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An Olympiad to promote the habit of newspaper reading

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NNO’s Barishal divisional team at the selection round of their first season.

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NNO’s Barishal divisional team at the selection round of their first season.

The National Newspaper Olympiad (NNO), a platform founded by Labby Ahsan in 2018, intends to encourage young people to develop the habit of reading printed newspapers to acquire knowledge. It strives to establish a positive journalism ecosystem by encouraging the youth to play an active role in this field. 

For his work, Ahsan was selected as a Sir Fazle Hasan Abed Ashoka Young Changemakers last year. After completing his secondary education from Rangpur Zilla School, he is currently pursuing a BBA degree from BRAC University.

As reading newspapers is a fading habit nowadays, Ahsan set out to rejuvenate this culture by starting a competition to test people’s knowledge about everyday affairs. “NNO wishes to guide people towards the values of reading printed newspapers. We plan to build the largest media learning platform in Bangladesh,” he shared.

As of now, the Olympiad takes place in 44 districts across Bangladesh and around 11 different countries. Both seasons of the event witnessed the participation of over 50,000 contestants, and 500 top performers reached the final stage of the competition.

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Labby Ahsan. Photos: Courtesy

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Labby Ahsan. Photos: Courtesy

The selection process of the Olympiad is based on two examinations. NNO offers their preparation guide, Newspedia, along with other relevant materials for the participants. Before organising the event, the team also asks participants to read newspapers regularly for a specific period of time.

Due to the pandemic, the second season of the Olympiad was conducted online.  Registrations for the third season will begin from November 2021.

Ever since their inception, NNO has been running a plethora of online and offline activities. Their signature event, News Mania, is a quiz competition. For this event, the team prepared a guide with 1,000 important news items of the year. For their Combined Media Summit, famous media personalities conducted workshops on a diverse range of topics.

Ahsan also has two other start-ups, Digital Shikkhok and Media Probe.

Digital Shikkhok is an online learning platform that helps students find answers to questions given in their textbooks. “Our purpose is to provide free and quality education to as many learners as we can,” asserted Ahsan.

Approximately 200 teachers are relentlessly working for this platform, and their ‘Educator Panel’ deals with 1,500 questions every day.

On the other hand, Media Probe is an online media consultancy firm consisting of scholars, professionals, and researchers who direct marketing strategies for different companies.

Moving forward, Ahsan hopes to globalise the Olympiad. “We are making our international teams strong enough to organise global events. Besides, we will continue promoting journalism by encouraging the youth to join this field,” he concluded.

The author is a medical student and a freelance journalist who likes reading, scribbling, and blogging. Email: mislammonamee@gmail.com.

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