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Giving Rural Digital Media a Headstart

Khabar Lahariya as the name suggests is a new wave, a wave of awareness, of news and of knowledge. Started by a team of women journalists, it is an Indian newspaper, published in certain rural dialects of Hindi. The newspaper was started by Nirantar, a New Delhi-based NGO which focuses on gender and education. Initially seen as a women-only publication, it now covers local political news, local crime reports, social issues and entertainment, all reported from a left-wing and feminist perspective.

Six months ago, a digital media startup was launched by the team of Khabar Lahariya, under the name Chambal Media that works on a “feminist business model”. Chambal Media has partnered with Khabar Lahariya to distribute and market its digital content.

 

Shalini Joshi, co-founder and CEO said

“It was started in response to the increasing penetration of the Internet and smartphones in rural Uttar Pradesh, and the lack of good quality, independent digital media available for rural audiences.”

 

Ms. Joshi added

“This is a huge opportunity for a rural media company, as well as to expand the brand Khabar Lahariya, which has been working to bring women into media for 15 years.”

 

The newspaper project was launched in 2002, and the production and marketing of Khabar Lahariya has been dependent on a group of female journalists who are mostly recruited from the rural communities where the newspaper is produced and circulated.

 

Ms. Joshi explained

“We see a feminist business model as one where profitability can be achieved while holding close the values of independent, progressive rural news; and by a team and organisational culture that is democratic, transparent and inclusive of women from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.”

 

Chambal Media aims to distribute news and spread awareness with onus of journalism born by women especially from the marginalized communities like Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis. Chambal Media hopes to expand to 80 districts across the Hindi belt.

 

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