Millennium Post

Mission Possible

Mission Possible
Dear Readers,

Before we know it, Millennium Post has completed two years under new management in its new avatar as a national daily with a difference, thanks to your loyalty and the unstinting support of our advertisers. Though two years is just the blink of an eye in the lifetime of a newspaper, for us the achievements of these two years have been extremely significant, the result of endless nights of sweat, brainstorming and taking hard decisions at every step, always keeping in mind our paper’s motto, 'No-half-truths.' After the impossible task of turning round one ailing paper from 1998 onwards, I had to muster all my courage, resources and enthusiasm to take the plunge and start all over again in a crowded marketplace, where English newspapers are a dime a dozen but readers are becoming increasingly scarce.

Well-wishers advised me that I was suicidal but it is with a feeling of great satisfaction and pride that I look back on the last two years, as I do believe that we have not only survived but made a mark for ourselves.

We have a select readership of the movers and shakers and opinion-makers in the capital and their valuable inputs have also gone a long way into our shaping our paper into the product that it is today. We have pursued many stories that TV channels and newspapers did not dare cover, in spite of the fear of serious consequences, paramount being loss of government ad revenues.

But we do not see ourselves as heroes or martyrs doing something extraordinary, or going above and beyond the call of duty. We were simply doing our job, following the traditions of good old-fashioned journalism, where ideals and facts shape our choice of news – not cheap sensationalism and hunger for ratings.

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce, said Karl Marx, and we were afraid that like many idealistic dreamers before us, we too would fall by the wayside. No political party or private financier has supported us, nor did we ever look for a godfather to whom we would always be beholden. In journalism, independence comes at a price, but so does success. We know in the days to come, things may become even more difficult as the government-corporate nexus becomes ever more entrenched and public policy is geared predominantly towards private profit and anyone who does not toe the line and applaud this so-called vision of growth will be blacklisted and left behind.

But it is in such times that the voice of the media should be loudest and our role becomes even more significant. Make no mistake, we are not enemies of growth or doomsday prophets seeking to naysay the dreams of a young India raring at the bit to realise its full potential. We are the biggest champions of a shining new India, but at what cost and by which route is the question. Public interest means the interest of the largest number of people and not just a chosen few. India, a country of a billion plus people cannot copy the model of Russia's success – which is for, of and by plutocrats.

We owe it to our readers to tell the truth but know we cannot survive on ideals alone. The journey will be an uphill one, and it will become increasingly tougher for voices in the press who are answerable to no one, as vested interests see an independent press as a loose cannon and one of the biggest hurdles in their path. We have to pick and choose our battles wisely lest we are rendered totally voiceless and our hands are effectively bound. But for as long as we can, we must forge on regardless, not caring for the discomfort of those in high places, but rather for the rights of those who have no say, except through a medium like ours.

There was a time we used to break exclusive stories but were met with a blank wall of silence, ignored by the establishment and the mainstream national media, as they did not want to acknowledge this petty upstart trying to upstage them, but gradually the tide has turned and now the big guns are forced to give us a mention when following up on our breaking stories.

We know we cannot rest on our laurels, as each day is a learning experience, each year is the beginning of a new chapter, as we move ahead with our vision of change and improve daily so that we can create an even better product for our readers. Confidence not complacency will guide us and we will survive not on resources but on commitment. As someone said, if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything else, and if we maintain our principles, we will not need ever more fancy marketing strategies.

 The unwavering support of our readers and advertisers who see a faint light of hope in us, will keep our dreams alive and help us to keep going in spite of the tremendous odds. Hope is all we have in these tough times and hope is a good thing, for good things don't die. So for those who want to create problems, we say, 'bring it on', and for those who have lent us a helping hand, we say 'friend, grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.'

- Durbar Ganguly

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