I’m Indian-American and grew up in New York. Being Indian wasn't cool growing up. Western media mostly focused on South Asia's poverty (Slumdog Millionaire) or stereotypes (Apu, taxi drivers). That started to change as I grew older. I saw more South Asians in the news — from those in spelling bees, which I used to participate in, to presidential candidate Kamala Harris, to tech CEOs like Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella. I realized I didn’t know what was going on in the region or with South Asians nationally, let alone in my own city. My mom would forward me news on WhatsApp and I couldn’t talk to her about it meaningfully. I also found that journalism was becoming targeted: The Athletic for Sports, The Infatuation for food, Blavity for black millennials. And I noticed that as China grew, publications started China sections and readers loved Bill Bishop’s Sinocism, a newsletter with sharp China analysis. But there was no national, inclusive, well-reported publication for South Asians, the fastest growing demographic in the US and the largest diaspora in the world.
So, every weekend, I’d write a email newsletter (https://www.inkmango.com) linking to the best articles on South Asia(ns) with my thoughts on a pressing issue, from the Harvard affirmative action lawsuit to South Asian representation in Crazy Rich Asians. The newsletter grew to the thousands. After doing this for a few months, I realized linking to other publications wasn't enough. I was craving coverage I wasn't seeing. That’s why I decided to figure out what it would take to start a new publication with our own reported stories. We called it The Juggernaut.
We are starting with one new story a weekday. Our stories have included profiles on South Asian founders, an interview with comedian Hari Kondabolu, an essay on the erasure of Freddie Mercury's brownness, and an exploration of the rise of the Subtle Curry Traits Facebook group.
Media is difficult. People like free content. We launched behind a paywall because it allows us to pay journalists well and quickly, and invest in better journalism. And paid doesn’t mean exorbitant. I’d love to know — what publications do you read and why? What makes you want to pay for something? What pitfalls should we watch out for? Happy to answer any questions/comments; you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.