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Siddharth Varadarajan & Sidharth Bhatia launch digital news portal The Wire

The Wire

Former editor of The Hindu Siddharth Varadarajan and one of the founding editors of DNA Sidharth Bhatia have launched an online news publication called The Wire. Former editor of Time Out Delhi Raghu Karnad has also come on board as contributing editor. The digital publication has tied up with news agencies like Press Trust of India (PTI) and Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) for content and is apparently looking to raise Rs 10-12 crore in the next six months, as indicated by this Livemint report.

The primary driving force behind launching The Wire seems to be steer clear of corporate and advertiser pressure on content. The same has been mentioned in an introductory piece on the site:

The founding premise of The Wire is this: if good journalism is to survive and thrive, it can only do so by being both editorially and financially independent. This means relying principally on contributions from readers and concerned citizens who have no interest other than to sustain a space for quality journalism.

Looks like The Wire will primarily focus on politics, economy, science, external affairs, law and culture. A number of well-known journalists, industry veterans, and academics like former Financial Express managing editor M.K. Venu, diplomat Shivshankar Menon, former TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar, and Mineral Physics professor at Cambridge University Simon Redfern among many others have already contributed to The Wire.

Over the past year or so the number of digital only publications in India has grown exponentially:

– Atlantic Media’s mobile-first digital publication Quartz went live in India, in June last year. Quartz India offers both global and India-specific business news coverage and features.

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– Samir Patil led Scroll.in has been around for sometime now. The digital daily had raised investment from the philanthropic venture capital firm Omidyar Network, with participation from New York-based Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), in July last year. It’s worth noting that Scroll.in had a co-publishing deal with Quartz, as part of which Scroll.in was expected to take care of all the content, while Quartz will take care of all the monetization.

– Raghav Bahl’s Quintillion Media’s mobile-focused digital venture The Quint went live in March this year. Earlier in January, The Quint had started publishing stories on Facebook as a preview to the new service.

– Well-known international digital publications like The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed also launched India editions last year – Buzzfeed in August and The Huffington Post in December. Interestingly, former Quartz India editor Sruthijith KK was appointed editor of Huffington Post India.

– Former Tehelka editor Shoma Chaudhary has joined Rajasthan Patrika Group’s new media publication Catch, along with her Tehelka colleague Kunal Majumdar.

– Former Bloomberg TV India’s founder & editor-in-chief Govindraj Ethiraj’s 3-year-old data centric news & analysis portal IndiaSpend.com is going strong. They recently launched a Hindi version of the site in beta.

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