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Careers in Mass Communication: Print Media

Print Media is the oldest form of media. But even today it is growing from strength to Strength. This statement is supported by the fact that around 4000 newspapers are registered with the Registrar of Newspapers. This indicates that it is a growing sector where employment opportunities are increasing with each passing day.

Most of the young aspirants who want to enter the print media prefer reporting, but newspapers and magazines also seek young talent as photographers, artists, editors, computer experts, librarians, and cartoonists. S tudents who have writing ability, graphics or photo skills, curiosity and determination and who are well prepared by education and training have less difficulty in finding a good opening in the print media.

Areas of work in the Print Media

Editors – Editors plan the contents of the publication and supervise its preparation. They should have sound knowledge of newspaper laws. They need to put forward innovative ideas and establish the style of the publication. Editors must be able to coordinate the efforts of a team. They must possess a sound knowledge of their market, and take the initiative in looking for new authors and new subjects. In very large newspapers, there are associate or assistant editors who are responsible for particular topics, such as sports, international news, local news, supplements, special pullouts, etc. Administrative duties of editors include hiring writers, planning budgets and negotiating contracts with freelance writers.

Reporters and correspondents – Reporters and correspondents file stories about local, state, national and international events; present different view points on current issues and monitor the actions of public officials and others who exercise power. Newspapers frequently station reporters known as correspondents in large cities and in other countries to prepare stories on major news events occurring in these locations.

Sub-editors – The sub-editor gives final shape to the story submitted by a reporter. He acts almost like a gate keeper – editing, reformatting, objectively presenting each report, keeping in mind the general policy of the newspaper. He must be able to identify potential doubts, complications and mistakes in the text, inconsistencies or lack of adherence to the style of newspaper.

Freelance journalists – Freelance journalists are not the regular employees of the organization. They are paid according to each piece or article they write.

Columnist – A newspaper appoints specialists for regular columns. Columnists, being assigned a column, have to keep contributing to the column on a regular basis.

Commentators – Well known people, who are authorities in their respective fields, are invited to write on topical issues in magazines or newspapers.

Cartoonist – A comical or satirical sketch on political, cultural events is the job of a cartoonist. While established cartoonists work for some big groups, others are generally free lancers.

Artist - Illustrators and cartographers who specialize in maps and charts to illustrate data work in this medium.

Photojournalist - He is a photographer who is able to tell a story with pictures.

To pursue a career in the print media one may attain a bachelor's degree or a post-graduate diploma in journalism or mass communication. Courses in journalism are offered in English, Hindi and regional languages. Specialized courses in selected fields like page composition and typesetting and photo journalism is also offered. Apart from the professional degrees, other skills required are a good command over the language, good general knowledge and the ability to collect information and report events quickly. Some institutes offering courses in journalism and mass communication are Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Xavier Institute of Mass Communication, Mass Communications Research Centre (Jamia) and Amity School of Communication.

Graduates can go in for an internship with a newspaper for supervised training. The latest trend in this regard is that big groups of newspapers advertise the posts of trainees in any of the above categories. After conducting the entrance examination, suitable graduate trainees, with a flair for writing, are selected and employed.

Almost all newspapers hire students fresh out of college, though most of the larger papers (and many of the medium-sized ones) ask for prior experience. Therefore, the smaller the newspaper, the better your chances of landing that first job. It is advantageous to apply to newspapers that you know something about, newspapers where you have had an internship, and papers that are located in areas that are familiar to you.

Print Media organizations where aspirants can find jobs are:

  • Newspaper groups
  • News agencies and news bureaus like the Press Trust of India, Reuters, United News of India and Associated Press
  • Magazines and journals in English and vernacular languages
  • Indian Information Service (Group A) of the government, Directorates of publicity
  • In-house publications of large corporate houses
  • Websites

The bigger publishing houses pay far higher salaries than the prescribed grades of the Government of India. Entry level salaries range between Rs 8000 to 12000, experienced Journalists get from Rs 20000 to 25000 and Senior Journalists earn over a Lakh per month. Editors of several publications draw salaries in Millions as they are given globally competitive salaries.

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