Arnab Goswami, editor, Republic TV, delivered a talk at the 2017 FICCI FRAMES on Wednesday, titled ‘The Changing Face of News’.
Drawing from his experience of setting up a newsroom from scratch, Goswami shared his thoughts on what drives young 22-year-old journalists to join Team Republic, which is an experiment at changing the face of news in India. Goswami listed a few points which are the mantras of his upcoming TV channel. He said, “Anyone who tries to resist what I say, the future of what news will be in India, will be defeated.”
Opinion is sacred
Calling opinion sacred, he said that opinion is the future of journalism. Goswami added that plain vanilla content is boring and that it has no place in the scheme of things while opinion is the future. “I can’t simply be a Wikipedia of facts and simply tell you what happened. Plain vanilla journalism is dead, plain vanilla is overdone, overused, and for lack of better word - boring.” He reasoned that opinion is sacred because having an opinion and not hesitating to sharing it, however uncomfortable it may be to those who are at the receiving end of that opinion is the reflection of the true power of our democracy. Goswami added that opinionated media has the potential to be an activist and be an agent of change.
All of India and not all of New Delhi
“I came to this city having been rejected by the stalwarts of compromised media that operates out of Lutyens Delhi,” he said. From his experience of running a newsroom away from Delhi, here in Mumbai, Goswami said that being away from Delhi was the newsroom’s greatest asset. Raising instances where, according to him, the Indian media stayed quiet, Goswami questioned the priorities of the Indian media and raised one emphatic question : Who are you supporting? Are you supporting the right people or the compromised people?
Goswami added that the Indian English media’s adoption of elitist English that no one in India can understand also needs to change. “I will speak English the Indian way. The penetration of English in India is growing, Hinglish is the future and we will bridge the gap.”
News television will outlive any genre
Goswami predicted that TV will outlive any genre. “We are at the threshold today of truly proving that digital media and television media are not competitors, they are collaborators. Digital media will be the second screen, with a distinct identity for television. Globally there has been a dramatic migration from print to digital and television. We will bring in the disruption needed to make the digital screen more collaborative with our content creation from our TV centre.” Citing a PEW report findings, Goswami said that since digital ad sales are up and print ad sales have plummeted, television entering digital the right way is what needs to be done.
Goswami announced that Republic and Republic World will be India’s first entry into the global news gathering stage in a few weeks from now.
In his concluding remarks Goswami compared his venture to that of David and existing news channels as Goliath. Goswami said that David out thought Goliath and challenged news channels to out think him.
He concluded by saying that content is king, not money. “Money will fail, and people will watch the screens they believe in and not the screens that sell to them.”