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Media Meet 2021 - Pre-Conference Newsletter - MOMENTUM

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MOMENTUM Media Meet - Annual Media Conference Pre - Conference Newsletter Published by Department of Media Studies, CHRIST (Deemed to be University) 27 - 28 August 2021 For private circulation only WORKSHOPS Be Authentic and Trust Your Gut A Workshop on Adapting to Virtual Theatre and Digital Storytelling Be Authentic and Rahul Iyer Trust Your Gut 3 JPEng Rajesh P I Health In frame: Rajesh P I Photo courtesy: Nikhil Agrawal Communication: Undervalued or On Saturday, 31 July 2021, the the participants on a parallel journey of Department of Media Studies of self-discovery. Mr Rajesh was very firm Ignored? CHRIST (Deemed to be University) on one thing: trusting one’s gut feeling. kick-started the department’s annual Dr Shweta Arora flagship event, Media Meet, by conduct- “…the good, the bad, everything ing its first pre-conference workshop. makes us what we are today. Togetherness: The workshop titled, ‘Adapting to Vir- The key is to trust yourself. The Key to tual Theatre and Digital Storytelling’, ” was facilitated by Mr Rajesh PI, actor, Additionally, he talked about the need Successful Crisis director, acting coach, and India and to express oneself. While the technical- Management South Asian representative for the In- ities of the art form are important, what ternational Playback Theatre Network. gives a performance life is the emotion- Dr Joseph Injodey During his time there, he founded al investment of the performer. To put ‘The Actors Collective’ to help perform- it succinctly, as the speaker did, “Art is “No one can ers of all ages perfect their craft. a great way to connect with your gut.” shape a child’s Mr Rajesh began his session by em- The final section of the workshop dealt mindset the way phasising on the need to connect with with the challenges the theatre indus- a parent can” his audience, made up of students and try faced in moving from the offline teachers from varied fields, both from to the online mode. He wrapped up Dr Sanju Gambhir within and outside CHRIST. He spoke the session with a heart-warming sto- about how alternatives to traditional ry about the impact online theatre had theatre had to be found due to the hard on children affected with autism during blow dealt to the industry because of a workshop he conducted jointly with the pandemic. Though initially resis- the Spastics Society of Karnataka. The tant to the idea, he saw markedly better session ended with the speaker inter- responses from audiences to online the- acting with the audience and answering atre workshops and plays. their questions. The talk was wide-ranging and took

Health Communication: Undervalued or Ignored? A Workshop on the basics of Health Communication Nikhil Agrawal 3 MAMCS “Don’t ask a cardiologist about men- to be planned and designed accord- tal health care; chooose your mental ingly. She spoke about the four-step health care wisely,” said Dr Shweta ‘Health Communication Programme Arora, medical doctor and facilitator Cycle’ which ranges from the framing of the second pre-conference work- of goals and objectives to generating shop conducted by the Department of feedback from the target audience. Media studies at CHRIST (Deemed to She also asserted that these carefully be University). The workshop titled, planned steps are essential to achieve “Health Communication 101”, was In frame: Dr Shweta Arora Photo courtesy: Ayesha Rathore desired goals for health care pro- conducted on 7 August 2021 as part of grammes. Media Meet, the department’s annual The speaker also touched upon the concept of risk communication before “ ”flagship event. Health communication is like reinforcing awareness. Dr Arora, a trained public health spe- dence instead of tradition. the floor opened up for questions. The cialist, designs strategies for risk com- “With health, everyday there is change, pandemic was used as a point of refer- munication and implementation of every day there are different data sourc- ence for her explanation on risk com- health care programmes. She started es which tell you, ‘Okay there is differ- munication. She drew a parallel be- the session by highlighting the need to ent medication available,’” she stated. tween people’s perception of both polio integrate health communication within The doctor focused on the role that the and COVID-19 vaccines to explain the mass media. Drawing in from the media plays in refuting myths and mis- how vaccine hesitancy has always been audience’s responses, she emphasised conceptions. Due to the varied levels of there. The only way to get rid of this that strategies for health communica- literacy among citizens in our country, scepticism is by getting the right infor- tion need to be based on research evi- approaches to deliver information have mation to the right people. Togetherness: The Key to Successful Crisis Management A Workshop on Positive Communication for Crisis Management Rashi Nagelia 3 MAMCS As part of Media Meet 2021, the Department of Media Studies, through learning. Dr Injodey then spoke about the CHRIST (Deemed to be University) need to learn effective coping skills. organised an extension workshop for “We need to learn to cope with stress school teachers titled, ‘Crisis Manage- because when we get rewarded for ment through Positive Communica- coping with stress, these short-term tion’, on 13 August 2021. The speaker goals, like getting good scores in ex- for the event was Dr Joseph Injodey, ams, give us long-term confidence,” an academic advisor, life coach and In frame: Dr Joseph Injodey Photo courtesy: Nikhil Agrawal remarked the speaker. He emphasised corporate trainer. on the importance of a positive home Empathy should be the religion environment. of all teachers. In his concluding statement, the speaker Dr Injodey started the discussion by accentuated the significance of practis- “ ”stating that teachers prepare the raw material for youngsters to face any cri- sis. Recollecting a conversation, Dr In- According to Dr Injodey, teachers ing empathy in one’s life. He stated that jodey mentioned, “[How] someone had are like second parents to children. we need citizens who are not caught up the audacity to call teachers ‘knowledge He remarked, “School teachers put in in ‘I’ but ‘we’. He attested using positive workers’, which is downgrading, be- the most work in any individual.” The affirmations around students so as to cause we are more than that.” He noted overall development of a child is the foster mental agility in young kids who that teachers, through routine manage- gradual and seamless unfolding of this are the building blocks of our nation. ment, mould students into becoming work. Citing the example of “Angan- The workshop received more than 350 responsible adults, and these young- wadi” teachers, Dr Joseph also stressed registrations and was successfully con- sters emulate teachers as their role the importance of spatial learning ducted with generous and positive feed- models for life. where the child feels good and satisfied back from the participants. 02 | MOMENTUM

“No one can shape a child’s mindset the way a parent can” Interactive Session for Parents on Crisis Management through Positive Communication Sunidhi Arakere 3 JPEng “Expectations drain us because we demonstrated how negativity from get upset when they are not fulfilled. the caring figures in a child’s life can Move from expecting to accepting. scar their psyche and damage a re- Your world will be much more in lationship. “Tell your children you control,” says Dr Sanju Gambhir, the are proud of them and that you love speaker for the final extension work- them. Tell them as often as you can. shop of Media Meet 2021. Point out their good qualities and A renowned counsellor, psychother- build them up. If you must criticise, apist, and senior consultant in the In frame: Dr Sanju Gambhir Photo courtesy: Rukmani G do it constructively,” she added. medical sector, Dr Gambhir also works Talking about the attitude parents need with the Indian Army as a trainer and Showing vulnerability is in the corporate world as a motivational sometimes as important ” to develop in themselves, she said, “Choice is the most powerful word in “speaker. She held an audience consist- as showing that the English language. You choose the you are in control. attitude you hold in a crisis, and you ing of over a hundred participants from around the country as well as the facul- there is so much uncertainty surround- choose to accept your own emotions. ty of the Department of Media Studies ing it,” she said, adding that she does Tell yourself, ‘I am no one’s dustbin. I enthralled for nearly an hour, discuss- not view this focus on the present as a will not carry anyone else’s garbage with ing crisis management through positive bad thing. In fact, she views it as a sil- me,’ and watch how it revitalises your communication in a workshop specially ver lining to these dire times. “We rare- energy. That concept is what you pass designed for parents. ly appreciate the current things in our on to your children, and if they emulate Opening the session, Dr Gambhir lives, but COVID has forced us to live it, they can tackle crises as easily as you addressed the COVID-19 pandem- everything within the moment,” she re- do.” ic, which has been the elephant in the marked. She concluded the session by saying, room for all discussions surrounding The role of parents and teachers as role “Give your children independence crisis management in the last year. “We models and shapers of a child’s life and within the framework of your love and have developed a sort of tunnel vision mindset was also an important part of support. That is the key to crisis man- that centres only on the present. We Dr Gambhir’s talk. Using the metaphor agement and to positive communica- are unable to look to the future because of a drop of ink in a litre of water, she tion.” MOMENTUM | 03

MEDIA TALK Media Talk 2021, the annual talk by alumni from the Department of Media From College to Studies, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), was one of the major high- Work: Lessons to lights of the pre-conference events of Media Meet 2021. The event was organ- ised to bring valuable learning experiences to media students and all viewers who Remember watched the stream live on YouTube. The talk provided students with the oppor- tunity to gather knowledge and interact with alumni who have made a mark for Theres Sudeep themselves in the field. Five prominent alumni were invited to share their stories and insights on this year’s theme, ‘Media/Crises: Challenges and Choices’. The au- dience used this chance to listen to, learn from, and ask questions of the panellists. From College to Work: Lessons to Remember Be Bold, Thanishi Ponnamma always two sides to it. Carefully choos- Be Honest and ing sources, maintaining transparency Take Your Stance T3 EMP and ensuring proper research are nec- heres Sudeep, a journalist, and the essary for a good news story. Navya Singh first speaker at the event, shared her She also highlighted the importance of experiences as a recent college graduate deciding whom to form connections Print is who stepped into the workforce imme- with and whom to alienate, while si- Not Dead Yet diately. “I think the main challenge for multaneously maintaining journalistic print today is that it’s dying,” she said, ethics. Romal Laisram proceeding to elaborate on the reasons As she reached the end of her talk, for this. It is hard to balance uncompro- Theres reflected that free press isn’t mising quality with the space restric- completely free, while briefly talking tions necessitated by the medium. Print about her experience with Metrolife, a also has time constraints, unlike digital supplement of Deccan Herald. spaces, which are constantly accessible In her closing remarks, she addressed and can be updated at any time. the falling value of the newspaper and Talking about ‘neutrality in journalism’, the rise of digital media. a concept she learnt in college, Theres broke the common myth that a story must always be neutral or that there are Fundamentals: Be Bold, Be Honest and Take Your Stance The Secret to Tackling Thanishi Ponnamma tion to them, but now they act as her Any Crisis guiding forces. N3 EMP Additionally, Ms Singh emphasised Harshit Pai avya Singh, a senior video jour- the need to stand your ground and nalist at The Logical Indian, was strongly feel what you feel. Build- Media has the second speaker at Media Talk. She ing on this conviction, she added that Always Been in brought engaging stories and invaluable making dynamic choices is necessary, insights from her experiences in the because the success of a story is not Crisis Mode field to the audience. During her talk, just about the followers or views one she highlighted the dilemma journalists receives. It is about the importance Sachin Tantry face when they have to choose between of the issue and its impact on society. issues of public interest and issues of in- She also discussed how female journal- terest to the public. ists face more problems due to precon- Ms Singh expressed her discomfort ceived notions and workplace culture in within the digital space. She stated that the industry. picking the right stories and staying As she concluded, she asked the audi- committed is the only way to sustain ence to focus on three necessary qual- one’s career and passion. Recollecting ities: bold, courageous, and honest her time in college, she spoke about the journalism. importance of media objectivity and neutrality that her professors taught. Back then, she did not pay much atten- 04 | MOMENTUM

Print is Not Dead Yet Ayisha Farah hope for print’s continued existence in make a career decision only after ex- 3 EMP India, for a little while. When it comes ploring every form of journalism. He to news, people believe that print en- concluded his talk by emphasising that Romal Laisram, who studied BA ables fact-checking and the genuine journalists have great control over the Journalism at Christ College, is a building of stories, while digital jour- narrative they create. “You do play an journalist with over 15 years of expe- nalism waters down facts and reports to important role in deciding the kind of rience. After graduation, he started his produce news constantly. news you want to put out to the public,” career as a crime reporter, covering so- Romal encouraged media students to he said. cially relevant topics. Romal’s career, over a decade long, helped him realise that there is still Fundamentals: The Secret to Tackling Any Crisis Ayisha Farah as he spoke about the field of political what one wants to communicate, know- 3 EMP communication and why the event’s ing the audience and what it wants to topic of ‘Media/Crises’ appealed to him. hear, and bridging the gap between Before joining The Mavericks India According to him, there are two essen- these two factors. as a Reputation Analyst, Harshit tial factors when dealing with a crisis: The onset of the pandemic has caused Pai was the Aam Aadmi Party’s media first, having a solid hold on one’s funda- organisations to take the fundamentals manager in Punjab. mentals, and second, building a system and tweak them to make their commu- He devised media strategies for the around said fundamentals to deal with nication strategies effective. party, trained their spokespersons, con- crises effectively. He ended his talk by reinforcing the im- ducted image building exercises and Harshit also highlighted three essential portance of these fundamentals in the carried out regular media sentiment factors of communication: knowing process of tackling any crisis. analysis. “Crisis is a very common thing. We used to face crises every day,” said Harshit, Media has Always Been in Crisis Mode Ayisha Farah He asserted that honest journalism is a particular content, and through that 3 EMP dead. There are only popular journal- content, they try to sell a specific prod- ists who either have good TRPs or an uct or lifestyle,” he remarked. Moreover, Sachin Tantry, a media and commu- impressive social media following, and the big tech organisations (Google, nication consultant who is currently who propagate a specific agenda or Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Micro- working as a manager for Communi- ideology. Good journalists are not giv- soft, or GAFAM) that control the digital cation and Outreach at B.PAC, was the en enough space or are suppressed by space are equally responsible for today’s final speaker for Media Talk 2021. these so-called popular players. media crisis. He graduated with a master’s degree in The second crisis the media faces to- Wrapping up his talk, he encouraged Mass Communication and Journalism day, he added, is the bane of PR that has the audience to spend less time on so- from CHRIST (Deemed to be Univer- transformed into a content marketing cial media so as to gain control over sity) in 2008. He began his talk by stat- organisation. “They are trying to sell their personal lives. ing that media has always been in crisis mode but the types of problems it faces have evolved and increased over time. MOMENTUM | 05

FEATURES Media and the Media and the Crises of Credibility Crisis of Credibility Rahul Iyer Rahul Iyer 3 JPEng Avoiding Media The media is constantly evolving. Photo Courtesy: Leverage Point Crises by Checking From the days of town criers and Source Reliability early newspapers to our current age of it, “Data is the new oil.” Intentional mis- social media and instant updates on ev- information campaigns, which are con- Nikhil Agrawal ery issue, it has come a very long way. ducted to further a pre-existing agenda, However, this evolution also brings are already sad realities in today’s soci- Reportage and with it unique challenges and diverse ety. These have been used ever since the Natural Disasters problems to solve. days of Nazi Germany. Propaganda is a In today’s world of media, a prevalent ridiculously powerful tool and can be Thanishi Ponnamma issue is that of credibility. Owing to destructive in the wrong hands. the popularity of digital media and the As far as the Indian media goes, it is The World of Dark myriad sources available to the public, plagued by problems similar to those PR: Modern-Day it is difficult for the average news con- that exist globally, but these problems sumer to distinguish between genuine are often exacerbated simply because Black Magic news and hoaxes. To use the more pop- of the sheer diversity that exists in the ular term, ‘fake news’ is the hot-button country. There are so many interpreta- Rashi Nagelia topic of today. tions and insights to be gleaned from In many cases, fake news is harmless any piece of media that it can some- 06 | MOMENTUM and can be the result of a juvenile prank times be impossible to know for sure or an individual trying to have fun. what the reality is. However, if left unchecked, the media While there is no easy solution to this can fall prey to insidious forces that problem, the first step to finding one is have a vested interest in more alarming establishing and acknowledging that a goals such as destabilising an economy, problem exists. Only through coordi- or engaging in warfare. nated discussion and cooperation can It is often said that information is one this issue be combatted. Fighting the of the most valuable commodities of scourge of fake news requires those in- the modern age, or as Sachin Tantry put volved to show exemplary bravery and commitment to the furthering of true journalism.

Avoiding Media Crises by Checking Source Reliability Nikhil Agrawal Photo Courtesy: Facebook be seen as reliable if the source in the 3 MAMCS piece, “says”, “confirms”. “states”, or and the chaos of an infodemic by be- “claims” something; and is unreliable if The age of media we live in is a com- coming aware of the quick techniques the source “thinks”, “believes”, or “sug- plex one. The pandemic has pushed to identify the reliability of a news gests” the same. One can also check the human dependence on technology be- source. news piece for conflict or disagreement yond previously conceivable levels. The As a news consumer, one must have an among the different groups involved. If media is now responsible for bridging eye for the attribution of responsibility such a conflict exists, one should check more gaps than ever. This increased de- in any news piece, be it on social media, for whether views of both parties are pendency has its cons. Misinformation, television, or any other medium. It in- present or not. cybercrime, propaganda, and dark PR volves verifying whether an authority is The coming age of the metaverse can are the new evils of the information age. being held accountable for the action in reinvent media. Users will then become A crisis is a product of chaos often the news piece or not. even more responsible for selecting the caused by sheer ignorance. Our every- Further, a source of information can right news source. day use of social media is making it The metaverse would tackle the possi- our primary source of news consump- bility of misinformation by providing a tion. Since no immediate fact-checking first-hand 3D experience of all inputs. is available, users and citizens have to However, with so many choices avail- be more responsible while consuming able, the user would ultimately have news. to make an informed decision. Taking However, most of us use social media responsibility at a personal level is the for its free and immediate access. Hav- best way to avoid media crises. ing to conduct a fact-check every time we come across a piece of news can be- come overwhelming. We can avoid this Reportage and Natural Disasters Thanishi Ponnamma to reporting on any crisis, especially questions at them. Media and relief during natural disasters. Information aid services can benefit from each oth- W3 EMP regarding the gravity of the disaster, er. Media sources can raise awareness ith earthquakes in Haiti and where survivors need to go, and whom which will help relief workers. It is also floods and wildfires in different they can contact is also extremely im- important not to interfere with their parts of the globe, 2021 has given us portant. work while reporting. After the initial a vast magnitude of natural disasters. ‘Reporting on Disasters’, an article by shock is over, reporters can go back to 2020 was also similar. It is almost as Earth Journalism Network, provides a collect details. if these catastrophes have collectively brief and informative guide of ethics, Misinformation is to be looked out decided to accompany the COVID-19 behaviour, and information that a jour- for and avoided at all costs. As news pandemic. nalist must follow during such events. spreads through multiple mediums, it Reporting such events is never easy. Carrying supplies like food, water, and becomes hard to keep track of what is Imagine being assigned to report the first aid is mandatory. At the site of any right and wrong from the audience’s Kerala floods in 2018. Hundreds of peo- disaster, we never know what help we point of view. It is up to reporters to en- ple are dying, water is gushing in, and can or cannot get. sure that the news is accurate and not your role is to supply one of the most Important details to be mentioned in- misleading. crucial things at this point: informa- clude the state of the area, the number Reporting natural disasters is chal- tion. Correct and credible information of victims, information from experts, lenging. Both exaggerations and lack helps spread awareness, a necessity to and interviews from eyewitnesses, re- of detail can lead to public harm, and save those affected and to alert others. lief workers, and victims. In such cases, the reporters themselves are in poten- Such events are breaking news situa- empathy is crucial; the incident has af- tial danger. However, despite the stress tions with constant, round-the-clock fected people the journalist might want and pressure involved, it is rewarding work and tight deadlines because ev- to interview, directly or indirectly. One work that could save lives. A clear and eryone wants to know what is happen- must be sensitive to their situation and constant flow of information becomes ing. People have so many questions, and understand their trauma before firing critical in such crises. reporters have to know what to deliv- er. The phrase, “The right information at the right time,” offers a key pointer MOMENTUM | 07

The World of Dark PR: Modern-Day Black Magic Rashi Nagelia porations, and lobbying groups. 3 MAMCS Dark PR methods are simple to employ because of the easy BellTrox InfoTech Services, availability of trolls—people a cyber firm based in India, who agitate and disturb social was reported in 2020 by Reuters media conversation for mone- and the Canadian watchdog Cit- tary gain—and human-comput- izen Lab as having assisted its er programs like social bots. As clients in spying on over 10,000 a result, these coordinated char- rivals’ email accounts. This had Photo Courtesy: iStock acter assassination attempts can been done for seven years. It DPR, sometimes also called Black PR, have long-term ramifications for the is alarming how many PR or- is no less than using black magic aimed companies involved. ganisations over the years have solely at destruction, causing harm to Spear-phishing—the practice of send- cropped up to orchestrate similar smear any brand or personality’s reputation. ing emails which appear to be from a campaigns, to bring down their com- It frequently targets famous people in trusted sender and hence making the petitors by making them targets of ma- the business sphere, such as CEOs and recipient share otherwise private infor- nipulation tactics. This negative fringe company founders, and looks to slan- mation in confidence—accounted for of public relations is known as Dark PR der high-profile activists, hacktivists, 71% of all targeted attacks on business- (DPR). political figures, or even entire nations. es in 2019. The capacity of governments DPR often entails politically charged Alongside data theft, the firms, their and law enforcement firms worldwide promotions that focus on the bad fea- brands and their CEOs are also discred- is falling short of protecting businesses tures of competitors’ brands rather than ited online through Twitter, Instagram and commerce from the power of these the positive qualities of the company’s and other social media platforms. malicious uses of technology. Conse- own. It is usually carried out by posting Almost anyone can hire these agen- quently, policing and combating Dark fake information or content, spreading cies. Interested clients can include dis- PR is becoming increasingly important rumours, posting bad reviews of that gruntled employees, competing cor- in today’s world. brand’s services or products online, or leaking unauthorised data acquired through honeytraps, foul-play or deceit. EDITORIAL THE TEAM “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield,” perfectly captures the Faculty Coordinators spirit of the media during any crisis. The media is often at the fore- front during any crisis, recording history as it unfolds. From cover- Dr Suparna Naresh ing the truth to tackling misinformation, the necessity of doing the Dr Meljo Thomas right thing in trying times is one of the aspects most crucial to this Dr Pradeep Thomas field. The Department of Media Studies, CHRIST (Deemed to be Univer- Reporters and Editors sity) takes pride in hosting the twelfth edition of Media Meet, its annual flagship event. ‘Media/Crises: Challenges and Choices’, the Rahul Iyer, 3 JPEng theme of this year’s Media Meet, is an attempt to examine this role Nikhil Agrawal, 3 MAMCS the media plays in composite situations, at times as a watchdog, Rashi Nagelia, 3 MAMCS seeking resolution. As with last year, the conference is held virtually this time too, with numerous eminent guest speakers and panellists Ayisha Farah, 3 EMP sharing their thoughts and experiences with the participants. Thanishi Ponnamma, 3 EMP This year’s newsletter, ‘Momentum’, is an ode to perseverance in the Sunidhi Arakere, 3 JPEng face of crisis: a common factor demonstrated in all of Media Meet events this year. The documentation team has put in enormous Shashwat, 3 MAMCS efforts to capture this essence through words and pictures, of which Divina Ann Philipose, 3 MAMCS this newsletter is proof. It is essential that we, as aspiring media pro- fessionals, uphold media’s role as watchdogs in our work while also Designer shedding light on ways to move forward, towards better times. Karthik Vittal G S, 3 MAMCS

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