The Viewspaper – Opinion based Youth Citizen Journalism (Geography: India)

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The Viewspaper – Opinion based Youth Citizen Journalism (Geography: India)

India
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The Viewspaper creates youth networks at various levels & provides platforms for youth to be heard creating a strong youth voice

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

70% of India’s population is below 35 years. Interestingly, 70% of India’s politicians are above 75 years of age. This pattern is evident even in media, and therefore one doesn't find the youth perspective being given any space With the budget being released every year or changes being made to the education system, one only gets to hear the views of the older generation, even though the largest affected section of society is the youth. We talk about youth potential but we sorely underutilise and create actors, in that space. Therefore, The Viewspaper, has created a global platform for young citizens below 35 years of age to share their views and perspectives on various subjects. This model is now being implemented in different countries across various target audiences.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Viewspaper provides a web platform, which uses open source technology and online marketing to crowd source the views of young people from around the world. In the last 4 years we have received around 20,000 contributions and over 6,000 young people’s opinion have been publish on The Viewspaper. We are read by 150,000 people every month and have a strong community of 226000 Facebook fans and thousands of RSS readers. In the last year we have grown from 1 paper to 10 papers. Viewspaper is now being replicated in different countries and there is strong matrix around the replication business plan that will ensure well built impact.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We strongly believe that if you get lots of young people to talk about the same thing at the same point of time, discussions start taking place through which a single view emerges, which has a potential to act as a catalyst for change. At an individualistic level, by getting young people to think about various issues and making them express their thoughts in a structured manner, we are getting young people to develop greater understanding of their own views and also learn from the views and opinions of other young people. At a national level, we are starting to achieve a scale where can make serious impact when partnering or supporting various issues and causes. Our strategic involvement in the current – ‘India Against Corruption Campaign’ is one such example. We began bringing in views about the Anti Corruption Bill, in February 2011, nearly 2 months before the campaign went live. We played a significant role in generating awareness about the campaign, and bringing the campaign to the mainstream. We also mobilised a number of youth to participate at campaign gatherings in April and shall continue to do so till the bill is passed.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In citizen journalism our main competitor is merinews.com. However it is about news and is not youth centric. In the youth paper space there are various youth papers that exist at the university level but none at the national level and most are not citizen journalism based. A number of similar products have been launched over the years by various people including large media houses like Network 18 but none of them have survived. We don't see others as a threat. We plan to keep growing by constantly innovating our product offering and investing resources in technology and marketing.
About You
Organization:
The Viewspaper
About You
First Name

Shiv Bhaskar

Last Name

Dravid

About Your Organization
Organization Name

The Viewspaper

Organization Country

, HR

Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

Please select

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Innovation
Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Scaling (the next step will be growing impact on a regional or even global scale)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

In 2004, I (the founder) was studying in a college in Delhi University, which was 45 kms away from my house. I used to travel by changing 3 buses on route to college. That year the Delhi Government made CNG as the mandatory fuel for all buses. However, there was resistance to this change and buses went on strike and the transportation system was hit. This became hot news and the entire media was covering it but somehow I was not able to connect to what was being said. One day while watching a panel discussion on a channel I got angry and screamed out and said “What are you talking about? You haven’t travelled in a bus in 25 years. You travel in your BMWs.” I then realised that the media was extremely disconnected from reality and there was a need to create a voice for the youth.

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

Most people only express themselves in coffee table discussions. By getting people to write, The Viewspaper brings people closer to research and understanding of topics and subjects. It reinforces the belief that a 'common man's' perseverance and writing can indeed bring about a difference. It creates a collective voice, which can be noticed and be acted upon. Imagine a situation in the future, where, if something like the Mumbai Terror Attacks takes place, then thousands of youth will express their dissent in a structured manner and also provide solutions to solving the country’s security situation.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

The model of Viewspaper is both scalable and replicable. We have a strong 2 years plan currently that will drive the future of the initiative. The plan broadly includes launch of new country editions and thematic journals specific to target audiences. We also plan to involve citizen media journalists from all spheres of society to take co-action.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Our 6 month milestone is to create a strong initiative to drive student community to be involved in citizen media action.

Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

Active marketing to tap student community.

Task 2

Find and partner with appropriate alliances to tap student community from all over the country.

Task 3

Identify and hire talent from various colleges and organisations so as to service this growth.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Initiate student / youth platforms for interactivity.

12-Month Tasks
Task 1

Raise funds to scale and replicate manifold all initiative that will strengthen our platform. Alliances build for this.

Task 2

Identify country & worldwide alliances for partnerships on marketing.

Task 3

Operationalize all the alliances.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

More than 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Sustainability
Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured

Business

What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

I think that our project is successful at various levels. We could have been operating at a greater scale had we had more funds available to us. However in hindsight the fact that we bootstrapped without external funding support for 4 years and still found ways to grow has meant that we developed in-house expertise and also learnt to execute things at extremely low costs. Now we have not only grown in terms of writers and readers but also have revenue streams and are profitable. In the coming months we plan to scale fast by increasing revenues and raising funds.

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

In the coming decade all the mediums are going to merge and the internet and the mobile are going to become the driving force. Portable devices which are constantly connected to the internet will become the medium for consuming media. We are already on the Internet and mobile. We will have to make sure that we continue to be compatible to all the mobile devices that come in the future.

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

The Viewspaper has already gained quite a lot of traction in the last 4 years. It is continuing to grow every month. At the same time we are constantly innovating and are trying to launch various new features, services and applications that can help The Viewspaper grow faster. We have also set various processes and systems, which will continue to focus on new innovation.

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

Our fund raising strategy involves both tapping funding opportunities as well as raising capital through our marketing products. This will balance dependence on funds and will ensure self sustainability.

Tell us about your partnerships

We partners with academic institutions and like minded organizations to launch, create alliance and institute campaign, events and other citizen journalism initiatives. We also work towards creating strong syndication alliances to strengthen our platform. (please request for specific partnership information as they are business wise sensitive, but can be provided for evaluation of the entry).

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

We will need people with drive and the willingness to learn. We will need hard working marketing professionals who will forge partnerships across geographies with organisations that can market to schools. We will need young passionate individuals who will work as relationship managers and help us service these schools. We will also need more people in technology who can keep the network running smoothly and prodigies who will keep innovating the product.

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Investment, Collaboration or networking.

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Marketing or media, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list

We constantly look for multi country partnerships that can help us in replication of our model.

Summary
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

The Viewspaper-The Voice of Youth- Runs 10 papers, engages over 6000 citizen journalist across geographies, with 226000 FB fans

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