Iconic ethnic newspaper ceases print edition after 50 years

NEW YORK: An iconic ethnic Indian newspaper in the US that catered to the Indian diaspora for the last 50 years has announced that it will cease the print edition from Monday due to pre-existing troubles in the publishing industry worsened by the cancellation of advertisements amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Founded by Indian-American publisher Gopal Raju in 1970, India Abroad rose to great heights of popularity by focusing on Indian news meant fo expatriate audience.

In 2001, Raju sold the publication to Rediff.com. In late 2016, Rediff.com sold its venture to 8kMiles Media Inc.

Suresh Ventakachari through his publisherâ€TMs note announced its decision to cease the print edition.

"Dear readers, I regret to inform you that India abroad will cease its print publication at the end of March 2020. The last issue of India abroad will be dated March 30," Venkatachari said.

"For the thousands of readers for whom India Abroad has been an integral part of their Indian-American journey, the close of the publication maybe heart-rending, but hardly surprising, given the reversal of fortunes of print publications in the United States and across the world," he said.

"Like many newspaper, India Abroad has been struggling with declaring advertising revenues and subscriptions since the advent of the Internet age. The past few years have been particularly difficult even as we revamped the newspaper under the aegis of 8K Miles Media," he said.

"Compounding all of this, was the advent of the ominous coronavirus pandemic and the devastating repercussions in its wake, which led to several advertisers cancelling their advertisement and hence the looming outlook for future revenue generation appearing even more bleak," he said.

Venkatachari said people expressed fears to touch physical copies of newspapers, magazines and journals on newsstands and those delivered to them, which may have gone through several contacts, and the post office also indicating that it will give priority only for the delivery of letters.

It led to the possibility that publications may be delayed or may not even reach subscribers and added to the woes of publishing houses reeling from the cancellation of advertisements, he said.

"over the past 50 years, India abroad has been a leader in the ethnic media, serving the Indian-American community with integrity and professionalism. Despite many challenges and pressures, it has remained steadfast in its editorial integrity and impartiality. It wore attacks from the partisan left and the right as badges of honour," he said.

Several generations of Indian Americans have gone on to the great strides and achieve great heights in different fields, including politics, business, technology, literature and entertainment, after they have been first featured in the pages of India Abroad.

"The publication will always be a proud part of their origin story," Venkatachari said.

Perhaps, the most influential role India Abroad played as a newspaper of record is in the annals of US- India relations. It has been the premier publication to engage the political establishment in Washington, DC, including members of US Congress, administration officials and the diplomatic corps in recording relations between the United States and India, he said.

"As the curtain comes town, it is only fitting to remember the founder and editor Gopal Raju, who built India Abroad into an institution that has a special place in the history of Indians in America," he said.

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PTI