In pursuit of a crazy idea

"This new venture is solely betting on the commitment and determination of its staff. A happy, motivated, editorial squad will make or break the newspaper"

I was planning to give my thoughts in today’s Side Mirror on the ongoing war of credit for winning a yet-to-win FATF grey list campaign and the two parallel sessions of the Punjab Assembly, but that thing struck my mind, which is always on my mind: The Minute Mirror. Last year on June 22, this newspaper was born in-house in a Shadman office by the effort of a small team. Now, after one year when I look back, I feel nostalgic for those early days and I see many milestones crossed and many more in sight. The newspaper states grabbing my and my team’s attention as soon as we open our eyes in the morning, and then there is no end until we hit the bed and switch off the mobile phone. As I was scrolling through the old editions today, I came across the first Side Mirror, which was published in September on the public launch of the newspaper.

The first paragraph of that piece is chilling: “Layoffs. Pay cuts. Terminations. Newsroom closures. High production costs. Low circulation. Credibility. Rat-infested stuff.”

My Goodness, we have braved all sleepless nights and effortful days to bring this newspaper with quality news stories every day on time. Now, the newspaper is in the face of increasing production costs at a time when the government is trying hard to avoid an economic meltdown.

I want to share a few excerpts of the first Side Mirror today so as to remind myself and my readers what triggered me to start this paper and where we stand after one year.

“In such circumstances, the idea of bringing out a new newspaper was quite a crazy idea. Family, friends and well-wishers, all threw a word of caution to me. Given the grim situation of the media, their words carried weight and wisdom. Despite all odds, Minute Mirror is hitting the launch.

“The editorial of the today’s paper explains the ideology and guiding principles of the newspaper, whereas in this space, the crazy idea of bringing out the new newspaper will be explained.

This new venture is solely betting on the commitment and determination of its staff. A happy, motivated, editorial squad will make or break the newspaper. The management can take care of the welfare of the staff by ensuring their social security benefits besides giving them full editorial independence. Editorial independence, however, puts responsibility on the staff. Though there can be no definite evaluation of the journalistic work, public opinion and assessment, however, will help us assess the work of our journalists. If the newspaper is publishing real public concerns, and is acting as a powerful watchdog on government agencies, it means the newspaper is on the right track. A story without credible, solid material should not make it to the pages. A story making the rounds for the last 24 hours should not get published if there is no fresh, unique development in it. A story promoting or defaming a person(s) is not our journalistic mission. These are tough goals set for our newsroom, especially in the ongoing situation when access to information is hard, people are afraid of blowing the whistle and journalists lack resources and sources to hit the right spot. We will, however, wait and work more and more to supply accurate and meaningful information to the public.”

The Minute Mirror team is thankful to its readers for their support and encouraging feedback and sometimes harsh criticism. Every word of our reader weighs value for me and my team. Their assessment helps me evaluate the project and for this reason, we have brought about changes, time-to-time, to the layout of the newspaper. Change for better is a constant work plan at Minute Mirror, and that is the only fixed policy.