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A one man army sets an innovative news agenda in India
August 2, 2018, 11:38 am
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Notwithstanding the negativity that mars the use of social media , one man in India has amply demonstrated how it can be used a platform for creative and constructive information sharing, and, thereby, enlightening not just the masses but key opinion makers, including ministers, prominent politicians, journalists, civil society activists and intellectuals!

Shafique ul Hasan an image maker by profession is a one man army who for more than a year has been running an innovative news clipping service through Whatsapp which he forwards everyday in the morning. And, all this free of cost, 7 days a week, delivered right at 8 am everyday!

What Shafique has been doing is slowly but surely revolutionizing the media landscape in India. With a subscriber base of over 1,000 he picks important news feature edit   scan them with his mobile with a precision and upload on the mobile

Another major advantage of his service is that it is trilingual, containing stories from most of the prominent English, Hindi and Urdu dailies! 

Such has been his passion and commitment that since he began it on 24 June 2017, there has not been a single day when his services did not hit the mobile; not even on the day of Eid!

“Truth in the times of lies, this is how I would sum up the selfless service provided by my friend Shafique”, says Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt, lauding the amazing service aimed to create greater public awareness.

Shafique ul Hasan, who runs Sky Ad Agency, goes through with hundreds of news stories, articles and editorials relating to national, regional and international context and then makes his own selection of around 30 stories and through snap shot feeds the mobile on WhatsApp.

It has long been his passion to scan the morning newspapers and share the important stories to his friends and well-wishers, every morning. On 24 June last year Shafoique shared important news with many of his friends.  The reaction he received was phenomenal as many of his friend admitted that they missed this vital piece of information.  And so began the service as his own contribution to create awareness and disseminate information that is so vital by media clippings in a much more organised manner and reaching out to a larger segment of the society. 

Shafique started feeding news service first to 100 friends then demand grew and more and more people were added to his broadcast lists across the country and globe. “Today I supply my news service to over 1,000 subsribers. However, by the evening the clippings multiply and reach to hundreds of thousand people worldwide.

That he did not miss the service a single day is indeed laudable. Scanning, reading and identifying important news from scores of papers in the three languages is not only an upheaval task but then to take snap shot and forwarding require grit and conviction.

When asked why free of cost, Shafique said it is my personal ambition and I never wanted to do it economically.  “If I am helping so many friends and raising awareness, I am happy. Though I have been doing it singlehandedly, however my wife is the force behind it. She not only lets me rob her time with me every morning but also extends all help and support”.

Shafique now has a wide data base of news and events for a full long year all date wise besides an ever increasing list of his admirers.  “Many of my friends do preserve news of their interest too”

With a modest background, Shafique who hailed from UP had moved to Delhi in mid 80’s at the very young age of 16 and took employment as reporter with an Urdu newspaper. Within four years he set up his own agency Sky ad which besides image making also diversified into publishing.  “Initial struggle was very bad I started at just Rs 250 but today I am satisfied with whatever I have achieved”.

He has reasons to be satisfied as the news clippings on mobile has evoked such a massive response with hundreds of messages pouring in every day is sufficient to convince him of his admirable achievement.

S A H RIZVI

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