Education and training over three terms in the ACJ’s Print Media stream are designed to equip students with wide-ranging skills to perform confidently in today’s technology-driven industry, be it print, digital or media neutral newsrooms where senior journalists process news for both the print and web editions.
Students are first encouraged to keep themselves updated with news, paying close attention to the content, structure, and language of the different types of stories in mainstream newspapers and their multimedia platforms..
Through lectures, classroom editing exercises and outside reporting assignments, students are taught to gather news, write and edit it in the clear, precise language required for newspaper readers. The curriculum includes instruction in identifying the newsworthiness of a story idea, writing different kinds of leads for stories and substantiating statements with examples, quotes and data.
While editing copy, students are taught to correct factual and grammatical errors, ensure clarity, avoid jargons, tighten sentences without losing information or changing the meaning, keep out defamatory content and compose headlines.
Students also pick up page design and layout concepts for a newspaper. They first learn to import text and pictures and replicate pages from the mainstream newspapers.
In the next two semesters, students are taught to enhance their news-gathering, news-writing and editing skills in an incremental manner. They also move on to writing editorials and opinion pieces.
A series of modules by faculty instruct students on long-form feature writing, profile writing and deadline driven reporting. In these modules, they learn to make a written pitch for a story idea and then write the feature with descriptive elements and detailed reportage. They learn to work under the pressure of having to report with strict daily deadlines and to narrate their experience on their blogs.
Fine-tuning their layout skills, students move on to create their own page from scratch with wire copy and photos and with their own stories and pictures. As part of the production process, they learn to use and create page stylesheets, ensure news hierarchy, crop photographs, write picture captions and design and produce pages before deadlines.
In a culmination of the skills acquired, students report, edit and publish a special broadsheet called Covering Deprivation, which has news gathered during field trips to deprived villages across the country.
Print students also learn to package text, image, audio and video inputs and present them on the Web using multiple tools in the state-of-the art Integrated Newsroom. They upload stories based on field reporting and edited wire copy on print.acjnewsline.org and word.acjnewsline.com.
Print students will start the Integration Course in either New Media or Broadcast where the core skills needed for these media and platforms are taught with focus on new formats of storytelling and different production processes.
In the Third Term, students work on a weekly laboratory newspaper, The Word. In this team effort, students report, edit and make pages gaining experience in every aspect of journalistic work.
Close to the end of the term, students take up an investigative project which brings out hitherto concealed facts and lesser known problems affecting a group of people. They also complete their dissertation on a topic that requires extensive research and even field work.
The best of the student work is sometimes published in national dailies, magazines, and news portals.
The Print Stream labs have workstations with licensed, industry-standard writing and production software for both the newspaper and web editions. The labs provide access to news agency material including reports and photographs, besides a host of other media websites.
Workshops, for instance on data journalism, and podcasts introduce students to new story telling techniques and methods. These are intensive and hands-on sessions conducted by visiting domain experts. At the end of these sessions, students are expected to write or produce a story using the skills acquired in the workshops.