How to enhance our Outreach through the Press-Media and the Luminaries

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How to enhance our Outreach through the Press-Media and the Luminaries

Today, one of the best avenues to reach out, not just to the masses, but also to the upper most class of people, is through the Press or the Print Media (Newspapers) and the Electronic Media (TV News & Entertainment Channels and Radio Channels). Reading newspapers and watching TV News Channels, is now one of the preeminent necessities of life. These days apparently oxygen seems to be of the secondary importance, as compared to the need of the Media. So much so that the preachers too, in order to keep up with the pace, sometimes are forced to surrender to this bewitching incarnation of Mayadevi. Hence, at ISKCON Ahmedabad, somewhere around 2007, we too decided to cultivate our relationship with the Media, so as to spread the Holy Name to each and every dwelling, where Mayadevi has her encroachment through them.

Normally a Press Conference is considered to be the best way, as compared to the advertising agencies, for conveying our message to the Press & Media. But, in order to cultivate a personal relationship and to make sure that they cover our event well, a personal visit to their offices is very important. Back in 2007, His Grace Jashomatinandan Prabhu (ACBSP) (President, ISKCON Ahmedabad), very kindly inspired us to cultivate this relationship and to develop faith in them for our movement. Here is a brief summary of our modus-operandi:

Generally, two senior devotees visit the news agency, approaching the centre head/bureau-chief/chief-editor to begin with, along with a special (VIP) invitation card of the event, a press-note/press-release with point-wise complete description of the event, a good quality prasadam box, a bag full of gifts such as Bhagavad Gita (or any other start-up books by Srila Prabhupada), a packet of incenses, some mementos like something for their office desk, car or their homes, a calendar, a good photo frame of the local Deities (or a painting) and a Maha-garland (as per the post and importance of the person). Even if one just leaves a press-note with the receptionist of any of the media agencies, they are generally bound to publish it. But this won’t help in building a personal relationship. Hence, with all our good intention and sincerity, we invite the chiefs, along with their family and friends, to grace our event. We assure them that they would be well taken care of, when they arrive. Simultaneously, we discuss about their plan to cover our event and the facilities they need to do the same. If they are a TV News Channel, we inspire them for a ‘Live Coverage’ of our event, for which they may require some space to park their OB (Outside Broadcasting) vehicles; in case they aren’t using the modern compact OB kits. After inviting the chiefs, we try to meet other subordinate, but important staff members and invite them too, for our event. Ultimately, in this way, we develop a relationship with many employees in a particular news agency. These bureau chiefs and the reporters keep changing the agencies frequently, looking for higher salaries and recognition. But due to our personal relationship with them, wherever they go, they help us in building newer relations with these agencies. Gradually these relations permeate and percolate to form a family like network with them. As a result, we now have established a direct communication with almost all the employee levels in the world of Press & Media and have added them to our WhatsApp group too, making them even more communicable. WhatsApp broadcast message is much better alternative to a group, which makes them feel comfortable and more personal.

Here is another aspect of how we look after them, when they arrive at our temple, during a festival:

During the events such as Janmastami, we form a team of young, energetic and presentable devotees for welcoming, escorting and assisting the Media and the VIP guests. We place a welcome booth at both the gates of the temple and as soon as they arrive, we welcome them warmly, note down their details, collect their visiting cards, give them an ID badge specially designed for them, escort them to the temple, assist them to secure their positions, assist them to take interviews or bites and inform them about the importance of the festivities and various aspects of the event. Finally, before they leave, we hand over a parting gift pack to them with prasadam and if they wish, we also provide full meal prasadam to them. If the bureau chiefs arrive, the senior devotees welcome and escort them, as for the dignitaries.

The dignitaries, after they hand over their vehicles to our valet parking team, are welcomed at the booth, escorted to the temple, provided with a plate of Aarati to offer to the Deities and if they are very prominent leaders, are requested to perform Abhishekam of Gopalji, led to the Jhulan/Hindola, escorted to the Prasadam area and finally to the main Pandal, where our cultural programs and the guest honouring programs are organized.

The process as such is very simple, but needs a demonstration of genuine care and respect, along with love, which is not at all difficult for the devotees, being anyway trained to be meek & humble and to have a serving attitude always. Hence, if we exhibit our true feelings, abstaining completely from any mock or formal pretention, this intellectual class of people will happily support our prime cause of the deliverance of the fallen conditioned souls.

Here is a brief summary of the result of this outreach process we just experienced, during Janmashtami 2016 festival:

Press – Media agencies which covered the festival:

DD News, Zee News, India TV, ABP News Network, India 24×7 News Channel, Sahara, CN 24 News, Live Gujarat News, ABP Asmita, Z News, ETV, TNI-TV News India, City News, Atulya Gujarat, Sandesh News, ETV News Gujarati, TV9, VTV News, GSTV, Divya Bhaskar, Times of India,  Ahmedabad Mirror, Sandesh, DNA, Sambhav, Gujarat Samachar, Rajasthan Patrika, Nirman, GTPL, Vishva Samachar, Gujarat Journalist and many other local news agencies.

The dignitaries who graced the festival this year:

  1. Honourable Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Nitinbhai Patel
  2. Mayor of AMC (Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation), Shri Gautambhai Shah
  3. Standing Committee Chairman of AMC, Shri Pravinbhai Patel
  4. Mayor of Gandhinagar, Shri Pravinbhai Patel
  5. Chairman of AUDA (Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority), Shri Bhupendrabhai Patel
  6. Ex-Mayor of AMC, Shrimati Meenakshiben Patel
  7. MLA, Shri Bhusanbhai Bhatt
  8. MLA, Shri Kishorebhai Chauhan
  9. Director General of Police – Gujarat, Shri P. P. Pandeyji (IPS)
  10. Collector of Ahmedabad, Shrimati Avantika Singh Aulakhji (IAS)
  11. Convenor of Gujarat, Shri Maheshbhai Kaswala
  12. Municipal Corporator, Shri Devangbhai Dani
  13. Municipal Corporator, Shrimati Diptiben Amarkotiya
  14. Chairman & Managing Director of NIRMA, Padmashri Dr. Karsanbhai Patel
  15. President of GCCI (Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry), Shri Bipinbhai Patel
  16. Chairman of the Green Environmental Society, Shri Shankarbhai Patel
  17. Ex-Chairman of GPCB (Gujarat Pollution Control Board), Shri Kanubhai Mistry
  18. Chairman of Shyam Textiles, Shri Hanumanprasad Guptaji
  19. Chairman of Honest Group, Shri Vijay Guptaji
  20. Chairman of Chiripal Group, Shri Brijmohan Chiripalji
  21. Chairman of Nandan Exim-Chiripal Group, Shri Deepak Chiripalji
  22. Chairman of Bansal Group, Shri Ashok Bansalji
  23. Chairman of Cubit Health Care, Shri Ashok Agarwalji

and many more IAS – IPS officers, government officers, business tycoons and other honoured personalities graced the festival.

For further details please feel free to contact us at:

ISKCON Ahmedabad Core Committee <>


Author: Dāmodara Dhanañjaya Dāsa

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