US Consul General Mr Mike Hankey interacted with the Journalism students
Shreya Shetty | JR 2023-24
On 4th December 2023, the US Consul General Mr Mike Hankey visited the Xavier Insitute of Communications (XIC) to interact with the Journalism students. The session focused on the media’s role in US-India relations, emphasising how journalists can shape the narrative for both countries. Mr Hankey is a journalist-turned-diplomat, with work experience of 30+ years in many countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestine, and India.
While information about prominent international affairs is commonplace, Mr Hankey provided the students with an insight into the diplomatic relations between the US and India in greater detail. The Consul General started by explaining that the two countries were more similar than people supposed them to be. Both countries share the same dream- a free, open, prosperous, and lawful world, where nations co-existed in peace.
Pointing out that the two countries share the same first three words in their Preambles; “We, the People”; Mr Hankey said, “The power in our countries comes from the people. We (Americans and Indians) understand each other better, but India has been more successful in harnessing the power of its citizens. From better inclusion of people to creating a stronger economy, it is something that the US wants to learn and implement too, one day.”
Hankey shared vital points that he’d like future journalists to hit on, that would help shape a better future for the US and India. With social media platforms becoming the new source of news, he reminded the students that people are still willing to pay for proper, curated content. “However, you need to highlight what is important. Choosing between what is sensational and what is important is tough,” he added. He also touched upon countering misinformation, and how journalists and the media are instrumental in holding elected officials accountable. Finally, he encouraged the bridging of cultural gaps between the two nations.
This was followed by an engaging Q&A session between Mr Hankey and the students. Questions ranging from what can be done to avoid media misinterpretations that affect US-India relations, to how media can promote cultural diversity were answered and discussed. The session ended with Mr Hankey concluding that while both countries will continue learning from each other, it is the students, as future journalists, who are key to changing the narrative for a better world.