Reporting and writing are the central disciplines of journalism. Accordingly, the core of the ACJ curriculum in the first
term is an extensive series of lectures and workshops on gathering and presenting news.
Through laboratory exercises and outside assignments, students learn to seek out information and convey it in
journalistic form. This experience helps them develop the variety of skills indispensable to all branches of journalism; in
particular, the ability to write clear, straightforward, and concise English. In similar lectures and workshops, students
learn to edit news copy and to write headlines for various media.
Thus at the beginning, irrespective of their chosen specialisation, students are taught the basic elements common to
the four categories of the media. All of them are given instruction in computer-assisted reporting and research and in
photojournalism, and all are required to know computer keyboarding and to familiarise themselves with commonly used
computer programmes and software packages.
During this term, all students are required to attend a series of substantive lectures, designed to introduce them to the
history of the media, to the legal and other aspects of professional journalism, and to many of the critical economic,
political, social, and environmental issues of our times.
These lectures, offered by outstanding scholars and media practitioners, reflect a central conviction of the Trustees:
that journalists, especially in Asian countries today, have an important role to play in increasing public understanding of
the fundamental and often complex problems of our societies, avoiding the traps of superficiality
Critical analysis of the existing news media is another important element of the curriculum in the first term. This exercise
helps future journalists become aware that the way in which an event is viewed and reported depends to a great extent
on the imperatives of the medium in question and on restrictions imposed by shifting
There are five required courses in the first term: Reporting, Writing and Editing; Tools of the Modern Journalist; Key
Issues in Journalism; Media Perspectives; and The Media, Law and Society.
In the second term, students begin to specialise. They learn to select, report, edit, and produce pieces in the form
required by the particular stream they have chosen. Under the guidance of professionals, they develop their skills in
interviewing, researching and news gathering, and sharpen their ability to recognise and develop stories. They use the
Internet and other information and data resources to discover new angles to the stories they are working on as well as
new ideas for stories. Students in the print stream begin to publish a regular lab newspaper, The Word, while students
in the broadcast streams start producing TV and Radio news programmes and documentaries. New Media students
produce a weekly e-zine of news and public affairs: www.acjnewsline.org
During this term, all students take a required course— the only one of its kind taught by a journalism school anywhere in
the world — Covering Deprivation.
“Deprivation” refers to the inability of individuals in a society to achieve basic human functionings. Among these are the
ability to live a long and healthy life free from avoidable disease and hunger, and the opportunity to be educated and to
have access to resources needed for a socially acceptable standard of living. Some forms of deprivation may apply to
all, or to the majority of, the members of specific social groups (such as Dalits) or classes (such as landless
Although deprivation so defined is a huge part of contemporary Indian reality both in the countryside and in cities, the
mainstream media do not generally give it informed, sustained coverage.
The course gives equal importance to (a) understanding deprivation and (b) covering it. Through lectures, discussions
and field trips, students are taught to discern and report the facts and many facets of deprivation — in context and
steering clear of exotic filters. They learn to analyse the socio-economic, political, environmental and other factors that
produce deprivation and to present their observations of it accurately, sensitively and in a way that will engage the
attention of the public.
The course culminates in an extended field trip, following which students present their findings in The Word, as television and radio features, or in www.Covering Deprivation.acjnewsline.org depending on their stream. The course is coordinated by Professors K. Nagaraj and Nalini Rajan.