Culture & Society

US Journalism Students Visit India, Have ‘Enriching Experiences’ in Indian Villages

With major challenges Indian media has vibrant future, says US journalism Professor

Abu Zafar for BeyondHeadlines

New Delhi: Despite the hurdles of lack of accuracy and accountability, the Indian media has a very vibrant future, driving on increasing literacy figure, feels Scott Winter, a journalism professor from United States.

“The media in India has vibrant future because there is huge growth rate in literacy, but it also faces challenges like accuracy and accountability,” Winter told BeyondHeadlines.

Winter, who teaches feature writing, sports reporting and writing for magazine at University of Nebraska, at Lincoln in United State of America was an educational trip to India with his two dozen journalism students.

The educational tour was organised in collaboration with a Delhi based media institution World Media Academy (WMA) and School of Journalism of University of Nebraska. International Centre For Journalist (ICFJ) USA runs the WMA in posh South Delhi’s South Extension. It is also has a MoU with the University of Nebraska.

The visiting US students also visited historical monuments in Delhi and Lucknow and the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Those journalism students of course found “lots of stories” for their projects, besides having “good times.”

They were in India for two weeks and also visited some villages in the Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh.

Elisabeth Loeck, a visiting student, who did story on child education in India, said that it was an amazing trip and there were lot of learning opportunities.

After visiting some villages she said “It was absolutely amazing to see another face of India. There is huge contrast between the city and the villages of India.”

“We are here because India is emerging global economy, it is field of stories and it is fascinating, Professor Winter elaborated.

“India Russia and China are priority basis of every college here in US,” he further added.

The university had organized same trip to China and Russia last year.

But Winter was critical of journalism education in India that according to him is “more theoretical not as practical”.

“In India the journalism is more theoretical not practical and the education system is depended on class rooms but we are more habitual on fields not class rooms.”

Answering a question about opportunities for Indian students in the USA he said, “We are working on several programs to organize exchange program for students as well as faculties.”

Sarah Miller, another student, who is interested in Photography, shared her feelings with her colleagues during her visit to villages.

“It was changing trips to villages where I met the most hospitable people ever, but it was still a phenomenal day,” she told BH.

An elated Miller added, “India, you never cease to amaze me.”

Kay Kemmet, who wrote her project on the culture of arrange marriages in India, said that memories form Indian will always remain in heart.

Sharing her experience to the village Kay added, “When I first met this little girl, she ran from me. Her older sister sat with me singing the alphabet and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” but this little sweetheart wouldn’t come near me. Maybe it was that I was a stranger for her.”

Francesca Luisa Torquati, a video journalist, thinks that travelling in India for the stories was the good experience of her life: “For most of my life India has been a colorful abstract dream, a country that I only heard stories of and seen on National Geographic or Discovery Channel TV.”

(Abu Zafar is a Delhi based Freelance Journalist and can be reached at  abuzafar@journalist.com)

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