India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont
I’d like to share our annual report on the state of India Currents and express our deep gratitude for your continued support. As you know, we are funded by readers like you, and we could not continue our mission without your generosity.
We started this journey at a time when computers were not common. Our team used to cut and physically paste stories onto boards and lay out the magazine on a light table in the garage. And here we are celebrating 35 years of India Currents in 2022. Now our team members work on computers, from their homes, across the world!
Today our peers and the community we serve recognize our work as impactful. We were honored to win the Leadership in Media Award from the California State Legislature in 2022.
The Institute for Nonprofit News published a case study about India Currents – a testament to the impact of our work. In the fall, the KQED Forum invited me to participate on a panel along with Alex Madrigal and other BIPOC leaders. Such exciting times!
2022 was truly special! The State of California selected India Currents for a “Stop the Hate” Outreach campaign. And then we got the more good news – Google News Initiative Digital Labs picked India Currents for its GNI initiative, one of only 16 media outlets in the US!
In 2022, we grew in three important ways: readership, donor base, and staffing. We increased our readership, which extended our reach to more people with our stories and perspectives. We also grew our donor base significantly, which allows us to continue our mission of providing a voice for the Indian American community.
We have more readers supporting us financially.
In 2020 we tried something we have not done in three decades. We asked our community for support. The first appeal resulted in $6,000 in donations from 34 readers! This showed us another path forward now that advertising revenue had dried up – a reader-supported model that is essential to building a sustainable nonprofit news organization. We are now fully engaged in building that model.
In our End-of-Year Fundraising Campaign, we raised $23,000 from readers during Nov-Dec 2022. This will be matched by $20,000 from Newsmatch, a collaborative fundraising movement to support independent, public-service journalism like ours. Our total fundraising from this campaign was $43,000.
We are grateful to 188 donors who supported us financially in 2022. 101 of them were first-time donors to India Currents!
We raised $27,205 in small donations (less than $1000) and $8,000 in mid-level donations ($1000-$4999) in 2022.
The monthly and yearly recurring donations are the most helpful – they are the ones that help us more reliably plan a budget.
We have grown our readership.
The public has free and full access to all of the content on our website, social media, and newsletters. In 2022 our website had 950,000 page views, reaching 514,736 unique readers, a 62% growth in readership from 2021. We were able to connect with 116,000 unique readers in California. Have you signed up to stay connected?
In 2022, we saw the following:
- 62% growth in readers
- 66% growth in sessions
- 54% growth in page views
- 4% growth in session duration
We credit much of that growth to lessons we learned as part of the Google News Initiative-funded Digital Labs initiative.
We invested in Staff & Technology!
We started 2022 with a small team – me as Publisher & Editor, Vijay Rajvaidya as CFO, and a part-time Managing Editor, Contributing Editor, and Social Media Manager.
We now have a new Managing Editor, Meera Kymal, who leads our editorial team along with Contributing Editors Snigdha Sen and Sandhya Char. We hired a new P/T Operations Manager, Priya Lava.
We hired our first Full-Time Photojournalist, Sree Sripathy, with $50,000 in funding from Catchlight. And we hosted an Emma Bowen Fellow in the summer!
Staying true to our mission, in 2022 alone, we worked with dozens of writers and published over 900 stories. Our staff mentored 20 youth writers and 6 student interns.
Technology Upgrades: We have invested in Newspack, an all-in-one publishing platform that incorporates industry best practices to help small news organizations like ours produce great journalism, drive audience, and generate revenue.
We signed on with Parse.ly which gives us insights we need to focus our content strategy and prove ROI.
We implemented News Revenue Engine, a donor management platform that helps news organizations build financial sustainability.
IMPACT OF OUR WORK
Recognition from Peers
- We won three awards for excellence in journalism from the California News Publishers Association, for investigative stories on the impact of domestic violence, the attempt to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom, and continuing coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. Five articles by journalists Meera Kymal, Anjana Nagarajan Butaney, Ritu Marwah, and Mona Shah won awards in various categories.
- We won 10 awards at SF Press Club Awards. Journalists Srishti Prabha, Ayyana Gandhi, Avatans Kumar, Medha Sarkar, Jaya Padmanabhan, Meera Kymal, and Ritu Marwah won in various categories. For Investigative Reporting on “Transnational Abandonment” Meera Kymal and Anjana Nagarajan-Butaney were winners. And for Continuing Coverage on “Pandemic Impact: Ethnic Grocery Stores,” Srishti Prabha walked away with an award.
- Vandana was a featured panelist on From the Field: Communicating with Communities of Color, a discussion hosted by INN.
- And CNPA featured India Currents in its Annual magazine, one of only ten news outlets to receive this honor.
Created Community Connections
- India Currents convened the first round table with the Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations (SCC OIR) and South Asian community leaders serving in various sectors – seniors, community centers, the unhoused, LGBTQ+, tech workers, and SCC OIR. Community members connected firsthand with County officials and share their concerns. As a follow-up to this convening, SCCOIR shared several resources with these community leaders.
- India Currents in partnership with Ethnic Media Services and DingDing TV created a South Bay Ethnic Media Collective to implement outreach on California’s “Stop the Hate” campaign.
- India Currents built connections with local CBOs through the SVCF Community Catalyst program: CreaTV, Silicon Valley African Film Festival, Civity, Chopsticks Alley, and Peninsula 360.
We made waves – Radio waves!
We got a lot of love from our own community – several desi radio shows invited us this year – check out our conversations!
- Rethink Desi podcast Reframe with Arpita Sharma
- Making a Difference with Sheetal Ohri on Bolly 92.3 FM
- Dil Ki Awaz with Namrita and Yamini on Bolly 92.3 FM
- Making a Difference with Sheetal Ohri on Bolly 92.3 FM
2022 was a great year for India Currents! We look forward to continuing to bring you the stories and perspectives that matter most to the Indian American community in 2023.
If you like our work, consider supporting us!
Publisher, India Currents
Fiscal Year 2022 Summary:
Our Funders: We raised over $200K from Foundations/major funders including:
- Silicon Valley Community Foundation
- CA State Library
- Miami Foundation
- Knight Foundation
- Ethnic Media Services
- Google News Initiative
- Cal Matters
29% of this funding was for General Operations support. The rest was allocated for specific projects.