Scaling a News Startup in India – The Backdrop
If you are an entrepreneur wanting to make a difference, the question is – what are the challenges in scaling a News Startup in India in the age of Sensationalism? We live in an age of sensationalism and ratings. And the news published or reported is first viewed with the lens of its ability to create a degree of sensation or stoke debate.
Facts are nowhere to be seen nor are balanced perspectives. Let alone ignoring the sensational, it has become virtually impossible to distinguish fact from fake.
State of News in India
A research report by Ormax Media on the Credibility of News has thrown up very interesting results. Only 39% of the population attach any credibility to news. Further, there is very little variation between genders.
Now, lets see the credibility by state. Surprisingly, more democratic and developed states in the south seem to suffer from a lower level of credibility than more authoritarian states such as West Bengal. India is certainly a land of interesting dichotomies.
Media Credibility in India
A further look at the media credibility throws up more interesting results. In spite of the ability of Social Media to influence elections and discourse, Social Media does not enjoy the same credibility that traditional sources of news such as print do.
The Age of Digital Journalism
India has seen a surge of startups and companies in Online News and Media. Most of them are founded by people from the press. Unfortunately, almost all of them peddle opinions and narratives under the pretext of informing the public. In this age of sensationalism and fake news, they pander to either of the extremes only making the space more murkier.
Why Anu and Dhimanth Started “The Better India”
Now that we have a somewhat of a decent understanding of the state of news in India, let us revisit the question we asked ourselves in the beginning. Is scaling a News Startup in India in the age of sensationalism possible? Can one truly make a difference?
It is in this context that The Story of Better India shines as a terrific example of positivity. While this is the current state of affairs, it was not that different more than a decade ago when Anuradha Kedia and her husband began The Better India. They began The Better India more as a blog to show case balanced perspectives. Of daily heroes and heroines who were making a difference. So much so that today, it has an audience of about 70 Million a month.
Scaling The Better India
Although Anu and Dhimanth began The Better India as a blog, they have stayed true to their roots of bringing a balanced perspective and news about what is right about India. This has made them India’s largest positivity platform. This also has brought them wide readership and followership as well as appreciation by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is their Story.
Here are excerpts from the Episode
So this was essentially the concept. Can we use the power of the internet and social media and everything that was emerging at that point of time to build a community of people, who are inspired to do good, all through a medium of storytelling of.Anuradha Kedia 03:58
Of highlighting good, of inspiring people and empowering them with tools and information to be able to become changemakers in their own right. So this was this was the thought back in 2008Anuradha Kedia 04:14
And one such annual issue actually featured it’s either the late 90s or the early 2000s. The story of a couple who had worked, I think, between towns and villages of Karnataka and Kerala. And together they had revived 34,000 water bodies and lakes, a wide variety of things.Krishna Jonnakadla 06:19
500 was not at the start right. 500 was about five to six years down the line, right? It was about 2014-2015 numbers.Anuradha Kedia 15:58
And at what point did you realize that this had acquired a life of its own, and it had outgrown that little idea. That little beautiful idea that the two of you had thought about?Krishna Jonnakadla 19:06
You know, I don’t think anyone can survive without being experimental. I think we have, for instance, we have definitely coded experimenting and trying out new things into our DNA now.Anuradha Kedia 26:20
The Better India’s Website and Blog is here
The Better India on Twitter
Follow Maharajas of Scale on Twitter here
Krishna Jonnakadla on Twitter @kjonnakadla