Prabal Bhardwaj, Founder, Media 4 Change

By Team YS|1st Sep 2009
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“Media Changes Society”

Prabal Bhardwaj is a man who has realized what the Holy Grail of his existence is. Any introduction to his venture would be a job half done, because replicating the passion and the vision he imbues his words with, is near impossible. Prabal Bhardwaj is the founder of Media 4 Change and he explains in his own words what it means for all of us.


The Young Entrepreneur says “Despite being a country where more than half of the population lives in the villages, our newspapers & news channels surprisingly have little news coverage of them or for them. Is this because this important segment is not buying newspapers or rather the products which appear in the newspaper? We of course agree and do not say that rural news is the only kind of news to be covered.

Yet we do firmly believe in a society where everybody has a role in the functioning and happenings of the society, the media has this additional responsibility; which is missing. With the boom in the media and rise in the number of newspapers, we seem to be running out of quality stories happening around town and ideas about making a change in the existing format of providing news & putting views in the world around us. So we, Media students & Young people understood our responsibility towards the society. And that’s why we have chosen this as our venture idea.”


“Whatever social change we think about in the media is all thanks to our awareness about the impact of the media. We are sure any awareness brought about in media students will result in more responsible media persons, in the future. And it is this simple fact, that if one media person is socially aware, he can bring the social change among a large number of people in society. Another tendency generally seen in society, is just talking about the media. Everyone believes that media is going the wrong way; but no one does anything about it. So the sense of belongingness and the power to react need to develop. And as soon that develops, the media will be inclined towards social change. SLAP is a mouthpiece of Media 4 Change.”


“Through SLAP, we are turning our dreams into reality. Designed to be a youth shout box, this tabloid believes in "slapping", i.e., voicing our opinion against everything that is not quite right. Keeping a track on 'Roz marah ki Baatein', we strive to make you think twice as you hop on. We hope to stir up young minds and create a difference. We thrive to stand out and be heard. Apart from a look at the normal news that the regulars provide, this newsletter acts as a representative of the youth in every way possible. It is a social youth newsletter providing the right blend of youth culture and social structure of today's times. A place to be vocal by knowing what is right and raising our voice against what is wrong. We, here, believe in making a difference and to stand apart from the rest.”


“We have started a project-cum-campaign, which will bring about a social change in the media. The media has the capability to impact and change society. This is best done through its social coverage and continuous investigative reporting. The first baby step we have taken towards our goal is by launching our very own newsletter, SLAP, which is a mirror of our ideas, the ideas of the young and daring minds. You can have a look of our newsletter on www.media4change-slap.blogspot.com


His ideas are revolutionary and innovative, standing apart form the rest Prabal says “SLAP-An initiative by a few BMM students to do something that clicks in a flash. Apart from a look at the normal news that the regulars provide, this manuscript acts as a representative of the Youth in every way possible...A social Youth newspaper providing the right blend of Youth culture and social structure of today’s times. A place to be vocal by knowing what is right and showing what is wrong. This newsletter will act as a business model for our venture.”


“We are reaching to more and more students and planning to reach beyond media students also. Circulation has reached to 2000 media students. They are contributing creatively and financially. We are also planning to expand it in Delhi & Chennai.”


Prabal also reveals the real reasons behind his entrepreneurial excursion. He says “I would like to tell you the real story behind it. I am from a family background where most of them are inclined towards social sector. So it was obvious that I should have the same feelings; but I had in little different manner. I had the thought in my mind to do something for myself, which should benefit society. I started working for Hindustan Times at very early age.”


“I got fame, recognition and the award of Youngest Intern at HT. Somewhere I started forgetting my aim of joining HT and the idea may had taken the backstage. But I was continuously working on social beat or human interest stories. Then the real twist came in my life. I got an opportunity to document the whole event of Asokas Youth Venture program in India. This was the first kind of program in India. I started attending it and documenting it. While interacting with younger people then me, there was something burning inside me. This was the first spark of our venture.”


“But I got a shock, when in the entire journey of one year of Youth Venture; none of our media reported it and tried to bring the great initiatives of young people in front of society. This entire incident lead to a discussion between me, Vipin, Sonalee, Poornima, Pankti and so many people from YV. The results were enough to start our venture Media 4 change. So above incident is the spark and below are the reasons to catch the fire inside us. “


Despite the obvious setbacks, Prabal bounced back strongly. He says “The most important thing is that Change can’t happen in a moment. It will take some time. So the focus of our venture turned a little bit. The continuous cyclic process which will take pace once it spreads its roots and the impact it will have on young minds that will be a part of the future media industry in the coming years. The large scale impact it will have and the resultant better functioning of our democratic country as a whole. And Media will play its right role. A slight change bound with a little curiosity in the mindset of the youngsters who are a part of various media colleges at present and who will be in the media industry very soon in near future. Eventually the aim is to highlight the common man. And it is this simple fact, that if one media person is socially aware, he can bring the social change among a large number of people in society. You should be flexible in approach and concrete in idea.”


Prabal confesses that the planning behind his venture is non existent, but the motivation and dedication is unquestionable. He says “I just started my venture without thinking of anything. Professionally it’s a big mistake. But only future will tell me whether it was really.” 


Prabal found his seed capital “From three dedicated people who are as convinced with this idea. They are still working with me as founder team members. And of course all of my savings.”


At the moment Media 4 Change had five people working full time. Prabal clarifies saying “But the project is mainly handled by 55 Volunteers from across Mumbai colleges. We have three branches, which connects everyone from our venture.” 


Along his way Prabal has found some solace in the reactions that his ideas have gotten. He says “I have to start with my recent experience. I was part of Tata Jagriti Yatra 2008 for better understanding about my own country. There were 350 young Indians, 50 working professional and around 20 media professionals. I have come across with almost all of them regarding my project. There was nobody who said or thought that there is no need of this project. And everyone listened carefully to what they had to do to be the part of process. So, they are in the initial thought process. That’s what the most important thing for us. To think again about their participation in Media. They all are part of community at large.” 


“We have also received Ashokas Youth Venture award. And we have been invited to a lot of meetings based on Social Entrepreneurs."


Prabal has a realistic and practical approach to entrepreneurship; he emphasizes self interest saying “What I believe is that we shouldn’t be doing anything for others. And as long as this feeling is there, real transformation of people can’t happen. I work for my project, because I want a better place in media to work. I don’t like the way, media is functioning. So whatever, I am doing, it’s for me. And society will get benefit also. What a golden combination!!!”


“The goals of our venture are: Sensitizing media students to be more responsible about their work in the future. Media should become more socially responsible. Encouraging common people to react on content of media, rather than just reading and viewing the content. Connecting a link like: Common man - Social worker - NGO Media Activists Media 4 Change - Media Personalities - Media Houses.” 


Prabal reinstates his views, while advising those looking to take up entrepreneurship. He says “Yeah, work for yourself. IF you feel that you are working for yourself, you will never give up. Don’t do anything for society. Just do something for yourself, which will benefit society. Just Do it, yaar.”


YourStory wishes the refreshingly candid and realistic Prabal Bhardwaj, luck and fortune with his venture.

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