Hindi daily Hindustan has gone through major editorial modification since Shashi Shekhar took over as its Editor-in-Chief. The content, design, colour and look has been refined in the last few months. The content has been divided into nine core issues to make the paper more informative and interesting. In an exclusive interview with exchange4media, Shekhar speaks at length about the various initiatives undertaken.
Disappointed at the frequent coverage of the ‘3Cs’ (Cricket, Crime and Cinema) in the Hindi newspaper domain, Shekhar said, “It is said about the Hindi newspaper medium that they only carry crime, cricket and cinema. People get bored if we keep on carrying news of accidents. We cannot run a newspaper covering news of just accidents. While we don’t leave these news, we cannot wait for them.”
To avoid the monotonous content in the newspaper, Shekhar divided the whole content of the newspaper into different segments. He explained, “We introduced nine core issues such as Karobaar and Karobari, Shiksha aur Shikshak, Health, Transport, Telecommunication, Electricity, Agriculture, etc. These apart, we also focused on Traffic, RTI, and Infrastructure issues. I ask my reporters to think about these core issues when they get up in the morning do stories around them. This experiment had made the newspaper more informative and interesting.”
“I also ask my team why we are carrying any particular news and for whom. We have to keep our audience in mind when we choose news,” Shekhar noted. Citing an example, he said, “If Rahul Gandhi visits Mumbai, it may have different meanings for the people of Mumbai and for the people of Delhi. So, if we carry news in Delhi, UP, Bihar or Jharkhand, we need to create that meaning for the society and for our readers. We need to analyse every time whether the news fulfills the required parameters.”
On the participation of readers in the newspaper, he said that Hindustan had given fair space to its readers in the newspaper earlier as well. “Readers’ participation in the newspaper is necessary, so we carry their letters in the newspaper prominently. This gives feedback on what people think and also gives readers a platform to speak out on current issues,” he added.
On the interactivity of the Bareilly and Lucknow editions of Hindustan, Shekhar said, “Apart from the national edition, Hindustan has also tried to make regional editions interactive, and it has been very successful in Agra and Bareilly. We have redefined the concept of citizen journalism in Agra and are now getting 10-20 news daily from citizen journalists.”
Shekhar concluded, “Today’s newspapers are stuck with jargons like ‘Youth ka Akhbaar’, ‘Smaaj ka Akhbaar’, ‘Interactive Akhbaar’, and so on. Newspapers had been interactive earlier too. I myself had worked with an interactive newspaper 30 years back in Banaras. We need to think beyond these jargons. Yes, newspapers had gone off the track sometime back, but now, a vibrant young generation is taking this industry forward.”