PESHAWAR: Five years is a long time to juggle production, pre-press and administrative responsibilities and keep a newspaper’s sales afloat – that too with unflinching resolve. Yet, Express Media Executive Director Operations Ashfaqullah Khan will go the extra mile to ensure The Express Tribune reaches retailers on time every morning.
When the newspaper began its journey in 2010, Khan—who was already affiliated with Express Media Group and had a sales background—played a pivotal role in organising the framework for sales and distribution. Since its inception, he has managed all procedures between the creation of a print layout and final printing. “It isn’t an easy newspaper to bring out,” he says. “Since it is printed using a four-colour process, we have to be extra careful and ensure nothing goes wrong.”
Nevertheless, his dedication and commitment paid off immediately. Within its first year in print, the newspaper had managed to carve a niche for itself in the market.
“Hawkers seemed genuinely interested in buying our newspaper,” he says, recalling the initial days of the journey. “At first, we offered series of packages and promotional schemes.”
According to Khan, they were more than willing to bank on it.
“Furthermore, our distributors didn’t try to pressurise in any way,” he explains. “As a result, The Express Tribune developed a positive image.”
Five years on, the relationship still remains deep-rooted and durable.
“They have rarely complained about delays in bringing out the paper,” Khan says, though not without pride. “In fact, they have even waited for us whenever distributors have been late in bringing the paper to them.”
At a time when digital media is the future of news, Khan believes the print medium has yet to run its course. “More often than not, the past gives you confidence in the future,” he says. “So far, we have a strong readership and a competent team who will help us sail through. People may come and go, but we will survive.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2015.
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