March 07, 2006

Return on Investment , but unique

A year ago, I branched off into a new venture.
I funded a community newspaper.
My friends said that I had become an angel investor.
I was, of course, looking for returns of a different kind, first. The real monies came next.
On the occasion of the first anniversary of the newspaper we
funded, we feel proud that the experiment has taken off.
'Velachery Plus' is one year old next week, and this neighourhood newspaper which covers the triangle of Velachery, Madipakkam and Nanganallur, is now on its feet.
Its readers have seen the value of the news and information;
community leaders are interacting with it and sharng their news and views, and private, local businesses have seen profit in advertising small and long term in its columns.
Which is why its publisher and editor, Manoj V. Joy, seems much more confident now than he was when he wound up his consultancy on maritime legal cases, set up after a long innings on the high seas.
Joy launched only after he had the 'shop floor' experience.
He edited a small newsletter called ÔWavesÕ for his colleagues on
the seven seas. And he studied the profession and the business at our newspapers.
This seems to have stood him in good stead.
So when the 2005 monsoon and the excessive rains ravaged his neighbourhod and left him marooned, save for two issues of the newspaper they skipped, Joy and his plucky, small team, worked against odds to bring out their weekly.
There were just a handful of adverts; the power lines were down for four days; the telephone went dead for a week and many parts of the three areas were still in neck-high flood water.
And yet, 'Velachery Plus' was published.
The team was tested again when it organised Santa Claus to say
'Hello' to children in Velachery who were supposed to get surprise gifts (which had been handed over to the office by their parents) on Christmas eve.
The rains lashed again; the car broke down, Santa Claus was
drenched, the band-men shivered. Yet, Santa managed to go to every kid on the block and hand over the gift.
This indeed is the spirit of any committed community newspaper.
And those are the returns one looks for first. Monies come much later.
It has been a nice experience.
Thankfully, Joy did not send me an SOS to negotiate the floodwaters and help him report!
I would have drowned!


Anonymous said...

Dear Editor

Could you please send me the contact details of Velachery Plus to my emailid

Thanks and Regards

Anonymous said...

The web-site has NOT been updated for more than 3 months. Can you let me know when are you planning to update the site with latest information.