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Indian Journalists: The Experts
chillibreeze writer — Sujata Chowdhury
In a country like India, where medicine and engineering ruled the roost in deciding one’s career option, Journalism was considered an option suitable only to those who did not fit into the ‘meritorious’ brigade. However, the scenario has completely changed and a major contribution towards this change has been played by the growth and the expansion that the field of ‘broadcast journalism’ has witnessed. From the good old days of the State-run channel Doordarshan to the days now, where the number of 24-hours news channels are constantly on a rise, television journalism has definitely come of age! Television journalism has not only made the dissemination of news faster, but it has also scored over print when it comes to the ‘reach’ factor. This quantum growth has, although, made journalism the preferred choice for many youngsters, but, at the same time the field today is associated more with glamour and glitz. When one looks beyond the jazz, one finds the amount of hard-work, dedication, sincerity and integrity this career calls for. This article takes a look at 5 such television journalists who have carved a niche for themselves and who deserve to be termed as ‘icons’ in this field.
BARKHA DUTT: Quiz any wannabe journalist about whom they consider to be their ‘idol’ and perhaps this is the name that you will hear the most. The daughter of one of Delhi’s first women reporters, Prabha Dutt, Barkha has been around, breaking and covering major news stories almost since the very advent of broadcast journalism in India. Equipped with a Bachelor’s degree in English from the prestigious St. Stephen’s college, she went on to do her Master’s in Mass Communication from one of the most reputed journalism school of our country, Jamia Milia Islamia University. She further obtained another Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
She started off with Star News, and later went on to join NDTV, where currently she is working as the Managing Editor. She has juggled the roles of an anchor and a reporter with equal panache. She was widely appreciated and acclaimed for her courageous and exemplary reportage during the Kargil War, in the year 1999. She has addressed major issues as an anchor through her television shows like We The People and Reality Bites on NDTV 24X7.
Barkha has been conferred with several awards and felicitations because of her work, some of which include, The Inlaks Scholarship in 1997, Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award (2005-2006), The Chameli Devi Award for the Best Woman Journalist, The Kostas Kyriazis – Greece’s most prestigious journalism award among others.
KARAN THAPAR: There is no one like him when it comes to asking grueling questions and bowling over the guests who come to his shows. Karan Thapar is by far Indian television’s best news commentator and interviewer. He graduated with a degree in Economics and Political Philosophy from the Cambridge University, and then attained a Doctorate from Oxford University.
He started his career as a journalist by joining The Times in Nigeria, and later joined London Weekend Television in 1982, where he worked for the next 11 years. Soon after he moved to India and worked with a host of media organizations like The Hindustan Times Group, United Television group, etc. and in August 2001, he set up his own production house, Infotainment Television. His shows, like Face-to-Face series on BBC, Eyewitness on Doordarshan, In Focus with Karan, In the Line of Fire and the recent Devil’s Advocate on CNN IBN have always managed to be very gripping because of Karan’s confronting and incisive style of questioning the guests.
He is the first person to win both the awards in the Current Affairs category, The Best Current Affairs Programme (Court Martial) and The Best Current Affairs Presenter (Face to Face) at the Asian Television Awards, 2003. In fact he has won the award for being the Best Current Affairs Presenter three times, in 1999, 2003 and 2005 for the series HARDtalk on BBC.
RAJDEEP SARDESAI: The man who quit as the Managing Editor of NDTV to launch his own start-up venture, Broadcast News, along with TV18 promoter Raghav Bahl- the man behind one of the most popular English news channels in India, CNN IBN. He did his Bachelor’s in Economics from St.Xavier’s college, Mumbai, and then obtained MA LLB degrees from Oxford University as Rhode’s Scholar.
His stint as a journalist began in the late 80’s when he joined The Times Group, and after that he joined NDTV in1994 as their Political Editor, which marked his entry into television journalism. He has hosted some of the most appreciated and popular shows on television, like The Big Fight on NDTV, and he has received accolades for his reportage on the Gujrat Riots.
He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of CNN IBN and also hosts a talk show called The Verdict. Rajdeep’s company also bought 46% of the shares of Channel7, which is now known as IBN7.
Rajdeep has won several awards including the ATA (Asian Television Awards) in 2003 and 2004, Best News Anchor Award at the Indian Television Awards (ITA) 2003 and 2004, Impact Person of the Year Award (2006), among others.
SHIREEN BHAN: She is one lady who can truly be termed as the perfect combination of beauty with brains. Shireen brought in her own fresh style of anchoring business news shows, and climbed the popularity charts in a jiffy. She did her Bachelor’s from St. Stephen’s College, and later obtained a Master’s degree from FTII, Pune.
She has worked with UTV as an Associate Producer, and is working with CNBC TV18. She has hosted numerous shows for the channel, like India Business Hour, Power Turks and Young Turks among others.
She enjoys a wide fan base and was also felicitated as the ‘FICCI Woman of the Year 2005’.
DR. PRANNOY ROY: He is a legend, and is rightly called the ‘Father of Television Journalism in India’. His company NDTV collaborated with Murdoch’s Star TV Network and gave India its first independent satellite news channel, Star News. He completed his graduation in Economics from London University, and then got his PhD from Delhi School of Economics.
He worked as a Chartered accountant before making it big in the television industry. He is known as a specialist in Election coverage and is also regarded as a famous Economist. In fact, he was also associated with The Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India as Economic Advisor.
Presently, he is the Chairman and Wholetime Director of NDTV. Dr. Roy is an inspiration to many in the field of journalism today and has also received several awards for his work, some of which are: B.D. Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism- 94 and 95, Videocon Screen Award for ‘Lifetime Achievement’ in 1998, Limca Book of Records ‘Person of the Year’ 1998, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year award (Media).
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