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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

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Facebook bests from HT's desk
Hindustantimes.com
New Delhi, February 27, 2014
First Published: 19:21 IST(27/2/2014)
Last Updated: 09:21 IST(28/2/2014)

From the heart-warming story of Bihar’s ‘sparrow man’ and his 8,000 winged ‘friends’ to Arvind Kejriwal's first day in office as Delhi chief minister, you, our readers on Facebook have always received our posts overwhelmingly. Looking back, the way these posts were received, was a learning process in terms of understanding what it was that our readers were looking for.

Facebook became a platform where everyone expressed their opinion, good and bad, on almost everyone from politicians to entertainers. But, the best times were those when readers affectionately received those stories that came straight from our desk, just for them to read.

Contrary to popular belief it isn't just politics and entertainment that attracts attention. What people look for is a human connect. And therefore, it isn't surprising to see that some of HT's best stories on Facebook have been just those ...about people.

From an American granny who found love in Haryana to the man from India who was right in the centre of the WhatsApp-Facebook deal, we take you along on a journey down the memory lane, of some of HT's best posts on Facebook:


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Read the story: Acid attack survivor Laxmi’s spirit wins her a partner for life


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Author's note:

There was this post being circulated on Facebook that claimed to ‘expose’ the real face of Hasiba Amin, who appears as the youth face of Congress' ad campaign 'Kattar Sooch Nahi, Yuva Josh'. It accused her of being part of 300-crore PWD scam. When I saw that post, I thought, ‘Another political lie’. However, Hasiba Amin tweeted her disgust over that post and clarified that it was all but true. After that tweet, I felt disgusted about the Facebook post for ruining someone’s name so blatantly. So, I discussed the same with my HTCity editor Sonal Kalra and she advised me to go ahead with the story for mainbook.
I was one of the few journalists who actually spoke to Hasiba, then, to get her point of view. Sonal forwarded the story to the online team and they put it up after including various tweets and a video. The story became an instant hit, and came up as the top search in Google for the keyword ‘Hasiba Amin’. Interestingly, another media house picked up our story, gave it a new headline, changed the name of the reporter, but used OUR story! Later, they had to obviously take it down. The story got several hits and about 130 comments!

– Medha Shri Dahiya (Chief Copy-Editor, HT City)

Read the story: Face of Congress ad faces social media fury


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Author's note:

I got a call from one day, at around 11pm informing me that my story on "American granny…" had more than 10k shares on Facebook. The love story of a budding journalist from a Karnal village and an American woman started from Facebook and it became an instant hit among the FB users. It was indeed a pleasant surprise that the story was read and perhaps liked too by thousands of the readers.
That foggy morning, it took me more than two hours to cover a distance of 70kms but it finally revealed itself to be an interesting story. Before punching it in, I found it an unusual love story but I never guessed that it would be read by so many people.
The story crossed 30,000 shares... Impressive, as it is possible only on the digital platform to measure the "popularity" on a story.

- Vishal Joshi (Principal Correspondent)

Read the story: American granny finds love in Haryana village


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Author's note:

My heartiest congratulations and best wishes to our HT Online team for achieving this wonderful landmark and I'm sure this is just the beginning! :)

- Shreyas Navare

See the cartoon: All About Priorities!


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Read the story:
Sand artiste creates world's biggest sand sculpture of Jesus


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Author's note:

I saw Chinky Shukla's photofeature on Jadugoda before I met the photojournalist. The images were arresting. But when I met Chinky, I was impressed with her dedication to the cause of making people aware how people in neighbouring villages were being affected by uranium mining and careless dumping of radioactive waste in Jadugoda. Chinky had done detailed research on the subject and had horror tales to narrate of death, gene mutations in children and the spread of cancer in the villagers. What's heartwarming is that even though her work has fetched her awards and critical acclaim, her mission remains to reach out to the masses with her message and help bring about a positive change in the condition of the people in Jadugoda.

- Poulomi Banerjee (Assistant Editor, HT Weekend)

Read the story: The Nuclear graveyard: To 'light up' our homes, some lives are falling into 'darkness


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Author's note:

With surfeit of opinion polls indicating that BJP-led NDA was emerging as the lead contender for the forthcoming 16th Lok Sabha, it was natural that other political parties would like to join the alliance to contribute to the future government at the Centre. And among the first ones to join NDA would be allies of the past. After the Parliament cleared the Telengana Bill and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi attracted surprisingly large crowds at his rallies in North-East, I talked to the top leadership in BJP and in the RSS in order to find out who they would want in the NDA. Once it was clear that senior RSS leader Ram Madhav had been deputed to sound out the cadre in erstwhile AP on prospective alliance with TDP, the story crystallized. The massive crowds in NE forced former allies AGP to rethink on joining the NDA and pooling the vote together. Both these alliances as well as alliance with LJP of Ram Vilas Paswan were driven by Modi in order to maximize the BJP's performance 2014 elections.

- Shishir Gupta

Read the story: South to north, how Modi is helping NDA win allies


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Read the story: Get ready for a black Taj Mahal


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Author's note:

Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion is the largest deal ever for a venture capital-backed startup. And at the centre of it was an Indian - Neeraj Arora, the business head of WhatsApp. People always like to read about fellow countrymen who have interesting success tales and make it big globally. To add cherry to the cake, Arora is associated with WhatsApp, which is fast becoming an integral part of mobile users' lives. That was the idea behind the story.

- Nisheeth Upadhyay

Read the story: IIT-Delhi graduate head of 'all things business at WhatsApp'


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Author's note:

Almost everyone in the world was left fascinated with the fact that a big cat was roaming free on the streets of India. Meerut, and the leopard on the loose, managed to capture everyone's attention. The idea for the story sparked off from a short mail from a boss who wanted to keep this 'attention' alive. From there on we decided to keep it simple and turn it into a photo essay. We had never imagined, though, that it would turn into such a rage. It was another learning experience for me at HT.

- Vishakha Saxena

Read the story: When leopard meets man: Photos of big cats at close quarters


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