Seven years ago, we made a commitment. We would not just bring you the news. We would also help you engage more directly with your city. We would help change your lives. That has remained our mission. A look at some of the best examples of such coverage from the past 12 months.
Your city. Your issues. Your voice
If you have an oft-voiced complaint about your city, chances are it has been covered under HT’s Mumbai First banner. For more than five years, your favourite newspaper has been showcasing problems, solutions, views and status checks on Page 2, as part of an ongoing effort to help you, our reader, better and better understand your city.
From the municipal elections to open spaces, the state of healthcare to public transport and infrastructure, HT has used this space to call in experts, grill public officials and create a platform where you can receive regular updates on the issues that affect your day, your children and your community.
The themed features have included special pages on college admissions, lifestyle diseases, how to conserve power and recycle waste, creative ways to keep your child occupied in summer and cautionary tales about white-collar cybercrime.
For the doers, there have also been inspiring stories of how average Mumbaiites are making their city better, whether by saying no to plastic, keeping hawkers off their footpaths or fighting for their open spaces.
Missed out on some of these? Be sure to check out Page 2 and join the growing club of Mumbaiites putting Mumbai First.
An annual fitness test for Mumbai
It’s become an annual feature that Mumbaiites now eagerly anticipate. Every June, Hindustan Times calls upon its panel of infrastructure experts and tours the city, assessing rain-readiness.
For a metropolis that floods every year and yet has a municipal corporation that always claims to be ready, this monsoon audit is where you get the real picture.
Every year, there are follow-ups too, as the BMC scrambles to fix the clogged drains and work-in-progress roads identified by the panel.
This year, HT went a step further, also assessing rain-readiness in areas such as healthcare and transport. And we introduced a citizen’s audit, inviting citizens’ groups and ALMs to conduct audits of their own and publishing the findings as part of our coverage.
Pollutants in your water
Keeping an eye on what you drink
In a series of exclusive reports last September, Hindustan Times exposed how the water supplied to homes by Mumbai’s municipal corporation was not just contaminated but, in some places, contained nearly as much bacteria as sewage water. The reports prompted the chief minister to call for immediate action, with the BMC unveiling a water-purification plan days later.
Just last month, HT followed up on this issue, revealing how the monsoon was reviving the threat of contaminated water in south Mumbai.
A nexus exposed in Goa
In September, as the nation’s attention remained focused on the Karnataka illegal mining scam, Hindustan Times carried a series of special reports on how half the active iron ore mines in Goa were illegal and had cost the state thousands of crores in losses. The reports were followed by an uproar and, eventually, changes in the state government. In May 2012, the initial HT story won the Press Club Award for Excellence in Journalism.
Mission fitter Mumbai
Helping you get fit, stay fit, live healthily
In keeping with our mission to keep you, our reader, at the heart of this newspaper, Hindustan Times launched a one-of-a-kind effort — Fitter Mumbai — last August. This special series brought fitness buffs, health experts and doctors together to help the time-pressed, multi-tasking Mumbaiite make time for fitness. In addition to detailed guides and inspiring stories, HT also organised a series of free workshops to help you join our mission.
Make Mumbai safer for women
Urging you to blow the whistle
Last December, Hindustan Times and NGO Akshara launched the Blow the Whistle initiative, aimed at empowering women in public spaces and making the city safer for them.
A month earlier, Hindustan Times and Akshara had conducted a survey of 4,225 women, 95% of whom said that they had been sexually harassed or assaulted at least once — and 90% of whom said they felt unsafe in public places. In the weeks that followed, HT explored, through a series of special features, how public spaces were unfriendly, uncomfortable or downright unsafe for women.
The spaces covered included subways, skywalks, roads, railway stations, markets and even colleges. The series also covered issues such as stalking and police insensitivity.
No TV day
Tuning out, turning off, having new adventures
On January 1, 2011, we invited you to turn off your TV on the last Saturday of the month and turn on Mumbai, rediscovering your city.
The response in that first year took us by surprise; the response in the second year was even more heart-warming.
After tens of thousands followed our tips on where to go, what to see and how to spend the day with loved ones, we offered, in the second edition, two weeks of special features inviting you to try something new.
In addition to adventure sports options, DIY guides, recipes from exotic cuisines and tips on volunteering, we offered detailed guides on activities such as trekking, cycling and horse-riding. Also, maps and information on the city’s top five khau gallis, weekend getaways, picnic spots, street markets and art and cultural hubs.
As with last year, a special supplement offered maps for walkers, train enthusiasts and trekkers, to help you plan your special day.
Finally, on No TV Day — January 28, a special guide offered details of free cycling trips, heritage walks, nature trails, craft festivals, bee walks, sailing excursions and stargazing sessions organised specially for you by HT.