Looking for further places to curate India-related news, I think I will pay special attention to the India-related blog section of newspapers such as New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Since these are newspapers that are already published in USA, their India-related blogs have a diaspora skew to it already. Hence curating stories that are published here is going to be of interest to my target audience by default.
New York Times’ India-related blog is India Ink– Notes on the World’s largest democracy. This blog has some issue-based stories from India, all done in the light of recent events in India. The Wall Street Journal’s India related news blog is India Real Time– The Daily Pulse of the World’s Largest Democracy. It has in-depth coverage of issues that are in news in India.
A third news site that I would like to follow to curate news from is The Guardian’s data blog, which has some really awesome info-graphics on India, such as this interactive map on how many people die due to building collapses in India, will be of interest to my audience. Though, The Guardian does not do an info-graphic on India very often, I should keep an eye out for it, and highlight the same on my site whenever one appears.
While I look more into curating stories, I think I would devote at least one to two news stories per day on what we typically call trend stories. Stories that would most likely make it to the anchor of a daily broadsheet.
Some of the trend stories that I spotted, and I think will make a good read for my blog are such as these. One interesting and informative piece that I got on Buzzfeed, on the growing rental saree market in USA. The other two I got from an online paper firstpost.com, which has a section dedicated to the diaspora. One news is about the suicide among the Indian Americans, and the second one is about the trend of buying diamonds among the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).
I think putting up these stories will further solve the issue of finding news stories that are of interest to the two sub-sets of groups among m audience that is the Indian diaspora. One group which is comprised of people of Indian origin who born and brought up in America, and hence are more “American” in their world view. And the second group are people who were born in India but then emigrated to USA. These trends stories are likely to interest both the groups.
How to get the word out there? A good way to do that will be to get the influential diaspora to spread the word around. I have been looking at diaspora forums, and found some forums like this one that has listed some of the prominent members of the diaspora in USA.
Sree Sreenivasan is listen here, and myself have been following him on the social media networks for some time now. He is a faculty in the Columbia Journalism School and teaches social and digital media there. He has around 53,000 followers on Twiter. If I can get him to tweet about my app, I think I’ll get some people interested in my app. He can act as my sneezer. Why will he help me, well because he himself is interested in social and digital media (obviously), but that apart in 2010, he helped create DNAinfo.com, a Manhattan-based news site that was named one of the six hottest news startups by BusinessInsider; and he is also the co-founder for the South Asian Journalist Association.
But the point is to get not just him to endorse me, but to get the likes of him endorse me. Selecting the sneezers is important, because all of them should not be professors, there has to be a mix of people, so that the message reaches the larger audience.
Recently we got to present our entrepreneurial ideas to a group of industry practitioners who vetoed our ideas and offered suggestions for our projects. One of the suggestions that was given to me was to call my site a news curation service instead of a news aggregation site. This may be a good idea because, I’m not merely aggregating the news, but instead I’m using my journalistic skill and news judgment to pick and choose the stories that serve the best interest of my target audience. Also since I’m only going to provide the 10- most important news of the day, it is like curating the artifacts.
The other interesting suggestion that was offered to me was I should have something of value for my audience that relates to their lives in US. Hence I looked at some of the other community newspapers and found they all have some section that is related to immigration news – reforms and laws. So going by this trend I’m going to pay special emphasis on immigration. Immigration will literally become a beat for me, and whatever happens in that beat will be there on the site. I’m going to try and make section interactive by adding info-graphic.
A review of some of the scholarly articles on media and the Indian diaspora, revealed that Bollywood, is something that the target audience relates to. Even in India, a country that is much divided along cultural, religious and linguistic lines, Bollywood is used as a unifying force.
Researchers point out that for the diaspora, Bollywood as a way of visualizing India. For the Indians who are born here, and growing up here, Bollywood apparently helps in identity formation. The song and dance that the Bollywood movies are noted for (which sometimes even to me seem ridiculous), is something that stands out as a cultural signifier for the diaspora. This song and dance Bollywood culture has spawned the idea of Bollywood Nights, in areas with sizeable migrant population. The Bollywood nights are where Desis gather and socialize, and also the place where young people (well may be also old) look for potential mates.
This makes me think two things, how much Bollywood content should I keep on my website? Also if Bollywood is so important, do I need to have original reporting instead of only linking readers to other sites?
There has not been much work done on the consumption of media by Indian diaspora. As much as I think Bollywood is important, I don’t think that is all that the diaspora cares about. And hence, balancing out the content is going to be important.