Evolving a Project Into Full-Fledged Media Business

How NRI Nation created the infrastructure to allow for future growth.

December 4, 2023 by Ashley Woods Branch

Nikita Roy 800 x 800

Nikita Roy incubated the NRI Nation project while studying at Harvard to create a news source for the 32 million members of the Indian diaspora living around the world.

The Challenge

As NRI Nation grew, Nikita needed help creating policies and systems to manage her dispersed team of contributors and ensure they weren’t continuously joining and leaving. She also wanted to eventually transition contractors to FTEs and sought advice on how to train and orient new recruits.

Nikita isn’t a trained journalist, and neither are most of her contributors, so she was spending a lot of time upskilling and training her team in the basics of accurate reporting. Finding ways to make training easier and more efficient became a top priority for Nikita as she navigated NRI’s transition from “project” to “growing publication.”

The Results

Those first months of launching a startup often feel breathless, heady, and fast-paced. However, with the help of LION coach Jennifer Mizgata, Nikita slowed down her decision-making and examined her current onboarding materials from the perspective of someone with no background or understanding of NRI Nation. This exercise led Nikita to craft a new employee handbook and orientation materials that meet new hires where they are and ground them in NRI Nation’s mission, values, and work culture.

She developed process workflows so that frequent processes like NRI Nation’s fact-checking methodology are documented for everyone to use. Now, the entire reporting and editing workflow is captured in a document that Nikita can share with new hires to quickly get them up to speed. This saves hours of Nikita’s time and ensures that all new hires receive the same information. 

Nikita also created a feedback process in the Asana documentation and management tool to set quarterly check-ins with her team members to document their progress toward goals and capture any feedback they have on how their work is going.

The Wins

  • Created employee handbook and “How We Work” document
  • NRI Nation continues to maintain a team of five contractors
  • Won their first grant from ICFJ

“I was able to have really thought-provoking conversations [with Jennifer] and think more critically about these topics with her.”

– Nikita Roy

Have a success story to share about the business side of your news business? Email the LION team at [email protected]!

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