KM Mathew (1917-2010), acclaimed for his journalism with a human touch, was not content with taking Malayala Manorama to the very pinnacle of regional language journalism in India or launching a string of publications, each of which was a runaway success. Nor did he rest on his laurels when he made his successful foray into English journalism with The Week which went on to become the country's best-selling newsmagazine. Even as he pursued journalism that was bold and sound on ethics, winning awards and setting trends, at the back of his mind was always a long-cherished dream that he often shared with family and friends: to set up a journalism school of world class. He wanted journalism to be taught the way it should be: with a hands-on and no-nonsense approach and without frills and hype. His dream was to mould handpicked students into well-rounded journalists with quality training. This dream finally turned into a reality in 2002 when he set up the Manorama School of Communication (MASCOM) which quickly established itself as a premier journalism training centre in the country..

  • To train aspiring journalists so they become fully integrated members of the media industry.
  • To train students to think critically and to learn how to gather and present information quickly, accurately and interestingly.
  • To inculcate in students an understanding of the role of journalists in Indian society and develop in them a deep appreciation for the importance of meticulous research and careful analysis.
  • To provide students with hands-on experience in the functioning of large and small media organisations and to create an awareness of critical management issues in the newspaper industry.
  • To instill in students the highest ethical standards of the profession.

K Thomas Oommen

‘In designing the MASCOM training programme, I drew on my experiences as a professional journalist and a journalism instructor in India, Africa and the United States - selecting what worked well and discarding anything that did not serve the goal of graduating a student committed to journalism as a career, imbued with a code of ethics and dedicated to the concept of being a better journalist tomorrow than what one is today and what one was yesterday.
The MASCOM training programme involves re-moulding the college student into a journalism student - who strives constantly to work hard, work meticulously and work with his colleagues as a team.

To be a journalist is to assume a great responsibility. MASCOM training is intended to make its students assume that responsibility and to discharge it fully. The training programme attempts to do this by having the students bring out their own four-page lab paper which begins each week with a story conference and ends with the finished product, which is then dissected and reviewed in great detail by the faculty. The students are taken on frequent field-visits during which they are expected to identify potential news stories and gather data for the same.’,

Why are we in Kottayam?

The vision of KM Mathew included taking journalism education to people, much the same way he took journalism itself to people with grit and determination, winning readers and their hearts. He was not inclined to set up the journalism school of his dreams in a metro- or megapolis and perpetuate media training as the exclusive privilege of the urban elite. He found no better place for the school than Kottayam (Link to About Kottayam), a small but vibrant town in central Kerala enjoying distinct advantages. To begin with, Kottayam is the base of his group’s flagship Malayala Manorama, India’s largest regional newspaper which now has a print run of two million copies a day. This would also help students use Manorama's impressive infrastructure when needed. And, being a hub of media, literature and culture in its own right, Kottayam provides an excellent backdrop for serious journalism training. “The town is a soothing place for reading and writing,” says Shilpi Bisht, our past student who works for Mail Today in Delhi.

Advantages of Kottayam?

Does size - yes, Kottayam is a small town - really matter? It didn't - to our past students. In fact, our students discover year after year that the small size of the town has its uses. It is less polluted. It ensures easier access to people, which means newsgathering, a key part of the course, is easier. Students chasing stories don’t need to go too far: most government offices are minutes away from the campus. Above all, a small town means lower costs. Did somebody say small is beautiful? Our students say small is useful as well.

Chris Jonathan Peters, a MASCOM alumnus now with Reuters in Bangalore, vouches for it. “Our initial worries of finding stories in this so-called sleepy town turned out to be unfounded. The fact that we didn't have too many distractions in Kottayam helped us focus better on the job on hand.”

Even those who found that getting stories was, at times, difficult in a small place said it only offered a challenge that honed their skills further, making them even more hardnosed. Saradha Mohankumar of Deccan Chronicle in Chennai is one of them. “Collecting information in Kottayam is more challenging than in bigger cities where most resources might be readily available,” she says, not forgetting to add: “I enjoyed the auto rides in Kottayam, thanks to the reasonable fares.” Manish Kumar, also with Deccan Chronicle in Chennai, quips: “If you find stories in Kottayam you will find them anywhere in the country!” For Manish, a “great attraction’ was that Kumarakom, the much sought-after backwater haven, is less than an hour from Kottayam.

To some like Princy Alexander, a reporter with The New Indian Express in Kochi, Kottayam came as a surprise. “When I joined MASCOM, I believed Kottayam was boring,” she recalls. “But boy, I was glad to find that being in a sleepy town had its own benefits. I was able to identify a lot of human interest stories, which were close to my heart.” 

Affordable course fee, scholarships

We kept the course fee affordable because MASCOM is a not-for-profit institution and is run with a mission.
It was the desire of founder KM Mathew that journalism education should be made available to everyone. The institute also provides for regular field trips of the students outside Kottayam, the cash prizes awarded to the best students, merit-cum-means scholarships given to deserving students and subsidised food at the canteen..

Facilities

MASCOM provides state-of-the-art facilities for training in print and broadcast journalism. For print students, it has a computer lab equipped with modern computers interconnected by means of Local Area Network. In addition to training in standard software such as MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Indesign, hands-on experience can be gained on scanners, printers, digital cameras and voice recorders.

For broadcast journalism students, the institute is equipped with professional studios, a newsroom using NRCS automation and  PlayBox technology, editing suites and video cameras.

The School has a well-stocked library. In addition, students will be provided access to the Malayala Manorama library and digital archives, subject to approval by the Director / Librarian.

MASCOM has 24-hour broadband Internet connectivity. A telephone with STD facility is also available to them for news gathering.

Manorama School of Communication