'Mission and service' benchmarks in journalism

Eric Loo

Modified 13 Jun 2008, 3:36 am

I recently asked a reporter why she applied to study for a Master of Journalism program at Wollongong University where I teach. She said it’d help her move into ‘fashion and lifestyle journalism’ because it paid better in the Indian media.

“How is fashion and lifestyle journalism relevant in Mumbai where poverty is so pervasive?” I asked. She demurred. Understandable for a ‘Brahmin’ who knows no one from other social class except her own nor knows where the dalits live in decrepit hovels.

As a journalism teacher, I sometimes wonder about the disservice we do when we bank on teaching students the skills that will get them jobs while losing sight of the goal of critical journalism education. Which is to inspire students to the higher value of what Mahatma Gandhi termed as ‘mission and service’ in journalism.

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