Sri Lanka’s amusing political scenario is no doubt a blood boiling, hot topic in every household. Against this backdrop, a little political satire is always welcomed.
News Curry is one such platform that arose to fame in 2015. Today, it’s grown into one that caters to your every satirical need. This week Times Online got a chance to converse with the anonymous team.
ToL: Tell us about the whole concept of News Curry. How and when did it first come about? What was the thought process that went into it?
(NS) News Curry was launched in 2015 to tackle the growing issue of real news which is corrupting our country. The premise of the site is to embarrass Ravi Karunanayake and provide coverage of the entire Rajapaksa family. At first, we didn’t think there would be a market for that. But we were taken by surprise. Just like the UNP last October during the coup.
ToL: Why did you choose the name News Curry?
(NS) : We wanted a name with a hint of local flavour so we brainstormed over a bottle of Arrack. The shortlist included News and Sons, News Ceylon (because not enough organizations are using Ceylon in their name), News Second (as News First was already taken) and News Coffee (huge markups for warm brown water). We settled with News Curry because the domain was available.
ToL: What's it like to work in your office
(NS) :We have an open plan office which came naturally as a result of working on the benches of Vihara Maha Devi Park. The Editor’s door is always open to the staff after a disgruntled employee took it with him on his last day. It’s also why we have standing desks.
ToL: How do you come up with your content? Do you have a team behind the curtains
(NS) : We don’t earn enough to be able to afford curtains so we generally like exposing ourselves. Our operations involve four laptops all with missing keys, stealing Wi-Fi from the next office, a whiteboard with permanent markers plus free tea and coffee if anyone works after 7.40pm on Tuesdays only. We take a vote on what we want to write about at the start of each day and then agree to go with whatever the boss wants by midday.
ToL: What's your recruitment process like?
(NS) : Recruitment is one area of the business that we take seriously. If anyone sends in a CV that is longer than three pages or uses the Times New Roman font, it is immediately rejected. During the first interview, we assess an applicant’s journalism skills by getting them to write an advertorial. We also get in touch with each applicant’s references to find out if they are willing to pay us to hire the person.
ToL: What is the end goal behind News Curry? Do you simply do it to for the love of satire etc?
(NS) : There is no end goal. Just like the passengers on a debt-ridden Sri Lankan Airways flight, News Curry is a journey with a confusing safety video and sub-par cashews, not a destination. If people laugh along the way that’s great.
ToL: To what do you attribute the platform's longevity to and how do you manage to balance time with your everyday lives?
(NS) :We have survived by taking many precautions including looking both ways before crossing the road, staying out in the sun for only 30 minutes a day and lots of fresh vegetables. We balance our time by planning ahead, procrastinating and then delivering as a result of anxiety. Counselling also helps.
ToL :Tell us about the feedback that you receive (both the positive and negative if any)
(NS) : We have received a fair amount of positive feedback which we are very grateful for. However, we also have received some negative feedback from people who claim we are biased. It’s not that we hate Apple, it’s just the Android is more flexible. Sometimes in the rush to get stories out, we stumble on our grammatical grammars. Unfortunately, we have received no feedback in the form of money or a Pulitzer Prize nomination.
ToL: How important is it to remain anonymous? Have you ever received threats of any sort?
(NS) : We don’t believe that who writes News Curry matters - it is better to focus on the content. With regards to threats, we haven’t had any white vans hovering around although we’ve noticed several people following us on social media. We also haven’t received any threats in the form of money although we are open to threats of marriage.
ToL: In your opinion What sort of a role does News Curry play in the Sri Lanka community?
(NS) : We aim to promote equality, which is why we are an equal opportunity offender. Irrespective of your age, cast, colour, race, religion, gender, sexual preference, nationality, height or favorite place to eat lamprais from, we reserve the right to offend you.
Q- In your opinion what sort of qualities should an ideal Presidential candidate possess?
(NS) : The key qualities a President should possess include being alive, an understanding of the greater good, communication, decisiveness, confidence and not be Maithripala Sirisena.
Q- To the founder/ editor of Newscurry - At any point of time in your life would you consider running for President? If yes/ no, tell us why?
(NS) :(Editor) I would consider running for President as I believe that while I may not make things better, I am confident that I can’t make it any worse.
Q- Do you have any future plans?
(NS) :Yes, I’m going to try out that new Chinese place in Kollupitiya this evening.
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