Thursday, 14 May 2009

New trends in Indian Newspapers: A case study of Marathi dailies in Maharashtra

Paper presented at 17th AMIC Annual Conference of
Asian Media Information and Communication Centre
From July 14—17, 2008, in Manila, Philippines

Theme of the Conference:
Changing Media, Changing Societies: Media and the Millennium Development Goals

Dr Kiran Thakur

Theme & Topic:
Media Industry Trends and Dynamics

New trends in Indian Newspapers: A case study of Marathi dailies in Maharashtra
Submitted by:
Dr Kiran Thakur
Retired Professor and Head
Department of Communication and Journalism
University of Pune, Pune, Maharashtra, India

03, Indrayani
Pune 411016

Residence: 91 20 25650225
Mobile: 9373331733


New trends in Indian Newspapers
A case study of Marathi dailies in Maharashtra

Circulation of paid newspapers in USA and Europe has been showing a trend of decline for the past two decades. The World Association of Newspapers survey has said the circulation fell 3% in the U.S. and 1.9% in Europe in the year 2007. Asia, which is home to 74 of the world's 100 best-selling dailies, contrasted starkly with declining newspaper readership in the West. China and India are among the countries that have contributed to some degree of optimism in the publishing industry that has shown an increase of 2.6% worldwide last year.
The rising trend of increase in circulation in India is not due mainly to the growth of English newspapers as outsiders to India may think. On the contrary, newspapers in non-English (or vernacular) Indian languages have been showing a trend of increase in circulation and revenue for the several years. It is necessary to document how these newspapers have been able to sustain the growth in spite of the competition from the English press and television news channels. This paper is an attempt to document the status of newspapers in Marathi, one of the 22 official languages of India, as a representative study of the non-English press of India.
Briefly about India
India has a population of over one billion spread over 35 states (provinces) including union territories. each with a principal language spoken and read by its majority population. For example, Gujarati is the main language of the state of Gujarat and Tamil of Tamil Nadu. Hindi is spoken as the principal language in several states in the northern belt of India and also in other places in the country while Marathi is the language of Maharashtra in the western region. The publishers thus cater to the population of different languages bringing out with editions of newspapers in the plethora of languages from different centres.
Overview of Press in India
History of Indian press dates back to 1780 when James Augustus Hickey launched the newspaper Bengal Gazette or Calcutta General Advertiser in Calcutta (now Kolkata). It was a weekly writing about the activities of the British traders and officers of the East India Company. It closed down soon as it incurred the wrath of the British officers. Other newspapers came on the scene during the eighteenth and nineteenth century, some supporting the British colonial rule and others owned by Indians who opposed the rulers. Social Reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy brought out India's first non-English newspaper owned by an Indian, Sambad Kaumudi, from Calcutta in Bengal in 1820. He also published Miratul-ul-Akhbar in Persian language. The Times of India, now the flagship of the leading media group of the country, was launched by British owners in 1838.
Other dailies that appeared on the scene thereafter included The Statesman (also British-owned, Calcutta) established in 1875, The Hindu in Chennai (then Madras in today's Tamil Nadu state) in 1878 (both in English) and Malayala Manorama (Malayala language in Kerala state) in 1888. The Bengal Journal, The Oriental Magazine, The Calcutta Chronicle, The Madras Courier, The Indian Herald, The Bombay Herald and The Bombay Courier, were other publications brought out at other centres during the period.
In subsequent decades, Indian social and political leaders brought out publications from other provinces, notably from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. The publications, in English and the local languages of the respective regions, were generally divided in two broad categories, namely, pro-British and anti-British. The country was then a vast subcontinent that comprised the present India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Publishers brought out a few hundred copies that were sold in the areas close to the places of publication. Anti-British newspapers were subjected to oppressive laws of the rulers. This would lead to the closure of the publications and arrest of the editor publishers. Prominent newspapers of the period that continue to exist now include The Times of India, The Statesman, The Hindu (all English), Bombay Samachar (Gujarat), and Kesari (Marathi).
The period between 1857, when the Queen of England took over the reigns of the country, and 1947 when the British left India, saw birth and closure of a multitude of newspapers. Among the editors were freedom fighters like Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak (Kesari) and Mahatma Gandhi (Young India, Harijan and Navajeevan) who used the publications to spread their message. These papers were never mass-circulated, yet readers in all corners of the country eagerly awaited arrival of their copies.
Post-Independence scene
By 1941, India had about 4,000 newspapers and magazines in 17 languages. The number rose to 51,960 that included dailies and publications of all the periodicities, in 2001.
As on 31st March 2006, there were 62,483 registered newspapers with all periodicities on record of Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI), as against 60,413 at the end of March 2005. The total circulation of newspapers increased from 15,67,19,209 copies in 2004-05 to 18,07,38,611 copies in 2005-06. As per the annual statements received at the RNI office during 2005-06, the number of dailies being published in the country was 2130. Their claimed circulation figure was 8,88,63,048 copies, 12.93% higher than that of the previous year.
After India became Independent in 1947, British owners of the newspapers like The Times of India also left the country, handing over the businesses to Indian companies. Editors of pro-freedom struggle Indian newspapers had anti-British stance till 1947. These newspapers gradually changed their approach; some became pro-establishment and the others adopted aggressive anti-establishment strategies. The publishers during the subsequent decades expanded their groups and chains with additions of new editions at other centres or new publications.
Turbulent 1970's: The decade of 1970s was a turbulent phase for media. The state-owned television channel was launched in 1972 and the press was unsure about the possible impact of the electronic medium on the newspapers. The press was subjected to censorship during the period of Internal Emergency clamped by the Indira Gandhi government in 1975. After the Emergency was revoked 19 months later, the Press appeared to have reborn with vigour.
Competition from TV channels and online news
Indian newspapers faced challenges from electronic media in a big way when colour television was introduced in 1982. The challenges and threats from the electronic media became more serious after the government allowed private channels to operate in the country under the new policy of privatisation and globalisation announced in 1991-92. The country witnessed emergence of channels launched by Indian and multi-national companies that brought in news and entertainment channels in English, Hindi, and other Indian languages. There was a talk of death of print media as the channels were there to provide news coverage in real time. A similar fear was expressed some time after Internet made its appearance in 1995. But these fears were ill founded as the Indian publishers proved in the first decade of the new millennium. The publishers exploited best of the two media and changed their management strategies to survive and make rapid progress in the business.
Briefly About Maharashtra
Maharashtra is among the industrially advanced states and has a population of 96,878,627. The state has a literacy rate of 76.9 per cent against the national average of 65.4 per cent and is next only to the state of Kerala which has the literacy of 90.9 and ranks as second literate state. The literacy rate is one of the major reasons why Maharashtra, as also Kerala, account for rapid growth of press as compared to other states of the country.
Maharashtra's capital is Mumbai and is situated on the coast of Arabian Sea. One of India's four metros, it is also described as country's Financial Capital.
The metropolis has a population of 11,914,000 as the per census of 2001 and has a vast readership for newspapers in English, Marathi, and other languages. The state has administrative divisions broadly known as Konkan, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Amaravati and Nashik, each of which are further divided into four to six districts. Each district, further decentralised as tehsils, has a sizeable readership for Marathi newspapers. Each of the 353 tehsils has several villages to look after. There are a total of 43711 villages in the state.
Marathi Journalism
The first newspaper in Marathi was Darpan launched in Mumbai on January six 1832 by Balshastri Jambhekar. It was a weekly. The first Marathi daily newspaper Sandesh (now defunct) was started in 1915. Although it was a daily, it was dominated by views, as was the case with weeklies of that period. Other dailies like Dnyanprakash followed but most of them also were viewspapers. Sakaal, launched on January 01, 1932, was the first daily publication focussed to publish a wide range of fresh news on local, regional, national, and international events. Sakaal's founder publisher editor N B Parulekar ran the newspaper on sound management principles without compromising on credibility and objectivity of news. He is described as Pioneer in Modern Journalism not only in Marathi but all other Indian languages. Sakaal survived even after his death in 1973 and grew to a higher stature. This is considered to be creditable to Dr Parulekar because several other daily newspapers and magazines of his time have disappeared from the scene one after another.
Maharashtra state now has 130 Marathi daily newspapers as per the Registrar of Newspapers for India annual report for 2005-06. Marathi holds third position with the 130 dailies, Hindi leading with 942 newspapers followed by 201 in English. In terms of circulation also, Marathi dailies have edge over newspapers published in the rest of 22 official languages of India, besides English. Circulation of Marathi dailies in 2005-06 was recorded at 1,05,37,174, which was next only to dailies in the state of Uttar Pradesh (1,34,92,557 copies) as per the data with the Registrar of Newspapers for India.
Advertisement revenue earned by Marathi press during 2005-06 was Rs. 5160 million, next only to English newspapers (Rs. 41360 million) and Hindi (Rs. 20890 million). The press in other Indian languages was way behind the Marathi print media in this respect also.
Among the top Marathi newspapers in Maharashtra is Maharashtra Times belonging to the multi-product multi-edition multi-centre media house of the Bennette Coleman Ltd with The Times of India as its flagship. It is published from the company's headquarters in Mumbai. Loksatta belongs to a similar media house, The Indian Express Group, and is published at its headquarters in Mumbai besides other centres Pune, Ahmednagar, Nagpur, Aurangabad, and Delhi.
Mumbai as publishing centre: Until a few years ago, Mumbai was Maharashtra's main centre for the Press in English and Marathi. Although Pune, Nagpur and other towns did have dailies, Mumbai's newspapers had a certain aura about them. The Mumbai press and to a lesser extent Pune's dailies enjoyed status among the elite readers, advertisers and newsmakers among politicians and officials in urban and rural Maharashtra. The newspapers outside these two centres were treated by the so-called elite national press, with apparent derision, as 'district' dailies and their staff as 'mofussil' (rural) journalists.
Lokmat's impact: The situation changed when Lokmat was launched by Jawaharlal Darda from Nagpur, located at the other end of the state, away from the capital city of Mumbai and its neighbour Pune. He gradually expanded the daily's base bringing out editions from district towns and his successors have taken it to 13 centres, including Pune and Mumbai. Lokmat is now the highest circulated Marathi newspaper (1,250,000) and has daily publications also in Hindi and English. It has become the first media house that has launched a TV Marathi news channel, as it tied up with CNN-IBN.
Scope and Limitation of this study: This paper is a modest attempt to document the status of Marathi Journalism during the last decade that witnessed introduction of new technologies affecting the print and electronic media all over the world. Media exploited these technologies to attract more audiences and in the process increase their businesses. In India, it appeared initially that media groups only in metros with vast resources embraced the technologies. The media houses like The Times of India group were ahead of publishers in non-metros. Publishers with publications in non-English Indian newspapers, however, soon joined the race to grab their share of audiences and revenue. This trend is not limited to a particular state (province) among the 35 states or a particular language among the 22 official languages spoken in different regions in the country.
This is an attempt to record the new trends in Indian newspapers with a case study of Marathi journalism in Maharashtra. This may be considered as representative of journalism in other Indian languages in other states although documentation of the trends in other regions on the similar lines is necessary.
This paper is not based on an empirical study. The author has been a journalist and media teacher working in Maharashtra and thus, an observer of the developments in Marathi press for over 27 years. He interacted with some leading lights in Marathi journalism to prepare for this essay. They include:
Mr Prakash Pohare (Owner Chief Editor, Deshonnati, Nagpur), Mr Abhay Kulkarni (Corporate Editor, Sakaal group, Pune), Mr Anil Takalkar (Editor, Pudhari's Pune edition), Mr Mukund Sangoram (Loksatta, Pune Edition), Mr Kishor Kulkarni (Editor, Lokmat's online edition) and Mr Dilip Urkude (General Manager, Pudhari group).
Based on the interaction with them, coupled with the author's observations, following points on the Marathi press emerge:
Not poor cousins of the English press
The Marathi newspapers are not any more poor cousins of the English press. The publishers have adopted modern business practices to increase the reach of their publications and their sphere of influence and advertisement revenue.
Lokmat started spreading its network from Nagpur city to other districts of Nagpur and Amaravati divisions, then to districts of Aurgangabad and Pune divisions as it moved to the state's capital, Mumbai. This growth and spread were unprecedented in the history of Marathi press. Sakaal followed up in the same manner, moving from Pune to Nagpur. Pudhari has moved from its headquarters in Kolhapur to Pune and Ahmednagar in central Maharashtra. Deshonnati, which started its editions from Akola has moved to Nagpur and other places in the region.
Each newspaper has its pocket of influence and a niche. Almost every newspaper is growing. Following newspapers are among the leaders of the market: Lokmat (1,300,000 copies per day). Sakaal (978,000), Loksatta (350,000), Maharashtra Times (275,000), Pudhari (550,000), Deshonnati (200,000).
There are other dailies in the state with sizeable circulation in their respective jurisdiction as follows: Mumbai Chaufer (209,000), Navakal (135,000), Punyanagari (500,000), Gavkari (209,000), Ratnagiri Times (99300), Saamana (74,000), Kesari (38,000) and Tarun Bharat (169,000).

The Sakaal story
Sakaal is among the first newspapers not only in Maharashtra but also in India, to have adopted modern management systems and processes. It has deployed the latest technology made available through partners who are world leaders in their areas of specialisation. Some examples:
Smart Flow: It has adopted Smartflow, which is customised online content management system. It simplifies the tasks in the editorial management and makes the relevant processes virtually paperless. The system seamlessly networks the editorial departments of the publications brought out from ten main edition locations in the state. Any member of the staff can have a look at any of the 450-odd pages of 80 sub-editions being made at any point of time during the day. The Smartflow facilitates quick, secure and hassle-free exchange of editorial content with the group network. Connecting to news agencies and translation of English copy into Marathi has become an easy offer.
What Smartflow does for editorial department, SAP does for other domains in the organisation. With this, functions of scheduling, circulation, and production are streamlined. There is a dedicated link between the Editorial and Scheduling departments which ensures faster pagination. Scheduling of advertising has become easy because page status for any date in the future can be viewed. Any centre can accept and schedule advertisements for any edition anywhere.
Six Sigma has been an important part of the system in Sakaal. It is a management philosophy, which focuses on eliminating defects and problems, through practices that emphasize understanding, measuring, and improving processes.
The Sakaal group has joined the select band of world newspapers that make conscious efforts to decide on the contents and page design based on the outcome of readership surveys. Its important decisions include the change in the layout of its flagship daily after a detailed three-year exercise under the leadership of world-renowned design consultant Dr Mario Garcia.
Planning strategies in other dailies
Although all the Marathi newspapers have not yet adopted all the measures taken by Sakaal, those on the growth path acknowledge that increase in their business is due to the decisions taken on the basis of surveys, careful planning and integration of the operations of the editorial, advertising and circulation departments.
The leaders among the Marathi publishers take into consideration the outcome of readership surveys conducted independently across the country for evolving business strategies. Such surveys have offered rich data on demographic and topographic profile, and psychographic segmentation of the regions of the state. The publishers study the findings about consumption of the contents of newspapers vis-à-vis television channels and radio stations, purchasing power of consumers. Based on the findings of these studies, the publishers decide on the centres for their new editions, new publications or new supplements/pullouts/magazines.
New publications: Thus the state has witnessed emergence of pullouts for a city, and even suburbs of the cities. The publishers bring out weekly supplements for children who are potential buyers in the future and middle class/ upper middle class women because a growing number of them are becoming decision makers in the families. On the basis of the findings of the surveys, supplements on education and career guidance, real estate, health, and investment, art, culture, and entertainment are brought out. Special pages devoted to needs of secondary and higher secondary students appear as weekly columns around the year.
Some newspapers have a separate division for Event Management to tap revenue from builders, banks, hospitality industry, producers of consumer goods or life style, health, and hygiene products. Agrowon, claimed to be the first agriculture daily of the world, was launched by Sakaal after a survey established that there was a large number of farmers who would buy such a newspaper.
Newspapers have organised forums for women and competitions for school children. Sakaal has joined the global movement, Newspapers in Education, operational in 30 countries.
Convergence of media: Marathi publishers have joined the bigwigs in the country's newspaper industry to exploit the convergence of media. Lokmat became the first media house in Maharashtra to tie up with IBN-CNN for a TV channel exclusively for Marathi newscasts. Kesari has its own local cable television news channel in Pune. Pudhari now owns a FM radio station in Kolhapur for exclusive Marathi infotainment broadcasts for the city and district. Sakaal's television channel is expected to be launched in the year 2008.
Presence on the Net: On an average about ten per cent newspapers in USA and other countries in the developed world have Internet editions. This average is maintained in case of Marathi journalism also as 13 of the 130 dailies in Maharashtra, have their web editions. They are Dainik Aikya, Deshdoot, Deshonnati, Kesari, Lokmat, Loksatta, Maharashtra Times, Pudhari, Sakaal, Saamana, Belgaun Tarun Bharat, Tarun Bharat of Nagpur and Agrowon.
Tapping rural markets: India, like China, is a fast growing economy that has been attracting investors from abroad. India has a growing middle class population in cities and a huge untapped market potential in villages spread across the country. Producers of consumer durables, and now mobile phones, have begun aggressive marketing in such areas. Newspapers have also reaching these markets to serve the readers and earn ad revenues from these advertisers. Rural Maharashtra, in particular, has a wide base of progressive and rich farmers with purchasing power and willingness to spend. Thomson Reuters service to provide SMS service for agriculture information proved this point when over 10,000 cellphone user farmers subscribed to the Reuters Market Light service within just three months after the launch in October 2007.
Salient features of the current status
· No established Marathi newspaper has been closed down for lack of readers and advertisement revenue during the recent years.
· There have been no job cuts in Marathi media industry, on account of revenue losses, as have been reported in the developed countries from time to time.
· On the contrary, print and electronic media houses have been scouting for trained manpower at junior and senior levels.
· Schools of journalism, public-funded or in the private sector, have been growing in number during the first decade of this century. These schools find it difficult to meet the growing demands of the industry to provide fresh graduates for placements.
· Media houses compete with each other to lure skilled and experienced personnel. Journalists, as also management executives, are being offered higher wages that could not have been imagined some five years ago. Journalists and their organisations do not talk of salaries prescribed by the government-appointed wage boards because they earn more than what these boards had prescribed years ago. The publishers do not appoint journalists as employees any more, but hire them on contract for a specified period.
· Publishers of some English newspapers have for the first time in the history came down to the extent that they are ready to hire Marathi reporters who have had no experience in writing in English. If they are good as reporters, they can write in Marathi and sub-editors will translate the copy in English.
· The media houses have fierce competition among them. Each plans marketing strategies that may include discounts for annual subscription, gifts and lucky draw with prizes ranging from, say a television set to a car. Price war is common at the time of launch of an edition at a new centre or re-launch of the edition with a new look and format.
· There is at least one instance when a publisher countered the price war effectively with aggressive advertising campaign. The publisher, of Deshonnati, in fact doubled its price. His campaign sought to impress the readers that his daily provide better objective news and analysis and that it dealt with the issues dear to them. His paper's circulation increased then, and even when he increased its price further some time later after he introduced more supplements.
Contents and layout
· The newspapers have changed their ways to write verbose news stories and features after surveys reported that readers find long stories boring. Now most news stories are around 300 words each and articles/opinion pieces limited mostly to 600 words, but not, in any case, more than 1000 words as was the case in the past. If news stories are more than 300 words, they are split into two. The secondary among the two is carried on a different page.
· Special attention is paid to page layout. Use of white space is liberal. Photographs are cropped to make the contents appear dynamic and not static.
· Front-page and several other pages of a newspaper are printed in colour as a tool to woo the buyers at the stalls.
· Participation of readers in the contents is increasing thanks to citizen journalism, opinion polls through Internet editions, feedback through e-mail and SMS, chat rooms, blogs and the time-trusted landline telephones. One daily used to invite urban readers to SMS names of their native villages so that reporters would write about the scene there.
· Most newspapers have provided their field staff (reporters and marketing/sales executives) with mobile telephones. Journalists even in the districts are seen using camera-mobile phones to take snaps and mail the photos to editorial desk in the city.
· Journalists in the field and the editorial desk are becoming net savvy as they use Internet for references and background information.
· The publishers have appointed stringers at tehsil places. All the tehsils in Maharashtra now boast of being covered by the stringers. Many of them string for more than one newspapers. It is not uncommon that newspaper's circulation and ad agents work also as stringers at tehsil and district towns.
· Many newspapers used to look like 'fish' markets some two decades ago as reporters would flock only late in the evening to file stories even if the events had taken place early in the day. With the computer-aided systems in place, and better time-management drills, this situation has changed for better.
· The newspapers use PageMaker, QuarkXpress or InDesign to prepare pages if they do not have their own software. In most cases, centres are linked to production headquarters where pages are prepared. The links help reduce loss of time in preparing the final pages. Outstation correspondent or local reporters are trained to prepare the pages and mail them to the HQ. This is intended to reduce workload of the sub-editors.
· Proof-readers are not appointed any more, as the sub-editors are expected to proof-read the text.
· A newspaper in the past used to be known by the name of its editor. The tradition is fast disappearing in English and Marathi newspapers. In most cases, the dailies are known by the name of the owner-editors or by the publishing companies. One important reason for this is that an employee editor has become only one of the several key-executives of the publishing company. Editor's job is more of a coordinator of the activities of the desk and newsroom, and as a link between management, circulation, and advertising departments.
Critics' Views
· Critics argue that all the newspapers look alike because of similar layout, liberal use of photographs and printing on newsprint that also appears to be of similar quality and look.
· The newspapers ape the TV news channels in terms of presentation of news, photographs, and graphics. These channels seem to set the agenda, with their breaking stories and live coverage, for the next day's newspapers.
· The newspapers have followed the TV channels in offering infotainment rather than debates on serious issues facing the region. Development stories, which were rare earlier, are rarer now, as the newspapers appear to give more thrust to soft stories, lifestyle, glamour, and infotainment besides sensational crime stories.
· There are fewer articles discussing serious issues on implication of the contemporary politics. Issues affecting the working class, women, children and tribals are treated very casually.
· A lot of space is utilised for the features and photographs of activities of the event management division.
· Insignificant issues are played up to fill in the space in city/suburban supplements.
· Decentralisation of news into pullouts for the concerned geographic areas has deprived readers elsewhere in the state of even important coverage.
· There is no effective quality control over language used by the reporters particularly because they are expected to prepare the pages as well. Errors of correct usage of grammar and spellings are commonplace as effective software for spellchecker in Marathi language is not yet available. Absence of proof-readers who used to act as the last gatekeeper has added to the problem further.
The case study explains why newspapers in regional languages in India have shown upward trend in circulation and revenue. The publishers have been able to compete with the television news channels and the English newspapers of the metros. Systematic surveys of the markets have helped them take decision about launch of new editions and introduce new publications and supplements to win over different segments of readers such as children, youth, and women. The publishers have embraced new technologies of computers, Internet and have gradually been exploiting the advantage of the convergence of media.
The case study has limitation in that it deals with only Marathi language press. It can be representative of the press in other Indian languages. However, it is recommended that the language press in other states be studied on the basis of qualitative and quantitative research.

About the Author:
Dr Kiran Thakur
Professor and Head (retired)
Department of Communication and Journalism
University of Pune (July 01, 2001 to March 30, 2007)

o Joined Marathi newspaper Sakaal as sub-editor–cum-reporter in 1969 while studying at this department
o Worked with United News of India (1971 to 1987), The Indian Post (1987 to 1990), The Observer of Business and Politics (1990 to 2000)
o Was visiting faculty for over two decades after which joined academics full time in 2001
o Worked as Member of Academic Council and Senate, University of Pune, and Member of Research and Review Committee, Chairman of the University’s Board of Studies, Communication and Journalism
o Member, Research and Review Committee, Communication and Journalism, North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon, Maharashtra
o Member, School Board, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
o Founding Member, Asia Media Foundation
o Member, Steering Committee of University of Pune FM Radio station, Vidyavani (2004-07)
o Carried out study for PhD on Online Journalism in India in its initial phase: 1995-98
o Carried out a UGC-funded Major Research Project on ‘Profile of Readership of Internet editions of Indian Newspapers’
o Authored biography: Dr N B Parulekar: A Pioneer in Modern Journalism in Indian Languages. Published on March 30, 2007.
o Was Executive Editor of 'Press in India: on the threshold of 21st Century', the volume brought out by Dr Nanasaheb Parulekar Centenary Commemorative Volume, Sakaal Papers Trust
o Edited four English non-fiction books during 2007-08
o Authored book on Online Journalism in India (under print) and Handbook of Press in Pune
o Was Content consultant for a dozen web-sites in English and Marathi
o Was consulting editor of and (2000)
o Was twice President of Pune Union of Working Journalists and founder Trustee Secretary of Pune Patrakar Pratishthan (Pune Journalist Foundation) that constructed a five-storied complex for journalists with an investment of Rs. 90 lakhs in 1998
o Presented papers at conferences in Moscow and Hyderabad on Online Journalism in India


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