A new Bengali eveninger, ‘Aaj Ekhon’, modelled on Mumbai’s ever popular ‘Mid-Day’, hit the stands in Kolkata on April 15, the Bengali New Years day. ‘Aaj Ekhon’ is the first publication from Freedom Media Pvt Ltd, a company promoted by three former print media professionals with interests in television production as well, having designed programmes for ETV Bangla and Alpha Bangla.
Rohit Basu, formerly of Tara Newz, is the Executive Editor, heading a team of 32 journalists in Kolkata and a few correspondents in Delhi and Mumbai as well. Moreover some celebrities like actor Prosenjit, singer Kabir Suman, film scribe and one-time editor of ‘Anandalok’, Swapan Ghosh, have been roped in to write exclusive columns for ‘Aaj Ekhon’.
Developed on the basis of the findings of a market research agency, ‘Aaj Ekhon’ is a 16-page part-colour tabloid with a cover price of Re 1. While its first edition will be available at 1:30 pm, there will be a second one later in the afternoon. Apart from current news and politics, its editorial content will also focus on entertainment, sports and crime in a big way, a company spokesperson said.
The eveninger’s Siliguri and Durgapur editions are reportedly also on the anvil and will be launched shortly.
While hoardings announcing ‘Aaj Ekhon’s arrival can been seen all over Kolkata, it remains to be seen how well it is accepted by the readers. Given the track record of other eveningers like ‘Bikeler Pratidin’ and ‘Sandhya Aajkaal’, and the inescapable fact that distances and, hence, commuting times in Kolkata are significantly less than what they are in Mumbai, for example, the new publication has its task cut out in so far as it has to first create a evening newspaper culture.