Even in 2020, India is yet to offer a dedicated course for automobile journalism.
No, it’s not an ode or a farewell letter, its actually a compilation of some of the most frequently asked questions. Queries that largely arise from students, co-automobile enthusiasts or simply people fascinated by the vehicles automobile journalists have at their disposal. It’s intriguing, yes, engrossing, yes, but its a challenge at every step of the day. It requires hours of hard work on and off-screen to put up content up to be critiqued. Not to forget the extensive team behind every little post or video that often goes unnoticed. Okay, so maybe it is a thank you letter too.
At least in India yet, automotive journalism is sadly something that cannot be taught via books, maybe that’s why they are yet to inculcate a designated course for it. On the other hand, getting into the said field with an automotive/mechanical engineering degree has its own perks. One understands mechanics, technologies and complex idioms easily with such a degree. Couple it with a course in journalism or mass communication and you are presented with a concoction as solid as ‘Valyrian steel’. It looks good on resumes and is hard to overlook for any employer.
The most asked question after what course should I pursue to have a career in automotive journalism is if it’s difficult being a woman in a field dominated by men. Well, first things first, at MotorBeam, Faisal once told me he never looks at an intern’s CV or gender as much as he gives importance to their writing and love for anything on wheels and he sticks by that. The engineering+journalism is an ideal match but so is just journalism with a passion for cars. A degree in mass communication allows you to understand and churn out stories better, it teaches you scouting for leads, headlines, and exclusives and that’s pretty much all. However, if you are an enthusiast with paramount knowledge, the world is your oyster; writing skills can be developed on the job if you have seniors willing to explain the know-how. Coming to the few women reading this post, you’ll be often intimidated by the amount of testosterone in the industry, just see it as your responsibility to tone it down without losing sight of who you are. Read more, watch more, look around for inspiration and guidance, it might often come from people unwilling to do that, but be a good student, it’s hard for anyone to ignore determination, even if it’s wearing a dress.
But does it pay well? But the industry is going through a slowdown! But I’m a petrol-head and the market is working towards being electric! But my parents are not supportive! But what after 10 years when print takes a backseat and social media rules the roost? Phew. Tough questions, simple answers. Journalism, be it any field, industry or medium, never prints money initially. The Indian media might continue to have a tough relationship with Indian citizens due to the amount of fake news that is circulated, paid opinions or simply blaring anchors. But, at the end of the day, when the government doesn’t listen or the police beat up students, a journalist will always hear you out. There is respect and power in that word, so never join the said field to make money, join it because you wish to be heard, because you think you can make a difference. Honesty is followed by credibility and then the money is just paper in your bank.
Yes, the market might be crippling right now, but the industry is getting younger, aware and vivacious with every passing day. The future is just not electric, that’s underselling it. The future is technological advancements, safer cars, autonomous cars and Tesla in India! Why would you want to limit yourself to a humble oil-burner when you could be working on how to market autonomous cars in a country that finds it hard to not hit a person or cattle on the road with two human eyes? The industry is so much more than just holding the steering wheel and it needs fresh blood to evolve. Wow, I suddenly sound like a politician.
Now before I get carried away and start asking for your vote, let me draw a bridge over troubled waters. If you love what you do, you look forward to the weekdays instead of the weekend, your back hurts due to driving a V8 with a stiff suspension instead of sitting on a desk chair for 12 hours. There are a plethora of cars/ bikes companies calling you asking for a wheelie or some beans. One just has to find their calling, stick to it, keep on learning and build a thick skin against hate. Oh, and yes, I almost forgot, say good-bye to your personal life. Nah, I’m kidding.
Or am I?
Over and out.