1) Why did you come up with an initiative like Bangladesh Media Innovation Awards?
Back when I used to work for the leading English daily of the country, The Daily Star, we were a member of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN IFRA). It is an association made up of leading newspapers from all across the globe. They have a number of initiatives to recognize the best industry practices in print and digital media. One of their programs is Digital Media Award, where they award the best projects from different regions. In 2015, I had the opportunity to attend some of their programs, and in 2016, we submitted a few nominations from The Daily Star – the best youth engagement project and the best social engagement project, participating with the Hindu, Quint, and some of the leading publications. Luckily, we were awarded both nominations under the Gold category. After joining Daraz, I was wondering if we could have a similar program in Bangladesh, to inspire the media houses to do good work worth recognizing. From that thought process, I and my former colleague Shuvashish Ray, who worked with me at The Daily Star back then, initiated the program. Thanks to A H M Hasinul Quddus Rusho, the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Daraz, and Ahaduzzaman Leon, the Head of Corporate Communications, for leading it to turn the whole idea into a reality.
2) Tell us about the process, how people got to know about it, and how it resulted in such huge participation?
We attempted to follow the modality of WAN IFRA. To begin with, we created a dedicated website with all the required information, categories, and other instructions. There was a press conference that we hosted, where we invited all the media houses and shared the modalities. Then, we gave them a timeline so that they can prepare accordingly and submit the projects they believe are suitable to be recognized. After the deadline, we had an independent jury board that shortlisted 60 top submissions, out of which 20 best initiatives were recognized in the gala event that took place at the end. We did think of having a public voting option as well, but due to the time crunch, we weren’t able to accommodate it this year.
3) What were the challenges you faced while arranging the program?
In my opinion, Bangladeshi media houses have surely come a long way, but they also have a long way to go. We are in a transformation stage. These aren’t challenges, but rather, opportunities that our media houses can embrace. If we can build a strong ecosystem for the medias, supporting them with the right resources and investment, the future is bright.
4) Will Bangladesh Media Innovation Award continue in the future?
Every brand works, or at least attempts to work collaboratively with the media to reach the right people. The more the brands and the media work together, the more the industry will flourish. Daraz will hopefully launch the upcoming versions of this program in the future with more upgrades.