The well-known American playwright Arthur Miller once wrote, “A good newspaper is a nation talking to itself.”
This thought may not have been in the minds of those beginning the production of a regular newspaper, written in English and beamed at Indian New Zealanders, living by its advertisements and presented to customers free, covering news, business, sport, fashion and culture – and called Indian Newslink.
But the product delivered by Ravin Lal, Venkat Raman and their colleagues, 15 years later, comes close to that description.
The proprietors have been aided by a number of things, first the growing number of people of Indian origin living in New Zealand. That figure stands at 155,000 according to the 2013 Census, rising from 105,000 in the 2006 survey of the New Zealand population; in other words, 50% increase in five years.
A great many of those people have migrated to New Zealand from not only India, but also from Malaysia, South Africa and Fiji and all thirst for news of events in those countries.
Indian Newslink has, in this writer’s view, met that need by regular coverage of those offshore things, which do not often find their way into the columns of the regular daily newspapers or other local media.
Secondly, the growing population of new Indian migrants to New Zealand are often looking for signposts in the uptake of their lives in New Zealand.
Coverage of matters of interest to new New Zealanders, such as migration and employment issues meet this need.
Activities such as participation in sport together or in pursuit of dance and music also warrant attention, which is provided.
Thirdly, there is the matter of presenting opinion, which new migrants to a country are often diffident in expressing.
The frequent opinion piece columns in Indian Newslink provide a spectrum of viewpoints from a number of sources, which help people to fashion their own views in their new Aotearoa setting.
Lastly, there is the question of affirmation of effort, which the newspaper also takes up with a number of awards for sport and in business for example.
Print Media woes
All of this achievement is the more remarkable when compared with the rather dark set of results being chalked up for New Zealand’s newspaper industry, as the Audit Bureau of Circulation results and Nielsen readership numbers gathered by those rating agencies show further year-on-year declines throughout the country.
During last year, New Zealanders learned that weekly newspapers were particularly feeling the pain. The National Business Review dropped 12.1% of its circulation, Sunday Star Times lost 11.1% and the Sunday News was down 16.3% on the year before. Even the Herald on Sunday, which had been weathering the storm better than most and had seen regular rises, saw a decline of 0.2%
These results were to be expected as more news consumers turn to online sites for delivery of current news. Where once, the only way to read news was in newspapers, such is now readily available also on blogs and websites. The availability is on computers, in the ordinary way, but increasingly on tablets and cell phones.
The Web Edition
Indian Newslink has recognised this trend and provides online material with a web edition. Added to this must be recorded the use of social media which turns ordinary readers of the past into publishers as Tweets and use of Facebook adds immense volume to the amount of material available. The adequacy of the laws of privacy and libel has been challenged by these new developments.
Where all of this development will lead is beyond the scope of this article.
In legal annals, there is a well-known story over 100 years old, which is perhaps apt.
A judge said to a lawyer that he was “none the wiser” after listening to the argument, which had been presented. This led to the lawyer saying, “You may be none the wiser, perhaps my Lord, but you are certainly better informed.”
This article has been written at the request of the Editor and will be one of a number that will end with congratulations to the management for the ongoing quality of what they do. I add my own support to that notion.
Sir Anand Satyanand is Chairman of The Commonwealth Foundation and former Governor General of New Zealand. He is involved with a number of Government and Non-Government bodies.
Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture
Indian Newslink was honoured to establish the annual Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture in 2011 (less than four weeks prior to his retirement as the Governor General) to promote Integrity, Honesty, Accountability and Good Governance. Among those who have delivered the annual Lecture are John Allen, Secretary & Chief Executive, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (2011), Phil O’Reilly, Chief Executive, BusinessNZ (2012), Vino Ramayah, Executive Chairman, Medtech Global Limited (2013) and Sir Don McKinnon, Chairman, Regional Facilities Auckland and former Secretary General, The Commonwealth. Our Masters of Ceremonies also belong to the galaxy of celebrities. They were Sir Paul East, Consultant Bell Gully and former Attorney General and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (2011), Brian Stephenson, Barrister (2012), Managing Partner, Chen Palmer, Public & Employment Law Specialists and Adjunct Professor, University of Auckland Business School (2013) and Phil Goff, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The fifth annual Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture will be held in July/August 2015.