For the BJP, which has off late been getting negative media, Saptahik Outlook, the Hindi newsweekly from the Outlook group on October 7 may well be an occasion to advocate that the party stands for free press. Afterall the BJP stalwart and vice president Bhairon Singh Shekshwat and I&B Minister Ms. Sushma Swaraj will be releasing the inaugural issue of Saptahik Outlook that carries a cover story on war for supremacy within BJP. The investigative story also takes a hard look at the on-going slugfest among Vajpayee’s cabinet, NDA partners and Sang Parivar on the issue of Hindutva and disinvestment, resulting in crack in the government. The issue features special interview with Shekshwat on growing fundamentalism along with an exclusive opinion poll focussing North India.
Unveiling the content strategy Saptahik Outlook, the editor Alok Mehta told exchange4media that the magazine which will basically focus on North Indian hindi belt of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh will be editorial dominated content rich magazine. “Our will be a totally free and objective newsweekly that will neither be pro establishment nor anti establishment. Moreover it will be editorially independent of English Outlook.” Endorses Editor-in-chief Vinodh Mehta, “ present day Hindi magazines are either translations of English magazines or their standard is very poor. The editorial department does not have freedom to take independent decision. But Saptahik Outlook will editorially independent. “
The Hindi Outlook, according to Alok Mehta will not encourage fundamentalism and instead give top priority to promote social harmony, though it will not be found wanting in exposing the bitter truth of our society through hard hitting investigating journalism and sans cheap, sensational and defamatory contents.
Hindi Outlook will not be dominated by politics. Instead it promises to provide rich content on social economic and literary issues. Noted Hindi writer Manoj Shyam Joshi will write a regular column on todays society, while top literary figures like Kamleshwar, Bhisham Shani, Shri Ram Shukl, Kedar Nath Singh, Asghar Wazahat will contribute to it.
Perhaps the biggest USP of Saptahik Outlook will be its visual and infographic rich contents. Says Alok Mehta, “ for the first time in Hindi journalism in India, we will be making use of International class visuals and infographic.”
Both Vinodh Mehta and Alok Mehta declare that Saptahik Outlook will be able to demolish the monopoly of Hindi India Today. “ Out biggest strength will be that unlike our rival magazine that translate on contents from its English editions, Saptahik Outlook will mostly have original contents.” Says Alok Mehta.
But for Saptahik Outlook it seems to be tall task to bring out an international class magazine having original contents with just about a dozen staffers. In Delhi, besides editor Alok Mehta, the magazine has associate editor Govind Singh, formerly of Zee News and Aaj Tak, co-ordinating editor Diwakar, two senior special correspondents Pradeep Singh and Sanjeev Acharya. It has only four outstations principle correspondents based at Patna, Lucknow, Jaipur and Bhopal. But Alok Mehta is unfazed. “ We will be hiring the best stringers and freelancers to give quality contents to our readers.”
As part of its marketing strategy to create a dent in Hindi India Today’s readership, the 64 page Saptahik Outlook has kept its cover price at Rs 10 against India Today’s Rs 12. And according to Alok Mehta there is already booking of over 2 lakh copies for the inaugural issue. He claims that within six months Saptahik Outlook will reach at the level of Hindi India Today in terms of circulations.