Lest we cross the line and hurt a few sentiments, let’s make it clear at the very outset that this is our aspiration and not evidence of our boastfulness, as some may construe.
This is our 10th-anniversary issue and we are absolutely clear of what we are at the moment – a Kiwi-Indian community newspaper, although we are bursting with aspirations of what we want to become, eventually – being the mainstream newspaper of our community.
Community papers are distinguished by their demonstrable levels of local engagement, rather than by the scope of their content. Mainstream media are known for their widespread engagement and the ability to influence a large number of people and shape their opinions.
Indeed, community newspapers are now fully acknowledged within the broader media-landscape-literature as an important player and medium of dissemination of information, along with mainstream media.
However, the same is not true for ethnic community media.
Sadly, the ethnic community media continues to remain, at best “invisible.”
Experiences from overseas suggest that ethnic community media, despite their whopping numbers and size of their publications, especially in North America, have largely remained invisible.
In comparison, we have very modest numbers here in New Zealand, both in terms of the size of the ethnic community and the ethnic-media publications that respectively support those communities.
The threat of being ignored as an invisible voice of invisible ethnic communities is crippling, in an increasingly multicultural New Zealand.
The ethnic community newspaper neither falls neatly in the category of a community newspaper and certainly, they are not the mainstream by any means.
So what are they? What is the basis of their existence?
In absence of any written holy grail of ethnic journalism, most of them are different from each other.
While some relish imitating the seeming so-called sobriety of the mainstream press, others, on the other hand, find those ways less effective in achieving the goals they seek out to achieve at the first place.
So there is indeed diversity in the style of ethnic-journalism that the world is witnessing, and The Indian Weekender is truly respectful of this fact.
That is why, one thing we do and do quite well, is not to see others, who are on a similar mission of serving ethnic communities, with contempt or derision.
We see them as worthy peers and competitors, and we acknowledge that they have different means and tactics to achieve what they want to achieve at the end. Anyway, it is all about diversity.
Having said this, we do have our own understanding of what we are and where we want to be in the future.
For us, the goal is not sobriety but is changing the status-quo of invisibility.
Challenging the status-quo of invisibility is not for the fainthearted or those who misconstrue our chattiness as our boastfulness.
In our world view, we strive to be the voice of the Kiwi-Indian community – a voice that is loud and clear, that is powerful to reach to those in the corridors of power, and even beyond.
Being seen and heard is a critically important goal for us.
The Indian Weekender’s ten-year journey has been essentially a journey of being seen and heard, and indeed, the journey has been a roller-coaster, like for everyone else who has achieved similar milestones.
Like everywhere else in life, we have been able to earn tremendous love and affection of our readers, and often passionate criticism of those who either do not agree with what we do or find us short of their expectations.
Either way, we value their criticism and strive to make incremental progress.
Slowly and steadily we have progressed and continue to make progress toward being in a position to shape opinion in our communities.
This is indeed a privileged position subject only to continuous delivering of meaningful content to our audiences and comes without any guarantees.
One of the central aspect of our incremental progress, and of which we are incredibly proud of, is coping with the intense speed of change in the manner media-content is being produced, disseminated and consumed all around the world.
The media landscape has changed dramatically in the last decade, posing an existential crisis for many previously large and influential players in the industry.
The advent of the age of social media has eroded the power of traditional media, especially for those who have chosen not to acknowledge the fast blowing winds of change and adapt and evolve.
The Indian Weekender has been humble enough to acknowledge this global trend and evolve incrementally, producing content for our digital platforms and disseminating on social media platforms.
We have successfully kept up with the technology curve and the modern ways of media consumption by serving content to our audiences in the manner they want to consume, and on the platforms (digital) that are more accessible to them.
In doing this, we also acknowledge the spirit of our upwardly-mobile, and aspirational Kiwi-Indian migrant community, by trying to pace ourselves with their speed and aspirations, rather than the other way around.
The first ten years of our journey have coincided with sweeping technological changes, disruption in media-landscape, and most importantly with the fact that the period had witnessed a significant increase in the size of the Kiwi-Indian community.
The fact that we have chosen to navigate through all these phenomenal changes along with giving due respect to our fellow aspirational Kiwi-Indian migrant community has forced us to follow a non-traditional script that many has misunderstood as a sign of imperfection.
Regardless of that, we continue to learn, evolve and deliver in a timely manner to the communities that we strive to serve, and the experience of the last ten years has been incredibly satisfying.