The entire news industry of India is located near Noida Sector 16 metro station. It is a place where every aspiring journalist wants to be. It is that reality of the dream, which every aspiring media person wants to live. All leading (and not-so-leading) news channels are situated in this media hub. Posh offices, modern buildings, luxury cars, big shots of the news world and celebrities are seen here. The glamour of entertainment channels as well as the sensation of newsrooms attract thousands of students to Delhi every year. They come here to pursue Journalism courses and make a name in the industry.

An Internship, which Never Ends

After taking admission in one of the many promising media institutes of Delhi NCR, the first step in the real world of journalism is the internship. Students are sent to print, electronic and digital media houses to attain training. Generally, internships are supposed to be three-month affairs but the story here is quite different. Now, there are two types of students :

The first category of students are those who complete internship at the said channel/newspaper, take their certificate and leave only to fend for jobs (though, wherever they go, they are offered internship – all over again) (and yes! we are talking non-paid ones) There is barely any organisation, which pays students for their hard work during internship. In fact, there are many media organisations, which ask students to pay them so that they can “favour”those aspirants by providing them training.

The second category of aspirants are the ones who get captivated by the glamour and hollow promises of the company and are entrapped. They are told to continue internship for another 3 months, may be even 6, with a promise of a permanent/contractual position. What has been generally observed, after almost a year of exploitation, what these students are offered is barely 5-8 thousand rupees per month (and mind you! This happens in the BEST scenario).

Basically, the training period, in both cases tends to never end and it goes on for months.

More Chances of Getting Laid than Getting Paid

Another sad aspect of this industry is that if you are a female in pursuit of journalism. They might not pay you but they would definitely want to lay you! The saying is industry aise hi chalti hai, ye sab to common hai. It is not easy to remain outside this vicious trap and still make a mark, especially if your goal is TV. The kind of money, fame and glamour involved makes the post of an anchor a coveted one. (An Anchor is the face of a channel and is definitely a coveted position, but aren’t these reasons too naive?) Everyone inside knows, they might not agree to it openly but they know the reality of the news industry. It thrives on lowly paid (or not paid at all) interns and girls who would leave their morality back at home to succeed.

I am not pinpointing any particular media house or person, neither am I saying that all journalists/organisations are the same. However, in my 7 years of studying, pursuing and practising journalism in New Delhi, I know what I am talking about. It is emotionally draining to work, achieve and sustain the news industry. Journalists talk about social development and progress of the country. It is high time that those inside start respecting those outside, aspirants and new comers are the future of this field – stop exploiting them. Respect journalism, respect yourselves and respect the new lot.

By Surabhi Pandey

Surabhi Pandey, a former Delhi Doordarshan presenter, is a journalist currently based in Singapore. She is the author of ‘Nascent Wings’ and ‘Saturated Agitation’ and has contributed to over 15 anthologies in English and Hindi in India and Singapore. She writes on topics related to lifestyle and travel and is an active reporter on the tech startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia. She is the editor and founder of The Vent Machine.

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