Putting at rest all speculations and after maintaining that he is “taking a short break from the newsroom” and “will be on a month’s leave: reading, writing, travelling, watching the World Cup soccer”, Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, IBN18 Network has confirmed that he is moving on from the organisation.
About an hour ago, Sagarika Ghose, Deputy Editor, CNN-IBN had sent out a farewell email to her colleagues and officially confirmed her departure from the media organisation.
In his farewell email to colleagues, Sardesai said:
“This is one of the toughest letters to write. After nine wonderful years at IBN18, it’s time to say goodbye. I must confess it’s not easy to leave a baby that one has helped create/ build/ grow and to leave such great colleagues. But I guess certain things in life are written in the stars. Editorial independence and integrity have been articles of faith in 26 years in journalism and maybe, I am too old now to change!
I would though like to look at the brighter side, the many happy times we have all shared. I still remember when we decided to set up an English news channel: we had one chair and a table, and no one gave us a hope in hell. I recall an advertising executive watching our pitch and asking why we were even attempting a new news channel. But madness and a passion for journalism as defined by the spirit of “whatever it takes” can break many a wall: we eventually did it! CNN-IBN was a remarkable success: in nine years, we achieved the seemingly impossible in the news business: ratings, revenue, but most crucially, RESPECT for our journalism. I am told that our awards tally is now over 200, more than all the other channels put together! This year’s Election coverage was a good example of what we have been able to achieve: a friend in CNN said he would have been proud to put together such a formidable line-up of programming.
IBN7 had a more difficult period in a highly competitive market, but again, I can look back with pride on the achievements of the channel. We had a fire in the belly as typified by the tagline “Khabar har keemat par”. I remember a small town in UP, when an elderly gent came to me and said, “Sir, maan gaye, aap hee ka channel hai jo na Mayawati ko na Mulayam ko chhodta hai!” And thank you to the IBN7 newsroom for helping me improve my Hindi to the point where I could maybe anchor in Hindi one day!
And then to my friends in IBN Lokmat: you guys in many ways are the real rockstars. You overcame every challenge to build a channel of substance. You created programming that won awards at the national level and stories that made the people of Maharashtra sit up. “Chala Jag Jinkuiya” – truly you showed what the true spirit of journalism can do. My dream was that one day we would have similar quality channels in every Indian language: that dream must wait another day!
None of all this would have been possible without the freedom one enjoyed at Network18. For that, I am eternally grateful to the leadership. Above all, none of this would have been possible without the professionalism that each and every one of you has shown. Television news is the ultimate TEAM game: I know the hard work that every one of you put to build this network: from OB drivers and engineers from video editors to video journalists to the newsroom – each of you deserve the highest acclaim for being there 24x7, through winter mornings and summer evenings.
Forget the cynics, journalism, my friends, is a great profession. Good journalism makes a genuine difference to the world by offering a mirror to the society. Our stories have exposed corrupt netas and forced ministers to resign; we did stories that got jobs for the disabled, land to the landless, justice to acid attack victims. Hell, we even pioneered the idea of citizen journalism and of India Positive and Real Heroes to showcase an India that otherwise is lost in the noise of breaking news. Yes, putting news above noise, sense above sensation and credibility above chaos must remain a credo forever: else journalism will lose its moral compass. I hope the new management will always put journalism first and I wish them well.”