Media is going digital and so should media education. It is time for institutions to relook their media studies offering - Interview with Dr Nalin Mehta, Dean, UPES School of Modern Media.
Q1: OTT, YouTube videos, reels are the new buzzwords in media. How is UPES School of Modern Media equipped to offer students with updated contemporary media studies? Do share the academic and infrastructural facilities being provided to students.
Media studies is changing drastically. It was about newspapers, television and radio but now it is all about digital platforms, meaning every platform has converged. The way you produce content, build audiences and the technology and tools you use - everything has changed. Keeping abreast with modern times, at UPES School of Modern Media, we believe that students cannot learn just by sitting in a classroom and bookish knowledge.We focus on hands-on learning and a system of continuous evaluation. In the media, you are only as good as the last piece of content you produced. Therefore, we have a learning-by-doing approach. From communicating persuasively in different formats to engaging in classroom projects and professional opportunities, students get every exposure to unleash their potential and showcase their talents through projects, workshops, seminars and internships. An excellent example would be when our student Nancy Bora wanted to make a documentary on New Zealand PM Ms Jacinda Ardern and her leadership style and took on the task of writing to her for inputs. To all our surprise PM Jacinda wrote back sharing some pertinent leadership lessons which was highly motivating for our students.
UPES School of Modern Mediaspecially emphasises on courses on Multimedia Content Creationand in-demand industry skills. Students are taught by the best in the business. So, for example, our course on OTT Platforms and the Media Business is being taught by our Distinguished Adjunct Professor, Chanpreet Arora, who is also Senior VP and Business Head at VOOT-AVOD. Other courses include Mobile Journalism: How to Create Audio and Video Content, Writing for Digital Platforms, Search Engine Optimisation, Data Analytics and Visual Storytelling, How to Build a Brand on Digital, How to Build Audiences Outside of Google and Facebook, Podcasting and Digital Audio, Film and Video Photography, Multi-cam TV Production and Floor Management, Post-Production and Direction.
Students are taught at our state-of-the-art digital studio, which is on par with the best in the country. The studio, built over 2,000 sq feet of studio space, is equipped with automated cameras, virtual production facilities, high-end editing machines and digital equipment which is optimised for live streaming simultaneously on different platforms.
Q2: What makes UPES School of Modern Media a Digital First Media School and how important is ‘digital’ in media studies today?
With media consumption now largely happening on mobile phones, how content is produced, consumed and distributed is fundamentally changing. The rise of digital media has significantly disrupted the media industry. The shift is towards integrated newsrooms, mobile journalism, podcasts, social media feeds, OTT platforms and so on.
Being India’s only digital-first media school means that students are equipped to work with the latest technologies, content formats and different media platforms. They are also trained to think and operate in a digital work environment. They are mentored and taught by best-in-class media professionals who are well versed with the changing media landscape. Students work out of our state-of-the-art lab and studios.
We have just launched our new Digital Innovation scholarships, for underprivileged students, which are funded by Meta (formerly known as Facebook). The School of Modern Media has a unique alliance with Hubhopper, India’s largest podcasting platform, for teaching on audio production tools.
Q3: A media professional today needs 360 degrees skill set to grow. How is UPES ensuring students get to learn more than just domain knowledge?
A media professional of today and tomorrow needs a 360-degree skill set to grow – which includes not just having domain knowledge about content but also hands-on social media skills, understanding of data and data visualization, shooting and editing with mobile phones, podcasting and digital marketing among others. That is what we at UPES School of Modern Media are teaching. In addition to that, as per our unique academic framework, media students have the unique flexibility of being able to choose minor courses such as artificial intelligence, data science etc., from other UPES schools.
Q 4: What are the subjects being offered at UPES School of Modern Media? Do they resonate with the new trends, current interests of students and the industry needs?
The curriculum at UPES School of Modern Media has been carefully designed together with industry veterans. It offers UG and PG programs and is the only university providing multiple specializations in each degree at the graduation level. The undergraduate courses offered are- BA in Journalism and Mass Communication (Digital), BA Digital and Mass Media (Broadcasting) and BBA (Events, Public Relations and Corporate Communications). At the postgraduate level, UPES offers MA in Journalism and Mass Communication (Digital) and MA in Digital and Mass Media (Broadcasting). We have also just launched our Ph.D programme. We offer specializations in social media and SEO; data, analytics & visualization; media management, public policy, strategic communications; digital publishing/website management, mobile journalism, video and audio production; digital audio broadcasting; and digital studio management in different courses.
Q5: What are the future transformations we can expect in the media and entertainment industry and how does UPES plan to stay ahead of it?
The UPES School of Modern Media is in the process of forging international partnerships. We are creating new courses on AR/VR and will be hosting an annual Metaverse conference around the technology and future trends in media later this year.
To learn more visit: https://www.upes.ac.in/schools/school-of-modern-media
Note: The article is written by the Brand Desk.