New International Media Institute to Launch in India

Jun 242009

Supported by Knight and MacArthur Foundations, the Delhi-based multimedia journalism center will be run by ICFJ and Indian journalists

Washington, D.C. -- The International Center for Journalists has announced the launch of the International Media Institute of India (IMII) in New Delhi, a non-profit educational center that will marry cutting-edge, hands-on journalism instruction with the highest international standards.

The institute will be run by ICFJ in collaboration with leading Indian editors, who conceived the idea for the school when they experienced difficulty in finding skilled entry-level journalists to hire. ICFJ’s partner is the Society for Policy Studies (SPS), a non-profit Indian think tank that promotes debate on contemporary issues among journalists and concerned citizens and encourages quality journalism training.

Expected to open this fall, the one-year postgraduate program will give entry-level journalists the professional and technical expertise to work across media platforms. The classroom environment will mimic a newsroom with students constantly reporting and publishing stories. Top-tier international and Indian faculty will instruct the students on how to produce quality journalism for print, interactive and broadcast outlets. The graduates of the program will be the emerging leaders in media and communications.

The institute is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Graduate School of Journalism of the City University of New York (CUNY) is providing curriculum support.

The school is opening at a pivotal time. Indian media are experiencing unprecedented growth as the economy goes global and literacy rates rise. This has created a pressing need for journalists who can produce reliable coverage of a country that has become a major global player.

“This new program, with its professional and very practical approach, will meet the demand for high-quality reporters and editors able to use the new array of media tools and techniques,” says ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan.

The institute will hire international and Indian faculty, “bringing the best of both worlds to that task,” says Tarun Basu, president of SPS and chief editor of the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS). “More than ever, we need trained, ethical journalists to meet the rigorous standards that the public expects of an exalted profession and a growing industry.”

IANS, an independent Indian news agency, will provide additional assistance and facilities to IMII in the Delhi suburb of Noida.

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is helping ICFJ and its partners to create a state-of-art curriculum that prepares students for the digital media era. “In New Delhi, as in New York, journalists need to combine traditional reporting and editing skills with preparation to work in the digital era,” says Stephen B. Shepard, dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. “We are pleased to be helping the institute develop that world-class curriculum.”

Leading the effort will be Knight International Journalism Fellow David Bloss, the school’s director, and Sunil Saxena, a longtime print and Web journalist, as dean. Bloss is a former editor at The Providence Journal newspaper in Rhode Island and a former academic director for ICFJ journalism school projects in the Republic of Georgia and East Timor. Saxena is the first dean of the Asian College of Journalism and the developer of 12 news Web sites for the New Indian Express Group.

The school will place a strong emphasis on covering economic and social issues facing poor communities, who are often ignored by the mass media. “Students can amplify voices of the poor, Dalits and tribal people, and help shine a light on their concerns and needs,” says Sanjoy Hazarika, a former New York Times correspondent and member of the IMII advisory board. Several scholarships will be available for students in need. All students will receive a laptop computer.

The institute’s advisory board is comprised of top Indian and international journalists and media experts. They include:

Arun Chacko, former director, Press Institute of India
Nikhil Deogun, deputy managing editor, The Wall Street Journal
H.K. Dua, editor-in-chief, The Tribune, and former media advisor to the Prime Minister of India
Adam Glenn, Internet news consultant
Sanjoy Hazarika, former New York Times correspondent and managing trustee, Centre for North East Studies
Lonnie Isabel, director of international programs, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
Sanjiv Kataria, communications consultant and former group executive vice president, NIIT
Amy Kazmin, South Asia correspondent, Financial Times
Manjeet Kripalani, BusinessWeek India bureau chief
Arul Louis, former Knight International Journalism Fellow in New Delhi
Mark Magnier, New Delhi correspondent, Los Angeles Times
Sudip Mazumdar, Newsweek correspondent, New Delhi
Sugata Mitra, professor of educational technology, Newcastle University, U.K.
Raju Narisetti, managing editor, The Washington Post
Monika Nikore, managing editor, photo, AOL News
A.S. Panneerselvan, executive director, Panos South Asia.

For more information, visit www.imii.co.in.


The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), a non-profit, professional organization, promotes quality journalism worldwide in the belief that independent, vigorous media are crucial in improving the human condition. Since 1984, ICFJ has worked directly with more than 50,000 journalists from 176 countries. For more information, visit www.icfj.org.

The Society for Policy Studies is a non-profit Indian think tank founded by a group of Indian journalists and media watchers to promote debate on contemporary issues among journalists and concerned citizens and encourages quality journalism training. It aims to encourage greater understanding of India’s policy and perspective around the world.

The Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), an independent news agency, has geared itself to be the primary news and information resource on India, Indians and South Asia. The New Delhi-headquartered media group has a growing international reach as a reliable content provider, knowledge resource and publishing outsource for clients in India and overseas.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests in journalism excellence worldwide and in the vitality of U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org. The Foundation also supports ICFJ’s Knight International Journalism Fellowships, which make tangible changes that improve the quality and free flow of news in the public interest around the world. International media professionals work in countries where there are opportunities to promote reliable, insightful journalism that holds officials accountable. For more, visit www.knight.icfj.org.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. For more information, visit www.macfound.org.

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which opened in 2006, is the only publicly funded graduate journalism program in the Northeast. Its three-semester Master of Arts in Journalism curriculum teaches the fundamentals of the profession--reporting, writing, editing, critical thinking, and ethical values--along with storytelling skills in multiple media formats. It also features a paid professional internship in the summer between the second and third semesters.