On LiveWire’s Third Anniversary, A Note

Dear readers,

It’s our third anniversary!

The world has changed a great deal since LiveWire was born on April 1, 2018. For one, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 and what little we’ve seen of 2021 have panned out in a way that not many could have ever imagined (barring scientists, virus experts and sci-fi authors, of course).

We’ve made it this far because of our readers. LiveWire is dependent on its contributors who have, through the years, continued to promote much-needed conversations. They are the steam that drives this engine. Our inbox is always overflowing with news reports, personal stories, opinion pieces, poetry, fiction and so much more. It is a collaborative effort, one which involves a lot of back and forth, and we’re delighted to be able to play the role we do in giving so many voices a platform, as we unlearn and relearn together and navigate this complex world.

If we have made even one person not feel so alone, I’d consider it a job well done.

Over the past year, all of us across the globe have had to contend with a lot of unexpected adversity. Educational institutions shut down, and classes shifting online brought a new set of problems. Students have been drastically affected — story after story on LiveWire reflected myriad troubles faced by millions of them. Many of these stories have demonstrated how the country’s youth are willing to speak truth to power.

We’ve also carried stories that navigate the everyday horrors of casteism, sexual harassment, deep-seated patriarchy, societal taboos, mental health and so much more. It stuns me to see the courage of so many contributors as they share deeply personal stories and mark their dissent in creative ways.

From increasing polarisation to widespread misogyny and a shrinking space for freedom of expression, the path that lies ahead for India isn’t an easy one. More so, in a news cycle that is only becoming increasingly breakneck in India and across the world, virality has become the name of the game even as newsrooms face diminishing resources. When everything is crafted to provoke in a bid to get more views, it is more important than ever to stand for the right core values.

In India, with the coronavirus pandemic still storming our shores and multiple ongoing state elections, employing such values could not be more vital, especially as fake news and misinformation campaigns run rampant, largely thanks to a pliant mainstream media. Eventually, it is the trust of the reader that is damaged; at times, irreparably. This is why it’s imperative to be committed to the principles of ethical journalism — from accuracy and objectivity to transparency.

In a way, I see LiveWire as a diary for India, a diary which emphasises on developing empathy at an individual level so that we become a more empathetic nation step by step. It is a far-fetched goal, clear from the hate that has seeped into India in recent years, but there is always hope that things take a turn for the better.

I thank you for being dedicated readers. I am also incredibly grateful to the LiveWire team members who work tirelessly to bring out some of the most relatable and engaging stories to be found online.

I’m truly excited about the future of LiveWire. Forgive the cliché, but the best is yet to come. I do believe our generation will be defined by our capacity to respond to what’s going on around the world. And I can’t wait to see what becomes the defining voice of this response.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty