Bandra has one of the most beautiful & iconic building at St. Pauls Institute of Communication Education. Recently I had an opportunity to interview the Dean at SPICE. Carol Andrade is a stalwart in media; she doesn’t mince her words when she opines about news, journalism and media. Read the interview below.
I have been in Journalism for a little over four decades.
I came to Mumbai, to become a journalist and started with Eve’s Weekly. I have always wanted to work with the Times. After working for Times of India for five years, I left to join Midday and was one of the earliest founding employee of Midday along with Senior Journalist Behram Contractor and Khalid Ansari, who was the guiding light at Midday.
Five years in Midday, I again needed a change and left midday to start the Afternoon Despatch & Courier Newspaper. I continued there for seven years and then decided to go back to the TOI building. I went on to head the Metropolis, which was a weekend newspaper for the city, and our aim was to give news in a lighter and enjoyable format without compromising on the news. Metropolis was a launch pad for this kind of new journalism.
After that, I was appointed as a response head for additional supplements for TOI (called PLUS) since there was the belief that hyperlocal news would be the future of journalism. We had more than 100 people and 100 supplements, and our Thane plus supplement had about 8/12 pages every day. In our plus supplements, we did supplements about health, real-estate and other niche topics with a hyperlocal perspective. These supplements gave a lot of young people opportunity to hone their editing and writing skills, and I insisted that they are called Editors for these supplements.
But after 2007 hyperlocal business started going down because of digital media. So again I shifted to the Afternoon Despatch & Courier Newspaper and worked on it till 2014. My forte is city and news.
I always wanted to teach, and thus joined St. Pauls Institute of Communication Education.
2) What do you think about the new digital age journalism as compared to pre-digital old age journalism?
The news is about communication, every bit of news can be communicated in various formats, this is the screen age, the first thing people want to look at is the screen, a screen is dynamic, there is mobility. Your first engagement is through your mobile. So anyone with a smartphone is now a citizen journalist and a reporter, but news needs to be correct, verified and reliable and we journalist know how to put the news together and communicate it in the swiftest possible way, I think St. Pauls Institute of Communication understands this very well.
3) What is the teaching methodology at SPICE?
Most of our distinguished faculty are themselves hiree’s, so as a Hiree, we always wanted to train the perfect hire, so we thought instead of complaining, why not teach and create a good hire. A lot of the knowledge we impart at St. Paul’s is empirical, we know what results to expect given all the parameters.
We have renowned journalists like Bachhi Karkaria, who are legends in city reporting, and we also do fun things like Antoine Lewis teaches food journalism. Being in Bandra gives us access to top-notch talents, we have award-winning journalist Dilip D’souza, who teaches long-form journalism.
Also, we have a lot of media expert invited for talks; we recently had Arnab Goswami here. Due to our indefatigable spirit, we pursue the best in journalism to be guest lecturer or faculty.
4) How many batches have passed out from the Institute and what are the plans? Also what kind of placements or jobs can the students expect?
Three Journalism batches have passed out of this Institute, this year the advertising batch is going to pass out, next year the PR batch is going to pass out.We will soon have masters in Journalism course from Australia’s prestigious Deakin University, and then you can get an international degree from SPICE.
One of our final cut pro students has a job where he has to watch movies and pinpoint a problem in the language, so the film doesn’t face a problem with the censor board. He loves his job that is paying him to watch movies.
Another of our advertising intern is with an agency called the minority, and his designed ads appear in Times and Midday.
5) So to sum it up, what are essential skills a journalist should possess?
Language skills are critical, not necessarily English, but any language, nowadays kids don’t speak any language well. Other skills like fact gathering, application of principles, systemising research, developing good contacts for news, and your reliability should be impeccable.
I also believe journalists should know about marketing as everything is content in a newspaper.