A close look at recent developments at Zee News, and one can make out the signs of change. Positive, this time. After getting a beating from Aaj Tak at its own game (remember Zee News was the original Hindi satellite news channel), it has finally got serious attention from promoters and is correcting some of its follies.
To begin with, the leadership. With younger brother of Zee Telefilms Chairman and promoter Subhash Chandra, Laxmi N Goel taking over the reins recently, it is likely to put an end to uncertainties within the organization. In the last few weeks that Goel has been around at Zee News, there are already early signs of a turnaround. The channel has created impact with over 4 hours of uninterrupted coverage of a military operation in Srinagar recently and breaking the news of terrorists storming the Akshardham Temple in Gujarat. More importantly, it has begun to crow these successes.
Not that Goel has moved his magic wand around the channel's large studio at Noida, near Delhi. His mantra is deceptively simple. "Focus on delivering unbiased news and foster team spirit within the organization," says Goel when we asked him to outline his strategy.
Read interview with Laxmi N Goel.
An informal chat with people at Zee News is telling. A senior programming executive vows, we will tear apart the tall claims that competition has been making about breaking news stories. Actually, we are neck and neck, but they seem to have created a stronger perception.' Another one shares how they have more authentic coverage while the competition was in a hurry to break the story.
Rhetoric aside, the team at Zee News is making some visible changes. Reflecting the new mindset, it has started running a channel promo. The latest one is around the stories they have broken recently. The graphics team is busy churning out brighter, 3-D graphics on their Silicon Graphic machines and a new channel ID should be in place soon. And the reporters are keen to break the next news. First. The split screen of large LG television, in Goel's room is an indicator too. The screen is spit into two- one showing Zee News and second, the competition, with Goel keeping a close tab even as he has his meal.
But clearly, this race for next breaking news is a long way from over. Surely it is time the number 1 looked back and took cognizance of competition.