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An estimated 1-minute read

Legal Journalism : The Indian Context

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In my perhaps hugely ignorant opinion, I was under the impression that legal journalism had not been given significant recognition as a viable profession. After, however, some research here and there (re: wiki How’s seven steps to become a legal journalist), I have come to realize that this aspect of journalism is all set to become a part of mainstream news processes.

So, what is legal journalism? As the name suggests, it refers to specialized reporting in the field of all things related to the concept of law. However, it is distinguished from ‘court reporting’ which is considered a part of beat reporting and the concerned journalist need not have a legal education. The concept is very recent and has more or less arisen out of a need to explore employment options other than practice, by law graduates.

Being a student of Journalism, however, and possessing the interest to enter into this field, I’m certain that it’s a two-way street.

Although this concept is rare, acquiring a legal education after doing journalism undergrad or any other degree is a great option. All this depends on where you wish to do your education from. In countries like the United States, legal education still remains a postgraduate degree and thus, students have the freedom to study different disciplines for four years which would enable a person to undertake legal journalism immediately after. What’s interesting is that recognizing the growing importance of the two powerful professional spheres, many colleges are now giving degrees that enable one’s understanding of law with respect to the media. For example, New York Law School, University of New South Wales and a host of other universities provide full-fledged courses.  

In India, just as financial journalists are the highest paid because of their specialized knowledge; legal journalism also has equally lucrative prospects. With the Supreme Court issuing a notice that requires court reporters to have a legal degree following the misreporting of Harish Salve’s statement in the Vodafone case, the need for acquiring legal education to report on the same will only increase and this bodes well for the growth of legal journalism in India.

 

Anushka Kaushik

 

 

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