Looking back, I think Outlook worked because it evolved a formula centred on getting people agitated. Its very first issue, if I remember right, carried an opinion poll conducted in Jammu and Kashmir in which a whopping majority was revealed to prefer azadi to either Indian or Pakistani control. Remember, that was 12 years ago, long before the term cross-border (terrorism or people-to-people) became fashionable in Delhi's living rooms and watering holes. Nor had costly but dubious opinion polls become the hallmark of contemporary journalism. As a reader I took that opinion poll with a bucket of salt, but others didn't. Furious Shiv Sainiks went on the rampage and made bonfires of Outlook's first edition. At any rate, they had an old score to settle with its editor. In the process, the magazine grabbed all the attention it needed to make it a success.
Outlook broke the established format of magazine journalism with its chatty style. It talked with you rather than talked at you. It took up unconventional subjects, liberally peppered with failsafe stuff like sex and the city, and went on to differentiate itself from its contemporaries. That was quite a challenge. Outlook has continuously innovated and kept reinventing itself to stay relevant and readable despite the advent of 24-hour TV and the ongoing information overload.