The world's largest circulated yearbook, Manorama Year Book, is published by the Manorama group, which manages the newspaper. The publishing house also has a popular weekly publication titled “The Week”. This newspaper is best known for its layout and design. The Manorama group has a total of 32 publications in 5 languages.
History of Malayala Manorama
Malayala Manorama was first published on March, 1890. At that time it was a weekly newspaper. It all began in the town of Kottayam, situated in the southwestern region of Kerala, when Malayala Manorama Company was established as a private LLC corporation on March 14, 1888. The brainchild behind this venture was Kandathil Varghese Mappillai, a visionary individual from the Kandathil family. The company's inception involved the issuance of one hundred shares, each valued at Rupees 100, with investors contributing their payments in four equal installments.
To commence their publishing endeavors, the company acquired a Hopkinson and Cope press, manufactured in London. To adapt the press for Malayalam printing, the services of a local craftsman, Konthi Achari, were enlisted to create Malayalam typefaces. Varghese Mappillai, who had prior editorial experience with the Malayalam newspaper Kerala Mitram in Cochin, assumed the role of the editor for Malayala Manorama.
The newspaper's logo, a modified version of the Travancore Coat of Arms, was approved by the Maharajah of Travancore Moolam Thirunal. On March 22, 1890, amid the bustling atmosphere of a cattle fair in Kottayam, Malayala Manorama published its first issue. Initially, it was a four-page weekly publication, released on Saturdays. Over the years, it evolved into a bi-weekly in 1901, a tri-weekly on July 2, 1918, and eventually transitioned into a daily newspaper on July 2, 1928. This newspaper was named by poet Kerala Varma and primarily catered to the Christian community in Kerala.
Following the demise of Varghese Mappillai in 1904, his nephew, K. C. Mammen Mappillai, assumed the role of editor. In 1938, Malayala Manorama faced a setback when the Travancore state proscribed it, accusing the newspaper of publishing news against the Diwan. Mammen Mappillai was convicted and imprisoned. However, the newspaper resumed regular publication in 1947 after India gained independence and the Diwan's downfall.
Upon the passing of Mammen Mappillai, his eldest son, K. M. Cheriyan, assumed the position of Editor-in-Chief in 1954. At that time, Malayala Manorama was produced as a single edition in Kottayam, with a circulation of 28,666 copies.
During the late 1950s, Malayala Manorama's circulation experienced significant growth, surpassing Mathrubhumi, the dominant Malayalam daily at the time. This development marked a turning point in the newspaper's history.
The 1960s brought about a struggle between Malayala Manorama, headquartered in Kottayam, and Mathrubhumi, based in Kozhikode. This competition highlighted the forces driving the expansion of Indian regional newspapers and underscored the need for technological advancement. Malayala Manorama recognized the necessity to expand its reach and introduced new printing technology to stay competitive.
In 1966, Malayala Manorama inaugurated its printing center in Kozhikode, Malabar, using a press transferred from its Kottayam base and hand-composed typefaces. Prior to this expansion, the newspaper had also established an offset press in Kottayam and a teleprinter line connecting it to New Delhi in 1965.
By 1970, Malayala Manorama had emerged as the leading daily newspaper in Kerala, with its circulation increasing significantly from around 30,000 to 300,000. This expansion across the Malabar Coast solidified its position as a prominent and influential media outlet in the region, demonstrating the newspaper's commitment to delivering quality journalism to its readership.
The 1980s and 1990s were pivotal decades for Malayala Manorama. Under the stewardship of K. M. Mathew, who assumed the role of editor in 1973, the newspaper underwent a series of significant transformations. In 1979, K. M. Mathew initiated a process of modernization and revitalization, akin to what the Anandabazar Patrika was undertaking in Bengal. To achieve this, he sought the counsel of consultants in various facets of management, technical aspects, and editorial expertise. Embracing their guidance, he instituted frequent training programs for Malayala Manorama's journalists and staff. Recognizing the need for structural changes, the company underwent a reorganization in 1980.
K. M. Mathew's vision for Malayala Manorama was clear: it had to evolve into a "fully professional" entity or risk a decline. To actualize this vision, he invested in the professional development of his team. He dispatched some of the newspaper's best journalists and managers to training institutions worldwide, where they imbibed international journalistic practices and cutting-edge newspaper production techniques. This infusion of global expertise lent Malayala Manorama a contemporary and sophisticated appeal. In 1979, a state-of-the-art printing center was established in Kochi, further enhancing the newspaper's production capabilities. In 1987, the Thiruvananthapuram edition was launched, expanding Malayala Manorama's regional reach.
By 1998, Malayala Manorama had achieved a remarkable milestone, with its circulation surpassing the one-million mark. Recognizing the significance of the global Malayali community, the newspaper extended its presence to the Middle East in the mid-2000s, catering to the diaspora in the region. K. M. Mathew's contributions extended beyond the newspaper's operational aspects. He introduced the concept of "editionalising," which involved incorporating a higher proportion of local news and adopting reader-friendly page designs. This innovative approach had a profound impact not only on Malayala Manorama but also on the entire newspaper industry in Kerala.
By 2007, Malayala Manorama achieved yet another remarkable feat, becoming the sole non-English and non-Hindi daily newspaper in India to attain a circulation of over 1.5 million copies. In addition to its print presence, Malayala Manorama ventured into the digital realm during the 1990s. In 1995, it launched its official Malayalam language news website, Manorama Online, offering a digital platform for its readers. Three years later, in 1998, Malayala Manorama introduced its English News Website, Onmanorama, expanding its digital footprint.
Chief editors of Malayala Manorama
Throughout its illustrious history, Malayala Manorama has been guided by a succession of distinguished Chief Editors. These Chief Editors have left a legacy of editorial leadership in Indian print media, playing pivotal roles in shaping the newspaper's editorial direction and upholding its commitment to journalism excellence.
Kandathil Varghese Mappillai (1890 - 1904): Malayala Manorama's journey commenced under the editorial stewardship of Kandathil Varghese Mappillai. He laid the foundation for the newspaper's early growth, overseeing its formative years with dedication and foresight.
K. C. Mammen Mappillai (1904 - 1938, 1947 - 1954): K. C. Mammen Mappillai assumed leadership during a period of significant challenges and disruptions. His resilience and commitment were evident as he navigated the newspaper through turbulent times. After a hiatus, he returned to steer Malayala Manorama towards stability and progress.
K. M. Cherian (1954 - 1973): K. M. Cherian's tenure as Chief Editor marked a phase of modernization and expansion for Malayala Manorama. His leadership ushered in a new era of professionalism and innovation, setting the stage for the newspaper's growth.
K. M. Mathew (1973 - 2010): K. M. Mathew's four-decade-long stewardship is regarded as a transformative period in Malayala Manorama's history. Under his visionary leadership, the newspaper embraced global journalistic practices, adopted modern production techniques, and expanded its reach. His commitment to quality journalism left an indelible mark on the newspaper.
Mammen Mathew (2010–present): The current Chief Editor, Mammen Mathew, continues the legacy of editorial excellence at Malayala Manorama. With a keen eye on evolving media landscapes, he upholds the newspaper's commitment to delivering reliable news and insightful reporting.
Renowned Journalists of Malayala Manorama
Several internationally renowned journalists were produced by Malayala Manorama. Few of the famous journalists, who worked with the Manorama daily or other Manorama publications, are Vaikkom Chandra Sekharan Nair, E.V. Krishna Pillai, E.V. Sreedharan, T.V.R. Shenoy, K. Gopalakrishnan, T.K.G.Nair and many others.
Publications of Malayala Manorama
In 2007, Malayala Manorama became the only regional language newspaper in India to surpass 15 lakh copies. As a result of its vast circulation and to keep up with growing demands, Malayala Manorama publishes editions from various regions such as Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Palakkad, Kannur, Kollam, Malappuram, Pathanamthitta, Kochi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, and also from abroad, like Bahrain and Dubai. There are other publications from Malayala Manorama which includes a long list of best selling magazines. They are listed below:
Printing Centres of Malayala Manorama
Malayala Manorama is published and printed in various centres in and outside India. Thus, with its strong base and wide reach, Malayala Manorama has become one of the most popular daily newspapers of Kerala.