Design often drives content. Every morning (or the previous evening), we set ourselves thinking on the Big Story image. It isn’t easy. An Amitabh Bachchan or Yuvraj Singh pic that you saw last week is a luxury we don’t have every day, One needs to think up ideas for themes like jobs, slowdown or how agencies have fared at the Cannes Lions.
Our trusted lieutenant Rafiq who works on the Big Story images faces another handicap. MxM rules clearly disallow what’s a common practice amongst many publications – Google an image, right-click and copy! If there’s a watermark, it’s Photoshopped. Sad. This policy to be legit also has an impact on our bottomline… recently when we did a special booklet on the Hindi hinterland, all the photographs were legally sourced and paid for.
On Friday, when we were sure to have an emblem as our main image, we set ourselves thinking on what should be our credo to be inscribed within the media or plaque.
First Person Team accounts on The Year That Was by
Journalism with integrity & credibility? MxMIndia will eventually be more of an information repository than just journalism, so that was out. Image, Integrity, Innovation was a suggestion. We cover and uncover all, a third. Or a flip Hinglish: Hum Honest Hain.
It’s sad that we need to underscore the fact that we are honest, credible and do whatever we do with integrity. Shouldn’t all of this be par for the course? A given that if you are in the business of news, you need to do so ethically.
This is an argument which I have kind-of figured is soon going to be as outdated as M K Gandhi’s call for non-violence. Okay, the comparison to Bapu’s ahimsa is a bit of a stretch, but you know what I mean. The fact is that some of Indian media’s best brains turn a blind eye to some regressive (and reprehensible) acts.
But we aren’t here to change the world. We can’t do it, though we keep trying.
What we have done though is ensure that we don’t indulge in the same. Trade or B2B media has got a bad name for cash-for-content deals. Before we set out to build MxMIndia, we formulated a Code of Ethics which each of us have resolved to follow.
I am not going to go on and on about the MxM philosophy – you need to track it for over a week or so to know what it’s like, and I have also written about it in the past: here and here.
By around June last year, we were sure we wanted to build MxMIndia. Once we had a core team in place, we set out with the task of getting a web developer and an office. Work started in right earnest around July, and while the list of people who I would like to thank is rather long, there are some without who MxMIndia wouldn’t have been around: above all: my friend Prashant Basrur and the Deadline team in Mumbai and Bengaluru and all his friends who I have leaned on – Shree, Pandian, Radha and more.
Thanks to: our web partners – Mediology with Manish Dhingra, Gaurav Bhatnagar plus Arun Nair and his team. Our landlord in Mumbai – Turakhiabhai, our CA – Deepak A Joshi and his team, our legal advisor – Nandita Saikia (Saikrishna & Associates). Our printing and email co-partners – Spenta, Advantedge and Netcore. Our syndicate partners: Times Syndication and Fotocorp. A variety of friends – very many of them who have guided and helped us – that list is endless.
Huge thanks to all those who reposed the faith in us by way of revenues. To the various people whom we are speaking to for our funding process. To all our columnists – thank you for accepting our invitation to be part of the MxM family.
And, last but not the least: to all my colleagues – present and past, their families and my own family: eternal gratitude. Yes, MxMIndia couldn’t have attained these heights without your active contribution. Often long hours, hardships, sacrifices… Salute!
So where do we go from here? Those who have tracked us closely would be aware that we have missed out on a few self-promoted projects: the print edition being the foremost. Well, we did produce six fully sponsored magazines, but a regular print edition requires surer revenues and/or deeper pockets. We’re in the process of licking this with some benefactors on board, but it’s taking its time. Suffice to say we’ll be there in print soon.
To start with, we are looking at beefing up our sales team. Build a marketing team. On the content front, we are trying to expand our coverage, be even more on the ball, and have more commentary.
What will stay unchanged, I can assure you, is our commitment to the cause and our ethical standards. Our allegiance is essentially to you as a reader.