Rural digital media start-up banks on ‘feminist business model’

By: | Updated: July 17, 2016 12:00 PM

The team of women journalists who turned the badlands of Bundelkhand into a hub of rural journalism with the launch of an eight-page newspaper.

Chambal Media has partnership with Khabar Lahariya to distribute and market its digital content. Chambal Media has partnership with Khabar Lahariya to distribute and market its digital content.

The team of women journalists who turned the badlands of Bundelkhand into a hub of rural journalism with the launch of an eight-page newspaper “Khabar Lahariya” 15 years ago has now completed a six-month pilot-run of Chambal Media, a rural digital media start-up that banks on a “feminist business model” for its success.

“It was started in response to the increasing penetration of internet and smartphones in rural Uttar Pradesh, and the lack of good quality, independent digital media available for rural audiences who are accessing internet and social media on their phones,” said Shalini Joshi, co-founder and CEO.

Chambal Media has partnership with Khabar Lahariya to distribute and market its digital content.

“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,” Shalini said.

Disha Mullick and Kavita are the other two co-founders of the company that will follow in the footsteps of the eight-page weekly whose core principle is “apni Khabar, apni bhasha mein” (your news in your native language).

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

“Chambal Media aims to enable a local authentic voice of journalism to reach the largest possible audience. We will continue to distribute news generated by women, and especially from marginalised communities like Dalits, Muslims and adivasis,” Disha said.

“Chambal’s organisation structure too will continue to have a unique, rural-urban staff profile of predominantly women,” she noted.

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