An Examination of Opinion Publishing Practices in J&K*

The Viral Post

Editorials are often regarded as the core essence of newspapers; however, their completeness is contingent upon the inclusion of Op-Ed sections. This article conducts a thorough examination of the systemic challenges plaguing opinion publishing in Jammu and Kashmir, underscoring issues such as the absence of acknowledgement, insufficient feedback, obstacles to publication, timeline, compensation and indifference towards contributors. 

Representative picture

It critically examines the implications of these practices on the quality of journalism, the sustainability of content creation, and the broader impact on public discourse. Through a detailed analysis, this piece aims to shed light on the urgent need for reform within local news publishing, advocating for a model that values and supports its contributors.

The landscape of local opinion publishing is fraught with challenges that undermine the very foundation of journalistic integrity and creativity. Despite the crucial role local journalism plays in informing and engaging communities, a disturbing trend has emerged. Writers and contributors, the lifeblood of these outlets, face a stark reality characterized by neglect, exploitation, and disregard. 

This article systematically addresses the multifaceted problems identified by contributors, offering in-depth analysis, and proposing a pathway towards a more equitable and respectful publishing environment.

1. Lack of Acknowledgment

The first point of contention lies in the failure of local news outlets to acknowledge the contributions of writers. Unlike their national and international counterparts, which at least extend the courtesy of auto-replies, local publishers often leave submissions unacknowledged. This silence not only disrespects the effort and time invested by writers but also creates a barrier to establishing a constructive relationship between contributors and publishers.

The absence of acknowledgement can be attributed to a lack of resources or a systemic undervaluation of writers' work. However, this practice erodes trust and discourages future contributions, ultimately impoverishing the local news ecosystem.

 2. Absence of Constructive Feedback

The second issue pertains to the lack of feedback provided to contributors. Feedback is essential for growth and improvement; its absence signifies a missed opportunity for development and collaboration. By not engaging in this fundamental exchange, local news outlets stunt the professional growth of their contributors and the evolution of content quality.

The failure to provide feedback may stem from operational inefficiencies or a perceived lack of necessity. However, this approach neglects the potential for fostering a vibrant, dynamic, and mutually beneficial relationship between writers and editors.

3. Barriers to Publication

Contributors to local news outlets often face unexplained barriers to publication, reflecting deeper issues like editorial biases, preferences, and external influences that affect editorial decisions. This selective gatekeeping harms diversity, limiting the range of voices and perspectives, which is crucial for informed public discourse. It also jeopardizes the credibility and relevance of the outlet, as biased content selection erodes audience trust and disconnects the publication from its community's needs. Such practices undermine journalism's foundational principles and its role in democracy. To uphold journalism's critical function, news organizations must embrace equitable and transparent editorial practices, ensuring all contributors have an equal chance to be heard and maintaining the publication's integrity as a trusted information source.

4. Fair pay for writers

The newspaper industry is adapting to the digital era by diversifying its revenue streams beyond traditional advertising and syndication to sustain operations and support journalism. These models include digital subscriptions, membership programs, crowdfunding, sponsored content, events, e-commerce, content licensing, consulting services, and educational initiatives. Each model offers unique ways to generate income while engaging readers and maintaining journalistic integrity. However, the shift to digital highlights the critical issue of fair compensation for writers. Unpaid contributions undermine professional standards and devalue the work of writers, threatening content quality and diversity. Establishing fair compensation practices is essential for recognizing the contributions of freelance journalists, regular contributors, and experts, ensuring a diverse range of voices, and maintaining the credibility and relevance of publications. As newspapers evolve, balancing innovative revenue models with ethical practices and fair writer compensation is crucial for the future of news outlets.


5. Indifference to Contributors

Contributors to local news outlets face significant challenges, exacerbated by widespread indifference to their concerns and a lack of engagement from the outlets, leading to alienation and a diminished sense of community. This issue is further complicated by preferential treatment for some writers, who are allowed to publish lengthy, amorphous articles frequently, while more capable writers are overlooked. This selective favouritism, rooted in a hierarchical approach that favours institutional interests over individual contributions, undermines diversity and innovation in journalism. To create a more inclusive and dynamic environment, news organizations must adopt an egalitarian approach, valuing all contributors equally and fostering a range of voices. This requires a commitment to actively engage with and respond to all writers, ensuring their role in enriching public discourse is recognized and the publication's relevance and credibility are maintained.


The issues dogging local news publishing are suggestive of a deeper displeasure within the industry. To address these challenges, a paradigm shift is necessary. This involves recognizing the intrinsic value of contributors, fostering a culture of respect and collaboration, feedback, acknowledgement, robust gatekeeping and adopting fair compensation practices. Only through such transformative changes can local news outlets hope to sustain themselves and continue to play their vital role in society.

It is imperative for stakeholders within the local news ecosystem—publishers, editors, writers, and readers—to advocate for these changes. The future of local journalism depends on its ability to adapt, respect, and fairly compensate those who enrich our public discourse. Let this article serve as a catalyst for dialogue and action towards a more equitable and vibrant local news landscape.

-The Author is a digital content creator and alumnus of the University of Kashmir

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*Disclaimer: This article is based on an evaluation of the top 20 local newspapers conducted over one year, I possess the proof and records, which I am prepared to divulge as necessary.


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