Thank you readers for making Barak Bulletin the undisputed #1 digital platform for local news
Facts not fear, News not noise, Sense not sensationalism. This has been in our DNA from the very first day. Launched in 2018, Barak Bulletin has completed two and a half years and today we take the pride to announce that you have made us One Of The Top digital news destinations in Northeast.
When we started, there were no web publications headquartered in Silchar. There was no digital portal that only and only covered the issues related to Barak Valley. We saw that behind Bold and Big headlines, the local news is getting lost somewhere on Page 7. So, we decided to dedicate our front page, inside pages, and the entire website to Barak Valley.
After our launch, many other web publications entered the market, and today, digital media is a family of many members. But we still remain the only hyperlocal website. We do not cover the National and International News as our motto is “Taking Barak Valley to The World.”
With 5.3 lakh visits in July (as per similarweb.com), we have become one of the top news portals in Northeast and the undisputed number one in Barak Valley. But we have just started. We want to be a part of your daily life, we want to be with you during your morning tea, We want to be your choice during a crisis, we want to inspire you by sharing success stories of our residents. We want to let you know the difference between truth and hype. We want to ensure that when you enter the polling booth next time, you are a well-informed electorate. We want to set the narrative straight and to the point and we have a long, long way to go.
But today, we would like to share with you what we take pride in. We take pride in the fact that there are 20 lakh of you who have read us so far. There are 4 lakh of you who read us every month. We are grateful to you for reading our stories 63 lakh times. Each one of you spend close to three minutes on an average reading our stories and we are grateful to you for your time. While we stood true to our ethos and kept focussing on Barak Valley, people across the globe read us. We are grateful to each one of you.
For us, this is an overwhelming response. We have more than 65 thousand readers in the United States, close to 45 thousand in Bangladesh, around 15 thousand in the United Kingdom and according to google analytics, we have a presence almost everywhere in the globe. International readers make 18% of our total readership which also establishes the fact that Barakians are almost everywhere. We have acquired all our readers organically through our social media platforms- MySilchar, Barak Bulletin and শিলচর and have not paid a penny to anyone for the acquisition of readers.
While the numbers are a huge encouragement for us, what inspires us more is the impact we have managed to make in the State and Central headquarters of the country and institutions across the globe. We have got a call from the Rashtrapati Bhawan after we published our reports on landslides earlier this year that killed more than 20 residents. We got calls from NITI Aayog after publishing reports around cleanliness. We interviewed the chief secretary of the State, the DGP of the State, many ministers and bureaucrats. We did a hard-hitting story on Doordarshan Kendra Silchar and then interviewed Prasar Bharti CEO to put facts over rhetorics. The German consulate reached out to us for information about specific cases. The defence also trusts our reporting. We have got calls from Assam Rifles headquarters after reporting an untoward incident in Srikona. The news publications headquartered in either Mumbai or Delhi have followed up on our stories and even credited us at their esteemed publications
But the one that stays on top of everything else we have achieved so far is the story we published narrating the tale of a Paper Mill employee. His son was in deathbed and his daughter had just died. He said he had no money to ensure adequate treatment for his young son who suffered a cardiac arrest. “I could not afford my daughter’s cancer treatment and have no money for my son’s heart surgery, I am a cursed father,” he said. A Silchar resident read the story in Kenya and immediately transferred Rs 30,000 to the man’s account. That is a medal that we wear as the badge of honour.
None of this would have been possible without you – our readers. But a big credit also goes to Barak Bulletin’s newsroom. Today the entire world is working from home, it took a pandemic to make them realise that people can actually work from home. Barak Bulletin did it from its very inception. We believed the world is our office and our phones are our newsrooms, so, we were always online! However small our newsroom might be, it has always been an effective one.
So far, Barak Bulletin has published more than 4000 stories that include News, Opinions, Interviews and Special Features. We have had as many as 80 authors contributing to our editorial coverage. From the very inception of Barak Bulletin, the news section has been handled by Biswakalyan (Tilak) Purkayastha and we have had a total of 24 freelancers whom we have reimbursed albeit a very small amount.
Veteran journalists and renowned industrialists are now investing in digital news ventures. There is no doubt that there will be competition between the portals for your attention, for your trust, for a part of your data pack. We cannot control what others do or compete with everyone’s offering, but one thing that we can ensure is, we will forever remain your publication, will always tell your stories and discuss your issues.
We often get asked who is funding this portal. Barak Bulletin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barak Darpan Private Limited, a company registered in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ Registrar of Companies. We have invested Rs 5 lakh so far in the organisation and have not raised any funding from anywhere. Barak Bulletin is a bootstrapped organisation and has no angel funding either. So, who actually owns Barak Bulletin? You are the owner of Barak Bulletin and we will keep serving you as we serve the governed and not the governors. Keep supporting us as your support is our revenue.
Archana Bhattacharjee, Executive Editor