The Sunday Sentinel
The Sunday Sentinel is an online trans-continental platform for people to share their news, views, and opinions unabashedly, fearlessly, and without the threat of censorship or regulation on issues that affect them or people around them - directly (or indirectly).
To have people share their most honest opinions on issues that affect us in unimaginable ways, both directly and indirectly.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
Given my complete lack of experience in digital media, news, editing, and proofreading, the first step of the process was to express myself online and pick up key lessons from people's feedback. Doing so took me approximately 4-6 months. Once I had a rough idea, I began - with help from a dear friend back home - putting the website together and recruiting people from all parts of the globe to be part of the team, or to write for the newly established platform. I used every tool at my disposal including connections on LinkedIn, followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook, and word of mouth through my family and acquaintances to reach as many people as possible.
The initial design of the website was appreciated by many, however some on the team felt it lacked a 'cutting edge' feel. Since this was my first experience in working with WordPress, HTML, or CSS, modifying the website took longer than anticipated. Nevertheless, we tested several over the past few months, which finally led us to the current design.
Further, we also considered applying to various events and competitions to expand our reach in addition to partnering with similar organisations to connect with like-minded people and their audiences.
Since inception, our content has reached nearly 65 countries and garners close to 2,000 views a month despite suffering an inactive 3-month period this year and a loss of good contributors.
A team that began with 14 people was reduced to 2 over time, yet our impact in terms of outreach continued growing.
I had no experience in formal leadership prior to founding The Sunday Sentinel, which doubtlessly impacted my abilities to lead a team of 14 highly qualified and experienced people from all over the world. With time, people began dropping off - some due to bigger, better commitments, some due to dissatisfaction, some due to misunderstandings, while some stayed on.
Personally, the lessons I have learnt in this case have been key to my social and professional development over this past year.
In managing a team, honest and wholesome communication is key to avoiding potential misunderstanding and ego clashes. Further, one must be appreciative of a diversity in opinions and thoughts as they may seem inconsequential at the time yet may play a decisive role later on.
As far as the project itself is concerned, I would attribute interactions with contributors - formal and ad hoc alike - as my biggest learning experience. People have come forward with awe-inspiring stories and ideas that have left me highly motivated and inspired. Their drive to report/write about such stories have fuelled my passion for opening my platform to any- and every-body around the world and promoting diversity in thought and unity in action.