Dutiful diligence in dispensing news for Chennaiites

Shyam Sundar, the founder, affirms that the app will be an all-in-one essential tool to empower Chennai’s citizens and its visitors with essential, verified information when in need.

author_img Vaishali Vijaykumar Published :  25th January 2022 02:46 PM   |   Published :   |  25th January 2022 02:46 PM
Dutiful diligence in dispensing news for Chennaiites

Dutiful diligence in dispensing news for Chennaiites

The necessity for credible, cross-verifiable and fact-checked information is paramount, now more than ever. In the cacophony of fabricated stories and fake news unleashed by the pandemic, emerged COVID19 Chennai, a social media page, in March 2020 - all with the purpose to help panic-stricken Chennaiites with authentic and reliable resources.

Within a year, it was rebranded as News of Chennai and developed into chennaicovidhelp.in, a web app that had essential information during the second wave. Now, with 23.5 k followers on Instagram and 3.2 k followers on Twitter, it’s all set to be launched as a full-fledged NewsofChennai.app on January 26. 

Information is key

Shyam Sundar, the founder, affirms that the app will be an all-in-one essential tool to empower Chennai’s citizens and its visitors with essential, verified information when in need.

"The app offers instant access to numerous helplines that are verified and suggestions to take action as a Chennai citizen. The ethos of the service is not to be an alternative to established print or digital media, but rather derive crucial information from them and disseminate it in a concise form when there is a need. The app will not deliver breaking news unless there is a crisis where every citizen needs to be alerted during calamities like floods or COVID-19," he says.

The public is a priority 

The app will automatically update without any manual intervention. "We do not collect any information from users. The app is built with complete privacy. It does not run in the background, thereby avoiding excess battery consumption. It’s free for all and there will be no ads or promotions. Currently, our focus is on a single langauge, English. However, our long-term plan is to make it available in Tamil," he shares. 

The information is sourced from trusted sources like Tamil Nadu Government, Greater Chennai Corporation and journalists from reputed media houses. "We also include crowd-funded information and verify before updating on the app. In rare cases, if helplines stop working after some time you can notify us via email, and we will immediately replace the outdated information with updated information if available," he details. 

For a larger impact, Shyam suggests we share the app link with friends and families. "The social media channels are active and we interact with users. We don't post every day, but only when there is important news or information to be communicated, and share our posts," he says. 

Besides the available information, the app will soon include mental health helplines, pet boardings, funeral services and more. "I am mindful that apps are one of the mediums. Social media will play a vital role to reach more folks. It will always be a service for citizens. If we use more government-run helplines, the government will be made more accountable," notes Shyam.  

The app is available for Android and iOS users. For queries, mail to newsofchennai@gmail.com

To download the app, visit: https://newsofchennai.app/

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