Jagran New Media centres inclusivity, representation in its content

By Megha Mamgain

Jagran New Media

Uttar Pradesh, India


In a digital landscape chasing numbers and clicks, an ethical responsibility of credibility has often been discussed. But what about the responsibility of inclusion, representation, and forming narratives?

My organisation, Jagran New Media, believes, at its core, in inclusion and diversity as the foundation of a healthy and progressive society. In our coverage, we have always remained factual, credible, fast, and precise. But, time and again, we have also been a voice for the marginalised and underrepresented.

In sharing stories of marginalised or underrepresented people, Jagran New Media is challenging conventional narratives about them.
In sharing stories of marginalised or underrepresented people, Jagran New Media is challenging conventional narratives about them.

As a leader of the women’s lifestyle Web site HerZindagi.com, it has been my conscious decision to make space for difficult conversations around gender politics, period literacy, and LGBTQ and women’s rights.

Our recent Mother’s Day campaign, The Good Mother Project, challenged the stereotypical glorification of an overworked, under-supported mother. The campaign brought in articles, video interactions, and social media content emphasising the need to change the narrative of “sacrifice” as qualifying criteria for a righteous mother.

A dedicated landing page hosted articles, videos, and Web stories — all specially created to change the mindset that put the working mother in a box.

Subtle and nuanced changes in editorial practices are aimed at making a bigger impact. For example, editors used the phrase “menstruating people” as opposed to “women,” challenging the idea that all those who menstruate identify as women. Another one is that references to rape or sexual harassment survivors are noted as “survivors” and not “victims.”

These small changes have lasting and subconscious implications. We realise the power of narratives, and we want to use that power to bring about positive changes in mindsets.

We write in the language of the heartland of India, and talk about issues of the heartland. An example of this can be seen in our coverage on female genital mutilation (FGM, or Khatna), which is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

There is a rising chorus for legislation to ban this extreme form of discrimination, which is reflective of a deep-rooted inequality. Our coverage on FGM has been consistent, empowering, and educational.

In 2022, HerZindagi.com’s coverage of casual sexism, misogyny, and gender discrimination won our editor the prestigious Laadli Award for gender sensitivity, supported by the UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities).

We emphasise amplifying stories that matter from regions often suffering from the tyranny of distance. HerZindagi’s WomenPreneur Awards, a programme that acknowledges and felicitates women entrepreneurs who challenged stereotypes and obstacles to becoming big or small business owners, saw representation from across the country.

Stories like that of Aaliya Farooq, Kashmir’s first certified woman gym trainer were inspiring. Aaliya’s choice of career holds a big impact for women who were not allowed to use gyms run by or used by men. Women entrepreneurs in fintech, technology, and education challenged the stereotype of women and STEM not being a fit.

But inclusivity is an outcome of sustained efforts. Our ongoing series, Being A Brown Daughter, is all about the prejudices and stereotypes women in India have to face on a daily basis and how we have learnt to circumvent them. These lived stories of young women who were raised to prioritise themselves last, give up careers, not wear revealing clothes, and so on have found a connection with our audiences and emboldened our vision to continue to serve stories of those underrepresented.

I want to emphasise that inclusivity cannot just be the pursuit of a specific kind of media platform, such as contained to the “lifestyle” section. It must be a part of our ethos. For example, we make sure our discussion panels don’t end up being “manels” (male-only panels) and we look at whether our teams are diverse. Continuously evolving and accepting societal changes is important as well.

About Megha Mamgain

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