Centre of Excellence
Independent news media representing diverse views are vital to the functioning of democracy, to the pursuit of public welfare, and to the protection of the people’s entitlements. In India the tradition of a pluralistic, relatively independent press dates back more than two hundred years. Enriched by its active involvement in the freedom struggle, the press has developed impressively since Independence and it continues to be influential – even as the transition from newsprint to digtal gathers momentum – as the trusted source for news and informed opinion and analysis.
Television became dominant since the mid-1990s when private cable and satellite channels, especially news channels, entered the scene. Though Online Media made their presence felt in the late 1990s, it was with the turn of the millennium that they registered a sharp and varied growth at a pace that now makes them the fastest growing in the sector.
Now, technological convergence and integration leading to production and dissemination of news across multiple platforms, and multitasking journalism incorporating text, video and audio have combined to redefine the nature of the delivery of news and the journalistic skillsets necessary for it.
In India, as in other developing countries in Asia, there is a vital need to consolidate media strengths, overcome weaknesses, and raise the professional, intellectual, and ethical standards of journalism, so as to bring the performance of the media up to advanced international levels. It has also become necessary and important to distinguish and safeguard verified, credible journalistic content from the indiscriminate fare the social media is awash with.
The media can be no better than their practitioners. It follows that the growing demand for trained hands from established news organisations and startups in the profession must be met with a crop of educated young people, not only with the necessary professional skills but also with the broad knowledge, integrity, and social commitment that will make them outstanding journalists.The Asian College of Journalism is dedicated to the task of producing such journalists. It is a postgraduate college designed to provide students with world-class journalism education adapted to the specific needs of India and other developing countries in Asia. It seeks to prepare its graduates to achieve the highest standards in all branches of the profession, keeping in focus the trend and thrust of convergence and digitisation in the media, and the consequent demands for multiple skills made on the contemporary journalist.
One of ACJ’s strengths is the flexibility in updating the curriculum periodically in response to the swift changes in the media industry and practice. As an academic institution, ACJ has been ahead of the industry in predicting its needs and incorporating required changes in the curriculum to make it Future Ready.
The ACJ programme seeks to combine the ‘how to’ aspect of journalism with a critical and reflective ‘why’ perspective which enables the young journalist to keep up with the demands made by a dynamic work environment and a changing society. English is the medium of instruction at the ACJ and all assignments are to be submitted in English.
The ACJ follows the advanced teaching methods developed in the best journalism education programmes in the world. It combines a rigorous academic curriculum with intensive practical training, endeavouring to strike a balance between education (i.e., acquisition of knowledge) and training (i.e., the imparting of professional skills).
The ACJ’s programme of postgraduate education in journalism is spread over two semesters. It is designed to introduce talented students with a first degree and no prior experience in journalism to the various branches of the media and help them acquire the knowledge, skills, and discernment necessary for ready employment in the profession.
To this end, the strongest emphasis is placed on practical journalism. First, through lectures and workshops, students are instructed in the tools and techniques of the journalist. Then they apply what they have learned in the classroom by undertaking reporting and production assignments.
While emphasising practical work, the college does not neglect the wider educational needs of future journalists. Through a series of required lectures, seminars and workshops, as well as elective courses, students are exposed to the challenge of serious, quality journalism, to the history and problems of the media, and to many key issues confronting India and the world.
The ACJ has a demanding academic programme. Classes begin early in the morning and continue late into the evening. Assignments are given on a regular basis and must be completed to meet strict deadlines. Students are required to do reading and research outside of class hours.
Students from ACJ have proved to be in high demand and numerous alumni are already at work in key positions in all areas of journalism. Their success is a tribute both to their talent and to the institution that educated and trained them.