Cognizant of history yet resolute in modernizing to meet the shifting needs of our times

rifaat newaz
Published : 30 Oct 2016, 05:00 PM
Updated : 30 Oct 2016, 05:00 PM

These are times of flux, whose velocity, complexity and indeterminacy challenge us all whilst offering extraordinary opportunities to engage and work with change. It feels like a period of transition (arguably, an inevitable 'rite of passage') during which certainty is scant and anxieties mount, therefore we scour our surroundings for information and data – knowledge to shore up our foundations, give us compass and anchor, succour for our necessity to plan and look ahead and to feed hope. Knowledge feels even more precious than ever.

In the Autumn of 2006 came the launch [in practice a re-launch] of the bdnews24.com that we are familiar with; a low key announcement appeared on the home page, accompanied by a radical restructure of content and style [the changes may still be seen at archive.org]. The notice spoke of a "friendly take-over aimed to strengthen and bring qualitative changes to the operations of the media outfit". In some sense the changes to the site had a gestation of several years preceding; when he was at BBC World Service in London, future bdnews24.com Editor-in-Chief Toufique Khalidi and I would brainstorm ideas for a 'professionally' led, 'Made in Bangladesh' news portal; we went as far as acquiring a few domain names – just in case. Little could we have anticipated what Khalidi would spearhead on his return to Dhaka. What remains clear after a decade is that our game-changing arrival as an authoritative, exclusively online news resource had a transformative impact not simply on our sector but also in subtle as well as fundamental ways on myriad facets and confluences that comprise our civil society. A propellant as well as a barometer of a burgeoning Bangladesh has been the growth of a vibrant, resilient media.

bdnews24.com remains the most visited Bangladeshi origin, English language website a decade on; it continues to rank in the Top 10 of ALL websites consulted in the country – ahead of the likes of Wikipedia, Twitter and the BBC. I am fortunate enough to be Strategic Counsel to Wikipedia Co-Founder Larry Sanger and his endeavours in the news space; what is utterly compelling is his relentless commitment to 'neutrality' – a tough call in a world of shades and of the media in particular. It is a struggle we too at bdnews24.com are implacably invested in – we are grateful to be constantly learning and we work to admit our imperfections. Comprehensive, timely and reliable news is increasingly what our vast and growing readership require; it's an expectation and a benchmark we also set ourselves internally. Across the ecology of our peers in the independent knowledge economy we each play our role as contributors to the country's development; this is not limited to our responsibility to the wider stakeholding and to the processes and institutions of Bangladesh's democratic traditions. Our readership as well as our competitors can attest to the foregoing.

At bdnews24.com we have borne witness to a momentous decade since our birth; perhaps the generation after ours will be best placed to be arbiter of whether what we did was as important as we feel it was. We persist in what we do, fierce in our autonomy.

In this month of October 2016, we can readily discern a world bound closer together through the reach of digital media. The grave terrorist attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in July unfolded in the palms of public hands worldwide; technology knows no bounds and digital data knows few barriers. As I write the England cricket team tour Bangladesh – once again a foreign as well as domestic public are able to keep a constant connection with whatever narratives arise; we must concede that for a few the interest is prurient – to have a window seat were events to take a dark, violent turn. In counterpoint, Bangladeshi publics through the lens of bdnews24.com may gradually become awake to the remarkable affect on the 'Bangladesh brand' abroad that second generation 'Brits of Bangladeshi origin' are having – at their forefront in the U.K. for instance currently are the MP Tulip Siddiq and the culinary star and presenter Nadiya Hussain. These two women in particular – with their contrasting histories yet both utterly modern and engaged – somehow echo the line bdnews24.com treads: cognizant of the history behind us, including that which makes us; yet, we are resolute in our duty to modernize and we continue to innovate in meeting the shifting needs of our times.

HAPPY 10TH ANNIVERSARY TO ALL MY COLLEAGUES.

I am proud to be a pixel in our growing story.

Professor aladin aladin
Editor Emeritus, bdnews24.com
Visiting Professor, Innovation and Strategy: Cranfield, Loughborough, Royal College of Art/UK
Emeritus Professor for the Public Understanding of Intercultural Processes, Interkulturelt Center, Copenhagen.
Strategic Counsel across industry, government and the not-for-profit sectors.
Co-Founder, virtual action research lab and platform: The Social Capital.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher