Defence Journalism – Challenges and Opportunities

Dr Syed Ali Mujtaba

By Staff Reporter

Chennai: Defense Journalism is fast emerging as a niche area of specialization in journalism. In order to delve deep into this subject, the Defence and Strategic Studies Department at Guru Nanak College organized a special lecture on the theme “Defence Journalism – Challenges and Opportunities” on Oct 3, 2018.


The resource person for this event was Dr Syed Ali Mujtaba, a veteran journalist and Head of the Department of Visual Communication, Gurunanak College.

Drawing from his journalistic experience with extensive coverage on defence reporting, Dr Mujtaba gave a candid talk on the subject. He motivated the defence studies students to take up defence journalism as a career.

‘If you are aspiring to become defence journalist, Dr Mujtaba said you must have a sound knowledge of technical information related to defence and security matters.  You have be a news junkie, eager to be kept updated on the latest developments in defence matters, he said.

Dr Mujtaba gave some tips on reporting like: hone your writing skills, increase the knowledge of military affairs, create your own blog and start writing on defence affairs, go to online defence forums and get the military developments updated.

A defence journalist should have good command over oral communication skills and a sound knowledge of the written language skill.

 The proficiency to write a readable story should match the proficiency in Information and Communication technology tools. The knowledge of photography and videography can make you a complete defense journalist.

The Visual Communication head said, in the era of digital and online media, a defence journalist must know the latest developments in social media and also how to to upload its news content, making use of the ICT tools.

Dr Mujtaba said, the best way to become a defense journalist is to earn a college degree in Defence studies and then take up a diploma in Journalism with a specialization in defence journalism.

The first step to get started is to start as freelance writer and reporter on defence affairs. The more diverse a writer you become on defence affairs, the more likely your work will be noticed, paid and published. This could also be a Launchpad to find full time employment in media outlets, the HOD said.

Briefing on the day-to-day job activities of a defence journalist, Dr Mujtaba said, the job involves researching, reporting, interviewing, and writing on defence subjects.

One may also get the opportunity to cover major defence shows/exhibitions such as International Defence Exhibition, Defence expo, naval expo, Aerospace expo, Weapons Expo, Military & Defence Exhibitions etc, he said.

Talking about the opportunities’ the journalist said, there are plenty of opportunities for the defence journalist. Apart from regular newspapers and magazines, websites and TV channels, there are defence and security magazines and online defence websites etc. The television channels are always keen to have documentaries on defence matters.

However, there are plenty of challenges for defence journalist, he said and added, to meet the deadline, the job involves unsocial hours of work. A lot of legwork and travel and running around are part of this job.  The reward is not plenty as the pay is not at top end of salaries in India. But then at the end of the day, it’s the most satisfying job and that cannot be measured in terms of money.

Striking a positive with the students, Dr Mujtaba said that journalism is changing drastically and so are journalists. This is due to exponential growth of the media industry in the country. In this growth story nestles the seeds of defence journalism which is emerging as a niche area of journalism today.

So there are plenty of opportunities waiting on the wings of those aspiring to become defence journalist, Dr Mujtaba said making an appeal to the defence studies students to make a career in defence journalism.

Guru Nanak College Principal M. Selvaraj, Dr. K. Manikandan, Associate Professor & HOD Defence and Strategic studies and other staff members, Dr. V. P. Nedunchezhian Associate Professor,Dr. K. Kulasekar Associate Professor, Dr. O. Nirmala, Assistant Professor were present on the occasion.


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