‘Just do the right thing & in the long run that always pays off’

Kalli Purie, Vice Chairperson, India Today Group, speaks to Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld & e4m Group, on working with her father, views on news television and more

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Aug 7, 2020 7:40 AM
Kalli Purie

Kalli Purie, Vice Chairperson, India Today Group, the topper of IMPACT’s 50 Most Influential Women List, 2020, engaged in a conversation with Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld & exchange4media Group on Wednesday.

Purie spoke about her experience of working with her father, her view on news television in this digital era, and more.

Edited excerpts:

How is it to work with your father, Aroon Purie, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief of the India Today Group?
It has been 21 years for me in the group and 25 years in total. I have had a lot of time to get used to working with him and fill in those shoes. Having said that, I have enviable collection of shoes and so I never wanted to fit into one shoe. It is great to work with him because we have a very strict official relationship at work. He is AP at work, and that doesn’t go home. Similarly, what is at home, doesn’t come to work. It has to be strictly compartmentalized and we decided that very early in our working together. This has helped us continue to work together. As a boss, he demands a very high level of perfection, but is also very fair and gives a very free range to explore ideas and give an alternative point of view. Over the years, he has built a correctness and a proprietary in the history of the organization and love for journalism, which is so deeply embedded that it doesn’t let you stray from the main path. So, as a lighthouse, our path is always very well lit. We have clarity of where we are going.

Name the top three things that you have learnt from him?
Attention to detail, getting in there and really having your fingers in the pie and lastly, always doing things that sit right. Just do the right thing, and in the long run that always pays off.

It is a big day for a lot of Indians since The Ram Mandir is being built, and the pujan has happened and we are also in the 20th year of news television. What is your view on the same?
Cases like Ram Janmabhoomi are the moments that a newsroom lives for. It’s a huge event, it’s history, it’s a spectacle. There was so much excitement in the news room today. I will discuss two special aspects from the Ram Janam Bhoomi which is relevant to this particular forum. One was the comments made by the RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat on how far ahead they thought of this temple and worked towards this road for 20 to 30 years. When they set the goal, they knew it could take them 20 to 30 years, but that did not deter them. They set a very long-erm vision and as a leader, that is very hard to do. The learning is, even if you are setting a time capsule goal for 30 years, you can do it.
The second heartwarming thing for me to see is the Prime Minister’s take on Jai Shree Ram. He didn’t say ‘Jai Shree Ram’, he said ‘Jai Siya Ram’. It was a significant acknowledgement of the feminine, which I thought was very nice.

What is your view on news television, especially in this post-COVID digital era, how is the India Today group preparing?
I was there when India Today turned fortnightly to weekly. That was my sort of entry into the group, and I was an intern doing creative advertising for them. The journey for television is just like a roller-coaster. I came from the print background and spent my time in digital for more than 20 years. Television now is nothing like the television of then. In the early days, the Chairman would sit look at every word that was said by every anchor, because Aaj Tak started off only as a 30-minute bulletin, and then a 24x7 channel. I can’t control that now, because you have the entire digital system and social media. It’s an addiction that you can get kind of used to, but it is that feeling of sitting on a ticking time bomb.

What are the things on your bucket list that you’re waiting to tick off?
In this time of Corona, everyone’s bucket list has been redefined. If you’re asking me what I would be doing in 10 years, I’d love to say I’ll be sitting on a beach in the middle of nowhere. But, if I know me, I know I’ll be right in the news pit, somewhere breaking some historic event that is happening. I just love that. It’s a buzz that you get addicted to. When you’re in that mood of breaking news in a newsroom, just nothing beats that high. I have the bug, so I’m going to be right here in the news pit telling stories on many more platforms with many more tools.

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