Malayala Manorama and the flooding of Kerala

Kerala in India has been hit by devastating floods over the summer. A year ago I was over there, working with the journalists who are now covering the tragedy.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Talking of India, I was reminded of the under-reported but really serious flooding that have beset Kerala and the area in the last month. From Malayala Manorama:

Heavy rain lashed several parts of Kerala on Monday, causing landslides and triggering fears of yet another flood situation. The fresh spell of rainfall has compounded the woes of people already reeling under unprecedented floods and downpour which have claimed at least 39 lives.

I was lucky enough to spend four days in the area around a year ago, working with the Malayala Manorama team on analytics and liveblogging. It's a beautiful part of the world, and it was quite striking how the newspaper was viewed - and viewed itself - in the context of its culture.

In Kerala airport, there's a huge banner which dominates luggage reclaim celebrating the newspaper. In their offices, which in many ways resemble any other digital newsroom worldwide, they proudly display a photo of their founder, Kandathil Varghese Mappillai, and the original printing press that the newspaper rolled off in the 19th century.

Rather uncomfortably for any Brit present, like myself, they also display the door — complete with bullet holes — that we British sealed up to prevent publication of the newspaper during the occupation.

Here's some images from my time there:  

It was a great and rewarding few days, with a thoughtful, innovative and committed team. I hope I get the chance to visit again someday.

The team are still hard at work reporting on what they describe as "the biggest calamity to ravage the state in nearly a century", and they have my very best wishes.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.