The New York Daily News and NY-based startup NewsCred recently announced the launch of Desi News, an online curated selection of news and other content geared toward South Asians living in the greater NYC area, now found as a section on the Daily News’ website.
“The New York metropolitan area has seen a growing interest in news – from an American perspective – about India, Bangladesh and the surrounding Pan-Asian areas as that community thrives throughout New York and New Jersey, as well as across the country,” Steve Lynas, SVP of Daily News Digital, said in a statement.
“The South Asian population is a fairly substantial one in the U.S. No major media outlet targets them,” Shafqat Islam, CEO of NewsCred, told NY Convergence.
NewsCred is an online platform that licenses content from more than 750 providers worldwide–including the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Reuters and The Economist. Subscribers can create customized bundles of news for a monthly fee. It’s a business model that naturally lends itself to niche news gathering. “We see this as a start and opportunity to target under-served audiences in the U.S.,” Islam said.
The partnership with the Daily News has been in the works for about six months. The technology was the easy part. Demographic research, finding the optimal news mix and curating the right editorial content was a lengthy process. “We dug deep into the demographics,” Islam said. Their team spent months surveying prospective communities and finding out what people want to read.
Indian politics, Bollywood and cricket news were high on the list. Islam said that both the Daily News and NewsCred spent a lot of time finding the right news sources. While the best political reporting came from Indian sources, The Telegraph and The Guardian emerged as the best sources of cricket news.
Desi News won’t be limited to just text, images and video. There will be a healthy amount of social media. “We will likely start curating tweets from celebrities soon,” Islam said. “Anytime you can fold in social content from stars, people love it.”
NewsCred is currently in “advanced discussions” with a large British newspaper for a similar editorial section aimed at South Asians living in the United Kingdom. U.S. Hispanic news organizations are also coming forward and expressing interest in joint ventures. Islam views Desi News as a model that can be successfully duplicated over and over again, and not just for ethnic news. With their broad news sourcing, they can easily create niche sports, financial and entertainment news sections. By this time next year, he thinks they will have a handful of similar projects up and running.
NewsCred wants to remain a behind-the-scenes source of information, and not a destination for news consumers. “We prefer to partner with other journalism sites. If we compete with our sources, it would be a conflict of interest,” Islam said.
News organizations want to extend their coverage, he said, because there is a big monetary upside. “These are growing communities that have high incomes. Advertisers are always looking for these audiences.”