What is the objective behind No Negative News on Monday campaign?
The objective behind No Negative News on Monday came up because there is a feeling in the society about overabundance of negative news. People keep on complaining that newspapers are full of negative news. They say their day starts with a negative outlook which affects their entire day. But as a newspaper we are duty-bound to report all the things and as a newspaper we are sensible and sensitive enough to put it decently which is readable. So the idea came up whether we start something which is positive. Then it was debated with a large number of readership assessment, editors from all over the region. Thus emerged the No Negative campaign. Major crime such as rapes, accidents, etc. will be published under a separate section under negative news and we will publish positive news on the first day the week.
What are the key focus areas for Dainik Bhaskar in 2015?
We will be concentrating largely on new readership and strengthen the present readership. Youth and women readership is very strong too. But as the society evolves, we are looking at needs of forward-looking readers. Readers are demanding basic information as well as that which gives them a new perspective. We have given full & clear guidelines to the editorial team and we are driving this as we are duty bound towards this. This is our major brand promise to the reader as well. As this will give the content which will instil confidence in our readers, to succeed.
What is your opinion on new media, how is it growing? Is it affecting print journalism?
Web (Digital) is doing a wonderful job. It has not affected print. Bhaskar has strong digital platforms and we don’t consider an impact of digital over print. We consider it as no threat to any newspaper which is concentrating on its readers, neither have we believed in a debate of print first or digital first. We believe print and digital are together. Digital has its own strength and print has its own strength. Digital is helping print as we engage the reader throughout the day on their handheld devices.
How important are IRS figures for you?
We look at any survey that comes to us; Bhaskar has a clear philosophy that reader is our owner, and this is not only a philosophy but we practice it too. So even if there is a survey which has zero credibility we don’t reject it, we try to look at it rationally and that is how organisation are build in the world. As you are already aware, the ABC has already declared us the largest newspaper in the country across languages. Apart from numbers, we have been named as the Most Trusted language media brand in the country by Brand Trust Report, 2015.
Biased Journalism and paid news are taking a toll on media these days? What is your opinion on this?
I think the country has strongly responded to this and Bhaskar was one of the first groups to come out with a front page ad on no paid news. We advocate100 per cent news and zero per cent paid news during the Punjab election. It’s a big thing in Punjab because I have seen candidates visiting newspaper office with hard cash in their hands. We have lost a major chunk of revenue. It doesn’t make a difference but we won the heart of the people. Readers are so much evolved today that if you carry paid news, planted news the reader would recognize it and reject it.
Do you think we need some change in Press acts and also revamp in PCI as many laws are irrelevant as of now?
I have a personal view that no act can govern newspapers in the world, no act can govern media in the world. Media has to self regulate itself and media has done that to an extent.
Do you think it is today becoming more difficult for young journalists to remain idealistic given external pressures?
Why should one be “idealistic”? One should be factually correct. No ‘ism’ is allowed in journalism. She/he should be focusing only on journalism, on the reader and truth. Truth is the single formula to remain idealistic in journalism and in life too, truth is the highest key. Journalism can’t go beyond life.