The Daily Star established its place in the media scene of Bangladesh on January 14, 1991. It started its journey with a sense of challenge and a feeling of humility to serve this nation as a truly independent newspaper. The newspaper made its debt at a historic time when, with the fall of an autocratic regime, the country was well set to begin a new era towards establishing a democratic system of government which eluded Bangladesh for too long.
The Daily Star carries on with the long-term responsibility is to strengthen public opinion on how the democratic system should work and how to sustain and nurture democratic norms effectively.
It was a privilege for The Daily Star to be part of a changing scene after the fall of military autocrat in early 1990s. With that privilege came an enormous responsibility of upholding the duties of a free press. The newspaper is proud to pursue that policy without relenting for the past 15 years.
The uniqueness of The Daily Star lies in its non-partisan position, in the freedom it enjoys from any influence of political parties or vested groups. Its strength is in taking position of neutrality in conflicts between good and evil, justice and injustice, right and wrong, regardless of positions held by any group or alliance. The paper believes to report events objectively, as it is, and without any fear and favour. It is committed to serve the people. That’s why people — whether in power or in opposition — respect The Daily Star.
The Daily Star advocates rule of law, human rights, gender issues, national interests, press freedom, transparency and accountability of people in the administration and in the world of trade and industry on which the newspaper has never compromised whatever the costs. No political powers can take it for granted and no-one is given cause to doubt its fairness.
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC COMMITMENT
Being well aware of its social responsibilities and duties, the newspaper works to ensure human rights to all, remove gender discrimination, advocate rule of law, press freedom, transparency and accountability in the administration and in the world of trade and industry and above all to uphold national interests. While working for these ends, The Daily Star always maintains utmost sincerity and accountability to serve the nation the way it is bound by its norms and values.
Besides running news reports on these issues, The Daily Star carries special reports, human-interest stories, features, articles and essays written by its staffs and other professionals and talents from across the country and abroad.
During different national crises, the newspaper played an important role to solve those to stop people’s sufferings. As it remain alert of its social duties, The Daily Star frequently organises roundtables, seminars and discussions on the issues. It also works closely with the civil society for this end.
To promote young talents, The Daily Star organises debates and different competitions at school and college-levels and awards those who show excellence in different fields.
The newspaper is run a Board of Directors comprising six members. Head of the body is called Chairman while other members Directors. Presently a woman is the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors only deals with income and investment of the newspaper but have nothing to do with policymaking.
The responsibility of policymaking lies with the Editor who is also one of the Directors.
Most meetings of the Board of Directors are held at Conference Room of the newspaper housed in a four-storied building at Karwan Bazar in the capital, Dhaka.
The Editor who is also the Publisher of the newspaper leads the news, reporting and editorial units. He is assisted by an associate editor and assistant editors.
An editorial board comprising the associate editor and assistant editors are responsible for writing editorials under the supervision of the Editor.
The associate editor is responsible for assisting the Editor in leading the all the units and works as acting editor in absence of the Editor. The assistant editors are responsible for writing editorials in line with the instruction of the Editor.
They also write and collect post-editorials from other writers and looks after the editorial and post-editorial pages. It is also their responsibility to look after the features and articles and make-up the pages.
The management of the newspaper is headed by the Managing Editor. He is responsible for supervising the whole management including the accounts, production, store and establishment units.
Meantime, the Establishment is responsible for all establishment affairs including human resources development and administrative works. An Establishment Manager is the head of the department and works under the supervision of the managing editor.
The Finance Manager heads the finance and accounts sections. The Circulation Manager is responsible for all circulation of the newspaper across the country and for taking necessary steps to increase circulation. Advertisement Manager heads the advertisement section and is responsible for managing advertisements.
The chief reporter is responsible for supervising the whole reporting team, the key unit of the newspaper. He assigns reporters for covering events and writing special reports and receives reports from the correspondents working across the country. After getting the reports, he forwards those to the news editors.
There are two chief reporters in The Daily Star, one responsible for current affairs and another for specials affairs.
Chief News Editor heads the news section that comprise of news editors and sub-editors. Besides two news editors and a joint news editor, there are several sub-editors. The News Editors are responsible for page make-up. They also write headlines of the reports.
The sub-editors edit the reports and submit to the news editors. The news editors later send the reports for revision to Revision Editor.
There is also a City Editor in The Daily Star who coordinates all the events that take place in the city. He also supervises reporters who cover special events and coordinates the staff who work with bringing out special pages on different occasions.
Meantime, there are rewrite men and translators in the newspaper to develop copies.
DECISION MAKING PRACTICES
The newspaper is run according to a policy composed in line with its objective and values. The policymakers take the decisions. Besides the editorial board, the managing editor, news editors and chief reporters also play important role in decision-making.
Crucial decisions also come from the weekly meeting of reporters and sub-editors.
CAPACITIES OF STAFF MEMBERS
There are several sections in the newspaper — News, Reporting, Sports, Business, Editorial, Metropolitan, National Page, Star Weekend Magazine, Law and Our Rights, Lifestyle, Culture, Online, Establishment, Circulation, Advertisement, Computer Operator and Reading Section.
Total of 280 staff are now working in these sections. Of them, 40 are female staff.
Of the 16 sections, Magazine, Law and Our Rights, Life Style, Culture, and Computer Section are headed by women staffs. Besides, a number of women are working in different policy making positions of these sections.
CONTEXT OF ORGANISATION’S WORK
Staffs of the newspaper work in different shifts on the basis of the kind of their job. Although the staff of the administration, establishment and finance units work from morning to the afternoon, other units like reporting, news, editorial, graphics and production work in the night.
Although the staff of administrative unit, establishment section and some other sections have to do a 9:00am-5:00pm office like service-holders at other organisations, many staffs have to stay in the office till 2:00 in the night.
In fact, there is no specific working hour for the reporters as they have to rush to any corner of the country to cover the events. After most of the reporters leave office by 10:00pm, some reporters have to work for the city edition.
The news editors and sub-editors who work for the first edition have to work at least till 11:00pm while those who work for city edition can leave office after 2:00 in the night. Those who work in graphics section also follow the same schedule.
While most of the sections excepting reporting, news, editorial, reading, star city, graphics and production enjoy weekly holiday on Friday, staffs of these sections get their day-off on different days of the week.
The newspaper offers a very healthy working environment to its staff as it thinks a good working environment is the prerequisite of better output. The Daily Star concentrates on improving inter-personal relationship among its staffs and holds different programmes for this end.
Besides founding anniversary, the newspaper holds annual cultural programme where its staffs join with their families and get to know each other better.
WAGE AND FACILITIES
The Daily Star follows the Wage Board, announced by the government for newspaper staffs. The newspaper is regular in providing its staffs their due overtime and has a reputation of regular payment.
It also provides gratuity and provident funds to all staff members. Besides, the daily gives two additional festival bonuses to all members every year. All staff members of the daily enjoy health insurances, provided by the office.
While all the staffs get transport allowance, policymaking staffs and heads of different sections are provided cars from the office and get fuel cost. Most of the reporters use motorcycles provided by the office and get fuel cost.
The management encourages its staff members by providing increments for good performance and special bonuses.
Meantime, the newspaper house provides other facilities that the staffs need during their working hours. It has a canteen for the staff, which remains open since morning till the office ends for the convenience of the staffs. As a result, the staffs need not go out to take food.
Almost all the staffs have their own computer and have 24-hour access to the Internet. The newspaper house has also modern sitting arrangements, air-conditioning and toilet facilities.
In comparison with staff of other organisations, employees of The Daily Star are well paid and lead a decent lifestyle.
The Daily Star organises regular in-house training programmes for its staff members, especially for trainee reporters and sub-editors. To enhance journalistic skills and improve writing aptitude, the newspaper hires experts from home and abroad and holds in-house workshops.
Besides, members of the organisation take part in other training programmes and workshops home and abroad. Besides, receiving foreign interns under its exchange programmes, the newspaper house also sends its reporters and sub-editors abroad for internship.
The daily also encourages its reporters to go for foreign fellowships to improve their journalistic skills, which in a way also helps other staff to improve their skills when they are back in the country.
SPACE AND TIME CONSTRAINT
Since the newspaper is a daily in nature, the reporters and sub-editors have to work amidst time constraint to finish their works by the deadline. Since reporters have to cover more than one event a day, they have to hurry in submitting their reports keeping in mind the deadline.
Space constraint is another problem as the newspaper gets and carries a good number of advertisements due to its popularity. However, the newspaper always gives a good display to important reports.
The newspaper maintains a policy to promote female journalists and works closely to groom young journalism graduates.
Though The Daily Star has no official gender policy in recruitment of staffs, the daily gives priority to competent female candidates. Presently, 17 percent of its total staff members are women.
The Editor, on different occasions, instructed the senior staffs to encourage female staffs and said he wants the male-female staff ratio to be even.
Women staffs enjoy maternity leave of four months.
“There is no gender discrimination here,” said a female staff of Star Weekend Magazine who joined The Daily Star two years ago.
The newspaper has an unwritten policy for zero tolerance about gender discrimination and has made encouraging instance in this regard.
“After observing the status of women employment in the media industry in Bangladesh and learning about women’s treatment at different newspaper and electronic media houses, I conceived a very pessimistic idea and was quite disappointed,” a woman reporter said, as she was sharing her experience.
But when she first met the Editor and sought a job in the daily, his words changed her impression and she found it most encouraging, according to her.
“I’ve never got any objectionable or rude comments or any sort of maltreatment from any of my male colleagues in The Daily Star,” said a woman staff of computer section who has been working with the newspaper for last seven years.
“During my works, I’ve never felt that I am of a different gender. You know, I work at ease here,” she added.
The house never received any verbal or written complaint from any of its female staffs about sexual harassment.
ROOM FOR VARIATION
To cater to the widest spectrum of the reading public, regular 20-page issue contains 2-page Sports round-up, 4-page Business news, 3-page City news, one-page Arts & Entertainment, Country and International news, plus many more varied, informative and interesting pages on weekly basis including 2-page Star Literature, Law etc.
In addition The Daily Star has a weekly Special Magazine on Friday (The Star), a 4-colour tabloid-size publication for the young on Thursday (Rising Stars) and Lifestyle on Tuesday.
To be more of the readers, the daily carries a Holiday page, City-in-Frame and introduced a few months ago Star Insight and Star Campus.
Presently its internet edition is the most widely browsed web page by the Bangladeshi nationals living abroad and it is frequently quoted in national and international journals, seminars, research papers as the most trusted and authentic source of news. For The Daily Star and those who work here it is a rare privilege to be cherished by all.
Starting from small beginnings in 1991 with a circulation of a few thousand, The Daily Star has become the highest circulated, most respected credible English newspaper of Bangladesh over the years.
Presently the Internet edition is the most widely browsed Web page by the Bangladeshi nationals living abroad and it is frequently quoted in national and international journals, seminars, research papers as the most trusted and authentic source of news. It is the highest taxpayer media organisation.
The Daily Star has been the most sought-after and respected media house for journalists in the country and this is the first choice of journalism graduates.
The daily also encourages brilliant journalism graduates to take journalism as their profession and advocates for strictly following journalistic ethics and performing social duties while pursuing journalistic goals.
Since the newspaper provides standard wage and other facilities and has earned a reputation for fair and accountable journalism, it has earned strong popularity and public support, and it is the reason for its being most sought after newspaper in Bangladesh.
Many of the university interns who worked with The Daily Star for few months and those who worked as university correspondent later joined the newspaper and are now working as fulltime staff.