Saturday, March 21, 2009

Indian Weekender makes its debut

By David Robie: Pacific Media Centre

Fiji media old hands feature strongly in New Zealand’s new national Indian weekly newspaper launched by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett at the Holi Mela festival in Auckland today.

Editor Dev Nadkarni of the Indian Weekender is a former journalism coordinator at the University of the South Pacific and chief reporter Thakur Ranjit Singh is a former Fiji Daily Post publisher and currently a columnist for the Fiji Times.

The 32-page paper, published by Kiwi Media Group, had a print run of 8000 for the first edition and is aimed at an increasingly competitive market of about 120,000 Indians in New Zealand.

Most live in Auckland and the market includes a strong Indo-Fijian community.

The new paper will be challenging the long-established Indian Newslink newspaper, another fortnightly.

Publisher Giri Gupta told the Pacific Media Centre the Indian Weekender aimed to do a better job in running the “many untold positive stories” about Indian community successes.

“We Kiwi Indians have that rare opportunity to have the best of both worlds and most of us have made the best of that opportunity too,” Nadkarni told readers in the editorial.

“Over the years, as in over a hundred countries around the world, people of ethnic Indian extraction have grown to be a force to reckon with both economically, and more recently, politically.

“That has been possible mainly because of Indians’ great propensity for ingenuity, hard work, adherence to their cultural values and the innate ability to assimilate into any culture while yet preserving their own identity.

“It is these attributes of Indians in New Zealand – Kiwi Indians – that we at the Indian Weekender wish to celebrate.”

Nadkarni appealed to the community to become involved in the paper with an “interactive discourse”.

The first edition featured a striking layout by art director Tanmay Desai, a graduate from AUT University who previously worked as a designer for the New Zealand Herald.

The front page focused on the Indian cricket team – currently dealing to New Zealand on its tour – and Bollywood with the NZ success of the film Slumdog Millionaire featured in a story headlined “Setting the Kiwi summer on fire”.

The edition included national news, local news, “tradition”, Indian news, business, finance, opinion, community news, humour, “productivity”, rasoi, events, a two-page spread of Fiji news and seven pages of Bollywood news with a full page devoted to the “sexiest lucky mascot” – actress Katrina Kaif.

Pictures: Top: Chief reporter Thakur Ranjit Singh (left) and editor Dev Nadkarni; Centre: MP Melissa Lee reading the first edition of the Indian Weekender; Above: Monisha School of Dance performers Ayesha Dewan (from left), Sindy Gounder, Poonam Maharaj, Sharlene Sharma, Kajal Gounder and Komal Gounder. Photos: Del Abcede (Pacific Media Centre).

Dr David Robie is director of the Pacific Media Centre.

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