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Print takes 'social good' route to engage readers

30-December-2013
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Print takes 'social good' route to engage readers

Newspapers today are taking their social service role to a whole new level – with not just news articles, but by supporting causes and using their widespread reach to create awareness about these issues. However, the crucial question is if such a move can make any headway in bringing in a more transparent and supportive environment?

DNA’s latest campaign, ‘Good is in our DNA’, urges people to ‘Be Polite’. The campaign is targeted at the fast-paced life in urban cities, where people do not have the time for niceties.

A few years back, Pakistan’s leading newsgroup, The Jang Group, and The Times of India Group in India collaborated for their ambitious ‘Aman Ki Asha’ campaign, which was conceived around creating better bilateral ties between the two countries. In its third year now, the campaign has over the years organised various cultural events and has run articles in both the leading newspapers across the two countries supporting the cause.

Though national dailies have a larger audience, it is the regional dailies that are seen as making a better impact, or so it seems from the campaigns by Dainik Bhaskar and Hindustan (Hindi). With the launch of ‘Friends of Hindustan’, Hindi daily Hindustan aims to identify people’s problems, empower them to voice them and in the process create a movement.

Dainik Bhaskar seeks to make a difference with its public awareness campaigns such as ‘Beti Bachao’ and ‘Zidd Karo, Duniya Badlo’. Combined with print ad campaigns, outdoor, social media campaigns and on-ground activities, the group plans to amplify the output.

The Hindu, with its ‘Undumb India’ campaign, took a stand on making India a better informed country – with its various ATL and BTL activities that were against what they believed is ‘junk food journalism’ and the steady dumbing down of news content.

Hindustan Times, on the other hand, took up the cause of growing illiteracy and decided to counter it with its ‘You Teach; They Learn’ campaign. Currently rolled out in Delhi, this campaign aims at reducing the levels of illiteracy by enrolling children in schools and helping their families learn too.

The need of the hour today is to create a platform where everyone can voice their opinions without being judged or branded. Keeping this in mind, The Times of India had launched its ‘Teach for India’ campaign, and has been an active campaigner of adult education in the country for many years now.

What strikes a chord here is the fact that while some national brands are running social causes to either fulfill their CSR mandates or as part of their PR activities, there are others who have taken this path in a bid to actually make a difference.

Here’s hoping that this trend sees a logical path and does not get lost in the melee of causes and effects.

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