New Delhi: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) is gearing up to launch its new periodical, New India Samachar, on 15 August, even as the future of its over four-decade-old publication, Employment News, remains uncertain due to “dipping circulation”, ThePrint has learnt.
ThePrint was the first to report in June about the Narendra Modi government’s plans to bring out a fortnightly magazine to highlight its flagship schemes, achievements and initiatives.
The new periodical will be published by the Bureau of Outreach Communication, a media unit functioning under the ministry. The Press Information Bureau (PIB) will look after the editorial content of the magazine, which will be headed by PIB Principal Director General K.S. Dhatwalia.
Meanwhile, sources in the government said there have been discussions to see if running Employment News is viable anymore, given its dipping “circulation and interest” among the readers, even though it’s still known for its brand value.
Employment News is a weekly magazine published by the ministry’s Publication Division, which, as its name suggests, provides information on jobs in the central government, including the public sector.
ThePrint reached the spokesperson of the I&B ministry via email for comments on both New India Samachar and Employment News, but there was no response till the publication of this report.
The new magazine
A government source said multiple dummy editions for this fortnightly periodical have already taken place for its launch on 15 August.
“The government was divided on whether to launch a fortnightly in print or not with more people reading news on their mobile phones at this time, but has finally decided to go ahead with the launch,” a senior government official said.
The periodical will be distributed free of cost to panchayats and educational institutes, among others, for now, the official added.
The first edition of the magazine will have the cover story on the government’s recently-unveiled new National Education Policy.
Other issues the magazine’s first edition will cover include the changing face of Jammu and Kashmir after the scrapping of Article 370, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visits to Ladakh last month, and the Bhoomi Pujan (foundation stone laying ceremony) of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya last week with quotes from Modi’s speech at the event.
Uncertainty over future of Employment News
According to its website, Employment News was launched in 1976 with an aim to provide information on employment opportunities to the youth.
The journal is published in English as well as Hindi and Urdu (Rozgar Samachar), and provides information about job vacancies, job-oriented training programmes, admission notices related to job-oriented exams and results of recruitment exams in various government sectors apart from editorial content on socio-economic issues and career guidance.
The website says the publication has a circulation of 1 lakh copies a week.
A second source in the government said the circulation of the weekly has dipped, and it has become redundant for the readers, and the government is discussing if it is viable to run it anymore.
“It has been under discussion for some time and it may not be feasible to run the weekly for the government, but a final call is yet to be taken on the how and when of it,” said a second senior government official.
The official, however, said even if running its print editions becomes unviable, it might continue to exist online.
However, a third senior government official told ThePrint there is no move to discontinue Employment News. “There are no plans to stop publication of the weekly,” he said.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.