Not many of the veteran top-notch Indian journalists have had much of a professional training; all they learnt was on the field and/or the desk. Experience for them was definitely not the comb which life hands out when you go bald. It was after years of perseverance that one finally evolved.
Today's two-minute instant world is different. The road to the big-bad world of scribes passes through an expensive expressway called the Journalism School. The detour is usually potholed. Very few colleges and fewer universities used to offer formal education in the field of news mongering. But, the times they are a changin'. Every other university now has a journalism or similar course running; there also exists an entire university dedicated to the fourth estate.
The present hype around the J trade could only be matched by the B-School boom and the once bulging IT bubble. The media houses have also jumped in; why not make some extra bucks? Television channels, newspapers and even production houses run their own grooming schools for wannabe journalists. The tentacles of 'study institutes' offering 'authorised' courses have already crept into parts of the nation where even copies of the national dailies don't reach the newsstands.
The media boom is on. Every few months a new channel or a publication is launched. Rumours of astronomical salaries in the erstwhile jhola-chap, kholapuri clad profession do the rounds - the figures inflated by a few grands every round. But are there enough jobs out there? Organizations are downsizing across-the-board and the advent of foreign investment will only make things even more difficult. Most of these courses do not come cheap. Parents have to dig into their retirement funds.
The present state of affairs resembles the storm before the lull. The boom is waiting to go bust. Now door-to-door salesmen are MBAs and shortly the girl pestering you over the phone for a personal loan or a credit card might be a trained newsreader.