JMC Study Hub has interacted with ‘Dr. Saket Raman, Assistant Professor, Mahatma Gandhi Central University, to know his experience in the Mass Communication field and to know the insights about the present scenario of the Industry.
Highlights of the Interview
- People are not participating in any intellectual discourse.
- There is no concrete authentic or valid research in the area of communication
- People are just participating to get the certificates. After completion of a Ph.D., there is no guarantee of a job.
- Understand a concept, it is essential to understand the context.
- We never read an English book written by an English author.
- Our education system is just a system of writing answer sheets.
- The media is providing information and information is for the gratification of the theory.
- Indian Media is less responsible for society.
- We have to focus on the supremacy of the quality content.
- Aristotle never propounded the concept of communication.
What type of projects have you worked on as a freelancer and do you think that the media field is best in freelancing?
Dr. Saket- I have done some freelancing work with the newspapers like Prabhat Khabar, Danik Jagran in which I have written some article, feature stories on different contemporary issues like fashion, TRP, Tradition, professional development and also written some feature stories for the career pages focusing issues like preparation of NET, career option in media, popular educational website, popular universities providing fellowship for Indian Ph.D. students and many more.
During my Ph.D., I have started freelancing for some portals, news magazines. In our time there were limited opportunities for freelancer but due to the increasing popularity and emergence of Online/New Media, the Media field has been expanded with a fast span. Content writing is an emerging field that is allied or related to media and communication. In recent times, there are big opportunities in the area of freelancing, you can work from home, and you can join various content writing blog and website as well as you can prepare a video on freelancing basis for foreign projects or institutions. In the television field, there are sponsored types of programs where you can work as a freelancer and get packages based on stories or particular programs. The translation is also related to our field, you can also translate news copies, articles feature stories, books, and other content as well as transcribe audio, video, etc.
What are the current challenges that freelancers are facing in the current media industry?
Dr.Saket- The main Challenges before freelancers are-: There is no organized setup and no concept of rate fixation in this field. Organization Paying different for the same work. There is no regular income source, Sometimes they have a lot of projects, and sometimes they have no projects.
As you have been served as the media manager, please share with us that what are the skills that every media manager should have or bring to the table?
Dr. Saket- I joined the institution with only 37 Students but left the institution with more than 350 students within two and half year and this was only possible due to our branding strategy. I didn’t focus on paid advertisements or publicity only. I organized several activities like camps, public relations activities, social events, small extension programs, as well as published leaflets, newsletters, pamphlets, brochures, calendars, and distributed them in the local market, rural areas. By distributing the calendar, the brand/identity name of the Institution is portrayed and fixed in the minds of the particular person. I have also taken initiatives for direct communication with the editors of newspapers. I requested to cover a minimum of 20 news stories/coverage and also assured publication of our events with photos because the newspaper is more credible than the other medium. So, all these things establish the credibility of the institution in the local market and this is the major duty of the media manager or public relations officer. As a PR professional it’s essential to establish a good relationship and earn goodwill in the media houses.
As you expertise in media research, can you tell us how media research is important for modern societies?
Dr. Saket- We are dependent on media not only for the Information but right now each and every domain of our life is being influenced by Media. In the age of network society, if you have no information that means you have no power. When we talk about communication, we should try to disseminate the information with accountability but we are not showing our accountability to the society. When we talk about the accountability of the content, communication strategy, profession, media organizations, allied or related institutions, we find that there is no concept of accountability in India. Some organizations are working for the particular lobby and some are working to establish their own agenda.
The second thing is the decreasing level of credibility due to less accountability and as well as less social responsibility.
The third is less socially responsible media- Indian Media is less responsible for society. They are less interested in the purification of the interest/test of the people. They are just working on a business model that is profit-centric. Media houses defend that whatever we are producing is due to the interest of the audience. But there is a question that if somebody asks for poison do you provide? For example, a doctor will never prescribe you to eat/take Rasgulla if you are a diabetic because the doctor is responsible to you but in terms of the media profession, There is less responsibility to the people or society.
The research is essential to understand the happening, society and socio-cultural phenomenon because research is to investigate the thing to understand the thing whatever happening in our society if something is happening what is the root cause behind it but there is no such concrete type of research in India which understand the nature of Indian audience, nature of media content, social responsibility of media, how to create/cultivate the audience mind in a positive direction, how to suggest media to become more accountable/responsible to the society. In development communication, there is much more option of research, you can understand the problem of masses by diagnostic studies. We can diagnose the problem and how much media will be useful for the treatment of this problem. This is a concept.
In new media also, we can do research on the utility, time consumption, effect of pornography on adolescents, the effect of adult content, aggressive content, the effect of social media, and the impact of social media on interpersonal relations and behavior of the society, and exotic or toxic content of web series and their effects which is popular nowadays.
In India, every area related to communication should be focused in research because there is no concrete authentic or valid research in the area of communication, I have seen ever in India. Maximum Research is done only for getting a Ph.D. degree. If you are doing a Ph.D., you can’t conduct concrete research work because in Ph.D. you have so many limitations like-
- Limitation of time
- Limitation of guide
- Limitation of resources
- Limitation of your institution
- Limitation of money.
You can see from the example of the webinars. Many institutions are organizing webinars, What is the output of these things? People are not participating in any intellectual discourse; people are just participating to get the certificates. We must have to focus first on our social structure, second, on our economical resources, third on facilities which we are providing for the research in India.
People and some intellectuals every time talk about the research of the Oxford, Haward, and foreign universities. They always give examples and declare their work is superb, but they forget that in Oxford or Haward if you are doing your Ph.D. or research work, you get a fellowship which is equivalent to the salary of the lecturer as well as for any foreign visits or any research-related visit, they get sponsorship from different institutions as well as their parent institution. But when we talk about Indian Ph.D. students, NET- JRF qualify students, here you have to pay for Ph.D., here you have to adulate your bosses, you have to consume five or six years for research, and after completion of Ph.D., there is no guarantee of a job.
So, If we want to transform the thing, we have to work hard and start from concrete or ground level, we have to understand the root cause of the things, we have to modulate/ modify the education system, we have to incorporate the old indigenous philosophical or educational system and merge them with the skill-oriented western system. Our education system is neither demand-oriented and nor employability driven. Our education system is just a system of writing answer sheets.
What techniques do you implement while doing media research?
Dr. Saket- When you talk with your teachers to suggest some books of research, they suggest you C. R Kothari, Manoj Dayal, Md. Suleman. We the people forget that C.R Kothari was the expert in agricultural research, Md. Sulemaan is associated with the psychology domain; They were not directly related to the media. We suggest such types of books which are non- relevant to our communication field. We have to understand that our domain is different. The analysis process for each subject is different. We have seen some foreign books written by some foreign authors, what we do, we just read and translate them into Hindi or in other languages but we neither thought about the concept of that particular line nor the context. We never focus on the context, we just focus on the concept and just translate them but to understand a concept, it is essential to understand the context. For example- Obscenity is a concept but the concept of obscenity is different in Mumbai, Banglore, goa, Delhi, Bihar similarly it is different in Japan, Spain, and the U.S.A. So here the context is different and due to the context entire concept would be changed.
If Denis Macquel has written this particular line, what is the context of this line because understanding the context is essential to understand the media/communication. Generally, Hindi medium students never read an English book written by an English author. As we all know Communication, Journalism, Media, or all these domains are originated from the west. All their terminologies, concepts, theories, models are developed by the western thinker, authors. If you don’t know English then it is your drawback because until and unless you don’t read the foreign author’s book, you cannot understand the context and concept. You cannot say that I am an expert in the field of communication by reading a few books written in Indian languages. Maximum Professors who are related to the communication/media field in India are ignorant about Arthur Asa Burger, F N Kerlinger, K Jensen, S Priest, Wimmer and Dominick, Kimberly, and many more. But without reading them how can you execute a concrete study.
Is there any core/niche area that has not been yet touched in media research and there is still a need to do research?
Dr. Saket- Among core areas for study, one major in Indian Communication Philosophy, Vedic, Upanishadic, and other ancient thoughts, and the second is audience analysis or study of the diverse nature of the audience, reception analysis as well as accountability, responsibility, and credibility.
There is no concrete study or valid study in the area of communication or media, only there is some study in the area of Hindi journalism. There is no valid or authentic study in the area of English journalism like the trend of the audience, the nature of the audience, the requirement of the audience, cultivation of the audience mind and opinion, technological determinism, Cultural or ethnic study interpersonal and Intrapersonal communication, children and media relation as well as there is no valid study in India about the Indian Communication Philosophy.
Among many of our ‘Upanishad’, one is Prashno Upanishad means based on the question and querries, but what media researchers are doing, they are just studying or investigating easily available facts.
We have to focus on the supremacy of the quality content or which can easily create, generate, or motivate the people to be much more accountable.
Your opinion on the Aristotle Model of Communication.
Dr. Saket- Aristotle never propounded the concept of communication. Aristotle talks about the concept of rhetoric, that was speech art. In many books, it is written that the first communication model is propounded by Aristotle but in actual sense, it was not a communication model. It was a rhetoric model and we can align or correlate it with communication. But many Indian concepts Like Yam Nachiketa Samvad of Kathopanishad, The Vedic Mantra Sanchar, The Cosmic Man of Shrimad Bhagwadgeeta, The Concept of Divya Drishti or Door Darshan, The Concept of Sanchar Naitiki, The Abhigyan Shakuntlam Philosophy, the concept of Sanchari Bhao, communicable behavior or emotion was propounded by Bharat Muni these all things were propounded many years before Aristotle but never been recognized as part of Communication Philosophy. If the concept of rhetoric is related to communication then why not the concept of Sanchari Bhao, communicable behavior, or emotion should be the part of the communication model or theories. The Same idea is originated in both the model or concept. But one gets space because of western dominance and it is propounded and get popularised by western society. All the world is under the dominance of western society for 500 years. Due to that reason, they captured all the Intellectual domain and information sources and they have only highlighted their philosopher, thinker, and scholar.
Your opinion on the medium is the Message by Marshall McLuhan.
Dr. Saket- Marshall McLuhan said that Medium is the massage but I say that content is everything. There is less importance of the medium, communicator, channel, audience, The main thing is the message, the content. Content is supreme because the medium is not permanent or is less durable but the content is more durable. One content can be disseminated through different mediums or by different communicators.
Suppose you have written one book, the content of that book is supreme. A person can quote your content in the television discussion, second can quote in the classroom lecture, third can quote while writing another book, four can quote while writing an article for newspaper or feature stories for magazines. The other one can quote it in the webinar or seminar. So, Here all the medium is different but the content is the same. Content is originated from a particular book written by the particular author. By this example, we can conclude that the content or material is supreme or Omnipotent in the process of communication.