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Asian College of Journalism, Chennai was founded in Bangalore as the Asian College of Journalism, Bangalore. It was founded in 1994 by the Indian Express group, offering only a print course. In 2000, it was taken over by a not-for-profit trust founded by journalist and media entrepreneur, Sashi Kumar and was shifted to Chennai, in the same location as the old Hindu office on Wallajah Road, and renamed. It now comes under the aegis of the Media Development Foundation, headed by chairman Sashi Kumar. For the first two years in Chennai it was headed by K Thomas Oommen.
ACJ offers a postgraduate diploma with specialisation in four streams under its 10-month programme – Television, Print, New Media and Radio.
In the first trimester, all students, irrespective of their chosen medium, are taught the basics of Broadcast, Web and Print. From the second trimester onwards, students learn reporting in their choice of medium. The highlight of the stream specialisations are the in-house publications that students work on throughout the term. Print students publish their newspaper ‘The Word’ twice a week. Similarly New Media students report for their news e-zine, ACJ Newsline on a daily basis. Television and radio students produce news shows every day.
Over the second and third terms, students take three electives out of the 16 offered by the college. Some of the electives are Photo Journalism, Cinema, Sports, Politics, Arts and Culture, Identities, International Issues, Business, Gender studies, Ecology, Citizenship, Health, Science, Urban studies and Economics.
The Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom has audited and recognized the ACJ postgraduate diploma programme as on par with its own. An exclusive arrangement between the two is in place whereby students of the ACJ who clear a set benchmark can transfer their diploma credits to Cardiff University and, on successful completion of an additional dissertation, be awarded the University’s M.A Degree in Journalism.
Admission to the program is through a three-stage process :
The SAF-Madanjeet Singh scholarship for the one year postgraduate course at the Asian College of Journalism covers eight countries, viz: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Candidates are required to have cleared an undergraduate course in any discipline. Equivalent course in different SAARC countries are also considered on a case by case basis. The scholarship covers: (a) tuition fees, (b) economy air travel from the scholar's place of residence within SAARC to Chennai and back, (c) accommodation costs, on a room sharing basis, for the duration of the course in Chennai, (d) food expenses covering breakfast, lunch and dinner at the ACJ canteen, (e) a nominal amount towards pocket expenses.