Speakers at a seminar on ‘Small papers – rural services' saw a greater role for small newspapers in rural development.
Speaking at the seminar, organised on the occasion of the 20th anniversary celebrations of Visakha Samacharam, a Telugu daily in the city, chief editor of HMTV K. Ramachandra Murthy said there existed many heroes among rural scribes who were deeply involved in rural life and earned the affection of the local people by highlighting issues and helped to resolve them. However, small papers could survive only when they supplement the work of big papers, as the latter were too big to compete with, with a huge team of reporters working in every mandal, supported by marketing staff, he observed.
General Secretary of AP Working Journalists' Federation G. Anjaneyulu said that the big newspapers owed their success in tabloid supplements to the small papers. In the past there used to be just a couple of small papers for a district, but now they were going strong with their number increased manifold, serving the rural areas well.
President of Praja Spandana C.S. Rao suggested that journalists could start one newspaper in every district in the cooperative sector to be successful. He felt that media's influence on the general public was tremendous and cited the example of one of the rural folk reading out newspaper every hour to his friends in Kerala. Presiding over the meeting, president of A.P. Small and Medium Daily Newspapers' association K.S. Ranga Sai noted that it had become difficult for small papers after bigger newspapers entered the rural areas through tabloid supplements for the broadsheets. “Our resources are limited and there is no way we can compete with the big newspaper barons. We are still surviving, thanks to the assistance of successive governments,” he said and sought the latter's continued support.
President of Vizag Journalists' Forum M. Yugandhar Reddy felt that the society needed small papers at the micro level while VJF secretary G. Seenu Babu there should not be any discrimination in releasing advertisements to small and big newspapers. Editor of Leader, Telugu eveninger, V.V. Ramana Murthy said that small papers were with the people. They were surviving with public support and not government's help. Vision S. Shiva Shankar said small papers in rural areas were a `one-man show'and unable to utilise the IT advantage. They had to concentrate on rural development for their success, he felt.
Earlier, Editor of Visakha Samacharam S. Veerabhadra Rao welcomed the gathering. Senor journalists Brahmanandam, Srinivas, PS Murthy, Brahma Kumari Rama, Karanam Trinatha Rao, Satyanarayana and others spoke.