Some journalists shared the idea that there should be an independent body that imparts education and also does research in journalism since there was a dire need to have well-informed and well-trained journalists. It was recognized that there were both university departments and a few institutes connected to media houses that did impart journalism education, there were problems with both. While there was a general disconnect from actual practices within university departments, the institutes connected to media houses suffered from their inability to draw resources from across the profession. There were a few institutes that were independent, but they were not enough. Even those did not take news media research seriously, and were more skill oriented.
More importantly, there was nowhere that journalists could turn to for help in improving their skills or even as a resource for understanding issues. Unlike many professions that have some kind of education and research that provides continuous assistance to the members to improve their work, journalism in India relies merely on the personal drive of journalists given that most news media organizations are not willing to invest on their journalists.
Hence, the idea of this foundation was mooted. It was decided that a few of those who shared this idea would devote a substantial portion of their time to the work of the foundation. But to ensure that there was not even a suggestion of impropriety about their involvement, it was decided that the founding member directors involved with the day-to-day running of the foundation would not derive any pecuniary benefit from the organization.
As such it was decided to form the entity as a not-for-profit Section 25 company. The words JM were added to the Foundation for Excellence in Journalism when the Registrar of Companies wanted a noun before Foundation. Since Journalism Mentor was a key programme that was being initiated, it was decided to add the acronym JM before the foundation.
With nothing but the personal resources of the initial members, the Foundation began its work. It operates from a rented accommodation in Mumbai. The work has just begun.