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Shoma Chaudhury, editor-in-chief of Catch News was forced to resign from the publication. In an email to staff, Chaudhury said that she was called in by the parent Patrika Group’s director of finance  and was asked to stop coming to work from Monday, February 29. Catch News began its operations in June 2015.

“In a completely unexpected development, on 27 February, I was called to Jaipur by the director of finance and told that, since Catch has now been successfully created and stabilized, Patrika no longer wants to keep me on as its editor-in-chief. I was asked to stop coming to work from Monday, 29 February,” Chaudhury wrote.

“To say I am stunned by this arbitrary behavior would be an understatement. Catch was not a functioning institution I walked into: it is something I helped create from scratch. To be abruptly divorced from it like this seems a real injustice, to say the least,” she added.

Catch News reporters who spoke to MediaNama said that there was friction between the management at the Patrika Group and Chaudhury regrading the number of page views. “The management wanted the monthly clicks on the website at 3.5 million by the end of December. But it stood at about 1.2 million. And then they revised the targets to 6.05 million,” a reporter at Catch News told MediaNama on condition of anonymity.

Catch News was founded by Chaudhury, ex-Mail Today founder Bharat Bhushan and reporter Kunal Majumder in May 2015.  Catch reports on everyday policies and events with a focus on public interest. The multimedia platform also covers social justice, plurality, equity, freedom of speech, rule of law and individual and constitutional rights.

Chaudhury is expected to speak to the staff at 4 p.m. and we will keep you updated of the developments.

Full text of the email

It’s seven months since we started Catch and I’m very proud of the media platform we’ve collectively created. One of the greatest pleasures of this time has been to work with a wonderful, young, high-calibre team like you. A lot has been achieved. Yet, we’re only at the beginning of what I’d hoped would be a very fulfilling journey together.

The adrenalin of creating Catch was to push the boundaries; find ways to marry old values of journalism with new modes of story-telling; break the usual silos. There are so many ideas still waiting to be set into motion; stands to be taken; stories to be done.

However, I’m writing to tell you with great regret, it seems I will no longer be able to lead the team or share that journey with you. In a completely unexpected development, on 27 February, I was called to Jaipur by the director of finance and told that, since Catch has now been successfully created and stabilized, Patrika no longer wants to keep me on as its editor-in-chief. I was asked to stop coming to work from Monday, 29 February.

To say I am stunned by this arbitrary behavior would be an understatement. Catch was not a functioning institution I walked into: it is something I helped create from scratch. To be abruptly divorced from it like this seems a real injustice, to say the least. Financially, Catch belongs to Patrika. Terminating a contract is their prerogative.

However, I would like to address the team at 4 pm today. Despite the usual ups and downs of proprietor-editor dynamics, I’ve had very cordial dealings with Patrika, Siddharth, Nihar and their families and I appreciate the opportunity they gave me to create something I’m proud of.

I am, therefore, doubly saddened and shocked by this. You’ve been an energizing, inspiring, livewire team to work with. You have incredible potential. I sincerely hope Patrika will back that all the way. I know this will come as a shock to all of you. As it has been for me. I wish it was otherwise.

Warmly, Shoma

Update: The figures on the page views were corrected.