Investigation & Dissertation
The lab paper - The 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. It includes 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. For the lab paper, students take turns to be the Editor, Sub-editors and Reporters week after week, which 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.
The lab bulletin - MASCOM News - that the students are required to produce on their own twice a week without fail, is the main vehicle for the training the broadcast students at MASCOM. It includes all areas of reporting for a news channel: collecting information, putting it together in the form of news stories, taking visuals needed for these stories, editing the stories, anchoring and producing the bulletin. For this bulletin the students take turn to become reporters, anchors, editors, producers etc week after week, which provides them a medium to put into practice what they are taught in the classroom. The bulletins are followed with rigorous critique of it by the faculty.
Besides the news bulletin students also put together studio programmes and documentary films.
Each print 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 and practices.
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 The Fourth Estate that they produce carrying instant interviews with them.
The broadcast students give a feel of a working newsroom to the visitors and the technology behind. On MASCOM Day every year, the students also screen a short film made by them.
MASCOM students undertake field trips arranged by the institute to hone their skills in reporting and developing news/features. Some of the places visited as part of these trips include Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi; Kerala Kalamandalam, Punnathoor Elephant camp, Sakthan Museum, Guruvayoor and Vadakkunnathan temples, Cheraman Masjid, Kodungalloor, Mar Thoma Church, Azhikode, Kochi Metro Rail Corporation (KMRL), Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) and Windmill Farm, Kanjikode.
Places visited during a second visit to Thiruvananthapuram and adjoining areas include ISRO space museum, National Institute for Speech and Hearing (NISH), Napier Museum, Art Gallery, Zoo, Padmanabha Swamy temple, Monroe Island, Kovalam Beach, Chitranjali studio and the Mathrubhumi News Studio. The students also witness the Legislative Assembly proceedings during the visit. The students get opportunity to interview a Minister or a celebrity as part of these study tours.