Jessore’s top circulated vernacular daily – Gramer Kagoj – and its editor Mobinul Islam Mobin are inseparable. In fact, Mobin’s passion for ethical journalism and hard labour saw his paper rise despite all odds and now boast the repute of premier news daily in the entire southwest region of the country.
Before one delves further into the long struggling history of Gramer Kagoj, its worth mentioning the paper’s latest move of introducing a four-page colour pullout on business news that clearly put the paper ahead of its trailing rivals. The smart move by Mobin to bring out a separate elaborate section on financial issues almost immediately sent the other Jessore dailies into back foot.
Thanks to a Katalyst intervention implemented through a development organisation – Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI) that helped Mobin develop business plan for such a new pullout and facilitate skill developments of his staffs – both journalistic and commercial.
Both through formation of a business reporters’ network (BRN) and through imparting in-house trainings at a few selected Jessore dailies, MRDI helped infuse confidence in Jessore newsmen on writing good business and financial reports.
This initiative not only raised the profiles of the individual reporters and their media outlets but also helped Jessore businesses to break through the barriers and grow further thereby, generating more income and job opportunities for the rural poor.
Mobin started pursuing a career in journalism way back in 1985-86 when he was still a student of famous Jessore MM College. As a financially insolvent newsman working for not so viable daily – Sphulingo (spark) – Mobin started nurturing a dream of having a smart daily of his own one day. Eventually he succeeded bringing out one – Gramer Kagoj – in March 1999, initially as a weekly. He had his stints in student politics, a correspondent for state-run Bangladesh Television and a news editor for another Jessore daily in between. These all experiences added fillips to his determination to do something enterprising.
His initial years with Gramer Kagoj were not an easy sailing. But he had a resilient genre that succeeded him to turn the weekly a daily in 2001. Mobin again went through a bad patch when the provided of his paper’s printing facilities had a failed attempt to control the paper. Eventually, Mobin came out of the racket as that fellow unsuccessfully launched another paper of his own and he (Mobin) managed to establish his own set-up of printing press.
Mobin’s rivals had hell lot of ploys against him – at times they used to lure his staffs away from him providing them with short-term benefits and tried in vain shutting the only independent voice – Gramer Kagoj –an odd among a host of politically-owned or inclined newspapers.