#Happy1stBirthdayJKR: Trials and tribulations of a 12 month journey

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Rifat Jawaid

When I launched JantaKaReporter on 3 May 2015, I had no idea if this will become a national phenomenon within a year. The success of the last 12 months have exceeded even the best of my own expectations.

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We encountered many hiccups in the first year of our inception, but your love and affection made us resolute and helped us remain true to what I had promised on the launch day.

Come what way, we will not compromise with our editorial ethics and values. Perhaps that explains why no corporate houses find us worthy of investment. And we are not complaining. At least I am not even though it means working longer hours (really long hours) and doing the job of half a dozen people day in and day out.

Thanks to this entrepreneurial baby JKR, that even after being a journalist for more than 20 years, I’m once again back to writing news copies- at least 15-20 a day. And what fun it’s been to be a ‘reporter’ once again.

Trials and tribulations encountered in the journey are many, but that’s for some other occasion. Whether, my inability to bereave the deaths of my loved ones to ensure my commitment to JKR or I turning into an utter insomniac even at the cost of adversely impacting my health, the story will fill pages of a potential book some day.

But, the joy of seeing your vision transform exactly in a way you would have envisaged is truly amazing. And an even bigger joy has been to experience the editorial independence, which I last enjoyed before my transition from the BBC to Indian media.

I am thankful to both my well-wishers and even those who did everything in their capacity to kill this mission.

It’s not easy to make a mark for a news brand in an already over-crowded media environment in India, let alone being able to influence the editorial agenda of bigger players. But, we’ve done both with aplomb.

Not only have we established JKR as a credible news platform, but there have also been countless occasions when our impactful journalism prompted mainstream media to provide coverage to those stories, which otherwise may not have found space on their platforms in the past for various considerations.

Our recent content collaboration with Cobrapost is a positive step in the direction of beefing up the hard-hitting investigative journalism on JKR.

It’s a total fallacy that unless you are awash with cash, you can’t possible carry out journalistic duties in an ethical manner. Of course, more resources do help in covering more variety of content, but money should never be the driving force to run a news outlet.

While on this journey, I was often hurled abuses by people, who accused me of receiving funds from political party and governments. Ironically, their criticism often coincided with my own struggle to barely able to pay salaries to my staff.

Faced with rapidly depleting resources, I had no option but to keep downsizing the workforce periodically, thereby taking additional burden on myself.

In our desperation, we also resorted to seeking subscription, which allowed us to keep the ship afloat.

Our financial situation continues to remain grim and I have no idea what the future holds. But, I’m not worried as pessimism is not a favourite word in my vocabulary.

My optimism emanates from the support of the news consuming public living in India and abroad. You’ve been the reason why we could complete one year despite all shortcomings. And I have no doubt that you will be the reason for us to scale new heights even in future.

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