since 2000 AD in White House International College and working journalist in Republica, accepts media as an inextricable or inalienable part of our daily life. He gives the example of Mahatma Gandhi how he had realized and edited newspapers to communicate with his fellow-country men. 'Media have no boundary', he adds through he is equally concerned about the ethical issues in media.
'It really gives me a thrilling experience-the effort to attract some one towards media profession by means of teaching', shares Mr Laxman Datt Pant, Head of Department of National Integrated College. Mr Pant is already involved in media as a full time teacher and a regular columnist in The Rising Nepal, one of the English dailies of Nepal. According to him, opportunities in media are multi-dimensional, multi-sectoral. He adds," There are ample opportunities in the areas including advertising and public relations, new media and entrepreneurships. However, one must come up with creative ideas, multifaceted innovations and courage to do something new"

Mohan Nepali, Lecturer of Mass Communication and Journalism of Kantipur City College, anticipates more opportunities for students studying media discipline. Mr Nepali informs that more communication and information players are needed to carry out the task emerging amidst vital restructuring and transforming phase of Nepal. He says," Those who study mass communication and journalism with a vision of social life, they are the ones most likely to obtain more opportunities ". He further adds, 'Be it private or non-private, institutions will require more experts who can analyze issues, rapport about them or undertake research assignments'
‘There are innumerable opportunities such as being a journalist, researcher, media analyst, teacher , communication officer, consultant, media manager, independent content producer, marketing professional and PR manager’, shares Tanka Upreti, Senior Producer in Nepal Television.
Sachin Shrestha, who is teaching mass communication and journalism in Saint Xavier College since 2006, shares his experience as a media educator. He sees hard work, courageous, intelligent, incessant energetic effort etc as some of the pre-requisites for anybody to sustain in this discipline. He is very optimistic about the media discipline especially after the introduction of online media.
Challenges in Media Education
Beside boundless opportunities, Nepal students born and brought up in a digitally divided society will have to face some technological challenges according to Mohan Nepali. Mr Nepali adds that scarcity of resources and the need to guarantee practical skills will be the major challenges in addition to already existing ethical challenges.

Mr Bhanu Bhakta Acharya, Communication and Promotion officer in National Human Rights Commission opines that journalism education facilities are being swelled up in the Katmandu Valley mainly because TU does not allow journalism as the interdisciplinary subject to study in Bachelor and Master Levels, and other Universities are expensive and metro-centric. He further adds, 'the non-academic but the experience-based teachers can’t do justice to the various dimension of Mass Communication and Journalism study.' As a media expert he is worried about the trend of different colleges conducting journalism as a classroom based, lecture dominant subject. Besides that, indifference of media colleges toward managing laboratory, equipments like camera, computer labs, media, field study, practical classes etc are also the hurdles toward the efficient media education in Nepal.
Tanka Upreti believes that involvement in media equips one with gut to face the challenges encountered in the practical life. In his understandting, media students need to be all-rounder-they have to gain knowledge about the curricular topics and also have to understand the social, political, economic situation of the nation and have good command over a language.
Media institutions teaching media just for the sake of teaching can be viewed as one of the major challenges of this discipline according to Ujjwal Acharya. Mr Acharya criticizes present trend of media institution not focusing on practical aspects which makes media studies a non-starter for many students when they go to the practical field. He says, “Media students should not only think that their future profession is journalism alone. They can be a good media planner, Public Relations officers and also advertising agency employees”.
Mr laxman Datt Pant points out Political affiliation, nepotism, and regionalism as some of the crucial issues the future journalist must be aware of. He sees current status of media in Nepal facing professionalism crisis which is one of the reason why journalism has remained the least trusted profession in Nepal for a long time. He expresses the acute need of market driven practical skills in media students to overcome with the challenges. He says, ‘The specialized knowledge in the area can make tech profession a trust done’.

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