Washington, D.C. -- The International Center for Journalists has announced the launch of the International Media Institute of India (IMII) in New Delhi, a non-profit educational center that will marry cutting-edge, hands-on journalism instruction with the highest international standards.
The institute will be run by ICFJ in collaboration with leading Indian editors, who conceived the idea for the school when they experienced difficulty in finding skilled entry-level journalists to hire. ICFJ's partner is the Society for Policy Studies (SPS), a non-profit Indian think tank that promotes debate on contemporary issues among journalists and concerned citizens and encourages quality journalism training.
Expected to open this fall, the one-year postgraduate program will give entry-level journalists the professional and technical expertise to work across media platforms. The classroom environment will mimic a newsroom with students constantly reporting and publishing stories. Top-tier international and Indian faculty will instruct the students on how to produce quality journalism for print, interactive and broadcast outlets. The graduates of the program will be the emerging leaders in media and communications.
The institute is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Graduate School of Journalism of the City University of New York (CUNY) is providing curriculum support.
The school is opening at a pivotal time. Indian media are experiencing unprecedented growth as the economy goes global and literacy rates rise. This has created a pressing need for journalists who can produce reliable coverage of a country that has become a major global player.
"This new program, with its professional and very practical approach, will meet the demand for high-quality reporters and editors able to use the new array of media tools and techniques," says ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan.
The institute will hire international and Indian faculty, "bringing the best of both worlds to that task," says Tarun Basu, president of SPS and chief editor of the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS). "More than ever, we need trained, ethical journalists to meet the rigorous standards that the public expects of an exalted profession and a growing industry."
IANS, an independent Indian news agency, will provide additional assistance and facilities to IMII in the Delhi suburb of Noida.
The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is helping ICFJ and its partners to create a state-of-art curriculum that prepares students for the digital media era. "In New Delhi, as in New York, journalists need to combine traditional reporting and editing skills with preparation to work in the digital era," says Stephen B. Shepard, dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. "We are pleased to be helping the institute develop that world-class curriculum."
Leading the effort will be Knight International Journalism Fellow David Bloss, the school's director, and Sunil Saxena, a longtime print and Web journalist, as dean. Bloss is a former editor at The Providence Journal newspaper in Rhode Island and a former academic director for ICFJ journalism school projects in the Republic of Georgia and East Timor. Saxena is the first dean of the Asian College of Journalism and the developer of 12 news Web sites for the New Indian Express Group.
The school will place a strong emphasis on covering economic and social issues facing poor communities, who are often ignored by the mass media. "Students can amplify voices of the poor, Dalits and tribal people, and help shine a light on their concerns and needs," says Sanjoy Hazarika, a former New York Times correspondent and member of the IMII advisory board. Several scholarships will be available for students in need. All students will receive a laptop computer.
The institute's advisory board is comprised of top Indian and international journalists and media experts. They include:
Arun Chacko, former director, Press Institute of India
Nikhil Deogun, deputy managing editor, The Wall Street Journal
H.K. Dua, editor-in-chief, The Tribune, and former media advisor to the Prime Minister of India
Adam Glenn, Internet news consultant
Sanjoy Hazarika, former New York Times correspondent and managing trustee, Centre for North East Studies
Lonnie Isabel, director of international programs, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
Sanjiv Kataria, communications consultant and former group executive vice president, NIIT
Amy Kazmin, South Asia correspondent, Financial Times
Manjeet Kripalani, BusinessWeek India bureau chief
Arul Louis, former Knight International Journalism Fellow in New Delhi
Mark Magnier, New Delhi correspondent, Los Angeles Times
Sudip Mazumdar, Newsweek correspondent, New Delhi
Sugata Mitra, professor of educational technology, Newcastle University, U.K.
Raju Narisetti, managing editor, The Washington Post
Monika Nikore, managing editor, photo, AOL News
A.S. Panneerselvan, executive director, Panos South Asia.
For more information, visit www.imii.co.in.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.