Can we envision the media as a collaborative enterprise in the public realm involving journalists, readers, and a concerned citizenry, rather than the old models of family-owned, corporate-funded and controlled, or advertising-driven newspapers, websites, and TV channels? One in which editors make judgments regarding what to cover and how to cover it, as well as who to hire and where to send a correspondent or photographer, based on professional judgement rather than what a proprietor, politician, official, or advertiser might believe or want.
This is the bare minimum that readers or viewers demand in a democracy. Despite this, the commercial model that underpins most Indian news organisations rarely provides editors with the independence they require. Worse, it has destroyed professional reporting standards and tainted the media ecosystem with harmful behaviours such as rampant editorialising, paid journalism, and ‘private treaties.’ Media companies are becoming increasingly hesitant to invest money on news gathering, and when they create secondary commercial interests and ‘no go areas,’ their newsrooms suffer further collateral damage – especially since these interests often rely on proximity to politicians and bureaucrats. Is it any surprise that readers have began to observe a decline in professional standards, ethical violations, and quality? They now believe they have been cheated.
Aaj Samachar was founded on the belief that good journalism can only survive and develop if it is both editorially and financially independent. This entails relying mostly on contributions from readers and concerned individuals who have no other motivation than to see that great journalism is preserved.
Aaj Samachar shall be dedicated to the public good and democratic values as a publication. Apart from offering authoritative analysis and commentary, we hope to establish ourselves as a platform based on good old-fashioned reporting on matters of national and worldwide relevance and interest as our resources develop. Being online also entails experimenting with new media technology to alter the way stories are told. When justified, include statistics and interactive charts, as well as video and audio as important aspects of the narrative structure.