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Assam Don Bosco University prepares backpack journalists

By C.M. Paul
MA Mass Comm students on a field study trip at American Center Kolkata, June 2015.
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Guwahati, Apr. 24.  Two years ago, an university in Guwahati launched a brand new program to prepare a new breed of social media activists with an MA degree in Mass Communication. The first batch of that group of 12 students who put their faith in the program will graduate in less than a month in May 2016.
The eight-year-old Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU) based in Guwahati, claims the new course entitled Convergent Media and Technologies which started in July 2014 is ''one of its kind post graduate degree program in backpack journalism to prepare citizen journalists.''

Speaking about the value added components of the course Jamia Millia Islamia Alumnus and Asst. Professor at ADBU - Mr. Kaushik Bhuyan says, ''Today's media professional needs to connect with her/his audience across multiple platforms - broadcast, mobile, on-line, social media and other new platforms. The MA degree course in Convergent Media and Technologies in the Dept. of Mass Communication provides this multiplatform environment to help students build their skills - conceptual and technical - to produce new digital content. This is the only MA course where students are taught to create multi-platform media content using professional Free and Open Source Software.''

''In our technology dominated world, the professions are multi-tasked and require one to be an expert in more than one narrow specialism,'' says student from South Sudan Shyjan Job who did one month internship with EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) studios in Alabama, USA.

His two companions Sabin Sebastian from Vishakapatanam and Daniel Thomas from Thiruvananthapuram who spent one month with Goodness Television in Kerala say, ''greater demands are made on modern media persons to become a producer, a director, a cameo actor, a scriptwriter, a copywriter, a video/audio editor, a PR campaigner, a cameraman, a journalist and even an advocacy enthusiast.''

''The MA programme,'' says Aurelyne Mary, from Shillong who had her internship at Doordarshan Kendra Shillong ''is designed to equip one with a thorough knowledge of the entire media spectrum from journalism to radio and video production, traditional to mobile media, the gamut of social media, citizen journalism, development communication and the world of public relations.''

Patricia Swer, Macdolina Shangpliang, Risa Laloo and Everwin Emlang Khongwar from Meghalaya joined Miss Aurelyne  for internship at Doordarshan, Shillong.
''For those who are not so social media savvy,'' suggests Steffi Soibam from Manipur who did internship with Press Trust of India New Delhi, ''there is another world out there for critical commentators to keep a tab on the ways in which media reflects, represents and influences the world.''

Jacob Malkias from Nashik and John Paul Tirkey from Salana (Nagaon) who did their internship in a television production house at Indore say, ''The ADBU post graduate degree program takes students through hands on exercises in the glamour of the advertising gimmicks, showing the way how a news story gathers steam, and help students try their hands at getting a video from script to screen, and cause waves.''

''The media platforms - Blog, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Podcast, Facebook and other social media networks are so varied, pervasive, influential and fast changing that it is a continuous challenge to keep pace with the latest trends in media-related industries,'' tells Assistant Professor Dr Robi Augustine.

Head of the Mass Communication Department Dr Machun Kamei says, ''On-line admissions for MA Mass Communication will open in May-July for graduates in any stream.''

Dr Kamei adds, ''Classes will begin on 27 July.''

The new academic year (2016-17) offers a bouquet of 10 programs in Mass Communication including: PhD; MA in Convergent Media & Technologies; MA in Development Communication; MA in Public Relations; PG Diploma in Convergent Media & Technologies; PG Diploma in Development Communication; PG Diploma in Public Relations; Certificate in Professional Communication Skills; Certificate in New Media and Citizen Journalism; and Certificate in Media Management and Entrepreneurship.


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