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An Interview with Dr Sapna Naik at the University of Mysore

3 February 2016

On the last day of the 11th International Global Communication Association (GCA) Conference hosted by the University of Mysore in India, The Diplomatic Society Global  Editor Srimal Fernando sat down with Dr Sapna Naik, well-known academic from the Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Mysore to find out more about her background. In an exclusive interview with Dr Sapna Naik she answered in-depth questions and spoke about her experience as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Mysore and her experience, views and changes in the discipline.


Srimal  Fernando  (SF): You have been  teaching  at the Department of Communication and  Journalism at the University of Mysore for several years. Can you give us a brief background about yourself?

Sapna Naik (SN):  Born and brought up in the cultural capital of Karnataka,  Mysore, I had  my education here right from school to Phd. Our city is regarded as the educational hub. My parents as well as my siblings have been very encouraging. With a good atmosphere both in and out it really helped me a lot to achieve things and I am very proud of what I am today. Yes, it is always a prestigious thing to be associated with a university which is a century old.  I consider myself very lucky to be a part of the department of communications in particular and the University of Mysore in general.

     
Dr Sapna Naik training the students for a live television broadcast inside the studio at the University Mysore

SF:  The University of Mysore is getting ready to host its centenary celebrations. How has the Department of Communication & Journalism at the University of Mysore been an important part of your life?

SN: The department of Communication and Journalism was started in 1971 by Prof Nadig Krishnamuthry, the doyen of Journalism education in India. Our department is considered to be the mother of all journalism departments of our state. The department, which offers PG and Phd programs, has been on the top list of students who want an education in India. Our department has produced a good number of leading journalists in the country. Being a part of the department has always boosted my academic and professional life. The environment and encouragement within the university is overwhelming. This has really paved the way for many activities and achievements in my life to date. Being in the education field and being associated with the university had opened up new avenues for me to visit countries abroad and develop contacts and update my knowledge related to my field.

SF : As a Professor at the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Mysore, how do you  motivate  the students?

SN: Communication and Journalism is such a field where practical inputs are the major part of media education. We get students from India as well as students from abroad. Having a heterogeneous, multifaceted and diverse student base, my teaching is always challenging and refreshing. But I do enjoy it because as a media educator you get to learn a lot in the process.  The media field does require lot of field work, networking with people, writing skills, critical thinking, and an analytical approach and so on. Keeping all these ingredients to make a student well rounded is what is required in our subject. During my course of teaching I make it a point to include all these to make them better and proactive journalists of the future.

(l-r) Srimal Fernando, Dr. K.S. Rangappa, Professor & Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of the University of Mysoreand Dr Sapna Naik, University of Mysore at the Vice Chancellor‘s dinner

SF: Briefly explain your contributions to the media education in India and what is the present trends?

SN: Media Education in India is at a transforming stage. Gone are the days when Journalism was restricted only to print or TV. The enormous changes happening in the field calls for an upward gradation of methods in media education. The paradigm shift this profession has seen has completely changed for an educator as well as for a student.  Getting along with the new trends in the profession, pedagogy, industrial demands are things we need to concentrate on. Media education has shifted more towards practical oriented than theoretical which it used to be a decade ago. Infrastructure, well-furnished studios, web classrooms, latest technology in teaching is the need of the hour.

SF: What do you think are the biggest challenges that your department is facing in terms of improving the knowledge on Communication and Journalism and what will be the outcomes of it for the students?

SN: Knowledge can be acquired with constant deliberations and being a good observer in the journalism field. Students nowadays are keen learners; they have all the information at their fingertips.  They have become more inquisitive and demanding. The challenge for an educator is to bridge the gap between the ideas and actions. Constant monitoring, guidance, putting them on track, industrial exposure and interaction with the professionals will add more insight to the budding journalists.  At the post graduate level an educator can be a facilitator and guide.  

SF: What support would you need to enhance this department of Communication and Journalism?

SN: We are looking out for MoU’s with leading media organizations and educational funding agencies across the globe which can help us to develop the infrastructure in the department in a better way.  We do need to update the technology as and when it happens so that students are exposed to the professional needs and get broader prospects.  We are looking out for faculty exchange programs and student scholarships which will be an added feather to our department in the longer run and make feasible for all in terms of quality education.

SF:  Is there anything else you want to add?

SN:  The department intends to conduct various workshops, seminars and conferences at the international level at regular intervals. Financial constraints have deterred us from bringing in additional professionals to our department. We look forward to working with an agency with a motive to help us in funding so that we can further develop our Communication.

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