We’ve learnt a lot writing about news media startups in the Asia-Pacific in a pivot year, not least that digital news media is now more diverse, making journalism across the board simply better, write Jacqui Park and Laxmi Murthy

The 21st century news media in the Asia-Pacific doesn’t look much like last century. We’re moving on. That’s exciting! Photo by Leon Contreras on Unsplash

Discovering news media start-ups, interviewing founders and builders, writing up the cases, we’ve found a hidden secret: there’s some great things going on around here. So, to wrap up this pivot year, we’d like to share with you the ten big things we’ve learnt about our media industry and our journalism craft.

  1. What’s new? What’s News!

Digital news media start-ups are…


Italy’s L’Ora del Pellice believes its hyper-local business model fits its community with four magic words: quality, community, independence and respect. By Jacqui Park and Eden Vered

L’Ora del Pellice magazine cover, issue 16

For L’Ora del Pellice, from the small Val Pellice valley in western Piedmont, Covid-19 was an opportunity to prove their business model works with an unusual product: a quarterly 200-page print magazine.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how a slow, precise, and accurate journalistic approach is the most valuable service we can provide our readers,” says editor-in-chief, Daniele Arghittu. …


A news wave is breaking over rural India, as the all-women Khabar Lahariya fights disadvantage by leaning into hyper-local journalism, writes Jacqui Park.

Khabar Lahariya’s smartphone pivot: Reporter Meera Devi at work courtesy KL

In a network of villages across central India, Khabar Lahariya (News Waves) is using the power of hyper-local journalism to fight discrimination, promote literacy — especially among women — provide practical income support and keep communities informed about the practical issues that affect them on the ground.

Beginning as a weekly printed paper in 2002, the network embraced the opportunity of smartphones in 2015 to pivot and within two years, they abandoned print as video exploded through…


Good for revenues. Good for journalism. The paywall transition at La Voz de Galicia is paying off, writes Marta Caro and Jacqui Park.

La Voz de Galicia newsroom

La Voz de Galicia is a 130-year-old regional daily newspaper based in A Coruña, northwestern Spain. Born as a liberal newspaper, it is the highest-circulation newspaper in the Spanish region of Galicia (pop. 2.7 million).

The realisation that the technological capabilities of tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon made an advertising model untenable turned La Voz de Galicia into one of the first media outlets in Spain to set up a paywall.


Local Call’s critical journalism tells the stories of marginalized communities in Israel and brings the reality of the occupation to Hebrew audiences write Jacqui Park and Eden Vered

Since 2014, Hebrew language Local Call has aimed to fill the gap in reporting on the Israeli-occupied territories for local audiences. “Hebrew media outlets are lacking in this field,” Co-Executive Director Haggai Matar says,.“Israeli audiences really need to understand what the occupation is about — coverage in Hebrew is often either very minimal, or very distorted.”

Courtesy Local Call

The name is a pun on the decade old +972 magazine, founded by Israeli and Palestinian…


How Heraldo de Aragón is relying on collaboration with other local players using technology developed in-house to help connect and support local media outlets. By Marta Caro and Jacqui Park

Zaragoza, Spain. Photo by Pedro Sanz on Unsplash

The 127-year-old Heraldo do Aragón, based in Zaragoza in Spain’s north-east, is leading a collaborative network of regional media outlets across Spain to help all of them sustain their relevance in the highly competitive digital landscape

The technological collaboration grew out of an initial bet on an advertising-oriented model. Their first project as a network was a content recommendation engine, followed up by the introduction of local and regional advertising…


To build local news media for Indian cities the size of countries, Bengaluru’s Citizen Matters found a model that empowers both local communities and journalists for impact, write Laxmi Murthy and Jacqui Park.

Pre-Covid, Bangaloreans throng the streets on the eve of Ugadi, a Hindu New Year (Courtesy https://www.facebook.com/The8thCross)

The future of local news is being rebuilt online with journalism that empowers communities to engage in finding solutions for their own city. One of the leaders in South Asia has been Bengaluru-based Citizen Matters which has built a local model rooted in the activism of the community. …


Asia’s feminist media understand diversity is the key to relevance and engagement. In this second part, Jacqui Park and Laxmi Murthy go under the hood to look at the motor that drives that understanding.

The Magdalene team in Jakarta

What women want to talk about

The emerging feminist start-ups focus on journalism that is relevant and engaging from a key starting point: women aren’t just women.

SheThePeople.TV founded by award winning journalist Shaili Chopra is one such platform building content and a community for women to live life on their own terms. Its ideas editor Yamini Pustake Bhalerao says being a woman-centred platform shapes both…


Across the Asia-Pacific, new media like Magdalene in Indonesia, SheThePeople.TV in India and Villainesse in New Zealand are speaking the language of popular feminism to shape conversations around gender, putting women out front as a constituency that matters. In this first of two parts on Asia’s feminist news media, Laxmi Murthy and Jacqui Park talk to some founders to see what drives them.

SheThePeople.TV founder Shaili Chopra with Karnika Kohli, speaking about the role of women in publishing at the Women’s Writers Fest

There’s a gap between traditional “lifestyle” takes in traditional media on one side and often dense academic feminism on the other. …


A news wave is breaking over rural India, as the all-women Khabar Lahariya fights disadvantage by leaning into hyper-local journalism writes Jacqui Park.

Khabar Lahariya’s smartphone pivot: Reporter Meera Devi at work courtesy KL

In a network of villages across the sparse Central Indian hinterland, Khabar Lahariya (News Waves) is using the power of hyper-local journalism to fight discrimination, promote literacy — especially among women — provide practical income support and keep communities informed about the practical issues that affect them on the ground.

Beginning as a weekly printed paper in 2002, the network embraced the opportunity of smartphones in 2015 to pivot and within two years, they abandoned print as…

Jacqui Park

Find The Story newsletter on media innovation Asia: http://bit.ly/TheStory-AsiaPacific I’m a fellow at @cmt_uts/ JSK Fellow at Stanford

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store