Indian television news has acquired an unsavoury reputation over the past few years owing to the bombastic anchors and their peddling bigotry. Now, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as advertising revenues, the chief source of income for mainstream media, dwindle, can TV news survive in its current form?
To discuss this and much more, Roli Pulse, the digital arm of , organised a webinar with three of India’s most prominent news professionals – Barkha Dutt, Faye D’Souza and Abhinandan Sekhri.
D’Souza, the former executive editor of Mirror Now, described the business model of TV news as “point and shoot” journalism where accusations were hurled with little evidence. “A journalist who cares about ethics at this point, facts and fact-checking is an inconvenience.” D’Souza said. “Let’s be honest. Your viewer is no longer your customer. Your advertiser is your customer.”
D’Souza, as also Sekhri, praised the quality of Dutt’s journalism during the coronavirus lockdown. The former NDTV star anchor who now runs Mojo Story has travelled thousands of kilometres to tell the stories of migrant workers who have been walking home after being stranded in alien places by the lockdown, without food or a source of income.
Dutt complained that journalism had become formulaic, with stale studio panel discussions and the “privileging of anchors over reporters”. She said the initial responses to her new project indicated there was “certainly an audience for raw, authentic, content from the ground”.
You can also listen to this webinar by clicking the play button below.