First of its kind in Odisha, may be in India as well,
Namaskar is way ahead of either collaborative journalism or the concept citizen
journalism by making it a citizens’ newspaper where no journalist or writer is
involved in between but the community itself is the content generator and its
‘We are very much excited with the
launching of ‘Namaskar’ newspaper because we are now empowered to write
our own problems for which we had to request a local journalist earlier.
Many times, our issues were not coming in any newspaper. But now, we can
bring any of our issues to the notice of the people and the
administration through our own newspaper,’ says Pusparani Swain,
Sarpanch of Banakhandi Gram Panchayat and a member of the editorial team
of the community newspaper.
Limiting its coverage area to only one
Block, i.e., the Gop Block in Puri District of Odisha, ‘Namaskar’ has
put news boxes in all Gram Panchayat headquarters and near all
government offices requesting people to just drop the news or issues
they want to come in the newspaper. ‘We are amazed to receive about 300
such news in just a week through the news boxes. We never expected such
huge response from the people,’ said N A Shah Ansari, the promoter of
Namaskar and guide to its editorial team.
‘This is an innovative effort to bring
various issues of people in form of firsthand reports,’ said Dr Arvind
Padhi, the Revenue Divisional Commissioner of Central Range while
dedicating the newspaper to the people of Gop Block.
The unique aspect of the newspaper that
truly makes it a community newspaper is that ‘Namaskar’ has no reporter
to go to places and collect news. Each and every member of Gop Block is
its reporter; anybody can write his/ her problem and just drop it in the
news box for publication. There is no outside editor to scrutinise the
news but a group of editors from the community and from different
backgrounds are to crosscheck the veracity and make the news through for
publication. ‘It’s run by us, we are the reporters, we are the editors,’
said Kajol, the young editorial leader of ‘Namaskar’.
‘Because, the present system
of applying for newspapers doesn’t allow us to apply it in the name of a
group as its owner, we are in the process of transferring the ownership
to the team who will look after the complete management of the newspaper
on behalf of the people of the Block’, announced the present patron of
the newspaper while launching the first issue of it.
‘Namaskar’, the effort itself seems to be a great step in democratising
media and taking a step in the direction of converting media into a
forum for people to raise their voice directly.