Living in a digitalized era for years now, printed media seems like a thing of the past. Although embracing newness is considered a positive approach towards the future, few things must be maintained to keep its originality intact. When talking about digitalization, the first thing that comes to mind is the significantly declining print media. The wave of putting everything on the internet has taken away the essence of printed newspapers, magazines, and books. Reading from a physical copy instead of the online one gives a wholesome experience. People from the 90s and earlier generations still prefer reading from a printed copy as it allows them to reminisce about the classic golden days. Fortunately, Sri LankaNZ, the Sri Lankan newspaper in New Zealand, has acknowledged this demand of its consumers.
Founded in November 2019 by Harsha Weerakoon and Co-founder – CJ(Charith) Ekanayake, the newspaper was initially launched as a website. Keeping up with the trend of the information technology trend, the founders of Sri LankaNZ deemed it essential to have an online presence. They launched the website intending to connect the Sri Lankan communities far and wide. Available in English and Sinhala, the platform’s goal was to promote Sri Lankan traditions and values and disseminate information and news within the community. It does that, while encouraging and promoting fresh Sri Lankan talents worldwide.
With such altruistic objectives, the newspaper received a great response from its consumers. Although the website was doing well, the demand for print media started pouring. As the newspaper had a diverse audience ranging from children to older adults, it was important for the Sri LankaNZ team to cater to their needs as well. And so, the first printed copy was released in March 2020. Since then, as it is for today, a total of eight issues have been produced at two-month intervals and more than 2,500 copies of each distributed to outlets around the country. There was clearly unmet demand as all outlets ran out of copies. The publishers received a large amount of positive feedback and many contributions for future editions. The length of the published newspapers is between 24-32 pages.
Complying with the increasing demand, the printed copies of SriLankaNZ are currently distributed to more than 30 outlets which continue to grow in centers such as Auckland, Hamilton, Whanganui, Rotorua, Hastings, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington/Hutt Valley, Nelson, Christchurch, Otago/Queenstown, Dunedin, and Invercargill.
An All-Rounder for the Sri Lankans in the New Zealand Community.
As Sri LankaNZ represents Sri Lankan on the whole, it puts in great effort to cover all the aspects of the Sri Lankan community. It reaches out to readers of all ages and lifestyles with a wide range of articles covering health and wellness information, science among others. It also covers New Zealand and Sri Lankan history, politics and travel, world news, and sports. Furthermore, the newspaper has a dedicated ‘kids’ corner,’ community news, and information from a variety of cultural and religious traditions.
Being mindful of the budding community, the newspaper profusely encourages and showcases the work of talented individuals within the community. Making the most of the power of the internet, the platform promotes the works of creative artists who provide short stories, poetry, articles, and music to the world. This gesture of the newspaper has motivated many to own their talents and put them out there. The exposure through the worldwide accessed platform has been a medium of connecting talents to their respective hunters. The newspaper proudly publishes submissions from a wide range of people, including children, writers and poets, academics, medical and well-being practitioners, and religious organizations.
As promoting talent is Sri LankaNZ’s primary objective, the event of the newspaper’s first anniversary was another opportunity for aspiring writers. The one-year anniversary was celebrated by issuing a Special Edition with the 7th issue of the newspaper. In addition to this, a discussion was held with the authors who wrote articles, short stories, and poems for the newspaper through zoom technology. More than twenty people joined the live session for nearly two hours and shared various ideas and suggestions. The live session was of great help to the newspaper in its future progress and also a source of exposure to fresh writers.
Joining Hands for the Betterment of the Sri Lankan Community
In order to uplift a community, it is obligatory for its members to actively participate and organize events that unite its people. Sri LankaNZ’s contribution towards the well-being of the community was the screening of “Nobody Knows” – A Sri Lankan movie as part of the Fundraising event for the “Sri LankaNZ” community newspaper. The screening event was a smart approach that served the purpose of reuniting the community and simultaneously raising funds for a good cause.
Another one of Sri LankaNZ’s efforts is its partnership with PressPatron. It is a crowdfunding platform that makes it easy to support blogs and journalism websites. By gathering funds to showcase the talent, the SrilankaNZ web platform is also supporting the future of high-quality journalism.