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
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.’,
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.
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
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.”
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..
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
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 /
MASCOM has 24-hour broadband Internet connectivity. A
telephone with STD facility is also available to them for