Anshul Tewari

Ashoka Fellow
India,
Fellow Since 2015

Citation

This profile was prepared when Anshul Tewari was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
The New Idea
Anshul is creating an open and democratic, online media space to build an informed and engaged citizenry among youth. His media company, Youth Ki Awaaz (YKA), crowdsources written narrative pieces, op-eds and personal stories to highlight issues of social, cultural and political importance which are not reflected in mainstream media narratives. He combies journalism with technology to change the way media is produced and consumed, therby overcoing structural limitations to media’s capacity to actively engage citizens.
Youth, even if they are aware, are familiar with cultural expectations to remain silent on socially provocative issues around sexuality, violence, religion and political patronage. They have had little opportunity to voice their experience of social problems to an audience larger than their immediate social groups. By creating a powerful space for speaking and responding to issues tabooed by society, but which nonetheless have a deep impact on citizens’ lives, Anshul is gradually shifting this generation from silence to engagement and action.
Anshul is generating an online, national conversation between citizens. That conversation not only breaks stereotypes around the apathy of the youth, but also demonstrates that citizens can be a core part of creating quality ethical media. YKA’s unique editorial policy and standards actively build capacities of youth and citizens to develop journalistic skills. For instance its ‘online internship program’ trains young people on the requisite skills and confidence to articulate crucial issues and challenges they face, and contributes to their further development as communication professionals through ongoing feedback. While spurring 100-150 new writers every month, with a readership of over 2 million a month, YKA connects citizen voices to a wide audience to advocate with like-minded people and organizations, by strategic use of social media tools, digital campaigns and online journalism skills.
Anshul is now targeting potentially active audiences in tier-2 cities and smaller towns, to position YKA as a hyper-local platform where issues of local importance and can be read, and written about by citizens. In addition to developing Hindi and other regional content for the website, Anshul is launching a mobile app to spread to different geographies, given the high levels of mobile penetration in rural areas, and especially amongst the youth. Anshul is designing to crowdsource local content, in order to spark granular-level conversation and debate about issues important to citizens and youth of the areas, and to give them the platform and voice to make that happen.
Instead of depending on the corporate or political adverstisements so familiar in media, Anshul innovatively ties up with large non-profit organisations to co-create in-depth and editorially comprehensive campaigns that engage a vast number of people on social issues. This new type of business model helps YKA engage their readership with these issues, as well as create a sustainable revenue stream to build an independent, citizen-driven and non-partisan media outlet.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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