Adnan Aamir is an online editor and journalist at Balochistan Voices.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
Since my high school days, I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to publish my written pieces in newspapers. I started writing and began to send them to different small newspapers for publication. Most of these newspapers either did not respond or took ages to publish the articles. This made me very frustrated and I began to explore alternative options to get my works published. First I set up myblog and started publishing my articles there. With the passage of time, I got recognition in mainstream media but still felt that I did not have the needed freedom to publish my works on the areas which were pressing. Therefore, I decided tolaunch an online newspaper Balochistan Voices on 20th February 2016. The basic idea behind the establishment of Balochistan Voices was to highlight the issues of Balochistan province which are ignored by mainstream media.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I wake up relatively late in the morning and get ready to work by 11 AM. After that, I check my emails and social media messages and respond to them where needed. Once that is done then I check the analytics of Balochistan Voices to see that how our newspaper articles fared yesterday and how many visitors and page views we got. Then I search for the topics on which we can do stories for the day and coordinate with our contributors and staff members. In the second half of the day, I began to receive the articles and start editing them. Then the next thing to do is to work on the images, graphics or videos for the stories. Once everything is ready then online newspaper is updated in the evening and the day ends with sharing the articles on our all social media platforms.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?
We mostly work on the go using our laptops and cell phones. I communicate with the contributors through email and WhatsApp. We use WordPress to host our online newspaper and share our content on social media through Facebook, Twitter, and Whats App. We also have anandroid app for Balochistan Voices which is also used to share all the updates of the website directly in the cellphones of our readers.
WHAT DO YOU TO GET INSPIRED?
I read our success stories of the past to get inspiration and get motivated to work hard and make a difference. Apart from that, I feel that as a journalist who has his own publishing platform, I have the power and influence to do things which can help solve the problems of the common people. This also inspires me to keep on going despite any disappointments and failures.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
There is only one good reason to enter journalism: when we do our job we can make a difference. – Don Graham
WHAT IS THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
Online news publishing platforms are a relatively new phenomenon in Balochistan, Pakistan, There is not much awareness about them and there is no supporting infrastructure either. At the moment there is no way one can register an online newspaper as a media organization according to the laws of the country. This results in loads of other problems because we need to be registered with the government to get accreditation for different events that we want to cover and so on. Apart from that we also face a major problem in form of developing a revenue model for our platform. The reason is that in Pakistan there is no trend for paying for reading news online and there is also no trend of active fundraising.
IS THERE A PRODUCT, SOLUTION, OR TOOL THAT YOU THINK IS A GOOD MATCH FOR YOUR DIGITAL PUBLISHING EFFORTS?
We are interested in online video streaming and for that, we plan to use Google Hangouts on Air. However, if there was a dedicated application for this purpose then it would have been easier for us to carry online video streaming.
ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?
My advice would be that digital publishing is not a child’s play. It seems to be easy from the outside but it’s very laborious and time consuming on day to day basis. So, one has to be mentally prepared to give a good portion of the day to the publishing platform to make it work. Secondly, one has to be patient when it comes to expecting successes. It takes a long time for a digital publishing platform to get established and be successful. So, those running such platforms should not be disheartened and keep on doing the hard work. Lastly, one should not expect any major successes from digital publishing platform in short-term and see the bigger picture.