₹13 lakh a year: that’s what India Today says IIMC’s graduates get

IIMC’s own additional director general said it must have been ‘printed by mistake’.

WrittenBy:Mandeep Punia
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It isn’t uncommon for private colleges to promise placements worth lakhs of rupees to lure students into their courses. Some even buy airtime on television channels to peddle dreams of big bucks in various fields. 


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But it has gone beyond advertisements now. Ever so often, a “news story” crops up, weaving the same fantasy. One such story was published about the Indian Institute of Mass Communication on May 18 in India Today: “Breaking News | Best Mass Communication Colleges in India.” The piece was part of their May issue on “Best Colleges of India” where “India Today-MDRA survey once again shines a beacon on the best centres of learning across various streams of education”.

The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) is run by the IIMC Society, an autonomous body funded by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Last year, the Centre issued  letter of intent to grant it deemed university status. The institute offers post-graduate diploma courses in Hindi journalism, English journalism, radio and television journalism, advertising and public relations. One of its branches is located in Dhenkanal, Odisha.

But let’s return to the India Today story. Written by Kaushik Deka, whose Twitter bio says he’s associate editor of India Today, the report claims that in 2018, IIMC graduates were offered an average annual salary of ₹13 lakh—translating to nearly ₹1.08 lakh per month. A salary of this standard for freshers in the field of journalism would suggest that IIMC has found its achche din.

Newslaundry turned to IIMC to cross-check these claims.

Newslaundry contacted IIMC graduates from the batch of 2018, around whom India Today’s story was woven. One of them was Abhinav Pathak, who graduated in 2018 and landed a job through campus placements with ETV Bharat at a monthly salary of ₹18,000. When asked about India Today’s report of average annual salaries of ₹13 lakh, Pathak said: “It is an outright lie. More than half the students did not even get jobs worth ₹20,000 per month. You can calculate how much it comes to annually. There were 60 of us studying Hindi journalism, out of which 25 were hired by ETV for ₹18,000 per month. No one else in my class earned a job which paid more than ₹30,000 monthly.”

Pathak says he doesn’t know why India Today “published such a lie”. “The institute continuously hikes course fees and students have been protesting against it every year. But nobody talks about it.”

Newslaundry received similar responses from Pathak’s batchmates who were interviewed for this story. Here’s the break-up of the data gathered on graduates from the 2018 batch who were hired through campus placements.

25 students – ETV Bharat – ₹18,000 per month

2 students – Navbharat Times – ₹20,000 per month

4 students – Roar Media – ₹22,000 per month

3 students – Designbox – ₹22,000 per month

4 students – ABP News – ₹25,000 per month

3 students – Navbharat Times Online – ₹30,000 per month

7 students – Indian Political Action Committee – ₹35,000 per month

The seven students who received the highest salary packages were hired by the political advocacy group Indian Political Action Committee, or IPAC, founded by poll strategist Prashant Kishor. This means the students’ annual package is about ₹4.20 lakh. In second place is Navbharat Times Online, hiring three students at an annual package of about ₹3.60 lakh each.

This reporter also looked at the 2018 placement document. The highest annual salary package received by students across departments was ₹6-7 lakh.

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Newslaundry could not find a single student who passed out of the 2018 IIMC batch who, through campus placements, was hired at an annual salary of ₹13 lakh, or any salary packages that would average out to ₹13 lakh per year.

Newslaundry reached out to Kaushik Deka, who wrote the India Today story, and asked him for the source behind the claim of average annual salaries of ₹13 lakh. Deka said: “See, I cannot give information about the story. I received input regarding average salary from an agency.” When asked the name of the agency, Deka disconnected the phone call.

While Deka didn’t name the agency, it should be noted that India Today carries out its college surveys in association with Marketing and Development Research Associates (MRDA). Newslaundry reached out to Rajan Chauhan, MDRA research officer, for a comment about the survey. He said: “We got all the figures from IIMC. We published the figures that were provided to us.”

Dipankar, an alumnus of IIMC, sounds surprised when this reporter tells him about the ₹13 lakh claim. “Who pays so much to a fresher in the field of journalism? India Today has given wrong information regarding IIMC. The truth is that organisations like Dainik Jagran offered ₹12,000-13,000 month salary to students during placements. I highly doubt that even the top offer would be ₹13 lakh.” Dipankar adds that IIMC has seen a rapid hike in fees during the last four or five years.

India Today’s report on IIMC also issued a list of the country’s top mass communication institutes. IIMC ranks first. However, there is no clarity regarding the criteria for selection of these institutes; the survey notes “rankings are based on objective and perceptual survey data”. The report also claimed: “Till now, the Delhi institute [IIMC] has achieved 85 per cent placement.”

Newslaundry spoke to Manish Desai, the Additional Director General of IIMC. Surprisingly, he did not corroborate any of the claims made by India Today about his own institution.

About the average annual salary of ₹13 lakh, Desai said: “It must have been printed by mistake. Only one student got a salary of ₹13 lakh. It was the highest salary, not the average.” When Newslaundry pointed out that no one in the 2018 batch received an annual salary package of ₹13 lakh, Desai said: “One student got near about it.”

When asked about India Today’s statement that 85 per cent of students have been placed, Desai said: “It is not correct. Last year, 69 per cent of students got placed.”


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