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India Currents is an award-winning, nonprofit, nonpartisan, multi-platform ethnic media organization focused on the Indian American community. Our mission is to tell critical, relevant, and investigative stories for and about the diaspora in the San Francisco Bay Area and serve as an incubator for a new generation of storytellers. As conveners of the community, we play a distinctive role in connecting Indian Americans to each other, transcending cultural silos, and promoting civic engagement to support broader social justice issues.
India Currents has documented the life of Indian Americans in Silicon Valley for over 35 years. Our deep roots in the community make us a trusted messenger on critical issues. Our journalism draws on diverse perspectives from our multiethnic audience and from community partnerships that facilitate cross-cultural communications. We fill the geographic and topical gaps left by mainstream media and offer a unique cultural lens on issues facing Indian Americans.
Here is a recent Q&A and case study that the Institute of Nonprofit News (INN) published about our work.
We aim to encourage thoughtful and purposeful debate on issues that impact people of color by offering a safe space for marginalized voices. Through collaborative alliances, we promote a deeper understanding of the diversity in our community.
Like all ethnic media, our role is first and foremost to document the intimate lives of the audience we serve. We connect our audience to their heritage with relevant coverage of the arts – books, dance, and music, and produce stories beyond the prevalent model minority narrative. We also chronicle social issues that impact their lives – whether it’s cross-cultural identities, assimilation, domestic violence, or the pandemic’s impact on ethnic businesses and the onslaught of unprecedented changes to immigration policy and Public Charge on new immigrants who are Silicon Valley employees. India Currents makes sure the community has relevant information and safety net resources to cope with unexpected changes in their lives.
In 2019 India Currents transitioned from a 32-year-old print magazine into a fully digital, nonprofit entity. We are a minority-led, all-female, editorial team. Four of our five board members are women. Over the last 35 years, we’ve had 75% or more people of color on staff.
During this time we have nurtured hundreds of community journalists, many of whom have gone on to become successful mainstream journalists and published authors. In 2021 alone, we worked with 297 writers and published about 600 stories. Our staff mentored 20 youth writers and 6 student interns.
Our editorial team produces award-winning stories from and for our community. Over the years India Currents has established a track record for journalistic excellence and won awards and recognitions from New America Media, the San Francisco Press Club, and the California Journalism Awards. In 2021 alone, our small but mighty team produced 21 award-winning pieces. In the last two years, our reporters have won three investigative fellowships from the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, and our team was one of four invited from USC’s 2021 grantee cohort to present their project at the USC Advisory Board.
Check out our stories, ranging from identity to politics, that have garnered journalistic acclaim!
The public has free and full access to all of the content on our website, social media, and weekly newsletters. Our website has generated more than 2 million page views since 2005 (when we got Google Analytics and started keeping track) and has reached 1.3 million unique users.
In 2021 alone, our website drew 317,500 unique readers, a 7% growth in readership from 2020. On Facebook, we have 56,500 followers and have recently launched an Instagram channel. We have about 15,000 newsletter subscribers.
We believe that providing access to fact-based, high-quality, professional journalism is the best way to encourage our immigrant community to find its footing in a new country. We encourage their engagement in the practice of democracy by telling the often untold stories of how decisions about key issues such as immigration, the census, or voting rights affect the lives of minority communities like theirs. Our stories are readable because we make complex topics easy to understand and publish stories, videos, and podcasts to reach our multigenerational audience.
In addition, we’ve always prized the role of convenor and advocate–the bridge that connects otherwise isolated South Asians to each other, to other communities, and to the wider civic life. That’s what drew us to projects like the initiative to track hate crimes, and to Ethnic Media Service’s initiative on the census and now on the pandemic. We encourage our readers to be civically engaged and partner with local minority organizations to amplify social justice initiatives.
We have built strong alliances with Bay Area nonprofits for community-building efforts.
Our CBO partners span diverse groups: East Palo Alto Center for Community Media (EPACCM), Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), Ethnic Media Services (EMS), Sikh Coalition, Hindu America Foundation (HAF), DingDing TV, India Community Center (ICC), LGBTQ support groups Parivar and Trikone, among others.
Over the past three years, we have co-hosted Civic Leadership Forums to build civic leadership in Asian American communities. Over 1,000 students, community leaders, parents, and elected officials have participated in the forums and the videos and stories generated from these have reached 200,000 people in the Silicon Valley.
We have collaborated with community partners on Census 2020, the Elections, understanding Black Lives Matter, sharing COVID resources, climate change information, vaccination efforts, and encouraging community members to vote in the recall elections.
Since 1987, India Currents has carved out a leadership role at the center of the ethnic media ecosystem in California and become a trusted brand and “go-to” hub for in-depth news and information on Indian Americans. We offer a successful blueprint for other local media outlets. Our insights have led the way on how nonprofit community leaders like us can innovate and deliver quality journalism in the digital ecosystem.
Most importantly, our work speaks for the Indian Americans of California. We showcase the diversity and discourse of our multi-layered community and bring their voice to the table at local initiatives, public forums, and local lawmakers on issues that matter.
What does India Currents cover?
* Politics, education, environment, fiscal policy, housing, justice, health care, elections, and the Legislature.
* We produce well-researched, heritage arts, comprehensive stories, explainers, in-depth projects, investigations, podcasts and videos, and products like election guides. All explore meaningful solutions.
* To increase public conversation and encourage public debate, we host public events, often with our media partners.
Why do we need an ethnic media site for the Indian American diaspora?
* Unfortunately, mainstream media does not always cover issues from the perspective of minority communities.
* Our key objective is to fill the void in the coverage of issues through a culturally sensitive lens.
* We partner with ethnic news outlets and form community alliances in the state, including local news outlets, TV stations, radio channels, and community allies who depend on us for in-depth coverage and analysis to complement and support the work they are doing.
How is India Currents Foundation funded?
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we depend upon the generosity of a diverse group of individuals, along with community and other foundations for support. To learn more contact Vandana Kumar at firstname.lastname@example.org