Disappointing coverage by national media
Initially, farmers faced a number of unfounded allegations: they were called secessionists and paid protesters, and were accused of being misled by opposition parties.
Many mainstream media outlets questioned their legitimacy with queries like: “How can they speak English? How can farmers wear jeans?”
The founders of the Trolley Times, who all hail from farming backgrounds, found these accusations insulting. The coverage of the protests seemed superficial. There were no stories coming out from within the demonstrations or about the people who were physically there.
“We had an advantage here — we were a part of the protest,” editor and photojournalist Navkiran Natt told DW. “We knew the language that the farmers used — in this case, Punjabi — but we also knew English and Hindi, which allowed us to reach a wider audience.”
While a number of niche media organizations were also seeking out stories, a lot was lost in translation. They did not speak the same language as the farmers leading the movement.
“Their primary platform is social media,” Natt said. “But our audience is an old farmer, for whom media is synonymous with a physical newspaper.”