The idea had come from none other than Information And Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari who is apparently appalled at ‘the ever falling standards of Indian journalism’.
Not that I entirely disagree with him, but I can understand that he wants a government-controlled examination system that will determine journalistic acumen among aspiring journalists.
If you ask me, I feel that the government should make it mandatory for all media houses to ensure that all trainee journalists take an entrance test before being appointed.
I thought that I should help Manish Tewari by setting a question paper of 100 marks that will test the skills of a television journalist who want to work in the Bollywood beat.
Since, we are used to the kinds of question papers that we have been bombarded with while in school, I have tried to follow the same format. So, here is a question paper of 100 marks for all aspiring journalists who intend to report on Bollywood:
Section A: Bollywood journalism aptitude test: Answer any 10 (1X10=10 marks) (either tick YES or NO) (any ten)
1. Are you a fan of Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan or Aamir Khan?
2. Do you think getting into Bollywood journalism is an opportunity to click Facebook pictures with Bollywood stars?
3. Does your Twitter bio describe you as a Bollywood fan?
4. Is there a Bollywood star who can make you go weak in your knees?
5. Do you think Salman Khan or Shah Rukh Khan or Aamir Khan are a notch above the aam admi?
6. Is there a Bollywood commercial film that you feel is the near-perfect film that describes an aspect of India or its people?
7. Is there a Bollywood actress who can be described as the most beautiful woman on earth?
8. Name a Bollywood commercial film (made in the last 10 years) which can be described as a ‘service to the nation’?
9. Name a Bollywood star who is less bothered about his forthcoming film and more concerned about issues of national interest?
10. Do you feel that most actors in Bollywood can accept criticism in the right spirit?
11. Do you feel that most of the public activities of an actor is related to a forthcoming release?
12. Do you feel that all Bollywood actors are overpaid?
Section B: Soft Skills assessment: Answer in brief (any five) (5X10= 50)
1. Give a few examples where a leading Bollywood star has made a public appearance when he/she has nothing to promote.
2. Bollywood films are brands just like a toothpaste or the channel that you want to work for. Discuss.
3. When you are letting an actor talk about his film, are you promoting his film or you are promoting the actor? Discuss with examples.
4. When a PR dictates the questions that you should ask the actor, should you listen to him/her? Discuss the pros and the cons.
5. If you want to be friends with the actor, never criticise him or her in public or private. Discuss the pros and the cons.
6. When you base a show on an actor before his/her film’s release, your channel is actually benefitting out of it. Discuss.
7. Covering a big actor’s private party actually helps your channel and not the actor or his film. Discuss with examples.
Section C: Assessment of PR friendliness: Answer in detail. (3X10)
1. ‘The job of a Bollywood film’s PR is to get free publicity for the film by being over-friendly with senior journalists’. Analyse the statement with suitable examples.
2. Figure out the complex equation that determines the importance of a film journalist to a film star by taking into account the factors such as the reach of the media house, the power equation that the journalist shares and the journalists’ eagerness to suck up to a star or the PR.
3. Analyse a situation to trace the fate of a journalist if he/she decides to go against a particular PR’s clients. Work out a flow-chart of incidents after a ‘negative story’ is aired about a leading star on your television channel.
4. Give examples of five news stories on any channel that didn’t have any PR input or any hidden publicity of an upcoming film.
5. Why do you think film critics differ so much in their ratings? Do you think film critics should interact closely with film stars or filmmakers?
Section D: Coverage of Bollywood stars: Answer in detail (1X10) (any one)
1. Do you think that filmmakers should pay for every star interview in TV channels that is related to a film?
2. Have you seen the way a star’s visit to a local shop or any star-related news is covered in TV channels? (Please assume here that it is a genuine news story and there are possibilities to get visuals and/or bytes of the star). Describe the scenes in detail that you have seen on TV or Youtube.
Section D: Self Introspection: Don’t answer, just think. (0 Marks)
Do you really want to be a film journalist after writing the answers of this question paper?
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