The National Union of Journalists (India) set up NUJ (I) School of Journalism and Communication in 1992 to undertake the urgent need for upgrading the professional skills of journalists working in the print and electronic media. The seasoned and senior journalists who did the groundwork for setting up this organization realized the fact that this profession being absolutely practical and entirely based on realism was very demanding and it was imperative for its practitioners to be always familiar with the latest in every field. Just as news becomes stale hour after hour, so do all the skills and technologies after a certain span of time making it incumbent for the persons concerned to keep on updating them. It is in this context that the School was conceived, set up and got registered under the Societies Registration Act (XXI of 1860). The School devotes a major part of its endeavour and resources to research and advance orientation encompassing both the print and electronic media. It also organizes workshops and seminars on professional matters for working journalists.
The impressive growth of the Press in various national languages has crystallized one fact that the future is not only bright but also belongs to what is currently called the language Press. The NUJ (I) School, therefore, lays greater stress on the training of journalists in the language Press and help them prepare, within its modest means, to undertake the onerous responsibilities with knowledge, ability, competence and dedication.
The NUJ (I) School of Journalism and Communication is unique in every aspect. It is different from all others in existence. It is not a school or an institute where basic training and information is given to graduates about journalism followed by a degree or a diploma. It cannot be compared with any university or college or private institute or even the prestigious Delhi-based Indian Institute of Mass Communication because it does not impart any basic training. Its operation starts not even where these institutes’ ends. Its role begins where journalists have already completed a decade or more in active profession. It imparts no basic training but trains those who have reached a saturation point in professional upliftment and are groping for chances to enhance and update their skills. It is not surprising then that the NUJ (I) members are approached by almost all institutes conducting courses in Journalism every year to set question papers for their students and also examine the answer sheets and also invite them as guest faculty to deliver highly professional lectures on subjects related to practical journalism to help their students to have an insight into the journalistic world. No wonder then that some of our senior members are employed by these institutes on regular/part-time basis to teach their students – it is true even in case of the IIMC.
For the past few years journalism has been undergoing a metamorphosis. Newspapers have started devoting more space to behind the scene activities not only in politics but also in several other areas including boardrooms and to human rights violations as also rural problems and demands. Working journalists are called upon to perform variegated jobs. Envioronment, arts and culture, fashion, marital problems, architecture, eating out, scientific researches and developments, agricultural requirements in tune with the latest research and findings as also agronomy — in fact there is no end to the specialist writers they need. The large number of new features, glosses and supplements, the behind the news write-ups, the dynamic displays and aggressive headlines—it is a picture totally different from what we were accustomed to earlier. These innovations have been the outcome of the fertile brains of working journalists. The NUJ (I) School’s programme encompasses these all and much more.
REFRESHER COURSES & WORKSHOPS
The School has already launched a series of refresher courses, especially for the journalists in the language Press on various aspects of the national scene with a view to equipping the reporters and the sub-editors with a deeper understanding of the socio-economic and political situation in the country. These include short-term courses on budget reporting, crime reporting, corporate reporting, trade union development, covering environmental issues and culutural and entertainment activities, appreciation courses in nuclear energy and Internet hand-on courses et al. A cyber journalism initiative was launched in July 1998 with Prime Minister A B Vajpayee flagging it off at our biennial convention in Punjab.
Since the School’s main objective is to upgrade the skills of working journalists it holds workshops on various subjects at different places in the country to help them have the best possible training by experts like the one on nuclear energy at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at Mumbai, the Trade Union Development workshop in Delhi, New Trends in Reporting at Ludhina, Ecoligical crisis in Punjab at Amritsar, Development Journalism at Hisar in Haryana, and INTERNET workshops at Lucknow, Delhi and Chandigarh. .
The NUJ (I) School of Journalism and Communication organized with the help of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) a major workshop in December 1997 on MEDIA TRADE UNIONISM at Lodi Hotel in New Delhi. IFJ Advisor Lee Yong See was the chief guest. Union Labour Minister, Kumamangalam and Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma were among those who addressed the workshop. Representatives from various journalist unions from all over the country actively participated in the workshop.
The School organized a seminar on Broadcasting Bill sponsored by the National Telematic Forum in New Delhi on June 12, 1997. A workshop on reporting of atomic energy was also organized in the same month in Mumbai that was sponsored by the Department of Atomic Energy. So far, four batches each comprising 16-18 journalists from all over the country have attended these workshops in Mumbai and other atomic plants in India.
Besides, the School organized workshops on CRIME REPORTING on August 19,1998: On CORPORATE REPORTING on October 9, 1998 in collaboration with ASSOCHAM, on COMPUTER TRAINING on November 28, 1998 with the help of NIIT, and on e-Commerce on July 21,1999 in New Delhi with the help of FICCI.
IFJ SPONSORED PROJECTS
The NUJ (I) School has always remained in active touch with the International Federation of Journalists, Brussels that has affiliates unions in more than 100 countries with a combined membership of over half a million. The IFJ General Secretary Aidan White visited New Delhi in September 1997 and June 1998. During these visits, he participated in our seminar at Kolkatta. The NUJ (I) organized a trade union development workshop in
The NUJ(I) and its regional units have been organizing a large number of workshops, seminars, discussions, classes, to improve the quality of their members. Some of these events have found sponsors from different agencies including governmental ones. We have trained journalists in reporting on new areas like nuclear energy, developmental journalism, crime reporting, human rights, child rights, problems of gender equality, discrimination and empowerment, corporate reporting, public health awareness, environmental problems etc. Some of these events were organized in collaboration with the IFJ.
The workshop on child rights and the media, the reporting on poverty related issues (organized with sponsorship of UNDP also), were additional dividends out of this relationship. NUJ(I) as a member of the IFJ delegation of working journalists to the ILO sponsored conference on this subject in 1991 made a significant contribution to the conference under the leadership of Christopher Warren. It also contributed to Asian journalists conference in Tokyo, the women journalists conferences in Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul organized by the IFJ.
NUJ (I) School of Journalism and Communicaiton organised a seminar on MEDIA CREDIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY at Delhi in March 2004 that was inaugurated by Arun Jaitley, Minister for Law and Justice, and presided over by the Chairman of the Press Council of India. Chairman of the Editors Guild of India, Harijai Singh, chaired one of the sessions. The School in collaboration with Kheti Virasat organised a workshop on Ecological Crisis in Punjab and Media at Amritsar in April 2004.