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Even today, newspapers are the most credible: Vijay Darda, Lokmat

Darda, Chairman, Lokmat Media Group, spoke about the changing nature of journalism in a discussion with veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardesai

by Shantanu David
Published - Jun 1, 2023 8:20 AM  |  3 min read

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Even as veteran journalist and editor Rajdeep Sardesai noted that Vijay Darda, Chairman, Lokmat Media Group, and three-time MP, had a penchant for news headlines, the journalist, Congress politician, and activist provided three new ones at the launch of his book, Ringside, at the Capital earlier this week.

“Modi is likely to win 2024 elections”

“Vidarbha will become its own state”

“Congress needed Tharoor, not Kharge”

In a freewheeling talk at the event, which saw the book launched by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor; and introduced by a former advisor to the PM, Dr Sanjay Baru; and The Print’s Shekhar Gupta, Darda and Sardesai discussed the journalism of politics and politics of journalism and their changing nature over time.

Speaking to exchange4media, Darda explained, “See, change is the need of the hour. Changes keep coming from time to time. Journalism of freedom cannot happen in today's era. If the journalism of today's era was there in the time of independence, it would not have been able to give justice as was needed.”

Perhaps it is this reason that he decided to publish Ringside at this point in time.  

“This book is a compilation of my weekly articles, which were published between 2011 and 2016 in Lokmat Media Group's newspapers and other leading national and regional dailies of the country. It includes research articles related to science, environment, economy, security, social development, sports, arts, culture, foreign policy and national and international affairs,” said Darda.

 In addition, the book also includes commentary on eminent personalities who have made significant contributions to social, national and international development in India and the world.

Development is something Darda keeps a key eye on, even as technology continues to transform and change every facet of life. “Changes keep happening with time and people also keep changing with time.”

Speaking about one of the biggest changes we’re seeing today, Darda said, “I don't see it (AI) as a challenge in any way. There is no challenge in life; the question is what your goal is. Now artificial intelligence has come into newsrooms, but for the first time in the world, Lokmat Group has created software that tells the status of its news, whether it is one-star, two-star, three-star or five-star. All the top companies are demanding it from us. I believe that you have to provide good and reliable content to the readers.”

And even as it was journalists’ duty to keep readers informed, the public also had to appreciate that times and sensibilities were changing, as indeed were mediums of exchange. “Even today, newspapers have the most credibility. Digital and all other media platforms will have to work very hard to prove their credibility.”

This also explains the growing adoption of paywalls by leading media publications when it comes to their content.

“In this regard, I would say that if you have a shop and I want to buy goods from it, then I will have to pay money. Those who do not want to read the newspaper by paying money can read it by going to the library or the museum,” said Darda, concluding, “As far as reading newspapers online is concerned, if some institutions have made such arrangements i.e. subscription model has been adopted, then you will have to subscribe to read them.”

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