Some challenges never change
Venkat Raman –
When Indian Newslink was established sixteen years ago, the world was on the threshold of changes. A new millennium was just about 13 months away (all of us erroneously considered Year 2000 as the beginning of the 21st Century whereas Year 2001 was the accurate one) and digital technology was emerging as the single most significant method of communication. The world did not know then that it would change for ever (following the events of September 11, 2001) and that ironically, prolonged security measures at airports would more than compensate shrinking flying hours across the Continents facilitated by advanced aircraft. Most important of all, there was no knowing that people would spend more time with that thing called handset than talk to their loved ones.
As Management Guru said, ‘Change is the only thing that is constant.”
That was reinforcing the famous quote of Sir Winston Churchill: “To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.”
George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
The clamour for change is perhaps as old as the world itself. Change brings excitement, expectation, and perhaps even enjoyment.
For, every change is seen as an opportunity to grow, demonstrate talent, seek rewards and progress in life. The world becomes a better place to live and people become friends, perhaps relatives and bring up a new generation.
But change also brings challenges.
Take Indian Newslink for instance. When we came into being, we were the only being in the Indian ethnic print media segment. Like the only child in a family, we enjoyed being the cynosure of all eyes, welcomed into many homes and offices, read and admired. We believe that we earned our status as the ‘Voice of the Community.’
We are not alone anymore; not just in the print segment but in the broad spectrum of media. There are more newspapers and magazines printed in more than one Indian language than ever before and there are more radio stations and television programme providers than there were a few years ago. The market is getting crowded and competition is getting fierce, and worse, unhealthy. The world of journalism, which was the close preserve of a few, is today open to anyone who has the entrepreneurial skill and the ability to sustain investment. There is even an accusation that the media, led by the print version, “is too commercial to speak the truth” and that it is increasingly becoming the toolkit of the rich.
That said, there is no denying the fact that the media, more so the print version, faces serious challenges, the most serious of which is to remain authentic, relevant and of course profitable. In a world that thrives on free-for-all blogs and social networks, it is getting tougher to sustain ever-increasing costs and promote tenets of quality journalism.
Back to Indian Newslink and the influence of changes and accompanying challenges. In its short span of 16 years, this publication has experienced a number of external changes, which have had their influence on economic sustenance. The publication started as a meagre, self-financing enterprise, and continues to be so. We have also persisted on our belief that ‘to be small is not to be unimportant or unprincipled’ and ‘to be modest is not to be mistaken for weakness.’ Thusly, there has never been a dull moment.
The biggest and most significant change was the one that occurred internally in June this year. The ownership of Indian Newslink changed hands, looking for new opportunities to grow, serve its communities and increasing readership. The urge to remain a qualitative publication is stronger than before with the penchant for lifting the standards on all aspects of the newspaper more resolute than before. We seek to be more responsive to the market needs and subscribe to the state-of-the-art technology, embracing it with fondness.
We believe that the best means of growth comes from within and that the greatest strength that we have enjoyed have always been people- those who make this newspaper appear in the marketplace every fortnight; people who constantly seek orderliness in their affairs, give their best, and most important of all, their heart and commitment.
We have begun to change, the most visual part of which is this Anniversary Special and the ‘Normal Issue’ of which it is an integral part. There is a new look in almost everything- from the masthead and the font to the story headings and layout. The exercise to make these changes began almost five months ago and several alternatives were subject to severe critical analyses before this version emerged.
This may not be the final version, for, as we mentioned, change is constant.
We are also making changes in other areas of the newspaper and our brands.
People- they are our business. They are our greatest asset and source of inspiration. They are our advertisers, sponsors, reporters, contributors, distributors, supporters, patrons, and most important of all, you readers.
We realise that being the oldest Indian newspaper in New Zealand has its challenges. We appreciate the need to keep pace with the evolving trends, embrace the ever-changing technology, adhere to quality and investigative journalism and remain relevant. We are aware that the road ahead would be bumpy and that we should maintain our balance to deliver on our promises.
We are also aware of the probable competition that our other brands may encounter in the years to come. In maintaining the high standards for which the Indian Newslink Business Directory, Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards, Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture, Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards are known, we are confident of serving our people better.
Contrary to the popular belief that the print medium will become extinct (in fact, this was mentioned at least 90 years ago when the visual medium made its appearance), there is scope for newspapers to grow and continue to make their impression on the minds of people. The market remains potent although there are more players seeking a share; that in itself would be a good thing for the consumer or advertisers, so long as the proverbial devil does not eat into profitability.