Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: Why is there such a schism between the ethics of journalism taught in schools, and the journalism practised in the real world?

24 Dec,2015

By Jaisurya Das


Hello and Welcome to this ‘Christmas Edition’ of India’s only online counsellor in the advertising and media space: Dear MxM !


As 2015 draws to a close, It is pertinent for us to gratefully acknowledge all the affection and good wishes you have given us all these months. Thank you, readers, for making us a part of your lives. This is our raison d’être.


I love this season; Christmas is when the tree comes to life, with the family painstakingly decorating it almost ritual like..


Friends giving you rum cakes and initiating the “to hell with the calorie” season.


Yes, it’s Christmas, my friends. And I so wish, we had Christmas more often than once in the year to keep the spirits high with resounding laughter.


Interesting isn’t it, how this season is celebrated beyond the much touted frontiers of religion, caste and creed. It doesn’t matter where you are from, whether you belong to one faith or the other. All that matters is whether you want to have a lovely time with family, friends, food and fun.


The ‘Hindu‘ shopkeeper sells you the decorations, the talented chef from the ‘Islamic’ faith makes those mouth-watering dishes and dessert comes from your ‘Christian‘ friend..


Now read the sentence above once again. Doesn’t it sound complex? Isn’t it so much simpler to forget all these man-made differentiators, and enjoy all that comes your way this season. After all, it’s the season of good cheer!


Yes, it’s Christmas my friends. Celebrate it to the hilt.

It’s not just about the resurrection of Christ.

It’s about life…


And yes, before your dive into the festivity here is this week’s questions (one all the way from  Melbourne, SFO and Aamchi Mumbai!)


Why is there such a schism between the ethics of journalism taught in schools, and the journalism practised in the real world?

Hey mate ! Thanks for writing in all the way from Melbourne. Feels good to know that we are read in Australia too.


While your excellent question is indeed pertinent, I must confess that i don’t know of anything that goes by the book, save the institutions of learning…


Essentially, the environment or lack of it makes the difference. No amount of theory or mocks can simulate work in a live environment. To top that, pressures of the world come into play initiating the practitioner into the real world as you called it.


Working on a live newspaper or TV channel is a different ballgame and rules get re-written by the hour. What is important finally is quality content that is delivered in time. How much can theory predict ? How much can it re-create ?


Remember, on the ground, it’s finally you versus the story!


It would be hypocritical on my part to say that there isn’t a schism between the academic and real world. Indeed there is. But that’s true of almost every stream. In reality we are human, we make the world what it is, real or otherwise!


Hence, if we need change with strict codes of ethics practised then it ought to start at home, and with us!!


Sir, if you were to ask Santa Claus for a wish for the Indian media sector, what would it be?

I would ideally like to give Santa Ol’ boy a wish list but since that isn’t an option, then it would certainly be to create 1000 new advertisers in each metro and mini-metro.


This would greatly ease the pressure on the industry and allow them to work on improving their brands and giving back more value for the same buck.


With more and more advertisers using BTL, social media and the like, revenues have taken a dip across Print, TV and Radio. On the other hand, overheads have shot up considerably thanks to salaries and other payouts being substantial. Licence fees, Carriage fees and the like all have made it a tightrope walk, so much so, that the media sees a huge number of burn out cases at the top and middle levels.


Investments in content and the like are withheld and the readers and viewers are forced to consume the same quality of content.


Yes, the market must expand and new advertisers must be created soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a major shake-out in the next few years. Consolidation will certainly be on the anvil and that will then force the consumer to toe the line, no matter what is dished to them.


Santa dear, are you listening????


Hey, I am an NRI living near San Francisco. I would like my daughter to intern in a newspaper in India as a journalist. But no one seems to reply to me. Who do your editors think they are? No decency to even reply!!!! No wonder India is still a Third World nation.

Hey, thanks for wiring in from SFO, but these are harsh words my friend.


Let me ask you a counter-question before I answer yours: Why do you want your daughter to intern with an Indian newspaper that has editors who don’t reply ? Moreover why in India… it’s a third world nation, after all, isn’t it ?


And at the risk of sounding harsh myself, let me answer your question on who our editors think they are…. They don’t think my friend. They know who they are. Others know them as well.


Which is why it’s important to do some fact-finding before you jump to conclusions. At first, let me tell you that it’s not the responsibility of the editor to screen and take on interns.


This is managed entirely by the Human Resource department and they are the ones you need to connect with regarding any internship request. Your daughter can write to them with her credentials and request for the internship in the department/ section she is keen on.


Not all establishments take on interns irrespective of where they are from, and all are treated equally whether they come from the US or a third world nation!  Decisions are taken on academic excellence and work done, when it comes to interns.


And, yes, my friend from SFO, do take sometime off, to read about India, our economy and all thats happening. It will help build your perspective and understanding of what makes third world nations rock ! If not anything, you may just feel patriotic. QED.


All good wishes to your daughter! Jai Hind!!!


I just realized, its just a week before we welcome the year 2016 ! I wonder if all of you feel the same way but for me, 2015 flew past, but well.


I don’t like saying these things, but as always, what has to be said, must be said ….


So, just go burn it! How the hell does anything else matter ? 🙂


Merry Christmas everyone. Have a hic-hic hooray time but do call that cab when you’re ready to go home. On that note, it’s sayonara till we meet next week to bid adieu to 2015. Same space, different questions and completely different answers.


And yes, before I forget, keep questioning us at with ‘Dear MxM’ in the subject line! 



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