Shephali Bhatt
Sep 23, 2011

"India is a subject of unending fascination," says Jim Schachter

Schachter, associate managing editor, The New York Times/ reveals the modus operandi for India Ink, NY Times' website targeting Indian readers across the globe

How do you plan to generate and regulate content for India Ink?

The news report of The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune exists in many media - print, the Web, mobile, video, the social web - and India Ink is one arm of that report. So our journalists in India and their editors in New York and Hong Kong are thinking all the time about how to deploy our journalism across all those media. India Ink specifically is intended to prompt a broad, intelligent conversation among people in India and the worldwide diaspora about the most important news stories that involve or affect them. So the journalists are looking for angles on the news, insights and conversation starters that invite discussion. They will break news on India Ink when they can, and the site will also strive to be timely and topical. But India Ink isn't a news wire.

How will you go about customising content to ensure advertising revenues at the same time?

Our journalists, of course, do not concern themselves with revenue issues. The understanding that the journalists of The New York Times, and The International Herald Tribune have with our company's business people is that we will produce the most interesting, honest, authoritative report possible, and they will generate revenues to support it. Strategically, we believe that India Ink's blend of reporting, analysis and reader involvement will secure an audience for the site that advertisers will find attractive.

How do you plan to use social media in creating and distributing content?

Social media is an essential part of any news site's outreach to its audience. As I type these answers at 10:50 a.m EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) on 20 September, one of our New Delhi correspondents, Lydia Polgreen, is engaged in a Q&A session about India Ink and our India coverage on Facebook. Our social media editors in New York are sending out tweets encouraging New York Times followers to go to Facebook to participate. I suspect that India Ink will extract highlights of the back-and-forth and feature them in a post, if that seems like a good way to move the conversation forward. The site has a very active Twitter account, @NYTIndia, with over 5,000 followers. Some of the featured contributors to India Ink have extremely large Twitter followings, and they are tweeting as a way of expanding India Ink's network.

Through all these platforms, our journalists are inviting users to contribute information and ideas that enrich India Ink's coverage of the country. For example, we describe a feature that was introduced today, "I Did Not Pay a Bribe," as "a collaborative project with our readers, devoted to showing how some people manage to get things done in India, without paying extra."  We're inviting readers to contribute their own experiences of getting everything from an electricity connection to school admission for a child without paying a bribe.

Localisation and regionalisation of content, how significant would it be for India Ink?

If you're asking about India Ink's significance for The Times as a global news organization, we think of India Ink as a test of one way that The Times, and The International Herald Tribune can deepen their engagement with a national audience by creating a site edited in and for that nation (and for others around the world interested in journalism from that vantage point). India is an important world player, a subject of unending fascination and an important market for our business.

If the question pertains to India Ink features likes Newswallah: Bharat Edition that seek to highlight regional news development around the country, I'd say that India is a big country and it's important that our correspondents and contributors travel it, that we glean trustworthy coverage of its far-flung parts and share them with our readers, and that we draw and engage readers from all across the country to be part of this heady conversation we're trying to nurture.

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