YouthKiAwaaz: Online ‘mouthpiece’ for youth across Indian colleges

13th Jul 2011
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A growing platform with more than 10,000 pageviews a day!

There are millions of youngsters with a view and a voice. But very few come out on to a platform, unaltered or unfiltered. YouthKiAwaaz (YKA) tries to provide this platform for young Indians to make themselves heard. The site has been growing in popularity and from humble beginnings, has surged upwards, both in readership and engagement. The look of the website has also undergone a few changes and looks more polished now. To know more about this initiative, Jubin Mehta from YourStory spoke to the founder of YKA, Anshul Tiwari. Given below are the excerpts from that conversation:

When & why did YKA start?

YKA started in March 2008. I started it because I saw a huge gap between mainstream media and the views of young people. There was no way for a youngster to express himself freely on issues that mattered and at the same time, reach out to a large audience. In fact, I faced this problem first hand and thus, I launched YouthKiAwaaz.com. Last year, we were awarded the prestigious World Summit Youth Award for innovation in e-content.

Content sites are people-intensive by nature. Tell us a bit about the team at YKA.

YKA is run by a group of about 600 volunteers from around the world. They pump in the compelling views and content. The core team is made up of 16 people, where we have 10 editors, 1 social media strategist, 1 business development guy and a couple of people to manage the logistics. We have monthly trainees as well. We all work from home as of now. But we meet every once a week to plan for the week ahead.

What is the screening process for the articles that go up on YKA? How many contributors have you had till now?

YKA Founder

The articles go through a three-tier screening process. First, when the intern/correspondent sends in the article, it is screened by a sub-editor. After this preliminary screening, it goes to our senior editors and before each article is published, I do the final screening. The aim is publish content that has the potential of provoking positive thoughts or compelling the reader to act on an issue. We do not publish rants. We want to take up issues that the mainline media misses out on and in an extremely balanced yet influential way, reach out to more and more people.You mentioned that you have monthly trainees. How has that worked out for you?

One of our interns from Mumbai, Shraddha Sankhe, was selected as a correspondent in Youth Ki Awaaz after her internship. After serving a couple of months as a correspondent, she has joined us as an editor. After pushing her abilities and skills to the next level, she is now pursuing her MA in Journalism from Missouri School of Journalism, which is arguably one of the world's best graduate schools for journalism studies. One of our interns managed a job with PTI, right after the internship at YKA. Our Vice President Mridang Lodha, who was once an intern, has been a Kairos Global Fellow.

How much revenue do you generate? What is your revenue model?

We are not hitting very high revenue marks now, as the business development efforts took off only recently. But our monthly revenues touch about $1000 and it’s steadily growing. Our revenues come in from running ads on the website, doing direct ad sales, organizing small events and syndicating content to national and international publications.

What are your plans for expansion?

We are getting a lot of offers from social activists outside India to replicate the model in their country, especially from countries like Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Malaysia. That is certainly on the plate, but not for the next 2-3 years. The aim really is to get the word out in India and establish a base in Indian colleges, especially the tier 2 and 3 colleges having a number of students who don’t usually get a fair chance to spell out what they think or feel. The initial aim is to create a multimedia hub of news, views, videos and photos by the youth, for the youth, addressing critical issues. By the end of next year, we will have a good base in all Indian states and editors for each vertical.

We at YourStory wish the entire team at YKA all the best. To know more, check out http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/. Also, do let us know your views on this story by writing to us at feedback@yourstory.in

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