Journalism should not be measured in TRPs: Sonia Singh

At e4m English Journalism 40 Under 40 Summit and Awards, Sonia Singh, Editorial Director, NDTV, spoke to Naziya Alvi Rahman, Editor, exchange4media

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Apr 28, 2022 8:35 AM  | 3 min read
sonia singh

“We don’t believe in ratings and we don’t think journalism should be measured in TRPs. TRPs are bad for journalism, so we don't do TRP journalism,” said Sonia Singh, Editorial Director, NDTV.

Singh was speaking to Naziya Alvi Rahman, Editor, exchange4media during a fireside chat session at the e4m English Journalism 40 Under 40 Summit and Awards held on Wednesday. The chat was on the topic- Truth-Telling In The Time Of Misinformation and Polarization.

“NDTV is the flagbearer of journalism, which sadly is extremely rare. At NDTV, even though a decision will cost us our advertisers’ revenue, we say we don’t believe in ratings and we don’t think journalism should be measured in TRPs,” said Singh.

Elaborating on polarization in news and who should be looked at as real newsmakers, Singh shares, “Before the last seven years, have you ever seen so many maulanas and sadhus on primetime television? Why would they interview maulanas and sadhus on what they feel or on anything to do with news? It should be on some religious channel but why would a mainstream news channel want to interview maulanas and sadhus. Obviously, it’ll be polarized, we know what their views are, where are the people who you look up to and where does the inspiration go? And that's what I hope NDTV stands for. We believe in people to make news and whatever that may be, he/she may be a politician or a sports person or a business icon or may be someone who has started a movement to talk against a gangrape. That’s a newsmaker for you.”

Sharing her advice to young journalists who want to be an anchor, Singh said that you have to be a journalist first. “As an Editor, it is your job to make sure that you represent the editorial values of the group you are working for. So what has made me proudest in the last 10-15 years is that NDTV has stood apart. I often don't like to use the words brand or the word profession for journalism because for me journalism has always been a passion. And I believe all young journalists, you can’t make it into journalism if you think you're gonna make good money or you're gonna have a good life. And if a young person ever comes to me and says I want to be an anchor,  just a tip, you probably won’t get the job, because anchoring is for us. First you should be a journalist, you can be a journalist at the news desk, you can be a journalist as a news producer. And I’m very happy that these awards actually looked at producers, directors, graphic designers because they all are really journalists for telling the story.”

Talking about her journey in journalism, Singh shared, “This year is 30 years in journalism for me, so that’s fantastic. The biggest achievement if I look back was not just of course the interviews and stories that I did because I started as a journalist but the fact that I was the first woman editor of a major TV channel. And that was a major glass ceiling, which I broke and I’m very happy that it is something which young journalists should be most proud of. And I feel journalism is the only profession which is very gender neutral.”


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