Feel good news that spreads positivity

We talk a lot about the improvement and changes our country needs to put in place. But what impedes us from chasing these noble ideas is the question ‘how’. But lending credence to the maxim “where there is a will, there is a way”, Dhimant Parekh and Anuradha Kedia Parekh started an online news medium The Better India, in their pursuit towards making a difference.

TheBetterIndia.com (TBI) is a news portal that reports only positive news from across the country, 365 days a year. The venture was launched seven years ago by this husband-and-wife duo and since then TBI has been sharing the inspiring stories of unsung heroes, change-makers, innovations, health, sanitation and other
social issues that underlines ‘Better India’.

Dhimant and Anuradha are both civil engineer and hail from Bangalore. The idea to start such a portal struck the duo while reading/watching the daily news in India that was largely negative and sensational in nature. This got them thinking on what news should do to you? Should it be something to shock and leave the reader disgusted? Or should it make the reader feel positive, news which can be inspiring, compelling the reader to also contribute towards the betterment of the society.

Talking to Metrolife,
Dhimant says, “What we call news never gave us a good feel. Reading the news daily was  depressing. These feelings made us think that there should be some avenue that can promote positivity among the people. We decided to start our own platform that can help to highlight ‘the better India’. Hence TBI was born and helped us make in promoting
our thoughts.”

Today, TBI is being read by over one million people monthly (10 lakhs), which was read by one lakh the previous year, claim the enterprising duo. It boasts of nearly 350 contributors from across the country who report about feel good stories and achievers, in a bid to promote positive India. But to start such an avenue was not an easy task.

Dwelling on the challenges the couple faced, Dhimant says, “The biggest challenge during the initial days of The Better India was to get stories, stories that are genuine, stories that can initiate change. It was very difficult for the two of us to track down the unsung heroes and change-makers from across the country. But we managed to write two stories over the weekend. Soon we got some contributors that sent us their stories from different parts of the country and we started posting stories every alternate day. Now we share eight to 10 stories a day.”

TBI had featured many inspiring stories ranging from report about a group of visually impaired people running a photography club, jobs for the specially abled, conservation efforts in a hill station and more, that won it many awards like the Manthan Award for Best Alternative News Site across South Asia in 2009, The Social Media for Empowerment Award, 2014 and the Grand Prize winner at the Sankalp Forum, 2015. Recently, TBI also got an investment of Rs one crore from former Infosys CFO and chairman of Manipal Global Education, Mohandas Pai. Metrolife spoke to Shreya Pareek, TBI’s staff writer and also their first employee. Pareek shares her experience, “When I joined TBI in May 2014, I was their first employee.

The experience has been overwhelming so far. From being given the complete freedom to experiment with story ideas and packaging the story, it has been a very productive experience. It is amazing to see how people we write about come back to us talking about how one story has changed their lives. I have personally grown a lot as a writer here and have received recognition which I cannot express in words. TBI's majority of
readership is very active and responsible.

They engage with us on a regular basis, they reach out to us to extend support to people we write about.”Another staffer, Tanaya Singh is one of those many engineers, who realised that they are not interested in engineering only after becoming one. Hence, she joined TBI after “trying my luck in various avenues”.

“It is a very new experience for me and I have been enjoying every single bit. It is a delight to talk to some incredible people and listen to how they have been doing their part to change the country. The best part is hearing back from those people after the story is complete. The feeling of having done justice in spreading the word about their work is really satisfying,” Singh says.

“I have seen a difference
being created with just a few stories that I have written till now. We often come across people who yearn to read about all good things happening in the country, and when they do come across such stories, as are published in TBI, they try to become a part of it. They contact the protagonists, find out ways in which they can help, and contribute as much as they can. Sometimes, just reading about some impactful initiative can give others many different ideas of how they can also start something similar. And that creates a chain.”

“We want to make TBI synonymous with positive news in the country. We want to change the way news is perceived in India, we want to show that news can indeed be used to bring about a positive difference in our society,”
Dhimant says.


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