Community papers gather greater relevance

As a regular reader of (and an occasional contributor), Indian Newslink, I am happy to share my feelings about the paper on its 14th anniversary.

Most readers will agree that Indian Newslink is a wonderful, punchy, high-quality newspaper. As a former newspaper and magazine editor, I can state with some authority that Indian Newslink is better than most community newspapers of similar size, and it will stand its ground among the best in the business.

The publication’s readership speaks for itself – 50,000 readers for its print edition and more than 30,000 readers for its web edition every issue from several countries. Attracting such a wide variety of readers is no small feat.

Content wise, the paper is informative and interesting; layout wise, it is compact, tidy and arresting. In this business, content is King, and layout is Queen. Indian Newslink has mastered these formulas for success.

Confronting challenges

Over its 14-year history, this newspaper has overcome many challenges, and has confounded the doomsayers by growing from strength to strength.

I have yet to visit the newspaper’s offices and meet the team behind the publication.

But one can see and assess a company through its products and services.

A high-quality product such as Indian Newslink represents an efficient, well-organised and well-managed team, continuously striving for excellence, with unwavering dedication to its readers and clients.

To put it in another way, Indian Newslink delivers – every time.

The secret behind its success is that it understands its readers.

It knows what readers want, and it serves.

Advertiser confidence

I am sure that like me, many readers eagerly await forthcoming issues of the paper.

The fact that the paper has retained so many advertisers over so many years is further testimony of its durability and the confidence that it enjoys.

Moreover, news media’s effectiveness and value to the community are judged and measured by their ability to facilitate change. Indian Newslink has played an important role by raising issues of concern to the people to induce actions and bring about improvements.

Politicians, local councils and community leaders read Indian Newslink to be informed. They listen to what the paper says and take it seriously.

Other brands

The paper’s annual Indian Business Awards has the support of major corporate entitles including BNZ as the Title Sponsor, which again says something about the Indian Newslink brand.

Another wonderful initiative, the Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards, is growing in stature. Only in its second year, it is, by all accounts, wildly popular and set to become a major community event.

Connecting roots

Community papers are defined by their closeness to the community, especially in an era where mainstream news media have become increasingly corporatised and conglomerised and are seen to represent the interests of their owners and advertisers first.

In this environment, community media is becoming even more important in giving the ordinary people a voice.

I would urge Indian Newslink to remain true to these roots.

My hearty congratulations to the dedicated team on a job well done.

Shailendra Singh is a senior lecturer and former Head of Journalism Programme at the University of the South Pacific in Suva. He is currently on study leave, pursuing his PhD in Journalism and Communications at the University of Queensland. Email: shailendra.singh@uqconnect.edu.au

In the picture appearing here, Mr Singh is with Dr Biman Prasad, Professor, Faculty of Business & Economics at the University of South Pacific at the launch of their Book, ‘Media and Development: Issues and Challenges in the Pacific Islands’ in Suva on June 24, 2008.

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