Read all about it: How University of Northampton student Arun is bringing the news to Nepal
“I always dreamt of starting an independent online media outlet"
A graduate from the University of Northampton has established himself as an emerging media player in his home country of Nepal.
Arun Budhathoki launched the English-speaking news website Kathmandu Tribune in 2017, with the hope it would become a respected go-to source for international and domestic news from the south east Asian country.
Four years on, and Arun’s site has grown in popularity, with more than 20,000 people coming to the site every month for independent news from Nepal. This growth has also allowed the Tribune to take on a roster of paid staff writers.
“I always dreamt of starting an independent online media outlet - I wanted to challenge myself and the media landscape in Nepal,” said Arun, who graduated from Northampton in 2011.
“Mainstream media outlets in Nepal are often run by owners having political affiliations and other businesses. Free press is needed everywhere to sustain democracy, and, although mainstream media in Nepal tends to show their bias, we also need them to make the government accountable.
“But often their stories are driven by the owner’s agenda and that’s dangerous. It would be wrong to say that mainstream media in Nepal do not cover issues in a balanced way, but some of their stories are clearly agenda-driven. In our case, we stay away from biased stories. I hope this has helped us to build up this good following of readers – while we are not yet mainstream media, the numbers are encouraging.”
Arun’s growing reputation in the media world has also seen the International Relations Master’s graduate become in demand with the Western press, when they need a freelance journalist with an expertise in all things Nepalese. He credits his time at Northampton for broadening his vision of world affairs, which helps him to clearly analyse issues.
“I have worked as a freelancer for four years, and perhaps that experience gives me the advantage to connect with Western media,” said Arun. “I would not call myself a Nepal expert, but it feels great that Western media would trust a native journalist to cover issues that you are interested in. The International Relations degree from UON helped me to broaden my political perspective and journalistic writings. I am thankful to the University that shaped me for the future.”
He added: “It feels great to raise awareness of my country around the world as I think a native journalist would connect better with local issues and give an informed idea to the world. I’m proud of many stories I have done over the years and I hope to do more in the future.”
Arun’s also keen to help writers develop their own career with the experience they pick up from working on the Tribune.
He said: “I feel great that when I choose my staff writers and pay them, albeit a minimal amount, as they not only impress me with their writing but also do their own research.
“As I give them independence to choose what to write about, it will help them in their future career as they proceed to work for other organisations.”