This is a remarkable time to be starting a globally oriented school of journalism and communications, and I am so honored to be the founding dean of the Jindal School of Journalism & Communication. Necessarily, as I welcome you to the first year of the school, I speak from a U.S. perspective. But I believe these words can be extrapolated to a global setting. All in all, I think journalism is better than it ever has been, but it faces momentous challenges—challenges that well-qualified, well-educated journalists are best suited to take on. Together, as students, faculty and staff, we will confront these fresh challenges.
Today, traditional concepts of what the press should be and do are being questioned. Rapid changes in both technology and the business models of journalism affect what we read, see and hear. Moreover, in recent years, we have witnessed a decline in journalistic gatekeeping, a drop off in editing, a dilution of standard setting. In addressing these challenges, as budding practitioners and as media scholars, we would be mistaken to view the press as monolithic. Journalism comes in endless flavors. Celebrity news, for instance, is very different from investigative journalism that holds those in power accountable. Not so long ago, we had clear lines distinguishing news, advertising and public relations. These lines are blurry now.
These are just some of the issues we will deal with at the new School of Journalism and Communication. I certainly do not have ready answers to all these questions, but I do know that I have great ambitions for our school. I hope that the graduates will be clear thinkers with a deep understanding of history and public affairs. I hope that they will become leaders of journalism in India—and internationally.
I believe strongly in the learning-by-doing model. I believe strongly in the importance of one-on-one editing. I also am a firm believer in blending the theoretical with the practical. I view my new position at Jindal as a wonderful late-in-career opportunity. It has absolutely re-energized me, and I am brimming with excitement and new ideas. I consider myself blessed to have another chance to practice what I so much enjoy doing.