e4m Conclave 2016: I can assure you not softer but louder news - Arnab Goswami

At the exchange4media Conclave 2016, renowned journalist and TV anchor Arnab Goswami spoke about how disruption is the name of the game and what Indian journalism is capable of

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 17, 2016 8:23 AM
e4m Conclave 2016: I can assure you not softer but louder news - Arnab Goswami

Renowned journalist Arnab Goswami’s resignation from Times Group on November 1 had turned out to be a breaking story in the broadcasting news space. The former President-News and Editor-in-Chief, Times Now and ET Now left many people in shock after his resignation. exchange4media Conclave, presented by Dainik Jagran and powered by Zee Entertainment, is Goswami’s first outing since the move where he spoke about how disruption is the name of the game and what Indian journalism is capable of.

His session gave us some flashback from his past when he came to Mumbai to seek refuge in 2004, six months after he was just about to quit journalism, frustrated with Delhi’s journalism scenario. He recalled, “Journalism was lost. There was not one scam reported. Everybody knew that the country has become corrupt and co-opted. But nobody in my great profession of journalism dared to stand up against the system and get accounted.”

The audience got a taste of his success right from his struggle in his initials days of launching the channel which according to him was turning out to be ‘the biggest failure’ to the exhilarating moments of breaking important stories like Commonwealth Games Scam and others. “When Suresh Kalmadi was arrested after a year we broke Commonwealth Games, it was a big moment in our lives. It opened up the system. Several scams were broken after that. That was demanding of accountability. In our lives we have never distinguished stories based upon who impacts and who it negatively affects. In pursuit of truth we will criticize whoever is in power whether it’s BJP or Congress.”

His passion for journalism can be made out when he spoke about questioning religions, “We disrupted the news because we challenged everybody. No country in the world questioned religion. This year we challenged religion. We questioned Shani Shingnapur, Haji Ali, right to pray movement and Sabarimala right to the day when Mumbai High Court and Supreme Court of India within weeks of our breaking story and making them public campaign, are making them subject matter on the direction of policy that court should follow.”

Goswami’s pride in the groundbreaking work he and his company Times Now has accomplished in journalism is apparent. “We broke the stories. We were scrutinized. Eventually we were proven right. Where in the world you have journalist who question both the biggest corporate in the country as well as those people who pass off superstition, chauvinism and misogyny? Only in India. I am very proud of what we have done. I am satisfied with what we have achieved.”

The journalist went on to talk about taking this disruption ahead. “I often ask questions as to how I can disrupt once again in terms of redefining the scale of what I have been doing. We have shaken the system in terms of thinking. In future we will challenge, redefine, and rewrite the scale of journalistic disruption and tools that we use.”

At this point he offered five ‘what if’ situations that have exponential potential to change the dynamics of journalism. The first one taps on the use of technology where he raised important questions. “What if we use technology as a different factor? When I look at the tools at our disposal I think of how we are sitting on ridiculous amount of potential that’s waiting in the wings to be realized. When I look at a digital space for a TV platform there is a sense we are extremely similar in terms of content. Isn’t the digital space in India in the context of news getting crowded with the same content that you are giving your viewer on television? News is the only area where you touch and feel with a consumer on a pull not a push. With time we need to explore the digital space, move away from replication of what’s happening on television or other news medium and redefine the ecosystem in a different way.”

In the second scenario he throws open the suggestion of linking digital and television, “What if we actually link TV and digital. Consider the world of opportunities we have to swim through if we explore a simple idea of funneling digital and TV, the most progressive path of promising consumer habits of tomorrow’s world. It’s not been done. No one can stop us from doing it. Nobody controls distribution. Old monopolies of distribution of legacy mediums will die and collapse in the next few years in single digits. You cannot force your content on the television. You cannot buy your way into anybody’s house or heart. Media monopoly will die. Consumer will be the king. We are entering a new era of disruptionist democracy, the kind of disruptionist democracy through the medium which actually falls directly in line with journalism that I do.”

In the third point he strongly favours Mumbai to be the India’s journalism’s centre point. “What if we uproot the capital of Indian media from the national capital? We owe it to this country. Indian media will never be independent if it centres from Lutyens’ Delhi. It denies, prohibits. I don’t believe the media of Lutyens’ Delhi. We will challenge it. What is so exclusive of working in a newsroom out of Noida given the fact that not even one major news story of national consequences or a major scam was broken out of Lutyens’ Delhi for decades in this country? This is very important. Why shouldn’t Mumbai be the capital of journalism? What holds us back? We broke the 2G scam and Commonwealth Game scam, among others sitting here. We, Mumbai media, gave India the CWG scam while Lutyan media gave it the Radia tapes. What should we choose? We compromise no more. Young journalists want to see the birth of a new movement. That birth of a new media will never happen from national capital. As I think of future I have great faith in the disruption that will take geographical focus of news to where the story is not where the politicians are.”

In the fourth ‘what if’ Goswami puts forward a scenario of content guys leading news organization. “What If content guys and leaders are the same? Why does nobody from the world of content run a news organization? We do the graphics, production, anchor the news report, pick up the cameras, run behind politicians, type everything on the channel, newspaper and digital. What if we have a new system where the product and leaders are not isolated islands? Why can’t the curators of the content lead, define, ideate, and market the product because they know how it’s created. It’s a question to ask. I am surprised that no one has asked this before. I have worked with the best brains in the business, collaborated with them and this collaboration was written between people who represent content and non content side of business. This discrimination was stopped. Together, you and I will break down the wall. When that happens new ideas will come. A person from the world of technology, business and even journalism can head a newsroom. Make it talent specific. Unleash the talent. The beauty of news media business is money can buy infrastructure but it can never buy or replace good content especially in the cluttered news space that we are in the midst of. It cannot be a differentiator. Money cannot stop anything not even me.”

The renowned journalist concluded the fifth point where he felt Indian news space had it in them to take over the world by competing with the likes of BBC, “What if we think about taking the imbibed-studied-fearless and resolved DNA of disruptionist Swadeshi Indian, Make in India journalism to the world? When you want to watch world news why do you have to go to BBC? How often have we seen a BBC or CNN send its reporter on a daily basis running with the camera behind the story to break a story and seek accountability? How often the Western media have through their campaign challenged the religious traditions directly with clerics and other religions and other leaders. This is what defines us. I believe this is going to be this identity that will disrupt India on a scale never before. And I am not talking long term. I am saying with belief in my heart and optimism in my soul that we will shake up the global new system in the next 3-5 years only. We will provide from New Delhi or (for that matter) Mumbai, Bangalore or Guwahati or Trivandrum an alternative narrative to the world. It is possible and time for that has come. With your support I hope we can make it together.”

He summed up the session by promising more breaking stories and sought support for his future endeavor, “I know the news love the ‘knews’. I promise you that I will do a 1000 times over again because we are in the dotted pursuit of putting equal in this beautiful republic first. For me it has been a magical journey in Indian broadcast journalism for the sheer challenge it has brought. I am openly seeking your support and your viewership is your greatest support. I am today armed for more pain, 100 more threats and thousand more sleepless nights in the newsroom through coffee cups because I am not good at working in the midst of status quo. With that I can assure you not softer but louder news. I can certainly assure that we will ask for independence and answerability to no one but ourselves.” 

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