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Neeraj Agrawal and Alok Prakash Putul, Founders, Raviwar Media Pvt.Ltd.

Team YS
2nd Nov 2009
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“Journalism with no strings”  

Journalism of late has been subject to forces that want to divert mainstream focus on issues that have relevance to them. The issues that affect the common man and the public in general have been suffering the neglect that has thus ensued. Neeraj Agrawal and Alok Prakash Putul are two entrepreneurs who have decided to beat the lesser man’s drum. Their journey is not solely of business ideas and entrepreneurship but one of awakening people and telling the other side of the story.

Neeraj explained how “Raviwar Media” brings the oft shunned concerns into common consciousness saying “Our Company basically is an attempt to place alternative journalism in equivalence with the so called mainstream media. We are trying to use various mediums of media like Web journalism, short films, documentaries, publication, journalism training workshops, community radio etc to bring forward developmental journalism. In our content we focus mainly on topics of national & international relevance, tribal welfare, displacement, environmental issues, mass movements and developmental issues. We always strive to provide exclusive quality content to our readers.” 

Their motive is not to be positioned as mere crusaders without delivering content of substance. Their concerns are manifold but all tied together with the underlying thread of the truth. Neeraj says “Credibility in media is our first priority. The kind of response our company has received over the last two years has been incredible and is like an achievement for us. Lacs of readers spread across 140 countries of the world are daily visiting www.raviwar.com. Our copyright free content is regularly used by many media groups. It’s only because of the quality of our content that newspapers like The Hindu, Amar Ujala, Tribune and Dainik Jagran have been mentioning our references in their news stories.” 

“Since economic liberalization, only market driven issues have been getting importance in the media. We without any sort of pressure or temptation are continuously trying to highlight those issues which have been neglected till now. Be it a matter of human trafficking of young girls or naxalism, we’ve send our reporters to different parts of the country and the world to cover these issues and given them space on Raviwar.com. Our content is copyright free which can be used by anyone for free. That’s the reason why our content has been getting ample space in other mediums also.” 

“We are intending to use advertisement revenue as our primary source of revenue generation. For our web publishing venture we are trying to get advertisements from business houses and for our short films division we’re trying to get sponsorships from various companies and state governments, in which we have succeeded till now.” 

 

As a business they have been able to keep their content free of pressure and profit ethically from their ideas. Neeraj explained their chosen path of growth saying “We’re continuously in search of business alliances that have faith in our business model especially for our publishing venture we’re continuously working towards it. Apart from this, we are planning to launch a few geographically targeted vernacular news portals, one of which is going to be launched very shortly.” 

“We are also concentrating more on the offline model of publishing like reference books publishing to achieve growth and tap a larger market. For all these ventures we are continuously in touch with business houses for capital investment and sponsorships. We’re also having some ambitious projects, through which we’ll be in position of generating good revenue. Along with this we are open for other possible strategic alliances with media groups or business houses for business development.” 

Raviwar Media is a product born of two minds, one that sought to reinstall value in journalism and the other with the passion to bring an ideal to life. Neeraj recalled how the seeds of their venture were sown saying “One of the founding members of this company Mr. Alok Prakash has been in journalism for the last 20 years and has edited various important newspapers, magazines and various important books and reference books. He has served as a freelance journalist for news organizations like BBC, PTI for a long time. But while doing all this he felt that many important issues are not getting space in media owing to commercial pressures which needed to be highlighted.” 

“Then circumstances became such that a series of daily conversations started with a very exuberant “Neeraj”, who had just completed his MBA and was looking to venture into something new and challenging. So we both came on a common ground to launch raviwar.com which would appeal to a very niche group of intellectual Hindi readers who are fed up of reading news on fabricated topics and are looking to read news on issues closer to the ground reality. So, the excitement of targeting an untouched market and choosing a separate path for our lives motivated us towards raviwar.com.” 

Their first task was to win over their target demographic which was not easy at all. Neeraj says “The most important work for us was to convince Hindi readers about this new medium. The truth is that we’re initially hesitating to work on an idea of a Hindi website focused on alternative journalism. But the kind of creative collaboration we received from media personalities like Hameed Mir, Pritish Nandy, Sandeep Pandey etc. gave us some confidence. And when few months after this the way our readers welcomed us by reading www.raviwar.com in huge numbers, then we felt that our hesitancy was unreasonable.” 

Their reputation as stalwarts of the truth and their own pockets were helpful in getting “Raviwar” off the ground. “All the initial capital needed for meeting technical expenses and other setup costs was met by investing our personal savings. Our founding members had received important media fellowships; the honorarium coming from them was also used in building this company. Till now we’ve not received any sort of venture funding however we’re open to VCs.” Says Neeraj 

“Today our flagship portal www.raviwar.com is a brand in itself. The numbers of visitors has been on a regularly increasing trend also its reach across the globe. We’ve been getting regular media recognition; big media houses have been using our content; all these factors have added to a satisfying growth of our company. Presently we are having our offices in Raipur, Bilaspur and Bhopal. Apart from this many freelance reporters are working with us from every part of the country.” 

The response from their readers has been phenomenal and given them a lot of support. Neeraj says “The kind of encouragement we get from our visitors is the best recognition of our work. That’s one thing that keeps us always motivated towards creating quality content. Our aim while starting this venture was that whatever we want to do, we will do. And eventually that’s what we are doing. So thoughts of doing a regular job have never come to our mind.” 

“Big names like Pritish Nandy, Yogendra Yadav, Hameed Mir, Arundhati Roy, Sandeep Pandey, Medha Patkar, Tasleema Nasreen etc. have given us unconditional support right from the first day till today, that to us has been the most satisfying part of this journey.” 

“The challenges we face everyday, kind of new experiences we get doing this work keeps us excited about doing the job. All these can’t be expected in a regular 9 to 5 job. Also the kind of belief that we have in the quality of our content and most importantly the way this work satisfies our creative hunger all sums up in keeping us motivated to continue this work.”   

Neeraj advises entrepreneurs who are yet to reveal and materialize their own dreams saying “Always follow your aspirations and more importantly have patience to see them becoming reality. At times situations may turn such that you’ll feel of stepping back. Don’t just dream big but dream rational because you won’t achieve anything by setting a target that’s too tough to achieve. Always have a flexible approach in work. When u reach a stage of hiring people for your venture give priority to people who share the same passion about your work as you do. Finally don’t ponder too much, just go for It.” 

Yourstory wishes Neeraj Agrawal and Alok Prakash Putul success and satisfaction while making sure that the truth is never subverted. “Raviwar Media” has a bright future ahead and we wish them the very best.

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