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‘My job as a professor is to build good journalists from the bottom up’

Paranjaya Mehra, an Assistant Professor, of Journalism says the field is all about giving a voice to the voiceless and bringing about positive social changes



Paranjaya Mehra is an Assistant Professor at Bharati Vidyapeeth’s Institute of Computer Applications and Management, IP University. She teaches Journalism and Mass Communication to young students and works tirelessly to build media literate good journalists. 

Paranjaya is an alumnus of Apeejay School, Pitampura (batch of 2014). She did her Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication from VIPS, IP University. Then she went on to pursue her Post- Graduate from Punjab University, Chandigarh. Currently, she is also pursuing her PhD from there on the usage of emojis in new media. 

In a one of a kind interview, the media professor explains the role of professors in removing the scepticism surrounding the Journalism and Mass Communication courses as well as reminds journalists that majority of the Indian audience is not media literate, “Therefore, one must only put forward the truth and only the truth.” Edited excerpts:

Tell us about a day at the college? Are students excited to learn this discipline?

I have 1-2 lectures a day. Then, I have regular work like checking the assignments of students. Apart from this, there is some research work as well which is in regard to my PhD. So, that’s my daily work schedule.

Out of the students who join journalism, very few of them are desperate to join this course with a free will and sincere intention. Maybe, it is because of the image the media has about our country. 

That is why I feel that my job as a professor of journalism or even those teachers who teach media studies in school becomes very important. We cannot change the journalists at the top, but we can create good journalists from the bottom up. Families are not open to this course, many are not aware and even if they are, the image they have of journalism prevents them from sending their child to pursue this course. The reality is not going to change soon, until promising students of journalism end up being in the field and bring about an active change. So, if this concept changes, then we will have more dedicated and curious students joining this field.

My job as a professor is to build good journalists from the students I get. To help them inculcate the love, the awareness, the traits of a good journalist.

Why did you not pursue mainstream journalism yourself? Why did you choose teaching instead?

I got placed in Indian Express, Chandigarh, after completing my post-graduation. I worked there for a brief time. But meanwhile I had also cleared the UGC Net exam and this gave me the chance to pursue a PhD in journalism.

 I am still working on my PhD, but when I complete it I will become the first person in my entire family to be to hold a doctoral degree. I was not sure if this chance would come to me years later. I was doubtful that if the chance even came to me again after say 10-15 years, would I be in a physical or mental connection to be able to give that much time and commitment to my PhD. I was sure I would have a lot of responsibilities later.

Back then, I was in touch with academics, I had that flow and I had just completed my Post-Graduation. I had that advantage.  So, I chose academics and teaching.

But I am happy and content in teaching. I would not like to go back to the field now. The reason is simple. It has been 1 year and 7 months of teaching and I have experienced two Teacher’s Day celebrations in my career so far. It feels great when young people come up to me, wish me as a teacher, and say how my lectures impacted them for the better. These small acknowledgements and the fact that I am in a position via academics to contribute to their knowledge thereby their life, feels great. I am way happier here.

Did the love for journalism germinate during Apeejay Pitampura days?

Yes. I would say not exactly journalism but the love for language. I would like to name my teachers here: Monika Kapoor ma’am, the first person who literally held my hand at Apeejay Pitampura. She was my English teacher. She gave me a lot of confidence to go on stage and speak, to engage in creative writing. She also helped me take part in many events. Her interest in language inculcated the interest in language in me as well. I also had lovely Hindi teachers as well. Karuna Mishra ma’am was a great teacher. These two teachers had a deep love for all the students. They taught us all so well. 

Since they taught me so well, I developed an interest in languages. I then moved towards public speaking and creative writing in both English and Hindi. I also participated in lots of inter-class and school competitions.

I remember that I also got the opportunity to be a part of the student prefectorial board twice. I had got a tie then as an award which I still have at home.

Those memories of cultural evenings, class assemblies were great. I loved to host these events. The fact that people walked up to me and congratulated me after the event felt so great. Savita ma’am I remember once congratulated me on my speaking skills. That compliment went a long way. I still remember it as you can see,  it impacted me so positively. Therefore, because of the language teachers I realized what I love, that took me to content writing which I continued during my graduation days and I then chose this field.

One life mantra for the current students?

You are sitting in the best possible place. You are in the safest and best hands. Just believe in your teachers. Trust in their guidance. You will surely excel!

One thing you love about journalism and mass media and one thing that you dislike?

I love the fact that journalism and mass media allows you to stand up for yourself and for everyone who isn’t allowed to stand up for themselves. The fact that it allows you to be the voice of both yourself as well as someone else through a pen or TV screen is liberating and strengthening. Journalists show the mirror to the government and society. We are also the change makers in some sense.

But the thing I dislike is that some journalists misuse this  huge platform. They distort the truth and put forward the perspective that the authorities want them to forward to the masses. We as professors teach a paper named media literacy in our course syllabus. It is about making the people media literate so that they are not fooled by anything and everything which they come across online. It is the need of the hour, I feel.

Journalists have to understand that the majority of our audience is not media literate, they will simply believe what they read or hear. So one has to present only the truth. Therefore, one must use the power and platform both wisely and honestly!

One thing you have learned from the teaching industry?

Remain a student forever. Your students also teach you so many times.

Finally! Where do you see yourself in the coming years?

Teaching more and more students and spreading the light I got from my teachers. 

Senior Correspondent at the Apeejay Newsroom, Arijit has written more than a thousand articles across varied genres and also shot video interviews and live coverages with the highest viewership, displaying his versatility and skill. Be it a special achievement article, feedback from a parent, high profile alumnus interview or a featured write up on culture, literature and sports, he is the go to person. His initiatives like Aspiring Artist, Promising Poet and Book reviews have earned him special place in the hearts of all students and readers. Arijit initiated video interviews with a wholesome campaign on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, consisting of 16 match review articles and 3 video interviews of budding football players and enthusiasts across various Apeejay schools in Delhi. He also did the live coverage of Apeejay Noida's mega event Runathon 2023 and also many other special interviews. All his videos created new benchmarks for views, especially the latter crossing 2k views in just days. A performing poet, short story writer and football player in the other half of the day, Arijit leads a colourful and passionate life. You can watch his performances at his YouTube channel- Arijit Roy Poems, and also read his poems and short stories at his blog with the same name. He can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected]