When I reached home after completing the Anniversary edition it was already 1 AM. Life has always been tricky… in the first place bringing out and printing this Anniversary Issue was a huge task. But by the grace of god arrangements were made and work started. With immense uncertainties when you accomplish the work, trust me it is just another experience of delivering a baby. So many times I have said we are going online and will be discontinuing print medium. Whenever, I take this call, some miracle happens or something that comes my way and says don’t change your path.
Afternoon Voice is a niche publication where many got mentored. Nowadays most of the organisations hire candidates on the basis of their certificates, looks, presentation skill, background and experience. But only I can say this I have always picked up fresh candidates who are naïve, school college dropouts, and possessing no background in media. They just have that spark, that zeal, and ambition to do something. It is easy to motivate these young brains when they have big dreams in their eyes. Afternoon Voice started with dreams. When I started this newspaper, I had no experience other than collecting stories and aiming to see my name printed on front page. I never had an ambition to own a newspaper rather than having the ambition to please the owners by hard work. At a very young age, I was made city editor against all odds. That actually inspired me by giving me a new outlook to life that age has nothing to do with your experience.
When I mortgaged my house to pursue my dreams to own newspaper, as a publisher, printer, editor, subeditor, proof reader, even at a times peon, receptionist I never knew that I would be hiring those school dropouts who fit into my budget as my assistants. Trust me today they are giving their best beating rival newspapers with the content, correct approach and integrity. They actually taught me what is the responsibility of being an editor in chief of a publication house. The basic need today is to understand the psyche of employees, identify their strength and to channelize their abilities. If this is done, you are 99% through with all the challenges in the world while performing as a team leader.
Newspaper is teamwork. Here no one is less or no one is great. Even the peon contributes evenly because unless you don’t bring tea to your table, or water to your bottle, half of your energy will be wasted in fueling your thought process with sip of tea or coffee. We journalists are generally addicted to these two things. Because unless they don’t sip, ideas don’t seep into their minds. There are publication houses and journalists who are labelled for sipping many things. But we are yet to grow that big. We are just eight years old, competing against 80 years old publishing houses around us sipping a cup of coffee or tea.
We are not glamorized, nor a fashionista. We have pure desi team having English with many flaws but remain flawless to the content and news. We fear nothing but just making mistakes bothers us. We stand still, refuse to bow down to the pressures, but yet remain humble so that we don’t bend to the circumstances.
Now let me talk about having unbiased or neutral approach. Yes, we are neutral. For me whichever party or politician he or she is, they are the elected representatives of this country. I respect the mandate of the people and that is what democracy is all about. Being a democratic citizen of this country, no one should have bias because no one is powerful as what we are as voters. And as a journalist and fourth pillar of democracy, I am here to talk, both right or wrong without being prejudiced.
India is a great country with great people but also lives with greater responsibilities. My newspaper is here to make people realize their duties, their responsibilities towards the society and nation.
I agree that commercial angle is very necessary for any publication to survive. However, in last eight years, I don’t know whether I am able to reach maximum people or not, whether I am able to reach the people in the country or not, whether I am able to make it big or not. I stood with integrity wherever I am. I have proven myself as a good paymaster, never asked my staff to wait for salary like other publication houses. Whatever quantity I am printing, I am printing it nonstop from past eight years. My newspaper may not be available on every stall, but I roll many hearts of my readers. And yes, my readers are everywhere. From Micro-blogging, Twitter, Facebook, my newsblog to newspaper. There is no dearth of readers and well-wishers. I don’t mind limited readership, but I want my permanent readers.
Let me come to my celebration day. What an amazing moment it was, so many surprise visits, gifts, cakes, appreciations, best wishes and among all, that joyful bonding with the staff. Today when I look at them, I always feel that the universe is small and I am here to run and run forever, stopping is not my aim. Thank you one again for loving us, reading us, accepting us and correcting us.
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