I do feel that Justice Katju’s intention for making such a suggestion was to uplift the level of professionalism of journalism today (March 13). There may be many who argue that this is irrelevant by giving examples of world-class journalists without degrees. But in today’s world where there is so much of untruth around and with money becoming the prime focus, journalists have lost the art of connecting with people. He is right in saying that by getting trained more or having qualifications for the professions where they like to be in, one gets more passionate about it.
It might be relevant to mention that I am a matriculate (second class) and I joined the profession virtually straight from school nearly 45 years ago without any training whatsoever in journalism and with just a knowledge of sports which I followed closely from my school days. I never saw the portals of a college and have never felt any regret in this regard. I have worked in various leading newspaper groups, heading the sports department on a couple of occasions, have gone on international assignments and am an author of 10 books on cricket. I fully endorse Barkha Dutt’s view that the best training is on the field which is exactly what I went through.
Journalism is not a profession, it is a vocation. Who is a good journalist? One who is professional or one who is ethical and committed to the welfare of society? Academising journalism is like asking all poets, artists and musicians to have formal degrees. The Constitution does not prescribe any minimum qualifications for MLAs and MPs — those who make laws for this country. If standards have fallen, the Press Council needs to look elsewhere for the reasons rather than glorifying classroom teaching as a tool to measure journalistic competence. Can a degree from an elite university guarantee that a journalist will always uphold ethical values? The PCI is barking up the wrong tree.