Six years ago a content star was born, and since has grown into a galaxy of newsworthy and topical insight from local, national and international stories.
With its first publication back in May 2014, the popular and well-reputed ‘The Indian Weekly’ has reached a milestone of 300 quality publications.
At the time, monthly print publications were not keeping up with the community’s demand for fresh and interesting content. Seeing a necessity to provide fresh content from not only Australia, but around the world, ‘The Indian Weekly’ was born from the strong belief that ‘A Lot Happens in a Week’. They aimed to reach the Australian Indian diaspora, taking into account the busy lifestyles of their readers.
Covering a vast array of topics, the high quality content matches the attractive visual layout of the magazine, and acts as a ‘one stop shop’ content feast. From an Australian Indian perspective, the content range can feature relevant stories from back home in India, to key policy changes impacting Australian residents and to highlighting achievements of the Indian diaspora from around the world.
All this glory in word and images, is and has been backed by a dedicated small team, which has fortified their success. However, in the beginning, the founder, Mr Tonee Sethi, and his team were met with harsh scepticism from critics within the same trade. These critics believed it would be very hard to keep up and sustain an issue per week because of the work that goes in it and with a small team.
“Looking back, it is 6 years later and we are still going strong,” says Mr Tonee Sethi, “we tell stories that really need to be told.”
Mr Tonee Sethi has taken this point to the next level, and now the publication offers a platform to new and passionate writers who are looking for an opportunity to contribute. This collaboration adds more local and national perspective, and diverse opinions that make the content uniquely relatable, as well as a way for writers to be recognised and read.
With over 600,000 Indians residing in Australia, ‘The Indian Weekly’ team work hard to deliver fresh and inspirational content each week. This is achieved with each publication revolving around a topic relating to the main cover story. The main cover story can be a major news event from across the globe or a human-interest story. Specifically, the magazine focuses on inspirational journeys, explorations of the multicultural society we live in, and always aims for subjects that are unique and touch the hearts of readers. Proudly, the publication also works with the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, and brings reviews of newly released films to the public.
“Anyone who has run a magazine would agree that it comes with a lot challenges,” says Amandeep Sethi, co-founder of the magazine, “and one such challenge that keeps coming is the new angles of storytelling week after week that will shed a light on stories that impact the lives of readers. Sustaining this quality is the hardest aspect of the job, and a lot of effort goes behind the scenes to get it right.”
As advertising is the only source of revenue from the publication, it is not always the most profitable business platform. “The happiness we get from serving the community in this way, is what keeps us going,” Mr Tonee Sethi said, “if it was done only just for the sake of money, it wouldn’t have been worth it.”
The current aim of the company is to change with the times and always find better ways of storytelling, discovering ever-inspiring stories and stay constantly relevant to the society through print and digital platforms. In the past, people would only receive their news feed via print and radio mediums, and of course nowadays, we have moved into a digital world. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the magazine’s digital reach has tripled, with more resources being put into developing its digital platform and presence, as in the twenty-first century, this is always a moving target.
“But there are still people who like to physically hold and feel a magazine and the reading experience,” says Amandeep Sethi, who notes that some readers still prefer a physical copy, “and are willing to pay for postage even after we tell them to read it online for free.”
Being the only magazine in Australia where the content is aimed at the Indian Australian readership, it’s obvious to state that ‘The Indian Weekly’ strives to not only entertain its readers, but to inspire and inform. This is an important aspect as the stories are not just India-centric, but also focuses on Australians who go out of their way for the sake of humanity and strive to make a difference. Furthermore, there’s the common theme of the merging of Australian and Indian cultures, and how they can integrate in such a way that we can all exist in peaceful and joyful harmony.
As for the future? The team hopes to keep going for as long as possible with the print version and an ever improving and newly prioritised digital format as well, providing content for both loyal and new readers.
The wonderful team behind ‘The Indian Weekly’ send their heartfelt thanks to the thousands of supporters who have stood by them over the years, through ongoing encouragement and constructive feedback.
“Let’s hope the next 300 issues are just as newsworthy and topical,” said Mr Tonee Sethi, “we hope that the readers are as excited for future as we are.”
By Monisha Iswaran