Reality-checks and Fiction and Fads: Satyamev Jayate Researcher and TheReader.in founder, Lipi Mehta
Lipi Mehta is possibly embarking upon the most dynamic phase of her life, with her job on the Satyamev Jayate team changing her life one episode at a time. Yet, when the digital storm hits and the ark comes rescuing, she has not intentions of getting left behind! Today, she speaks to us as the seasoned researcher at Satyamev Jayate, as well as the shiny new digital entrepreneur, being the founder of the one-year-old Thereader.in, in this exclusive interview with Binjal Shah for SheThePeople.TV:
Tell us all about your expeditions, working with with Satyamev Jayate. What made you join, and what part of the job do you love the most?
Working with Satyamev Jayate has been the most enriching experience of my life. Co-workers and interviewees are treated with immense respect and dignity. I was keen to join Satyamev Jayate since it had a place for a team player, someone who was willing to take initiatives and contribute to the show with love and passion, more than anything else.
Working with Satyamev Jayate has been the most enriching experience of my life. Co-workers and interviewees are treated with immense respect and dignity.
I joined as part of the website team and then moved on to the research team under the show’s co-director and head of field research, Svati Chakravarty, a woman whose work ethic I admire and aspire to emulate.
Was the experience fulfilling? You may have met multitudes of marginalized communities and people, especially women- What revelations did you witness? How has that affected your thinking?
The experience was extremely fulfilling, and that is to say the least! It was life-changing for me. While it could seem simple at the surface level, I have understood that for people, especially women from marginalized communities, it takes great strength to share their stories of struggle, while revealing their identities and allowing us to take their story forward to millions of others.
Because of Satyamev Jayate, I have learned to look at the layers of stories that people share. The show has made me more empathetic and grateful as an individual. There were days when I would come to work feeling low or distressed, but instantly feel inspired and encouraged listening to individuals who have triumphed from their struggles and great hardships. At the same time, I learned to not de-value my problems or struggles, however, small they may be. And in that way, the show has given me an aerial perspective: it has enabled me to look at an issue from every side, being objective and accepting at the same time.
It enabled me to convert my love for reading into a venture that would feature stories to encourage reading amongst others
What inspired you to start your digital venture, The Reader?
The Reader (thereader.in) is a labour of love. There was a time in my life when I felt a deep sense of ‘creative lack’ in my life. Because of my mother, another strong female presence in my life, I have been in love with books since my childhood. The Reader was a step forward—it enabled me to convert my love for reading into a venture that would feature stories to encourage reading amongst others. The website turned a year old in February this year and we hope to take it to more audiences this year with more articles and interesting collaborations.
You think the proverbial ‘winter’ is close to ending for women, with technological advances, especially in the digital sphere? You yourself are a benefactor as well as a beneficiary of the medium.
Yes absolutely! The digital space is one of the most accessible spaces for women with an internet connection and a willingness to participate in the medium. Many women like me have found a space to express themselves through group or individuals ventures, whether it be in the form of a website, community forum or blog.
I have also read women on Twitter or on blogs, saying that working in digital media gives them space to multitask, work from home if they wish to and generally, value quality of content over quantity or time clocked in at an office. Speaking from my own experience, all the members of Satyamev Jayate’s digital team are women and come from a variety of media backgrounds. All of us have embraced the digital medium as a space that has the potential for growth and more importantly, potential to bridge gender gaps that are seen in every profession, digital or not.
Reaching out to your audience and replying to them regarding their questions, suggestions or comments is important.
What are the certain key aspects that you have to get right to make it big in the digital content business today? What have blog-turned websites- like missmalini, thrillophilia, and your own venture taught you? Addressing the blogging universe, give us some cheats!
According to me, one needs to keep up with the pace of the digital content business, otherwise it is extremely easy to ‘fall behind’. It is important to accept that while content is permanently available on this medium, attention spans are extremely short. What is important today, does not seem so important on the web tomorrow. Therefore, it is crucial to create, update and share content regularly.
Connecting with your audiences through social media is key as well. Therefore, sharing content that might not belong to your site but complements a theme or topic that you usually write about is alright as well, as long as your audience is engaged. You need to be present for your audience. Another element which is key is response management. Reaching out to your audience and replying to them regarding their questions, suggestions or comments is important.
Websites like Missmalini.com are proof of what anyone with an idea, an internet connection, and willpower to translate the idea into action can do! A friend of mine didn’t know until some time ago that a real person called Malini is behind the site! He thought that it was a website that wrote about lifestyle with a ‘cool identity’. That’s great according to me—when the identity of your venture is enough to keep it going on its own.