INMA Elevate Scholar: Vandana Thakur of Jagran New Media

By Paula Felps


Nashville, Tennessee, United States


On October 29, INMA and Google News Initiative (GNI) awarded 50 news media professionals around the world with its debut Elevate Scholarship. This series features these impressive media professionals who are shaping our industry.

Vandana Thakur acknowledges her goals are ambitious, but she also believes that they’re attainable — and her history backs that up. 

“I definitely see myself touching soaring highs and heading the management at a leading news media firm,” said Thakur, the chief manager of content at Jagran New Media. “I wish to … continuously challenge the thinker and believer in me and forge into less-trodden territories. Nothing can be as exciting as defying the challenges and creating a career trajectory many only dream of.” 

Vandana Thakur oversees the HerZindagi lifestyle Web site.
Vandana Thakur oversees the HerZindagi lifestyle Web site.

To follow that bold path, Thakur is using her analytical skills, strategic management, and instinctive content planning abilities to drive traffic and boost readership.

“With a year of my services as the chief content manager with Jagran New Media, the site had a 616% jump — for a 3-year-old site,” she said. In hard numbers, the user base went from 1.7 million users in May 2019 to 12.8 million users in May 2020. 

Before joining the team at Jagran, she was part of the core MSN India team, leading the Lifestyle vertical and helping relaunch the site’s operations in India. Through those efforts, the vertical jumped from 15 million users to 85 million users.

Such challenges — and results — are strong drivers for Thakur. Although she faces challenges as a woman in a male-dominated industry, she believes “nothing is too ambitious to be achieved if pursued with utmost passion and sincerity.” 

Overseeing the HerZindagi site, she is determined to transition it into India’s biggest lifestyle destination: 

“Not just for the Hindi heartland, where we already command a good presence, but into the territories that are little heard of and across all geographical stretches and domains. Having women as our point of focus, I want to offer content which will be an amalgamation of aspirations with a sensibility of the real world, creating a platform that will not only be a source of information for them but will add value.” 

She wants to take that same spirit, enthusiasm, and determination with her into the future and change the face of leadership in the news media industry.

“I aim to be in a leadership position that will be critical in the growth and expansion of the organisation going forward.” 

About Paula Felps

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