Negative reports in media prompted APJ Abdul Kalam to launch e-paper Billion Beats

By: Dr Anantha Krishnan M
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Kochi (Kerala), July 28: During the winter of 2007 in New Delhi, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, in the company of a few trusted aides gave shape to Billion Beats, an e-paper to capture positive stories of Indians.

Tired of negative news in the media, Dr Kalam gave directions to his team as to how the e-paper should look, its content, logo, design, catch-line etc.

Why Kalam launched Billion Beats.
The team was given a week to get the template ready and Dr Kalam reviewed the project on a daily basis. His trusted aides R K Prasad and V Ponraj were tasked to oversee the e-paper from New Delhi, while the editorial team was based out of Bengaluru. The tech-support team from was stationed at Madurai.

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On November 14, 2007, the Billion Beats was launched in front of over a lakh of students in Karimnagar. Launch of the e-paper caught the imagination of the national media, who hailed him as the new editor in town.

"I am happy to see so many positive stories from all across the globe. We need to always celebrate the success of India by highlighting the stories of unsung heroes. It could be farmers, teachers, drivers, cooks and carpenters. They all are part of Team India," Dr Kalam told this Correspondent during the launch phase of Billion Beats.

Four years later, on October 17 2011, while addressing a gathering at the Press Club of Bengaluru (PCB), Dr Kalam asked the media to be honest while reporting.

"Journalism is truth expressed in intelligible language for information, inspiration and the education of the readers. True journalism vitalizes nation ethics and values. There is no room for sensationalism in it, even if in the short run it might sell. It will be sheer sacrilege. True journalism is courageous, truthful, inspiring and exalting," he said.

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Missile Man's famous oath for journalists

At the end of his speech at PCB, Dr Kalam gave the below oath to journalists.

1) I love my profession, journalism.

2) As a young at heart journalist, I am a partner in national development.

3) As a young at heart journalist, I will always increase my research and analysis capability through university training.

4) I will promote through media the good news about the nation wherever it take place.

5) I will visit water bodies in panchayats and report, how it is maintained.

6) I will celebrate the success of our people particularly in the rural panchayats, whether it is in agriculture, fishing or craftsmanship or tourism.

7) I will propagate innovative growth and success stories to different parts of the country for emulation by similarly placed people.

8) I will report innovations, societal movements wherever it occurs.

9) My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my nation.

(The writer is a seasoned aerospace, defence journalist in India and currently the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. A close associate of Dr Kalam, the writer helped the Missile Man launch his e-paper, Billion Beats. He tweets @writetake.)

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