In January 2020, the world saw an outbreak of a new coronavirus strain, and lockdowns became a precautionary measure.
In India, March 2020 was the month when COVID-19 began to spread like wildfire. The country saw the first phase of the most stringent nationwide lockdown and curfew from March 25 to April 14. With 1.3 billion people literally locked up inside their homes, the magnitude of this lockdown could easily be imagined.
Bustling cities suddenly looked haunted. Supplies of necessities like milk and food dwindled. Entertainment channels ran out of programs, TV news bulletins turned into COVID-19 bulletins, only dishing out news about the rising cases across the globe.
Social media also bombarded users with unverified information on the coronavirus. It was a scenario nobody had imagined or witnessed, and feelings of boredom, anxiety, sadness, depression, and fear gripped many.
But with hope and an optimistic attitude, everyone can sail through challenging times. To help readers enjoy a feeling of togetherness with family members, Naidunia launched “Kuch Positive Karona” (Do Something Positive), a reader engagement activity organised during the unprecedented lockdown.
Bringing families together
This initiative was a sincere step to deliver positivity through daily contests. Naidunia is the only newspaper of Central India (and probably in the country as well) to introduce a reader engagement activity across 80 districts of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh through six editions.
“Kuch Positive Karona” targeted the region’s Hindi-speaking readers. It was launched on March 29, 2020 and ended on April 15. Each day a new contest appeared in the newspaper, and all the contests were designed to involve members of all age groups in a family. To make the participation easy, entries were invited on a dedicated WhatsApp number and e-mail ID. Readers had to respond by 10 a.m. the next day.
The entries were separated into six folders, one for each edition published from Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Raipur, and Bilaspur districts. An editorial team of senior members of each edition selected few best ones, which were published in the newspaper the day after.
The outcome of this exercise truly fulfilled the objective. For 15 daily contests, a total of 4,153 entries were received, and 489 were published.