Frequently asked questions

What is Citizen Matters?

Citizen Matters is a Bangalore-focused and citizen-oriented digital newsmedia. It is dedicated to city journalism, focused on public affairs -- policy, people and practice, especially in urban governance, and public discourse. We also provide a platform for hyperlocal updates and help foster communities. Our focus is on in-depth, investigative and watchdog reporting, interpretation, analysis and commentary.


Our in-depth stories on the serious issues of Bangalore today and coverage of our city's vibrant activities scene, including arts and culture, will not only help you understand the changing nature of our city, but you will also be provoked to get involved and shape Bangalore for the better.

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Why take the initiative?

Well, we found that there are enough citizens bored of running into so much news and views about Britney Spears' problems and Rakhi Sawant's tantrums. Starting with ourselves.

No seriously, in India, 'local' is where the steepest challenges are - day to day lives, the traffic, the pollution, the chaos. We believe the greatest potential for improvement and opportunities for contribution to the community lie in the 'local sphere'. Local does not mean small - with a 9+ million in population, we deserved our own media!

We decided this merits a serious publication.

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Who are you?

Citizen Matters newsmedia is published by Oorvani Media Pvt Ltd, a tech-driven media firm in Bangalore.

The journalism and other content is supported by Oorvani Foundation, a nonprofit trust to ensure a free and independent media that is community-funded - the foundation will develop and promote deep-diving journalism on governance, citizenship and society at the city, state and national levels. 

For info about the team, click here. Details at opportunities and job openings.

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Is Citizen Matters a commercial venture?

 

Journalism published or streamed on this site is supported by the non-profit Oorvani Foundation, using teams of editors, journalists, freelance and subject matter experts, practitioners, filmmakers, audio producers, and organisational partners.

Oorvani Media, the for-profit firm manages the media platform.

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How can I get involved?

Register at Citizen Matters, and interact with fellow Bangaloreans on topics you are informed about. Tell us what kind of stories you would like to see covered, and alert us to happenings that matter. You can write articles on a matter you know well or add event announcements.

Support us by spreading the word - recommend our site or specific articles to your friends; and don't forget to make a contribution!

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Can I write for you? Do you also take citizen reporting?

We work with professional journalists and experts on a paid basis, and if you are interested in a paid role (freelancing or an open position) at Citizen Matters, please refer to our page on opportunities and job openings.

We also encourage citizen journalism, especially on community affairs and local topics. A community news publication for the city would be incomplete without citizen reporting.

If you are informed about a local public matter or event or issue and would like to raise awareness about it, please register and send in your article.

Please note that we do not pay for citizen reports, and also, you will need to take the Citizen Journalism pledge, before you submit your first citizen report. The pledge will ask that your articles be fair and accurate, and also that you are transparent about your sources.

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What sort of articles can I write?

Write on subjects you care about. Write what will be useful or interesting for others to know. Ensure your article fits the scope of Citizen Matters - i.e. citizen oriented and city focussed topics.

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What kind of alerts or story ideas can I send?

We look for ideas for stories that citizens will find useful or enjoyable. Sometimes there is no point writing about the obvious. For example, enough stories have been written about the traffic situation. But if you have a particular angle about an issue that has not been covered, or a lead about somebody who is working to solve a problem, tell us.

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Is Citizen Matters neutral?

This question is raised of most media entities, and people ask us this too. That's why we'll address it head-on.

All policy tends to flow from a categorisation of the world, a famous educationist once said. Therefore, nobody, no citizen, no reporter, no organisation, is really neutral. We all have our leanings and 'biases'.

Bias in favour of the public interest is a good thing, especially because 'the right direction' is clear in many matters of city policy. If someone proposes a divisive agenda that pits poor vs. rich, or caste vs. caste, or peddles an environmentally reckless agenda, we will not be neutral to it. There are enough directives and principles enshrined in the Constitution of India that provide guidance.

Yes, there are and will be many grey areas and cases where city matters are not black and white. We will not take specific sides in those cases. The next question is related to this.
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Does Citizen Matters take money from politicians, advertisers and others in return for running their articles or features?

Politicians and officialdom: Citizen Matters does not take money for journalism published on the website -- articles, editorials, interviews, or citizen writing. Media handlers of local politicians have approached us in the pastand we have declined and will do so.

Reviews: Citizen Matters does not charge for any kind of review articles (restaurant reviews or play reviews). These are written by independent writers. 

Advertiser's Features: Some advertisers purchase space in Citizen Matters and use that for a feature that includes text and pictures. When we publish this, we disclose this - standard ethical practice - as an 'Advertiser's Feature' above the space where the item appears.

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Are you independent or do you advocate a particular agenda for the city?

Citizen Matters is local, and independent.

We will carry opinions on policy for the city and localities or on city society. In reviewing these, we will be open to well-argued and well-substantiated positions. Arguments in our journalism will be substantiated with information that is every citizen's right to know.

We will advocate positions for the city in our editorial writing. However, our reporting will remain independent of our editorials.

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How do you ensure editorial integrity for sponsored articles?

At Citizen Matters, readers can expect us to maintain the highest standards of independence in editorial stewardship, whether it comes to selecting stories, or a specific inquiry into an issue. A local publication should be accessible to people in the city, but not influenced by any interests. We assure our readers that at all times, the sponsorship programme will adhere to two simple rules:

  • Sponsors will not get any editorial say in the published material.
  • Sponsors will always be clearly identified to the readers, i.e. there will be no anonymous sponsorship of any article.

For more details, see: http://oorvani.org.in/about/ 

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What are your guidelines for republication?

Permissions: People interested in republishing Citizen Matters' articles online or in print, must seek permission from us first. In some cases, they will need to seek separate clearance from the journalist/writer IN ADDITION to Citizen Matters itself. Write to us at edit @ citizenmatters.in, and we will let you know whether you need to seek permission from the writer as well.

Please note the following:

  • Citation: All republished articles must include the following citation: "This article was first published in Citizen Matters (www.citizenmatters.in) and is republished here with permission".
  • Requests for republication must specifically identify the article under consideration. Otherwise we will not be able to respond.
  • Copies: When republication is in print, we ask that the publisher mail one copy of the print publication to us. When the republication is online, we ask that the publisher e-mail us a note with the link of the article.
  • Responsiveness and silence: Citizen Matters will make all efforts to respond within three days of receiving a legitimate republication request. A lack of response must be construed as a NO, not a yes.
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Bangalore or Bengaluru?

As of December 2013, final and formal approval for the name 'Bengaluru' is still pending at New Delhi. We're looking forward to this. In the meantime, you will see a sprinkle of 'Bangalore' on our pages, in part because when we started publishing, the name change was still inprocess at the state level.

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If you have any more questions, feel free to get in touch.