The lab paper - Fourth Estate in English and Jalakam in Malayalam - that the students are required to produce on their own every week without fail, is the main vehicle for their training at MASCOM in all areas of newspaper work: collecting information, putting it together in the form of news stories, taking photographs needed for these stories, editing the stories and the photographs, writing headlines and laying out pages. The lab paper - students take turns to be the Editor, Sub-editors and Reporters week after week - provides them a medium to put into practice what they are taught in the classroom. Several hundred copies of this paper are printed and distributed to important persons and establishments. The publication of the paper begins each week with an editorial conference where the Editor justifies his or her selection of stories offered by the reporters. In the week following publication, there is a rigorous critique of it by the faculty. The production begins with dummy issues towards the end of the first trimester and the first regular issue is published from the beginning of the second trimester.
At the end of the course, the students bring out a four-page Special Convocation Issue in colour.
Special edition produced by the 2010-11 batch.
Towards the end of the course, the students plan and participate in MASCOM Day. The highlight of the day is an exhibition that they hold, showcasing to visitors all the editions of the lab papers they produced and the best photographs they took during the year as well as the front pages of important newspapers from around the world. During the exhibition, students surprise visitors with the quick editions of Fourth Estate that they produce carrying instant interviews with them.
On MASCOM Day every year, the students also screen a short film made by them on their work.
Watch the film made by MASCOM students
The students of MASCOM are taken on field trips - at least once a month on average - to hone their skills in spotting and developing news
stories outside their base of Kottayam. All expenses are met by MASCOM. Some of the issues of
the weekly lab paper Fourth Estate are brought out entirely with stories originating from field trips.
student is required to submit an investigative report on a topic cleared by the
faculty. The report must be prepared to appear as a series in a newspaper or as
a lengthy magazine article. In addition, each student is also required to
prepare independently an academic dissertation on a topic related to any aspect
of journalism or the mass media.The selected topic and the project guide must be
approved by the faculty and the dissertation must meet strict academic standards