Kurta, sandals and the gown at the convocation

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh stirred up a minor tsunami in the tea cup by flinging away the ceremonial gown at a convocation in Bhopal, calling it a “barbaric practice” unsuited for Indian climes.

Well, top Indian editors seem to be ahead of Ramesh, in a manner of speaking.  At stuffy convocations of journalism schools, they perfunctorily wear the “colonial relic” over kurta and sandals without batting an eyelid.

Last year it was Shekhar Gupta; this year it is Rajdeep Sardesai.

In picture, Sardesai (in orange robe), the president of the editors’ guild of India and the editor in chief of the IBN 18 network, leads the convocation procession at the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM) in Bangalore on Saturday.

To his right is the dean Abraham M. George, and behind them is vice dean Kanchan Kaur.

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Excerpts from Rajdeep Sardesai’s convocation address:

“The real challenge for young journalists today is the ethical challenge. If they can measure up to this challenge, they can find a way of changing the profession.

“What we have today is the journalism of short cuts; a journalism of who got it first and not who got it right. Get the story right; it doesn’t matter if it is ten minutes late.

“There is so much information available in the world today, but no knowledge. More media does not necessarily mean better media.

“We live in an era of sensationalism where people like me, who should be giving you the right information are under pressure to hype up the information.

“The real problem in Indian journalism is not with young people who entered the profession with hope, but with the top people who end up compromising the ideals they themselves set out with. They are the ones who forget to tell young people things about privacy, about the truth, about telling the story as they see it.”

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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Shekhar Gupta: ‘No better time to enter journalism than now’

Vinod Mehta: ‘Seven rules for young journalists’

Sir Mark Tully: ‘Seven habits of highly effective journalists’

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