The onset of journalism was witnessed when the first newspaper in Asia, "Bengal Gazette" was published from the 'city of joy', Kolkata. Continuing the city's tradition of being the trendsetter, The Bhawanipur Education Society College (BESC) set up the Department of Journalism & Mass Communication in 2015, offering it as an Elective subject, to enhance the employability quotient of Arts graduates. The tremendous response to the subject resulted in upgrading to the Honours course in the very next year, with a view to generating the most proficient media professionals. Affiliated to the University of Calcutta, The Bhawanipur Education Society College holds a rich history of over 50 years in the education sector and prides in having cordial relations with counterpart institutions including prestigious organizations.
Considering communication as an essential component for all media students, BESC provides its students with optimum practical activities.
The college aims to impart theoretical knowledge and build leadership qualities in the students and make them employable graduates, through this undergraduate course in Journalism and Mass Communication, which admits 35 students every year. "Media today is a complex entity which provides information, bridges distances, fills all voids and makes communication at all levels immediate, graphic and substantive. A media graduate has unlimited opportunities and can choose a career from a wide range of options, right from print and electronic media to creative writing , film-making, et al. Identifying the wide scope of this discipline we launched BA Honours in Journalism & Mass Communication," says Dr. Suchandra Chakravarty, Teacher-in-Charge, The Bhawanipur Education Society College.
Considering communication as an essential component for all media students, the college provides its students with optimum practical activities. "Media persons are of paramount importance in letting the masses know what is happening around the world, that too within minutes of any incident. This requires a lot of fluency in speech, prompt action and immense confidence. Here, we strive to polish the skills of our students by going beyond curriculum oriented teaching," claims Dr. Chakravarty. The department regularly organizes Seminars, Workshops, Debates and the students actively participate in these events to gain self-confidence. "Our students are also inspired to engage in blood donation camps, NSS and other social service initiatives, which helps their holistic development," adds Dr. Chakravarty. Promoting interactive methods of teaching, the five young and enthusiastic faculty members of the department urge students to prepare PowerPoint presentations, participate in group discussions and debates and also attend fortnightly film screenings.
These activities further instill habits of critical thinking in students and also challenge them to keep abreast of current affairs and debates as well as new movements in thought and representations. "Our faculty members have a good mix of academic and professional experience. Experienced in research projects, news reporting, photography, editing and script writing, they are passionately invested in developing a friendly bond with the students. This makes the teaching process more effective," opines Dr. Chakravarty. Senior professionals from the industry like Snehasis Sur, Senior Journalist of Doordarshan, Suvojit Bagchi, Chief of Bureau, Kolkata, The Hindu and others also visit the campus routinely and share their insights with the students of the Journalism and Mass Communication department.
Taking the Plunge
Ensuring a productive campus life and providing a perfect backdrop for academic pursuits, the college renders the best possible facilities like air-conditioned classrooms equipped with projectors, a rich collection of 83 titles in the library exclusively for the subject, laptop enabled for page designing at a professional level, and well equipped media laboratory with state of the art equipment not always found in undergraduate colleges. These are necessary technological supports to prepare the students for the industry.
"The Bachelors' programme is the stepping stone towards the future of the students and we want to gift them a strong base with unbeaten facilities. We ensure that they utilize these to the fullest", says Dr. Chakravarty. In order to familiarize students with the practical application of what is taught in class, the students of Journalism and Mass Communication in collaboration with the Department of English, run an online Newsletter called 'The Bhawanipur Beacon'. Under the guidance of the teachers of the concerned departments, the students are divided into different groups to collect, edit and design the news reports along with the photographs of the events that take place within the campus.
Being in the initial stage, the department has several distinct proposals and endeavors, which are yet to be achieved. The first batch of Honours students is still in the second year and once they reach the third year, the department is determined to arrange internships for them in different media houses, PR firms, Advertising agencies and Event Management companies. "There is a crying need for a multi-tasking workforce with specialized skills and in depth knowledge-base. The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication is inclined to train students in new age skills, thereby contributing a new generation workforce, keeping in mind the changing industry scenario," concludes Dr. Chakravarty.
Dr. Suchandra Chakravarty, Teacher-in-Charge
Dr. Suchandra Chakravarty is the Teacher-in-Charge of The Bhawanipur Education Society College and Associate Professor of English. She has been serving as a teacher in the college for the last thirty years, and has taken on academic administration in various capacities for the last seventeen years.