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India Post Champions Indian America

NCM Profile

NCM, Julie Johnson Posted: May 26, 2004

From coverage of the technology industry in Silicon Valley to interfaith activities, Fremonts India Post is tuned into the San Francisco Bay Areas Indian American community.

Founder and Publisher Dr. Romesh Japra saw the need for a way to communicate with the Indian American community while organizing activities and benefits as president of Indo-American Associations, Northern California. We had difficulty connecting to people through the mainstream media, Dr. Japra says.

In 1994 Japra brought together a group to start a weekly tabloid that would serve not just as a community mouthpiece, but also as a connection to news in India. Japra says that while in the beginning 90 percent of their news was from India and 10 percent was local news, now its the other way around. But with the Internet providing quick and timely news from India, and a web-savvy Indian American community, the paper no lnger serves as the community's link to news at home.

The new generation is more interested in the politics and whats going on here, says Japra.

As the needs of the community have changed, the editors at India Post have transformed the publication. The paper now includes sections on immigration news, health issues, philosophy, technology, and, of course, Bollywood and has a readership of about 140,000, according to Japra.

India Post holds a unique position near the community of Silicon Valley a stronghold of engineers and other high tech workers. India Post was there to cover stories of success during the technology boom and, conversely, stories of people fleeing the country during the technology bust.

Japra, a cardiologist himself, is particularly proud of the Health Science Post that includes a column by an Ayurvedic physician and a womens health advice column by an Indian OB/GYN.

When many Indian engineers and others began immigrating in greater numbers to the Bay Area, India Post editors recognized that they needed a real estate section commonly found in the mainstream press, but rarely in ethnic community media.

Japra says that his readership is unique because they are a cosmopolitan community. The Bay Areas diversity and atmosphere sets it aside from the rest of the country. Its a very tolerant area. People dont feel like second class citizens, he says.

Despite being among the most well-adjusted immigrant groups, the community has felt the aftershocks of the Patriot Act.

In February of 2004, a Sikh man named Khem Singh died of starvation at the Substance Abuse Facility at Corcoran State prison. Singhs death, and other stories of mistreatment such as being forced to eat beef despite religious beliefs outraged the Indian community though these stories were widely ignored by the mainstream press.

India Post has expanded from a Bay Area weekly to include an East Coast edition and offices in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, as well as India Post Television, a weekly half-hour program on the International Channel.

Check out India Post at www.IndiaPost.com

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