NewsClick, touted as an “alternative to corporate media”, has completed two years in existence. Founded in 2009 by a group of senior journalists to “address issues that matter head-on”, NewsClick has grown in stature to witness its viewer base increase five-fold in the last year. Recently, NewsClick entered into a partnership with YouTube, becoming the only such news channel that is not a TV station. To host a wider repertoire of written and audio-visual content, it has now launched a “new-look, sleek” website at NewsClick.in.
Asked whether NewsClick had found it difficult to marshal funds for survival, Prabir Purkayastha, its Editor, broke into laughter. “Of course”, he said, “but since when has an initiative failed to take off in India due to lack of money or people?” Led by persistence, Mr. Purkayastha and his team at NewsClick have managed to overcome initial hurdles and complete two years successfully. At an event to celebrate the occasion here on Friday, the team presented its plans for NewsClick’s future.
“When NewsClick went ‘live’, I honestly did not think it would last for long. But now I am confident that it is here to stay”, said Mr. Purkayastha. Journalist Seema Mustafa, who spoke on the occasion, said that entities like NewsClick were necessary when mainstream media was caught in an “unholy nexus with the Government and the corporate sector”.
“Why use ‘alternative’ when the appropriate term should be ‘independent’ media”, wondered Ms. Mustafa. “Realizing the power of mainstream media, the corporate sector has cosied up to it. The line between an editor and proprietor has now been blurred”, she said.
But NewsClick’s has been no rosy tale. The organization has struggled financially, often relying on personal contributions from its team. Yet, the editors have refused to accept advertisements, claiming that “it would affect the integrity” of content. “If we accuse mainstream media for being compromised by corporate interests, how can we afford to do the same?”, asked Mr. Purkayastha.
NewsClick has turned its attention to audio-visual content, since it is “the easiest way to catch eye-balls”. “Television channels have a large audience, but most of the news is presented in a sensationalist manner”, Mr. Purkayastha said. “At NewsClick, we are doing our bit to be factual and objective”. In the pipeline is a documentary on Khap Panchyats.