"When Prema joined Commits in July 2003, all we knew was that she wanted to pursue a career in journalism. But it was the journalistic insights she got from Commits through her very respectable professors that she finally became a very successful television journalist," said Prema Sridevi's father speaking in an interview with The Chronicle, the newspaper produced by the students of Commits Institute of Journalism and Mass Communication, Bangalore. Prema recently completed ten years as a correspondent with Times Now, India's leading English news channel, and was honoured at a felicitation ceremony by none other than the chief editor himself, Arnab Goswami.
Commits, a 15-year-old Bangalore-based media studies college, has placed hundreds of students like Prema Sridevi in the industry. Commits' students, known as Commitscions, have made a mark in all segments of the industry in roles such as journalists, PR professionals and copywriters. Commitscions work as corporate communications professionals with top-notch companies such as ANZ, IBM and SAP. In the words of Prof. Ranita Hirji, Dean, Commits Institute of Journalism and Mass Communication, "Commits was set up with the objective to bridge the gap between academia and industry." Adding on, Prof. Ramesh Prabhu, HoD of Journalism and a veteran journalist declares, "We are dedicated to creating good journalists. I also believe that if you can think and write like a journalist then, you will succeed in any media field. So our graduates have a whole world of opportunities to choose from."
"Aside from instilling core journalistic values, Commits also encourages the students to have a broad global outlook," says Prof. K Sai Prasad, HoD, Marketing Communications. The Marketing and Management Communication programme (MMC) offered by Commits is the only non-MBA programme for students from the BBM and BCom streams. Commits is also the only media institution from India to be a part of the Global Communications Foundation, in addition to 12 global universities. Every year an international symposium is organised by one of the member-universities, and the students from Commits present their project work based on the influence of different cultures on communication at the symposium. Besides this, students take part in several other national and international seminars, present papers, win awards and get their work recognised. Workshops are also a regular part of the practical sessions for the students. According to Prof. Sai Prasad, "Workshops help the students in polishing their skills."
Besides seminars and workshops, the Journalism and Audiovisual Communication students also spend much of their time in the television studio, learning practical communication skills. All the students are encouraged to get involved in various activities that they are interested in. They report and edit news, produce documentaries and short films and also prepare short advertisements as part of their Advertising Pitch project. "Everything they do in the studio, which they choose according to their interest, helps them in their internships," says B K Prabhakar, professor of Audiovisual Communication.
Most of the students who do summer internships with various media organisations are called back to work in the same organisation. As a result of the rigorous routine of classroom sessions, practical work, seminars and workshops, the journalism students of Commits are placed in top media organisations such as CNN-IBN and Times Now, and the marketing communication students are placed with various leading PR and advertising agencies such as Saatchi, Lowe Lintas and Genesis who offer the students packages ranging from Rs. 3.5 lakh to Rs. 6 lakhs per annum.
In addition to possessing a sterling placement record, the institute continues to remain inspired by its guiding philosophy of preparing the students to face life, and ensures that the students are sensitised to understand the values of society. With the help of tie-ups with NGOs such as CRY, Commits is able to provide students with training and field experience in development and community communication. Commitscions work with several NGOs and understand how communication is effective at the grass root levels.
Understanding that a media course is vastly different from conventional courses, Commits has designed a unique curriculum. Students complete two internships, organised by the college, before they graduate. "These internships help the students to get a clear idea of how the media industry works, and also results in placements," says Prof. Ranita Hirji.
The institute has pioneered in introducing CEOs and CXOs of reputed media organisations as course directors. Professionals such as Malavika Harita, the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Focus, and Melissa Arulappan, senior director of communications at Quintiles Technologies, and Jayakrishnan Eknath, former managing editor of India Syndicate, are some of the course directors who are dedicated to instilling the journalistic values and corporate ethos in the students.
With innovative concepts such as engaging senior industry professionals as course directors, and tie-ups with big names such as Network 18, Commits is already in a different league compared with other media institutes.
Commits has big plans for the future; they plan to start satellite centres all over India through which they will provide media courses in regional languages; they also plan to start online and offline short-term courses for working professionals, in addition to seeking and sealing international collaborations. Focusing on the quality of education, Commits stands firm on its vision, namely to create skilled and competent professionals for the media industry. Professionals who love what they do, so they get to do what they love.