Today’s budding journos – not curious enough

Posted: August 11, 2009 in Facebook, Mass Communication

Curiosity, as the old saying goes, killed a cat. While not wishing anything as extreme on any student of media studies today, I will say that a lot of them, who are looking to enter the world of media, are not curious enough about anything. So what stops students from finding out more?

When we started in journalism, and found a topic interesting enough we would pick up old newspaper files or magazines and read up on those, because that is all we had as our sources of information – good, bad, indifferent, true or false. We were hungry, always curious for more. The intention was to disseminate the information we had, take what we thought was useful and the discard the rest.

In the early days students interested in journalism did have the Pune University’s Department of Journalism at the Ranade Institute, but even they will admit that it didn’t really have anything as extensive and intensive as the Mass Communication courses run by journalism schools.

Today there is also the Internet, which is a fount of information and I sometimes wonder where we (as in journalists of my time) would have reached if we had the benefits of modern technology.

Again, it’s not the lack of knowledge that disturbs me inasmuch as their lack of interest. They are happy listening to me telling them about my experiences as a journalist or an incident, but once the lecture ends they would much rather be on googletalk, Facebook, Orkut or hi5. How many would be on the Internet, researching on the subject they’ve just heard about? There’s a difference between “having heard” about something and “knowing” about it. Many students don’t fall in either category. They are all very smart. So I don’t know why the complacency.

Is it because nowadays everything is handed down to them – notes, presentations, books? And the fact that they are so bogged down by the curriculum that by the time the day ended they were too tired to do anything but unwind by not reading anything except the menu at a pub!

Fortunately, there’s also the flip side. I’ve met quite a few students at the various journalism schools in the city, who have impressed me with their in-depth knowledge of a subject and their eagerness to know more. During a lecture, I even invited one of them to address the class on a topic, where my knowledge on the subject was limited. And she did a superb job.

I met another bunch who had me completely engrossed with their knowledge and the enthusiasm for debate. I also follow the blogs of a couple of my students and their command over the language is remarkable. These are the students who fill me with hope. May their tribe increase!

  1. Nandu Rao says:

    The same complaints were heard about us from our fathers' generation. As the volume of knowledge increases, the detailing has to necessarily decrease. God maybe in the details but He is also the larger picture. And curiosity is relative. A village boy in Mumbai will always look more curious and eager than a Mumbai lad in New York. Until they meet in Cairo.If curiosity did kill the cat, it would be an awkward situation today with animal rights activists popping up behind every stray dog. So the cat is best left to Schrödinger.

  2. Joe Pinto says:

    My dear Sinha,Don't despair! Even in our days, the student world was divided into two: the curious few and the complacent many. Let's focus on the curious few – our hope for the future. The complacent many will find jobs to feed their needs and desires."The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation, while here and there some great unselfish soul forgets oneself into immortality." – Ralph Waldo Emerson.Please send me the links to the blogs of a couple of your students, whose command over the language is remarkable.Peace and love,- Joe.

  3. janhavi says:

    Hello sir, I partly agree with your views that todays generation is less curious. Because curiosity i feel can be relative. The thing is when a student enters the field of journalism and media, everything is entirely new, exciting and overwhelming for him. It takes time to understand, realise and think over the entirely new concepts and then form an opinion. Discussion is the stage after he acquires enough knowledge on the subject.Initially its just absorbing and assimilating and holding on to whatever valuable knowledge he has got. Once that hang up of the subject is achieved, definitely i feel curiosity increases. But yaa, i feel the passion to immediately go and start searching on the subject is not observed. Will definitely try and get that :)But thanks for all the other interesting articles. I specially loved the one on swine flu.

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