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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

E & C Counselling in Crime Reporting, Forensic Science, Wild Photography and Career Option after B. Com


How can I become a crime reporter? Does any college offer a course specifically in crime reporting?

Crime reporting is a serious and often dangerous beat to work in. And in some cases even fatal. The recent case of crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey, who was shot dead in broad daylight, is a case in point. While covering high-profile and headline grabbing crimes that capture the nation’s attention (Nithari murders, Aarushi Talwar, Maria Susairaj) may seem quite exciting, you need to be prepared to come face-to-face with the seamier side of society — rapists, murderers, robbers, arsonists, terrorists, etc. You should be well versed with legal and police procedures; have nerves of steel and not panic easily.

Be prepared for many visits to police stations, courts and even jails. Command over the language (both vernacular and English) and an ability to get people to like you instantly and confide in you will stand you in good stead. You’ll spend considerable time in the field collecting crime stories, tracking down leads and cultivating contacts. All the while, you will have to meet strict deadlines to file your stories like all journalists and yet get the story and the facts right. It is not an easy task when the information is not easy to come by and is often conflicting or contradictory.

There is a lot of competition among journalists to be first to break a story, to get an exclusive, to lay their hands on information even before investigation agencies have it. It’s an action-packed life, where you need to have your wits about you. You must take care and not let your personal views and beliefs affect your reporting. There are no special courses for crime reporting. Crime is one of several beats that you could be assigned to while working in a news organisation. Look to pursue a solid journalism course at either the undergraduate or postgraduate level. Do keep in mind the smaller newspapers and channels that focus far more on reporting local news and happenings are great learning grounds to pick up the ropes — you’ll get to cut your teeth and make contacts, which will prove handy later. With experience and plenty of bylines under your belt, you can then look to move to larger outfits and cover bigger ‘breaking news’ and the latest shocking and sensational stories.


What is the scope of forensic sciences in India?

Forensic sciences cover forensic investigation of the crime scene, forensic photography,
forensic toxicology, forensic serology, fingerprint analysis, criminal profiling, drug detection, lie detection, firearm identification, cyber-crime, etc. Forensic work is laborious, painstaking and the results aren’t available instantly. Don’t be taken in by slick serials on the telly like CSI.

While forensic evidence is crucial to solving crimes, our law enforcement agencies are years behind their counterparts in West when it comes to the access to sophisticated forensic tools, training and evidence collection. There exists several specialisations within the field of forensics sciences — medical, criminology, toxicology, fingerprint & DNA analysis. Cyber & digital forensics, forensic accounting are the relatively newer areas in this field. Typically, you will be working with law enforcement and legal/government bodies, as most of the work is related to police and legal matters. Thus the government sector is the largest employer in this field. A few private labs and facilities in the area of chemical analysis and DNA profiling and digital forensics exist, with scope for several more. Forensic medicine requires you to first complete your MBBS followed by MD

specialising in forensics. As a coroner or medical examiner you will conduct post-mortems or examination of dead bodies to determine the approximate time and likely cause of death.

Criminology involves the study of criminals and the crimes they commit to detect patterns, prepare psychological profiles to aid in predicting their motives and behaviour. A course in criminal science or even a basic psychology degree with a specialisation in clinical or forensic psychology is usually sufficient. Other areas of forensics such as toxicology, firearm detection, fingerprint analysis and crime scene analysis involve collecting and analysing evidence from a crime scene and analysing them for critical clues and evidence. A course in forensic science is essential to enter this area. Very few universities offer BSc criminology or forensics at UG level — Delhi University, University of Madras, University of Mysore, Karnatak University being the few exceptions. However, at PG level a large number of universities offer diploma and degree courses in criminology & forensic science.

You can pursue forensic science at the MSc level after completing your BSc or BPharm or MBBS. If you’re not a science student you can look at options such as cyber/digital forensics and forensic accounting. Increasingly, forensics is being used to solve civil cases and even white collar crimes (cyber crimes, financial fraud).

I want to pursue a course in wildlife photography and want to know whether I can have a secure job as a wildlife photographer?
Deepak Saha

Exciting? Yes. Adventurous? Yes. Secure? No. Wildlife photography is ideally suited for someone who thrives on adventure, has an impeccable sense of composition, colour and can capture images that speak a thousand words. It’s a profession based on passion of photography & the outdoors. You must love wildlife, animals, be curious about nature. However, establishing yourself as a professional wildlife photographer is no cakewalk, which is why, many talented photographers remain amateurs.

The climb can be hard and long, and the financial returns, not very satisfactory in the beginning. Only those with tenacity and a neversay-die attitude coupled with a real passion stick on and go on to become celebrity shutterbugs. Apart from learning photography, you should also study and learn about wildlife, their habitats, ecology, etc.

Read books, attend short-term programmes from World Wildlife Federation or Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun or Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History if you are interested in birds. Be prepared to lug heavy equipment, which incidentally does not come cheap. Depending on your assignment it may take three or four days or even a year or more. You need oodles of patience for that perfect moment and quicksilver reflexes not to miss it as unlike models in a fashion shoot, animals and nature wait for no man. Since few fullfledged courses are available in this field, it would be a good idea to work with an established photographer as an understudy before starting out on your own. Although most of the known names in photography are selftaught, change is in the air. A number of photography schools have mushroomed all over the country. Here are some institutes that you could check:Camera Art Institute, New Delhi, Film & Television Institute of India, Pune (, India International Photographic Council, New Delhi, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi (, JJ Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai, Light & Life Academy, Ooty ( ), National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, (, Asian Academy of Film & Television, Noida (; Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi.

What are my career options if I pursue MCom instead of MBA after completing BCom?
While an MBA is a professional, joboriented PG programme, a Master’s degree in commerce or MCom is an academic & theoretical in its content and approach. After completing your MCom, the main avenues open to you those in teaching, accounting & audit, finance and banking. By adding a BEd to your MCom you are eligible to teach at the +2 level. Once you clear the NET exam, you can even teach in colleges and universities. MCom graduates can find suitable employment in financial research and analysis, taxation, stock market, insurance & financial planning and advisory, banking, financial services sales/executives with all kinds of product and service providers. Also, jobs in accounting, financial processing and documentation as well as in KPOs. You can sit for the general competitive entrance exams such as the civil services, state selection commission of each state. Your MCom qualification also allows you to appear for the selection exams of the income tax, customs and excise departments, comptroller & auditor general and bank probationary officers.

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