Navrachna University: Making Ethical 21st Century Journalists

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Today's professional journalists are living in a chaotic landscape where they share the journalistic sphere with tweeters, bloggers, citizen journalists and social media users. This has not only created new possibilities, but also many ethical challenges for the next generation journalists. How can we get at the truth when flooded by unverified information and how do we maintain integrity as new business models and partnerships become necessary for survival, are perhaps the most discussed challenges in the recent times. Located in Vadodara,Gujarat, Navrachna University's BA in Journalism and Mass Communication program addresses these issues and prepares students to become ideal 21st century journalists.

"Historically,journalism finds itself at crossroads created by the clash due to two real technologies ­ physical and digital. In the 21st Century, its role, business models, core tenets, contexts and practices are being questioned. At NUV, we emphasize on three points; critical thinking, interdisciplinary understanding and skills for changing the world,"says Abir Mullick, Provost and Vice Chancellor, Navrachna University. The university is well determined to lead the way by unravelling and demystifying complex changes in delivery and consumption of journalistic products. "In addition to the existing offerings, all students are required to take a course in Entrepreneurship so new forms of journalistic enterprises can be created," says Mullick. The purpose of the current curriculum is to train the students beyond the next job to contribute towards public good and build successful professional careers. "We are very observant of the state of the field,and considering
that we have only three years with a student, we offer a broad education and prepare them for the change in profession likely to happen in next 5-10 years," explains Mullick. Therefore, the education goes beyond the classrooms at NavrachnaUniversity, which is highly focused on providing the practical skills.

"The university's cutting-edge curriculum enables students to learn conceptual skills along with robust hands-on work in the studio"

Today, Navrachana University is reinventing higher education through an interdisciplinary focus that unites disciplinary interests to create a rich and synergistic educational experience. The university has identified five important components that make up this paradigm shift; Interdisciplinary education(ID), Communication, Social education, Entrepreneurship and Education from the surroundings. "The curriculum for every program requires students to take 3-4 interdisciplinary courses. Every semester, 25-30 interdisciplinary courses are informed and students self-select the one they wish to enroll in," claims Mullick. The university's cutting-edge curriculum offers core and interpretative courses that will enable the prospective students to learn on conceptual skills and have a robust hands-on work in the studio /seminar as well as engaging sessions in interdisciplinary settings.

In the three-year BA in Journalism and Mass Communication program, Navrachna University offers an effective and engaging way to apply critical thinking skills to a wide range of issues and practices. The program also offers many other practical avenues including internship in the media industry and a capstone project in the sixth semester. As journalism offers a widened scope in reforming the society, the university connects its students with the local community making them aware of the local problems. One example is the project called Khoj, which is a part of the curriculum where the students
investigate challenges in the local
community and address them by creating social innovation. This hands-on course prepares students to become observant and socially aware, and create ways to address challenges confronting the community.

"As our curriculum has a strong dose of practice, we are confident that our students are job-ready and they will find meaningful employment. Our emphasis is more on creating sustainable career paths for students and trains them to succeed in whatever they choose,"says Mullick. Although, first program cycle for BA in Journalism and Mass Communication will be over in year 2019, the university is positive about their broad placement policy and they believe that it will ensure meaningful employment and professional satisfaction.

Our focus is not just on making our students get a job; instead we prepare students for the transformation, strengthen their position and embrace the evolving media scape,"says Mullick. With an aspiration to be a centreof excellence offering the best program in immersive journalism, digital journalism,data journalism and interactive cinema, NUV continues its journey by transforming the youngsters to become change makers in the society.

He is also a tenured Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA. Professor Mullick's educational and professional experience is grounded in Architecture, Industrial Design, City Planning and Business Management. He has served in higher education over twenty five years, and is internationally known for his work in environmental accessibility. He holds many patents and his work have won international design awards. He serves on the editorial boards of international journals, advises on international conferences, and reviews grants for national and international organizations. A resource person to the United Nations, Professor Mullick consults internationally on disability issues and public access.