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News channels should take a step back and relook at their objectives: Punit Goenka @ enba 2016

27-February-2017
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 News channels should take a step back and relook at their objectives: Punit Goenka @ enba 2016

The latest edition of exchange4media's news broadcasting awards, or ENBA, honoured the best and brightest in the world of broadcast news in a glittering ceremony held on February 25 in Noida.

ENBA celebrated the success of television news professionals across 31 different categories. Standing true to its reputation, ENBA generated an enormous response from the broadcast news industry garnering over 300 entries for the various category of awards.

Delivering his keynote at the 8th ENBA Awards, Punit Goenka MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) highlighted the importance of these awards that celebrate the finest in TV news journalism and also spoke about the need to encourage fearless journalism, Goenka said, “What matters is the information and not what you think about it---said a famous Russian journalist, who made a name for fearlessly reporting from the lawless regions of Chechnya, bagged numerous prestigious awards, but at the end was unfortunately shot dead. Is that what an honest journalist deserves? The answer surely is no. Also, is someone working towards an environment where they can fearlessly survive? Have we instituted a process to regularly applaud, recognise and motivate them? The answer still is no.”

Important to recognise priceless contribution in journalism

Underlining how journalists get rarely recognised for their great contribution, Goenka added, “We expect the word from the journalists and the newsrooms while we are having dinner comfortably back home. We expect to know the truth, we expect honesty and we expect fearless reporting. But rarely do we pause to ponder about the ones who have actually done all this. They get rarely recognised for their priceless contribution. Rarely do we make efforts to celebrate the year’s top journalism. I am glad that exchange4media has put together these awards and I am also glad that they have chosen the ones who have contributed immensely in reporting, packaging and presenting the news to us.”

“I think it is extremely essential for all news channels to take a step back and relook at their objectives. The viewers are smart enough to understand the difference between a genuine story and the one which is spiced up to gain traction. I am not sure if the viewers are still interested in the animated flames on screen or the story behind it. Print as they say is the validation of the news story, in this era where news is broken into 140 characters, people still pick up the newspaper next morning, not just to read the latest news, but to validate the same and to read the analysis’ of the same. The question is: why can’t news channels deliver this?” added Goenka.

It’s not about who reports it first, it’s about who reports it better

Talking about the need for news channels to deliver value and establish connect with their viewers rather than just be the first to break the news, Goenka stated, “What makes us think that first access to a story gives us an edge over other channels? As I mentioned before, the viewers are smart enough to gauge the difference and they are already finding it entertaining enough rather than informative. I don’t think they care about who reports it first, but they certainly do care about how it gets reported. Earlier it was pointed out that some small regional GEC channels matched the numbers of the biggest news channels. Although this is an unfair comparison, but if you still aim to derive logic out of it, that is because the regional GECs deliver value and establish connect with their viewers. They resonate with their environment and simply deliver. The day news channels start doing this, I’m sure they won’t need any special effects gain viewership.”

“The viewer understands the power, weight and potential of news channels. When they see the journalist’s interview government representatives, right till the prime minister, being honestly questioned, they feel relieved that someone is asking questions on their behalf. They feel secure that there is a medium in place which has the guts to ask these questions. But what they are not being served is the solution. And that is what I think news channels should aim towards. Solving problems of the common man and not just reporting them; acting as a strong catalyst of change for the common man. Once this starts happening the rest will follow”, Goenka further added.

Raising the concern about transparency behind ownership of media, Goenka said, “I would like to reinforce the point which my Chairman and Member of Parliament, Dr Subhash Chandra had raised – the concern about the ownership of the news channels and the transparency behind the ownership. The last thing we should do is to allow anti social elements to fund news channels to spread news which they want us to consume and not what we deserve to consume.”

The enba Awards 2016 was powered by Zee Rajasthan News.

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