As an influential educator, editor and commentator, Prof Nanjundaiah considers his calling card to be his ability to integrate scholarly and industry values and bring them judiciously into systems, policies and classrooms. Prof Nanjundaiah has been the director and dean at reputed private media schools in India, where he is best recognized for his progressive reconstruction of academic and pedagogic approaches in a discover-learn-practice framework. His students now occupy positions of repute and influence across the world—from communication heads at multinational corporations to successful communication entrepreneurs, editors to educators.
In the early 2000s, Prof Nanjundaiah’s role as a mass communication educator was pioneering in some ways. As the Director at Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication (now Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, a college under Symbiosis International University), Prof Nanjundaiah brought in practice-based learning methods for journalism students. Under this initiative, students created a national UGC award-winning documentary on Chambal valley after the bandit Phoolan Devi. A unique social sensitization internship was started, providing students with a balanced understanding of privilege with an understanding of diversity, inclusion and human rights. SIMC was also the first institute in the country to start online admissions processes.
As Founding Director of the Indira School of Communication, Pune, which he started and successfully ran under the privately held Indira Group of Institutes, Prof Nanjundaiah was able to instil many firsts in those times, such as systematic faculty and peer mentoring, and robust student feedback mechanisms. He wove a much-needed research component into mass communication pedagogy.
Later, as the first Dean of the India Today Media Institute, Noida, he transformed into a full-fledged institute under the publicly held TV Today Network under the India Today Group, he carried on some of the foundational changes his team and he had made, while also nimbly adapting to new technological changes.
In his professional practice, Prof Nanjundaiah has held editorial and policymaking positions. He has been the Group Executive Editor of four business and policy magazines in Mumbai, including the award-winning Infrastructure Today and was later involved in systematizing digitized content for the portal under Construction World. He was the New York-based Managing Editor of The Indian Express North American Edition, where he oversaw three editions in the USA and Canada. More recently, he wrote a culture policy and brought internal storytelling systems at Enzen Global, an international utility provider and consultancy.