In a sudden development, Dibang, Managing Editor of NDTV's Hindi news channel NDTV India, has ‘stepped down’. In his place senior staffers Sanjay Ahirwal and Manish Kumar have been entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the day-to-day news operations of the channel.
Dibang’s stepping down is being seen as a graceful exit in media circles.
The announcement was made on Friday by NDTV Chairman Dr Prannoy Roy at an editorial meeting. This followed a crisp mail sent by Dr Roy to the editorial staff of NDTV on Thursday informing that Dibang had decided to step down as Managing Editor of NDTV India. The mail further said that the decision about redefining Dibang's role and running day-to-day operations of the channel would be announced on Friday at the editorial meeting.
exchange4media learnt from reliable sources in NDTV that in Friday's edit meeting, Dr Roy made the announcement that Dibang was stepping down as Managing Editor and proceeding on two months’ leave. Dibang, according to Dr Roy's announcement, had been given a choice to continue doing popular shows like ‘Muqabala’ besides reporting.
Ahirwal and Kumar, currently News Editor, have been reportedly elevated as Executive Editors. In his announcement, Dr Roy said they would jointly head the news operations of NDTV India. exchange4media also learnt that a new post of Editor-Programming had been created and Senior Editor Pankaj Pachauri had been given this post. Vinod Dua, who is associated with the channel as a Consultant, will continue to perform the role of a mentor.
Dibang's departure has not come as a surprise in media circles. The channel in the past few months has been steadily losing ground in the TRP battle, slipping to No. 4 position. It was being increasingly felt that the channel was neither focusing on its original agenda of hard news nor on the agenda of rival Hindi news channels dishing out entertainment news. It is learnt that within the organisation it was being felt that there was a need to shift from the 3Cs – Cinema, Cricket, Crime – to hard news.
The change at the top is being seen in the context of a likely repositioning of NDTV India. Dr Roy is learnt to have hinted at this at the edit meeting by telling the editorial team to focus on serious news. Sources in NDTV said that under the repositioning plan, the focus would be on hard news, political news, community news and current affairs.
Significantly, despite falling TRP, the channel has been maintaining its No. 2 position among Hindi news channels in terms of ad revenue.