For the students of Print Journalism and New Media the start of the new semester was marked by a visit to the premier news agency in India, Press Trust of India. At the PTI office, the students were introduced to prominent journalists with years of experience and the most important lessons that emerged were that today is the age of specialisation be it business journalism, feature writing, sports writing or some other field and a journalist’s mantra should be work smart instead of the traditional work hard.
Students had the chance to interact with the bureau chief Mr. Ramnath, Mr Jankiram and Mr. Diwakar besides learning the technical aspects and the technology used by several other key members of the Hyderabad office.
The discussion with the three senior members including faculty guide Dr. S. Ramu was enlightening. It was an interactive session where the students asked questions and learned the procedure to join PTI, their operations, desks and the huge network they have within India and even abroad in Colombo, Islamabad, New York, Washington etc.
PTI provides feed to more than 600 newspapers in the country, even abroad (BBC, Al-Jazeera) and their subscribers includes periodicals, websites and even our own Department of Communication. PTI unlike newspapers is not driven by the demands of their advertisers and instead is financed by its subscribers which allow it to be accurate and objective.
PTI works 24/7 and the news is divided by regions and has codes which were made privy to and for important stories they have the news flash. Their focus is not the mundane but covering stories that have a national perspective and the transmission of a copy as we witnessed with our eyes takes seconds all thanks to the software’s PTI has access to. During the interaction we were even disabused of the notion that PTI is a government arm and were taught about the importance of source confidentiality and cross-checking the facts.
PTIs leading status was confirmed with we being informed of how they are completely paperless, have access and reach in the places in India where they are none other and most importantly their ability to cover stories without business influences.
We were all given a warm reception along with tea and biscuits but the most important aspect of the visit was witnessing the functioning of a news agency and learning important lessons from members of the profession.