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Did Nidhi Razdan find out if post-graduate diploma can be Harvard associate professor?

By Rajiv Shah
The Nidhi Razdan episode, which I learned from the blog she wrote on the NDTV site, has created a flutter among journalists, whether in New Delhi or in Ahmedabad. I talked with half-a-dozen senior journalists, three of whom said they knew her personally and were "surprised" how and why she was a victim of what she claimed to be a phishing attack, which led her to believe that she had been enrolled in as associate professor to reach journalism at the Harvard Extension School in US.
While the blog is self-explanatory about all that had happened – the former NDTV executive editor frankly calls herself an “idiot” and “stupid” for failing to realise till January 2021 about the fraud being played on her ever since May 2019, when she had gone to Harvard – the journalists whom I talked to wondered: How could she fail to perform the basic duty of a journalist, especially a reporter, which Razdan was, to counter-check every detail?
The view was strong among those whom I talked with, that a reporter, when she or he joins the profession, is first taught to be very diligent with every detail. “For instance, the one covering a crime I was asked to get the FIR copy and take notes from it before filing a report when I joined journalism way back in early 1980s”, one of themsaid. Pointing out that Razdan is among the new breed of new reporters when such “counter-checking” of facts hardly ever takes place, added another, “Does she not know that you need to have necessary qualifications before becoming a faculty at Havard?”
One of them, , who has interacted with Razdan several times, frankly told me that she is not even a post-graduate degree holder (“she has done post graduate diploma”), not to talk of PhD, has no peer-reviewed research papers published in any reputed research journal – a basic requirement. I searched the web and found the information correct: Indeed, if Wikipedia is to be relied, she graduated from Lady Shri Ram College and later pursued a post-graduate diploma in radio and TV journalism at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi.
I have no idea whether Harvard has any tradition in appointing someone as faculty without requisite degrees and research papers, and only on the basis of having good enough experience in journalism, reaching at the very top in one of the most important TV news channels of India, which NDTV is. Perhaps Razdan should have found that out. But, said this senior journalist, Razdan, smart and forthcoming, was, however, a TV reporter, who forward mike for reaction, and that was it. TV reporters, the journalist added, “don’t care to do due diligence, which was a must earlier.”
Yet another media person, who also holds a very senior position, wondered who the person who had sought her CV during her Harvard trip in November 2019. “She talks about this person in her blog, calling him (or her?) as ‘apparent organiser’ of the event she had gone to attend. She does not reveal who this person is. Was he a member of the Friends of the BJP, which is very strong in the US? I have my suspicion. She must reveal the name of this person who offered her the job, as someone on twitter has said… Things do need to go in public domain.”

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