Stories connect us. They help us understand each other. But over the last two decades our stories were no longer being heard and people and places just kept falling off the map. We want to reconnect again through our stories and join the dots. Join us in sharing your story. Join OurStories.
OurStories is a digital channel integrated with social media platforms that will disseminate Multiple Narratives from India and its neighbourhood.
It is envisaged that going beyond the ‘single story’ will help in dispelling stereotypes and breaking barriers. Stories punch holes in our mental walls (prejudices) and through those holes we get a glimpse of the other and often like it.
The founder editor of this social experiment is Kishalay Bhattacharjee a journalist and author. Bhattacharjee is also Director, Reachout Foundation, former Resident Editor New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV), and former Chair, Internal Security and Senior Fellow Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
Social Media and Integration
Social media has a tremendous potential for political and cultural communication, persuasion and thus integration. India today has the world’s 3rd largest Internet population which can be both informed and engaged through social media. India, in the last one decade has seen a surge in political opinion, with young people actively participating in political debates and having political affiliations. A study quoted by the BBC suggests that nearly 45 percent of Indian web users interact on social media to discuss politics. By expressing opinions via Facebook and by tweeting, ordinary people today feel more empowered as citizens. Today they break news faster than journalists do. People are demanding to be active participants, no longer happy to remain passive recipients.
The news media is going through a revolution that has placed the audience in charge. Social media also goes beyond mass mobilization and enables a change in political discourse by offering itself as a tool for solutions. Clearly the potential for integration of India with itself and with its neighbours via social media is tremendous.
Creating a Digital Channel for World Class Reportage
To anchor and consolidate the multiple discourses on the region being conducted via social media, OurStories is an online portal that will become a consolidated digital database for stories giving much wider coverage to the areas and thus challenging stereotypes.
This portal will seek to raise the bar in reporting the regions creating world class standards of journalism and aiding the peace and development process. OurStories must reveal and explain; represent all sections and regions and be rooted in the ground. It will provide a fair and equal environment for the battle of ideas. No longer is there a big or small organization, it is about how effectively one can distribute and disseminate. The producer and consumer are now in an equal relationship.
The digital channel will also be integrated with digital platforms of bigger media organizations as well as social media platforms thus enabling the launch of multiple stories from the region which better engage various stakeholders and audiences.
Every Story Must be Told
Timely and accurate reportage of issues from the region in the form of developmental journalism is criticalfor long term peace and good governance.
Grassroot journalists are entrenched in local networks and could provide invaluable reportage if they are equipped with the latest skills in digital broadcast journalism. OurStories will collate grassroot stories with a mix of highly credible opinion pieces and compelling features. The proposed digital channel will be fed by stories that are told from the ground and are delivered with the highest quality.
OurStories hosts and combines video, still photo, audio and text. There is content we already have and content we are newly generating. Both will take time and effort to organise and load. We will keep adding sections to the site to increase the scope of the coverage.
It is also in our mandate to search for ways in which the very people we cover, will also have access to, and a say in, the making of this site. That is why we call it OurStories.
Founder and Editor
Kishalay Bhattacharjee is a senior journalist who has been with broadcast television for more than twenty years, seventeen of which he spent at New Delhi Television (NDTV) where he was a Resident Editor covering conflict in India’s North-East as well as in the Maoist corridor. At NDTV he also launched the multimedia convergence, NDTV Online and the network’s website besidesco-producing the first live breakfast show, Good Morning India. He is a regular columnist and speaker on conflict and post-conflict situations in India.
Mr. Bhattacharjee is the recipient of the Ramnath Goenka Award (2006-2007) which he was awarded for his coverage of internally displaced people, a Panos Fellow for HIV/AIDS (2007) and an Edward Murrow Fellow in Journalism (2006). His coverage of the abduction and rescue of two Italian tourists was nominated under best current affairs programme by Association of International Broadcasting (AIB) Awards in 2013. He has made several documentaries one of which, Santi, Lucy and Thoibi was screened at international festivals in Goa and Barcelona.
Kishalay Bhattacharjee was selected Chair of Internal Security and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in 2011. Che in Paona Bazaar: Tales of Exile and Belonging in India’s Northeast (Pan Macmillan, 2013) is Kishalay’s debut non-fiction work. He has earlier published nonfiction in anthologies like First Proof (Penguin) and The Prize Stories: Best In The Indian News Business 2006-2007(Roli)
Blood on My Hands: Confessions of Staged Encounters(Harper Collins 2015) is Kishalay’s most recent book. He is currently working on his next book expected to be released in 2016.