Faculty of Mass Communication & Media Technology, SGT University organized an Expert Talk on challenges for women journalists on International Women’s Day

The Faculty of Mass Communication & Media Technology organized an expert talk on challenges for women journalists at the SGT University campus. All the faculty members along with the students participated in the session. The keynote speaker of the workshop was Ms. Sagarika Kissu, Principal Correspondent of the Print. BJMC sixth-year student Khushboo Joshi was the moderator of the event for the day. The workshop aimed to discuss the challenges that women can come across as a journalist and ways to overcome them.

Dean of the department Prof. Sushil Manav said that due to the Holi festival, we are celebrating International Women’s Day today. He said, on this day we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It is also a day to recognize the ongoing struggle for gender quality and the many challenges that women continue to face.

Giving a brief introduction about the chief guest, Dean sir said that She is a prolific writer, a brilliant journalist but a very good human being as well. He said that she is Kashmiri Pandit and one amongst

3.25 lakh Migrants had fled from Kashmir due to the exodus which took place in 1989 and 1990 against Kashmiri Pandits. He said, while surfing on the internet, he stumbled upon a story on HuffPost about a backlash against Kashmiri Muslims in March 2019 when a Kashmiri Muslim rammed a vehicle full of explosives and 40 soldiers had lost their lives. Sagrika Kissu sheltered and saved 18 students who had left from Ambala, Dehradun and Jaipur. She not only provided them safe boarding and lodging, she also spent time with them and assured them they need not worry. For this, she faced a lot of trolling on social media, a lot of abuse, but she did what she thought was right for her.

Giving a brief about her background Ms. Sagarika Kissu said that she never got any formal education in journalism and in fact she is from engineering background and whatever she has learnt it’s on the job only but journalism was her inner calling so took it up as a profession. She requested everyone to keep the session very conversational and interactive and said she would encourage all the students to ask questions.

Talking about the challenges that she faced, she said the first one was with the family. She said it was initially a little difficult to convince her parents to take up journalism as a profession as her parents considered her totally a misfit for the profession.

She said monetarily also journalism is not considered as a very lucrative profession. In fact journalism is meant only for people who have passion to bring forth the stories of those who are affected and that’s what drives you to take the challenges and move ahead on the path. She shared a very important piece of advice with all the students and said when you are on the field covering stories ‘’Do as Romans do’’. She said there is one thumb rule which she always follows and that she always dresses up according to the culture of the society where she has gone to cover the story. She mentioned that she very much endorses the fact that women should have the liberty to dress up the way they want to but while covering stories you need to be skillful. It is required as you have to make your source feel comfortable to dig out information from them. In fact, it’s not only the attire but the language also matters a lot.

She talked about some funny instances that happened to her on the ground and said. She got a lot of marriage proposals while covering stories. She said that initially it would offend and upset her but later she realized that she had to navigate as a reporter and decided not to fight but accept all the challenges gracefully with a smile.

She gave one very important tip to all the students and said the best strategy is to make a source whenever you are going to any conflict zone or going to any orthodox society to cover stories. And it’s always advisable to keep a source with you who can help you translate when language is a barrier or when someone is using abusive language.

She urged all the male students also to speak up and share their viewpoints if they also feel that women have to face more challenges in comparison to men as a journalist. Head of the Department Mr. Kranti Anand said that in comparison to men, women definitely have to face more challenges not only in journalism but in all walks of life. But in the field of journalism it’s even more challenging as men can meet the sources at bars and drink with them to dig out information easily. Ms. Sagarika Kissu said that everything has two coins, it can be difficult but it can be easy also and journalism is all about cultivating a network of contacts. She also mentioned that Bollywood is responsible for forming a wrong image about women journalists but it’s only your hard work that gets you success. Fifteen years ago not many women were there in journalism but now there are a lot of good women journalists.

She emphasized that your safety should be your priority. Build trust, take the source in your favour.

She gave a very important tip for those who don’t feel confident to face the camera and said practising in front of the mirror is the key to overcoming inhibitions and it will go over a period of time.

Ms. Sarju Devi concluded the event with a vote of thanks and congratulated Dean Sir, Guest and all the faculties and students for organizing such an interesting and informative event. She said India is a multi-linguistic country. It is very surprising why acceptance of any gender is needed for any job. In fact a woman should be treated as you treated anyone else.

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