Do-It-Yourself News

April 21, 2014 , by Sewa Bhattarai, Leave your thoughts
Do-It-Yourself News » My Dreams Mag
In the last decade, media has come a long way in Nepal. Newspapers and televisions are not the only way of getting news. Many people log-in online for their daily dose of information. There are online versions of trusted offline sources like newspapers, and then there are truly online sources, like blogs, a completely new media that did not even exist a decade ago. Today some of these bloggers have become so trusted that many people depend on them for their news. 


DREAMS catches up separately with two popular bloggers who frequently post news, Lex Limbu and Salokya, to find out how exactly the online media scene of Nepal has evolved in the last few years, and what the future probably holds for consumers of Nepali media.

Lex Limbu lives in the UK. His blog is famous for all kinds of entertainment news of Nepal: which film-star is wearing what, which model got signed for an international brand, which celebrity is visiting Nepal. You always hear it first from Lex.

Umesh Shrestha, also known as Salokya, lives in Nepal. His blog mysasnsar.com is popular for its eclectic mix of news, research, and opinions. Even though it is a personal blog site run by a single person, it has been filling a niche left vacant by mainstream media.


Beginning Of Blogging:

Umesh Shrestha (Salokya)

Umesh started blogging in 2005, and Lex in 2008. The reason they started tells a lot about the state of Nepali media online then. Today there is no dearth of blogs in Nepali language, but back in 2005 Umesh keenly felt the lack of blogs in Nepali language, when English language blogs were the norm. “This inconveniences those who do not know much English,” he wrote in his first post. “Blogs in regional languages are becoming popular all over the world, and hopefully my blog will inspire more blogs in Nepali.” It was this spirit of innovation, and his understanding of the needs of Nepali society, that led Umesh to first of all create a blog, and then to put up audio and video blogs gradually. He was one of the earliest of multimedia bloggers in Nepali language.

Lex was fascinated by the celebrity culture in the West, and back then there was no such thing in Nepal. Nepali youngsters did not watch Nepali movies, and were always comparing Nepali celebrities to Hollywood ones. In 2003, when Lex came to Nepal from the UK, he watched an interview of Jharana Bajracharya, a lady he happened to be a fan of. Slowly, the celebrity scene started heating up after that. The coming of films like Sano Sansar, which touched chords with hitherto aloof urban youth, propelled the phenomenon. Lex saw from near the rise of stars like Namrata Shrestha. But then he realized that there was no media in Nepal that was reporting on this scene, most were busy covering serious political issues. Lex’s perception of the rising interest in Nepali celebrity culture led to his blog.


Early days:

Umesh remembers a time when internet was 56kb dial-up, which means it was hooked through the phone line, and you paid twice over for phone and internet. But even with the double payment, the service itself was very slow. It took hours to open videos, especially. Those were the days without social media, when twitter did not even exist and facebook was not open to all users. In those days, the only way to promote your blog was to share it through email, or even spam mail to people you did not know. There was no way to count the readership on your blog. “Perhaps that’s good,” says Umesh. “Otherwise I would be sad at the low readership.”


Selection Of Subjects:

Bloggers usually write on subjects that touch personal chords with them, and Umesh and Lex are no different, even though their blogs have news elements. Considering that both their blogs cover vast areas of subjects, how they get the news is a matter of curiosity to the ordinary reader. “I get news like you do,” says Umesh, “through emails, social media, etc.” Lex agreed that it really helps to be connected to facebook and twitter.

Perhaps because their work is known, readers themselves approach them with news. So much so that sometimes people send Umesh press releases! “But a blog doesn’t work like that!” says Umesh. “One cannot post everything from the death of a neighbour’s dog to the accident of airplanes.” Indeed, the overwhelming flow of information and the need to separate the wheat from the chaff is the biggest challenge these bloggers face. Lex likes to select news that has not been covered by mainstream media, or give a different viewpoint to already existing news. “And when I leave out something, I risk hurting the people who sent me the news,” says Lex. Ultimately, what goes on the blog is what interests the blogger and what he thinks will interest his audience.


Blogging As Journalism:

Worldwide, blogging has created the phenomenon called citizen journalism, where any person with access to media can share news and contribute to the information about a particular subject. Nepal is no exception. Even though Umesh has a disclaimer posted at the very top of his blog (“This is not a news site, this is a blog”), his investigative reports contribute to the flow of information and add constructive angles to mainstream news.

As for Lex, he does not like being called a journalist either, because for him blogging is DIY journalism, and is more about opinions than facts. But it is no secret that even the mainstream media sometimes get leads from Lex. Celebrity culture is still nascent in Nepal. Most English language media do not have dedicated reporters covering Nepali celebrities, since Nepali celebrities are not as hyped as celebrities elsewhere in the world. For that reason, any person who wishes to read about Nepali glamour world in English has to resort to Lex.

Both of these sites have created forums to share and discuss latest happenings. Their comments often involved lively discussions and are places where people all over the world connect. Umesh says it best when he states that a healthy debate can help form public opinion.


Challenges Of Blogging:

Sometimes, there is uncivil discussion going on at the blog comments,” says Umesh. It takes time and effort to moderate these discussions, the lack of which is a big challenge for Umesh. For Lex, sometimes the comments help him see new perspectives, but at other times they come close to killing his spirit. He even took a break from blogging in 2013, but then he got back again because he enjoys doing it.

Maintaining quality in limited time is a tough exercise, both Lex and Umesh admitted to staying up late some days to cover their news. Umesh rues that sometimes you just have to let go if you don’t have time, no matter how much the subject interests you. For Lex it is even more challenging since he lives in the UK, but wants to coincide his posts with the optimum reading time in Nepal. He resorts to scheduling posts to go online at a specified time, but there are definitely days when staying on top of the news gets overwhelming.

Once readers start growing, their expectations rise, and so does the blogger’s responsibility. As a journalist who also works in the mainstream media, Umesh contends that you have to be responsible for what you write no matter the size of your audience. For Lex, who started blogging as a hobby, the responsibility dawned gradually. But now he is careful about the content he posts and the fact that it will affect people in myriad ways, whether or not he intends it.

Sometimes, their posts result in personal comments, negative comments, and even the occasional threat. Umesh and Lex have come to accept them as part and parcel of their blogging.


Celebrity Status:

In the beginning, Lex used to wonder if anyone even read his blog, and was pleasantly surprised to find, from the feedback, that some did. But even though he is now well known in media circles, outside of it few people recognize him for his work in real life. Lex lives far away from most of his readers, he calls his world a “bubble,” and his high readership does not affect his daily life at all. “The Nepali community in London is so small, you know everyone, no one is a star,” says Lex. As for Umesh, he claims that not even his co-workers know his work as a blogger, and celebrity status is a myth. It can only be inferred that the reach of blogger journalists is still not comparable to that of mainstream media.

Lex Limbu



Despite the fact that blogging is very time consuming and earns little, Lex and Umesh plan to continue with their blogs for as long as they can.


Lex admits that his interests have changed since he began blogging, after all, he was only in his mid-teens then. In the beginning, his blog also used to contain personal pieces like feelings about growing up abroad. But as his blog became more public, he stopped that. Today, he is very interested in what it means to be a Nepali for people all over the world. “But I cannot stop writing about my original subjects,” says he, “too many people follow my blog, and I sort of cater to their interests too now.” However, Lex is clear that blogging should not be the only thing he does in life. He has a degree in Human Geography, which is one of the many things he would like to pursue in future.



It is going to be a long time before online media catches up with mainstream and provides full fledged comprehensive information. As Umesh puts it, most online media still operate on copy-paste and depend heavily on mainstream media for news.

But in the last decade, news media has expanded to include blogs on all kinds of subjects like art, history, glamour, food, and anything in between. While on the one hand, this has created forums where people can exchange ideas, on the other hand, it has even changed the face of mainstream media. Most mainstream media now have a strong online presence.

What the blogging scene has done most of all is to cater to niche audiences who had no way of fulfilling their interests from mainstream media. For example, before Lex started blogging, media only wrote about how much a particular film earned. But now you get to see “Namrata Shrestha wearing XYZ designer,” says Lex. “Now they are trying!”

The upside of blogging is that on every subject you find such detailed information online which would not interest mainstream readers. The downside is that a blog is, at the end of the day, a personal expression, and the blogger is not bound to be objective or accountable like mainstream media. Besides, the selection of the blog posts themselves is very subjective. But in the big picture, different bloggers brings different values and subjectivities, and for the reading, access to many media can give a comprehensive and multidimensional picture that mainstream media lacks. And from here, it can only get better, no matter how long it takes. DIY journalism is here to stay!


Text by: Sewa Bhattarai

  • Lex Limbu
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  • Umesh Shrestha (Salokya)
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