By Willie Gordon Suting
With the art of new journalism gaining popularity, Half and One, an online magazine based in Shillong, looks to make a mark. The magazine, part of Ka Ktien Media, was established in July 2017.
Print media being expensive, Babatdor Dkhar, editor and proprietor, believes resources can be spent more on research and on-field reporting.
“As you know, print copies require a lot of spending. And which is not feasible. So we opted the online form,” he says.
The company struggled in its initial stage last year. But with word of mouth spreading via social media, people gained access.
“There are not many pieces in the website for now. But we try to be original with content,” says Jessica Passah, staff writer.
The magazine’s office in Laitumkhrah is where the team discusses and ideates. A meeting is held every month.
“It is not just articles that we write. We also try to come up with audio-visual content and interviews on a range of issues,” says Damehi Laloo, videographer.
The website has a neat design language akin to Kindle magazine of Kolkata. There are politics, culture, travel and sports sections.
Dkhar desires quality long form investigative journalism with many intricacies of narration. The team plans to reach a global audience with contributors roped in from England, America, New Delhi and Mumbai.
Dkhar has worked both as a professional and freelance journalist, and wants his team to imbibe as much as they can. Freshers like Karen Lyndem are trained and guided by him.
“Out of forty candidates who applied for the post of staff writer, we selected Lyndem and Passah. They are performing well”, says Dkhar.
The staff writers, adds Dkhar, have to write on many issues which require versatility. Opinions vary, but which is wholly accepted by the team.
Lyndem says her opinions, though differing, do not come in conflict with her colleagues.
“In order to have a wide-eyed view of the world, we have to accept contrasting opinions. This is how the magazine leans to being non-biased”, she says.
The editing work of the feature and opinion pieces of staff writers are done by Dkhar. Dkhar adds that the magazine commissions the contributors. “In order to reach out to other cultures, we pay our contributors from outside the state and country. We lay emphasis on quality and originality with no extreme focus to left or right”.
The team is influenced by international offbeat publications. The magazine’s future projects include more long form investigative pieces and video stories.
“We are currently producing short video stories. And which will soon be uploaded in the website”, says Laloo.
The magazine also has a podcast called The Posh Podcast where Dkhar and colleague George Taylor analyse and comment on many topics. The podcast is available in social media platforms like Itunes and Soundcloud.
The magazine has been able to garner good viewership. Lyndem’s article on drug use among youths in the Shillong received 3,200 visitors. The story of martial arts champion Pynnehbor Mylliemngap by Passah received 3,400 views.
Half and One also plans to come out with a writing competition on various genres like poetry, fiction and non-fiction. The selected works will be anthologised in a volume, with the winners to be awarded Rs 1 lakh as cash prize.