Though the domain was booked on June 23, 2010, OKHLA TIMES started operating officially from September 2010. Initiative of a New Delhi-based journalist Asad, it is the first local and online-only news source for some one million residents of Okhla, a New Delhi’s district with a mixed population.
As a rich and entertaining source of information about Okhla, the portal serves net-savvy residents with daily dose of local news. Besides, blogs and exclusive column, Farout, are published on national, international and sport issues at regular interval.
Though the portal’s coverage is local (limited to Okhla and India’s oldest university Jamia Millia Islamia), its reach is global. Okhla and Jamia Millia Islamia diaspora living in far away countries, including the Middle East, Europe, the USA, Canada and the UK browse the website daily to keep themselves abreast of the development in their locality where they grew up.
On an average the site reaches more than 40 per cent of the online population of the locality and levels of visitor engagement have been growing with each passing day.
Saviour of local news reporting, OKHLA TIMES strives hard to highlight important issues, like lack of quality school, piled up garbage on roadsides, non-availability of drinking water, traffic snarl, low-quality buildings and sewage.
To reach a wide range of residents, including youth and women, the portal combines news writing with social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Its instant SMS news and email alert services are gaining popularity among residents.
There is enough room for local users to discuss local issues, locate and review nearby businesses, and read and contribute local news stories.
OKHLA TIMES strongly believes that through civil discussion, communities grow stronger hence we encourage all residents to participate, and ask that each contributor treat others with respect.
OKHLA TIMES is an experimental issue-led community journalism initiative with active residents also providing tip-off for the story from New Delhi’s Okhla where some of the unauthorized colonies are in tatters.
The portal is still expanding and we have plans to reach more deprived areas and empower marginalized communities to join the multimedia movement and have their own voice.
The portal also runs a community journalism course to train marginalized class in producing news and raising their issues through blog and other media tools.
In a short period of time OKHLA TIMES has made its mark in the media industry. The website was shortlisted by a London university for the XCity London Award 2011. Also, national famed news portal Rediff quoted OKHLA TIMES extensively on its stories on Welfare Party of India. A London-based website also mentioned OKHLA TIMES. A story on its founder editor was carried by exchange4media.com.
OKHLA TIMES is not affiliated with any other local media. It is independently operated portal that concentrates on education, health and women empowerment.
The technical side of the website is handled by IT professional Faraz Akram. He is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company.