The Economic & Political Weekly, often referred to as EPW, has completed fifty years of existence. The journal was originally christened as The Economic Weekly and began publishing in 1949. Later on, it came to be known by its current name which was born in August 1966.
“I think EPW is unique not only in India but also in the world. It is a combination of scholarly research work done by academics with analysis, commentary and reports on current affairs,” said Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Editor-in-Chief of EPW.
Describing EPW as a “multi-disciplinary journal”, Guha compared the journal with a book as it publishes an average of 70,000-80,000 words in every issue. Much of content is derived from individual contributors who retain the copyright. Elaborating on the financial setup of the journal, Guha termed it as a small organisation with an annual turnover of Rs 10 crore.
According to Guha, roughly 40% of the revenue came from subscription and sales. He mentioned that EPW sells 12,000 printed copies and has a digital subscription of 6,000. Another 40% of the revenue is sourced from advertisements with the primary advertisers being banks. The remaining 20% is pumped in by the interest income from the corpus of Sameeksha Trust that controls EPW.
“We have been able to maintain our independence and autonomy because we are not dependent on a set of individuals or organisations for our funding,” claimed Guha.
He argued that sustenance is becoming difficult with the growing decline of newspapers and magazines since the younger generation is consuming news on handheld devices and desktops.
However, EPW has grand digital expansion plans. The journal plans to invest in building interactive multimedia content besides making effective use of its rich archives. As part of its golden jubilee celebrations, it intends to hold outreach programmes and organize conferences.
The magazine has also undertaken an ambitious translation project. Many of the scholarly articles published in EPW are being translated in Indian languages like Bengali, Hindi and Marathi. The translation is not a one-way process as EPW has also translated select quality writings from Urdu and Malayalam into English.