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Department of Media Studies
To inform, educate and entertain. But also, to question, generate debate, initiate a dialogue. These essential elements make for good storytelling and strong narration, whether it is in a factual 52-minute documentary, a 20-second short, a 300-word news-story, an amateur podcast or a 2000-word specialized, portentous opinion article. 
 
At Ashoka’s Media Studies Department, we teach students how to be responsible and creative in their media making. Our work centres around applying an analytical framework to various communication media (language, audience, representation and context) which is taught through discussion, practice, analysis and debate. Students also develop a range of technical skills required for both constructing and deconstructing media products. The faculty and students study how media technologies tell stories, entertain mass audiences, and educate citizens of the world. We study the media's strengths and abuses. We cultivate an appreciation of the media's special role for citizens and professional media makers working across a spectrum of cultures and political systems. We nurture a universal desire for free and responsible expression.
 
Global media has seen monumental changes in the last three decades. From old fashioned, even staid, print and broadcast journalism to multimedia, digital storytelling, the spawning of social media and self-styled ‘citizen’ journalists, and thence to virtual reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence. With AI taking over entire newsrooms, the media industry has been transformed - upended and revolutionized in many ways. Production is lean and consumption is on demand. News cycles have exploded, citizen journalism has blurred the lines, digital amplification of disinformation and 'fake’ news has muddied the pond and given a new urgency to the perennial question, what is “good” media? Media has acquired a different meaning and pace. 
 
The Media Studies minor focuses on preparing students and aspiring journalists with a comprehensive understanding of how different layers of the media function in contemporary times. The various courses arm students with rich theoretical knowledge of media processes, an understanding of media history, and the simultaneous application of that knowledge to practical situations on the ground. 
 
 
Through lectures, field trips, discussions, writing and documentary projects we train students to understand how media ethics, law, context and history play a role in the final media output, whether it's a written, aural  or visually driven news report, a feature film, or a social media story. These exercises are vital to understanding how the media functions and how it both reflects and influences change in taste, behaviour and social attitudes. Courses in news reporting and writing, photography, documentary filmmaking, broadcast, and data journalism, ethics, media law, communication theory, or conflict reporting, to name just a few, provide a window to  students who aspire to be leading journalists in our uncertain and troubled times. 
 
Our courses in production replicate actual newsrooms. Through a well-equipped Media Lab run by television professionals, students gain hands-on experience of working with audio-visual equipment and learn their craft in “live” broadcast conditions.  Our courses in understanding cinema contribute to the growing multi-disciplinary spirit of Liberal Arts at Ashoka University. The minor programme in Media and Film Studies, engages with a rapidly changing global media landscape and prepares students for careers in media, academia, and for work at cultural institutions. The programme invites students enthused about learning why media products are positioned the way they are, the interests they serve, the history behind these rich forms, and how to effectively create these media products themselves.
Objectives
  • Teach and practice critical thinking about the central role of mass media in a global democracy.

  • Study the impact of media on citizens, consumers, governments and society.

  • Promote media content that is ethical, responsible, contextual, and respectful of diversity of background and belief.    

  • Impart technical skills and know-how for reporting, writing, scripting, editing and production across technologies

  • Encourage students to engage with issues and stories that serve the public interest. 

 

  • Educate the next generation of media scholars and practitioners who will carry forward our values of holistic education and global awareness.

  • Publish and broadcast student media output

  • Learn to evaluate data and its sources for verification, objectivity and credibility.

Course Scope

The courses broadly delve into: 

  • Convergence journalism and communication technology

  • The history of media

  • The ethics and effects of media in the arena of policy studies

  • Critical analysis of the media 

  • The social impact of media on public opinion

  • The relations between media and the law, free speech and governance

  • The commerce and regulation of media in the public sphere

  • The use of narrative and story-woven techniques in journalism

  • The acquisition of audio-visual production skills

  • Scripting and conceptualising for creative production

  • Research methods and investigative journalism

Mandatory courses considered essential are offered on a regular basis while a range of electives rotate year on year  in order to provide a variety of choice and a wide spectrum of subjects.

Media Studies Courses

To successfully complete a minor in Media Studies, a student has to take six Media Studies courses over the period of three years at Ashoka. The department obligates students to take three mandatory courses and offers students a range of courses to choose from for the three electives. However, a media minor student has to do two courses at each level of teaching – 100, 200, 300.

Mandatory Courses

Media, culture and society: (100 Level) 

The course will enable students to gain an in-depth understanding of key issues, debates, and theoretical perspectives, and to critically analyse the relationship between culture, media, and society. Students will closely examine mass media forms and how they are influenced and structured by broader economic, political, ideological, and social contexts.

 

Introduction to news writing and reporting: (100 Level)

This course lays the foundations of a student’s understanding of news and the news cycle and the difference between news and opinion. Basic newspaper and Web reporting and writing

 

Audio-video production: (200 Level) 

This course is a stepping-stone for all other technical media studies courses like Radio and TV Production, Web Journalism and Documentary Filmmaking. The course explores style, standards and techniques, including a variety of ways to lead and structure a story. 

Electives
  • The Media and Film Studies department offers several critical thinking seminars and electives that build on the basics of newswriting and reporting to teach communication strategies across media — print, web, radio, podcast or broadcast. 

  • These range from courses that analyze the impact of social media on the mainstream landscape, media metrics, film appreciation and cinema, digital storytelling, specialized courses in research methodologies, political reporting, business journalism, reporting on war and diplomacy etc.  

  • The courses use a combination of field trips, in-class exercises, group work and output-driven assignments to encourage a collaborative and conducive learning environment.

  • In a spirit of interdisciplinary and liberal arts learning - the foundations of Ashoka University, many Media Studies courses on offer are cross-listed with other departments like Computer Science, Psychology, Creative Writing, Political Science and Sociology.

The electives on offer for Monsoon Semester, 2020: 

 

100 Level Courses

  • MS 1101 Introduction to News Writing & Reporting — Maya Mirchandani

200 Level Courses

  • MS 2001 Introduction to Audio Visual Production — A K Ranjit and Tisha Srivastav

  • MS 2010 Introduction to Photography (Mobile Basics) — A K Ranjit and Tisha Srivastav

  • MS 2110 Introduction to Beat Reporting — Neha Dixit

  • MS 2120 The Ashoka Conversation — Maya Mirchandani

  • MS 2111 Mastering the interview — Tisha Srivastav

300 Level Courses

  • MS 3110 Long form Journalism (previously shows as MS 2015 and cross listed with creative writing) — Siddhartha Dubey 

  • MS 3210 Introduction to Theories of Mass Communication and Behavioural Change (cross listed with Psychology)— Purnima Mehrotra 

  • MS 3301 Media – Theory, ethics and law — Vaiju Naravane

The electives on offer for Spring Semester, 2021

 

100 Level Courses

  • MS 1201 Media, Culture and Society — Maya Mirchandani  and  Tisha Srivastav

  • MS 1101 Intro to Newswriting and Reporting — Tisha Srivastav

  • MS 1410 Film Appreciation Intro (cross listed with CWC) — Aakshi Magazine

200 Level Courses

  • MS 2020 Art of Editing — A K Ranjit and Vaiju Naravane 

  • MS 2010 Introduction to Photography (Intermediate- Digital) — AK Ranjit  

  • MS 2013 Broadcast Journalism — Siddhartha Dubey

  • MS 2810 Intro to Environmental Communication — Rahul Chopra and  Tisha Srivastav (cross listed with BioSciences/ Environment Sciences)

300 Level Courses

  • MS 3430 Documentary Film-making (Advanced) — Nakul Sawhney

  • MS 3001 AV Production (Intermediate, including graphics) — AK Ranjit 

  • MS 3130 Investigative Journalism — Neha Dixit

  • MS 3310 Disinformation and Digital Propaganda — Maya Mirchandani 

  • MS 3320 Reporting Conflict — Maya Mirchandani

Electives offered in the past
  • Audio Visual Production

  • Introduction to Media Studies:  Principles of Journalism

  • Introduction to Journalism

  • Introduction to Travel Writing

  • Introduction to Newswriting and Reporting

  • A Filmmaker's Companion (Curated with Anupama Chopra and Film Companion)

  • Media And Democracy

  • Introduction to Web Journalism and it's design principles

  • Business Journalism /Investigative Journalism

  • The Story: How to Report, Build and Produce a News Story during Global Contagion

  • Media, Culture and Society

  • Media, Gender & Culture

  • Analysing the Media: Problems and Perspectives

  • Cinema and Society

  • Media, Cinema and Censorship

  • How to Read a Film

  • Studies in Film: Bollywood and the Idea of India

  • Introduction to Film Studies

  • Research for Screenplay Writing

  • Data driven Journalism

  • Elements of Investigative Journalism 

  • Literary Journalism

  • Theatrical London

  • Reporting and Writing for Print, Broadcast and the Web

  • Broadcast Journalism (News)

  • Broadcast Journalism (Features)

  • Long-Form Writing

  • Journalistic Theory: Principles, Ethics and History of Journalism and Laws of the Press

  • Media, Cinema and Censorship

  • The World of Documentary Films: History, Principles and New Styles

  • The Craft of Writing: Narrative Nonfiction

  • War and Media

  • Bollywood and Gender

  • Documentary and Video Storytelling: Concepts, Elements and Execution

  • The Feature - Storytelling in Audio and Video (Podcast and Broadcast)

  • Introduction to Multimedia

  • International Humanitarian Law

 

  • Disinformation, Propaganda and Rumour in the Digital Age

  • Managing a Convergent News Desk

  • Opinion and Editorial Writing

  • The Making of A Documentary

  • Broadcast Production I (Radio)

  • Broadcast Production II (Television)

  • Reporting Conflict

  • Documenting Rural India

  • Ecological Echoes: Introduction to Reporting the Environment

  • Political Journalism

  • Film and Documentary Production: A Practical Approach

  • Creative Visualisation: Telling Stories Through Photography

  • Brand Strategy Communication

  • The Future of the Media: New Models, Economic Perspectives and Lessons for Democracy

Minor in Media Studies

Students are required to take two courses from each level for the successful completion of a minor. This means two 100-level courses, two 200-level courses and two 300-level courses on offer by the department. This collection of the required six courses includes the three mandatory and three elective courses students choose. The combination encourages students to navigate the discipline’s depth as well as appreciate the breadth offered by the department’s faculty. 

 

Note: For ASP students and students doing a Concentration in Media Studies, only Media Culture and Society is mandatory. 

 

Pre-requisites do not apply for cross-listed courses taken by non-Media Studies students. For example, Media Studies minor students will require Newswriting and Reporting as a prerequisite for Longform Journalism, but a student studying for a minor in Creative Writing will not need that prerequisite. 

 

Other Activities

The department regularly invites prominent journalists, authors, broadcasters, editors and media researchers to speak on topics of interest and currency to the media and give rare insights into the practice of the craft. 

 

 

The department also organises regular field trips to cover live events giving the students much needed practical experience on how news stories evolve, the real nature of breaking news and what it means to work under the pressure of the news cycle. Students are also encouraged to conduct their own fieldwork for class assignments. 

 

The Media Studies Department engages in unique partnerships to bring the best professionals into the classroom and give students a ringside view of what the practitioners’ universe looks like. The Filmmaker's Companion brought on board prominent Bollywood critic Anupama Chopra’s Film Companion team of Hindi Cinema’s writers, editors and directors for a semester-long course in which students learned both the art and craft of cinema and had a unique filmmaking experience.

Partnerships
Collaboration with CSBC
The Media Studies department actively collaborated with the University’s Centre for Social and Behaviour Change on course content, production of radio messages on family planning for government agencies and a seminar on a future Masters programme. 
 
 
Filmmaker’s Companion a course curated in collaboration with Anupama Chopra and The Film Companion, an internet platform on film
Filmmaker’s Companion, a unique offering by the Media Studies Department in collaboration with film critic and author Anupama Chopra’s popular portal Film Companion, ran its first iteration in Spring 2020 with a batch of 23 students. Notable luminaries from Bollywood like Juhi Chaturvedi, Swanand Kirkire, Suresh Chabria, Raj Nidimoru, and Deepa Bhatia were invited  to  Ashoka  to  give three-hour-long lectures on film appreciation and several aspects of filmmaking like writing, lyric-writing, direction, and editing respectively.
 
 
A Workshop with Professor Ian Stewart on Environmental Communication 
President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth (UK), Professor Iain Stewart, a member of the Scientific Board of UNESCO’s International  Geoscience Programme is also Visiting Professor at Ashoka University’s Department of Environmental Sciences. This Scottish geologist is also presenter for a number of BBC Science programs, including the BAFTA-nominated Earth: The Power of the Planet (2007).
 
In a continuing partnership between the Department of Media Studies and the Department of Biosciences, Professor Stewart led a Science Communication session of two hours with Media Studies students at the Media Lab on campus in early March 2020. The session introduced students from varying Social Science backgrounds to how they could come to Science Communication, even if they had non-scientific academic or personal interests.
 
 
Media Against Action Rape — A Joint Research Partnership with Ashoka and Bournemouth Universities in the lead and in collaboration with four other universities in India 
Bournemouth University and UNESCO joined hands for a  research and capacity building project called Media Action Against Rape (MAAR) in New Delhi. Funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), MAAR is an ongoing two-year-long study of how rape and sexual violence are reported in India. It maps the journalistic challenges of reporting rape and sexual violence across India. The project began in June 2018, with the purpose of understanding the following:
  • How is rape and sexual violence represented/depicted in the Indian news media?

  • What goes behind that depiction — what are the challenges and issues that journalists face when reporting sexual violence?

Faculty
Staff
Industry Testimonials

Student Testimonials
“My first media course taught me how to write like a journalist and basically unlearn academic writing. Being in Ashoka, I was constantly balancing between journalistic writing and academic writing. So I guess it taught me to think about one topic in two different ways. I also took the multimedia courses (journalism + broadcast) which taught me to be self-sufficient. So now, when I go out to report, I don’t necessarily need a camera person. I can shoot by myself, and if required, edit as well... It also made me more confident to ask questions. No matter how stupid. Whether I’m asking my senior editor or someone I don’t know at all for a story." - Taran Deol, Sub-editor, The Print
 
“The media courses at Ashoka University are designed to acquaint an aspiring journalist with different forms of media. With each course, I became more familiar with the ethics and practices of journalism along with understanding how different forms of media can help disseminate types of information.  Thanks to these courses, I can write both short and long pieces, create short films, face the camera with ease and play with data. But most importantly, each course taught me to question the status quo, as with such holistic knowledge comes the great responsibility of asking the right questions.” - Amrita Singh, Feature Writer, Business Standard
 
“Apart from being taught by renowned journalists and accomplished media persons, what was truly rewarding about the media studies major at Ashoka is how immersive it was. Beyond learning the basics of newswriting, reporting and audio-visual editing, almost every course had a hands-on module, which pushed students outside the campus to complete field reporting projects, whilst familiarizing them with what the life a journalist truly entails. The class also piqued my interest in public healthcare policy in India and now I work as a health correspondent for the Chandigarh bureau of the daily, Indian Express. …. Access to faculty members who are active professionals and have connections within the media world, also helped me land summer internships in prominent media houses.  A summer internship with Indian Express eventually led to the job I currently have.” - Chahat Rana, Health Correspondent, Indian Express
 
“Two years into my job as a reporter and it still feels new to me. That's mostly because there's always something to learn and do better the next time you interview/ research/ write a story. Some of the most useful lessons in the media department were the ones that let you encounter that feeling firsthand, by going out to do a ground report or make a documentary film (courses taught to me by Neha Dixit, Vaiju Naravane and Hariharan Krishnan).  I also encountered some of my sharpest critics during my media classes -- whether in the form of a call out on my privilege or on the quality of work -- and this is what probably helped the most. I wasn't used to this given the English department (where I completed my major) functioned very differently. But as a journalist you will be criticized by everybody (and seen as a nuisance by some too!). Take whatever negative feedback you get because it will sharpen your skills and keep you vigilant of your own work. Nothing is more important.” - Simrin Sirur, Reporter, The Print
 
 “The Media Studies course at Ashoka University has been immensely beneficial in my career as a journalist. Right from the hand-on assignments to the media lab, the courses helped develop my understanding about all the types of media — from broadcast to print. When I'm on the field today, I keep going back to the lessons that were imparted in the classroom. They've been essential in shaping my fundamentals of reporting.” - Angana Chakraborty, Reporter, The Print
 
"I am currently working at Dr. Reddy's Laboratories as a Learning and Development specialist. I took the course 'Audio and Video Production' in my 4th year at Ashoka and only regret not taking it earlier. At the time of taking the course I looked at it as a hobby and never did it occur to me that I will be using audio and video editing skills in my job. However, I am grateful that because of the skills that I learnt in the course, I have moved a lot of the video production of the company (Communication from senior leaders mostly) internally, saving the company a significant amount of time and money as we don't have to depend on an external vendor now.  Because of this, the Chairman appreciated me and called out Ashoka for the diverse skills that Ashoka teaches to their students. I just wanted to share that with you and I hope to see many more people take this course. Thanks for guiding me through this course." - Naman Khandelwal, Learning and Development Specialist, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories
 

 

Annual Report 2019-20